Born illegitimately
To a whore most likely
He became an orphan
Oh what a lovely orphan
He was sent to the reformatory
Ten years old was his first glory
Got caught stealing from a nun
Now his love story had begun

Thirty years he spent wandering
A devil's child with dove wings
He went to prison
In every country he set foot in
Oh how he loved prison
How awfully lovely was prison

All those beautiful boyz
Pimps and queens and criminal queers
All those beautiful boyz
Tattoos of ships and tattoos of tears

His greatest love was executed
The pure romance was undisputed
Angelic hoodlums and holy ones
Angelic hoodlums and holy ones

All those beautiful boyz...


Lyrics submitted by diabolical

Beautiful Boyz song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +2
    Song MeaningQuite obviously about Jean Genet (as many people have already pointed out). Famous for his memoirs, his criminal convictions, political efforts and friendship with Picasso.

    His mother was a prostitute who put him up for adoption. He spent time with a few families and began a long habbit of petty theft. He spent many years in and out of prison, was thrown out of the Foreign Legion for homosexual acts but eventually his writing was recognized and he was spared a long sentence when some notable figures (such as Picasso) appealed on his behalf and he never set foot in prison again.

    The mention of his greatest love being executed is slightly off in that he fell in love with a tight rope walker of all things who commited suicide.

    The "tattoos and ships and tattoos of tears" is of course a reference to well known, almost traditional prison tattoos. I almost gagged when I saw that someone posted a comment here suggesting the tear tattoos were "emo" related. Really? Couldn't possibly be the well known tradition of a tear drop tattoo representing one murder.
    Lycoon February 17, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Tattoos of Ships and tattoos of tears"

    A tattoo of a large ship is often found on prisoners, usually on the stomach or back. A ship symbolizes "Homebound", or "Godspeed".
    However, another common tattoo among prisoners is "the lonely teardrop."
    When someone has a tattoo (one or multiple) on their face, it usually means that they have murdered someone. The only other common meaning is "lost love", and that you are always crying inside. These are common with gangsters, or people who take pride in commiting a murder. Other prisoners choose not to get one, so that, upon getting out of prison, they don't have to remember their crimes.
    UnderoathLoveon February 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the song is just a story. I can't really understand the meaning, however.

    This was the first CocoRosie song I heard and I immediately looked for more!
    coin-operated_boyon January 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is the perfect soundtrack to a lot of nan goldin's photography
    milkyretinaon January 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's indeed quite litterally a story, just as it looks.
    an orphan grows up and goes to prison, and meets a guy and falls in love, that's what they probably mean with how he loves prison.
    His lover gets killed, but I don't really understand the angelic hoodlums and holy ones. a funeral?
    oxidon April 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about jean genet, a french writer who spent all his life in jail for prostitution. he was obviously gay and has inspired many other artists and writers (such as sartre or warhol). personally i don't like his books a lot but his literature is interesting
    Daniel wolfon May 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn fact, Genet's last novel is called Un Captif Amoureux, the French for A Prisoner of Love. In his novel Notre Dame des Fleurs (Our Lady of the Flowers), he presents a sexually ambiguous character (based on himself) that is imprisoned together with so-called queens.
    Croachon May 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it is about homosexual love. the tone makes you feel for the " beautiful" boys whoes lives are so much harder. im sure it is about Genet but it also speacks for other forbiden love.
    "Pimps and queens and criminal queers" drag queens, people in prison
    "Tattoos of ships and tattoos of tears" saliors and emo's ( just because i know oyu will no the term not because i agree with it)
    "Angelic hoodlums and holy ones" beatuiful criminals and preists/ all of these re stero typical gernralisations for say of gay peopple and yet when they sing it it isnt out of disgust but love of the subject. any wya my interpretation.

    All those beautiful boyz...
    nettieon December 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"tattoos of ships and tattoos of tears"
    meaning sailors and gangsters or killers.
    "Its usage is known to have originated in the Chicano gangs of California. "Often, it signifies that an individual has killed another person, particularly while in prison; at other times, it means that a family member, friend, or fellow gang member has died or been killed. Other times, it can stand for the amount of years one has been in prison."
    rosecoloredglasseson June 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love Antony,
    bon_oeufon July 08, 2007   Link

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