the clasp broke at the disco Mom I'm sorry
& the older men who hit on Becky
nearly broke their necks on scattered pearls
& we searched the best we could
for two entire songs we knelt & felt along
the place where we had stood

but we only found 7 of Grandmother's pearls

& as we rode the bus home I thought surely
I'd wake up tomorrow just to find
that I had dreamed up everything
there'd still be pearls on a string
I wouldn't smell like smoke & I'd still
have the cash that I had spent on drinks

oh I feel as scattered as Grandmother's pearls

Mom don't cry they're only pearls


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Scattered Pearls song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI'm with wahwah, from the lyrics, (they looked for two entire songs - what's that 6-7 minutes?) to the way she says "they are only pearls" and the obvious over indulgence on drink; it just sounds like she's not all that interested in the lost pearls.
    Which smacks of the story of older men hitting on Becky perhaps being an embellishment too.

    Which to me makes it a brilliant song about the difference in values between generations. Mother obviously greatly values the pearls, the kids, not so much
    Meroon June 26, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentCome ON Neatharu there's definitely room for metaphor here;

    Pearls have historically been a symbol of purity and virginity, I think that the breaking of the necklace definitely speaks to a loss of innocence, a loss of metaphorical virginity, etc. The girls head to a club, a place where sex is implicitly solicited, and even if nothing really happens and the narrator regrets the whole night, there's a sense of the irrevocability of the experience. The mom is crying because she senses this loss, not because of the pearls... which is why the girl can't seem to console her. She doesn't feel different, but still feels bad for breaking the necklace.

    I think it's supposed to function on a literal and metaphorical level... it's just a real experience that has a lot of metaphorical undertones. I don't know
    snarkeyon December 18, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmy favorite off the new album
    icicleson March 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is such a beautiful song. It's really meaningful even when taken literally, but some of the images are especially powerful as metaphors.
    The "older men" come close to injuring themselves, because of the indiscretion of a silly girl. That's almost a warning that guys can't afford to mess around with younger girls. It's stretching a bit, but it's worth thinking about.
    Then there's the great contrast between the speaker wishing that none of the night had ever happened and her acting like it's not a big deal when she's responding to her mother. I feel like she wasn't trying to be glib so much as she didn't want to admit that she was upset.
    Think of all the things we lose and can never get back - like great ideas that are never recorded, or lost little charms that meant a lot to us, or our "lost" virginity. The problem here is that the mother presumably cares a lot about the pearls, too. The necklace is an heirloom - a symbol of family ties, ancientness, and, in a sense, innocence. People tend to idealize the past and think of older generations as really sheltered and sterile. Obviously we don't see our grandparents as sexual beings. But even pearls were historically used to signify "feminine wisdom". Pearls also symbolize propriety and dignity, and the loss of the pearls is probably one of a few bad decisions made that night. The girl can't retrieve all of the pearls, and she also can't undo the smoking, drinking, and partying. She seems to wish that she could, but doesn't want her mother to know that she sees that she messed up.
    unsungsorrowon April 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love the vocals on this.it's like a naughty girl that lies about being sorry of her actions.I think that the girl is a bit sorry just because her mom delivers the guilty feelings of family traditions.
    veruskaon October 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song could imply that the 'older men' tried to rape the girls and broke the narrator's necklace, but the girl is too ashamed to tell her mother.
    schimmyon January 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgod, talk about over-analysis. you guys are thinking way too far into this. the song is completely innocent. she goes to the disco with her friend and the pearl necklace she took from her mother broke.
    the end.
    l0ngdivisionon March 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song..

    and the men were NOT trying to rape them.. what the hell?


    i concur.. you are putting WAAAY too much thought into it.
    erinmonsteron April 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthere is a great version of this song available here: daytrotter.com/article/1183/…

    it has Owen doing the vocals and it sounds so much better, although the song makes more sense narrated by a girl. i love the drum sample in this version too, it has the dull thud of an overheard houseparty next door that the beautiful people are having.

    there's a kind of careless abandon to this song; the kind of carefree attitude that the weekend brings. unfortunately, it's tempered with the comedown the following day, 'I wouldn't smell like smoke & I'd still
    have the cash that I had spent on drinks'. boy, am i in touch with that. although, he sings drink (singular) in the daytrotter version, which is more irish and means the narrator was definitely hitting the alcohol at the disco.
    thewahwahon May 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm with wahwah, from the lyrics, (they looked for two entire songs - what's that 6-7 minutes?) to the way she says "they are only pearls" and the obvious over indulgence on drink; it just sounds like she's not all that interested in the lost pearls.
    Which smacks of the story of older men hitting on Becky perhaps being an embellishment too.

    Which to me makes it a brilliant song about the difference in values between generations. Mother obviously greatly values the pearls, the kids, not so much
    Meroon June 26, 2008   Link

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