"Like a Pen" as written by Karin Elizabeth Dreijer Andersson and Olof Bjorn Dreijer....
Sharpen my body like a pen
Come on I need to show it
Something too small for a lense
If I rub it if I wipe it

Guiding with one single hand
Nothing's wrong you like the feeling
I am all over the land
Come on I need to show it

Back on the mountain again
I was standing watching seasons
You're now my only friend
I'm too heavy, I'm the burden

Sitting and picking on myself
It's a shiny, shiny morning
And when the light finds my eye
I'll be fleeting like a scent

I hold my breath and then count to three
On and on outworn
Must be five hundred degrees
Will it show, in my show

Lyrics submitted by dolcecars

"Like a Pen" as written by Olof Bjorn Dreijer Karin Elizabeth Dreijer Andersson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Like a Pen song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI agree with the things said above. I think, more than an outright statement about anorexia, it's a retaliation against today's media, as anaisconce already pointed out. I'm sure Karin has gotten plenty of pressure to play the stereotypical role of today's female performer.
    Words like "Sharpen my body like a pen" make me think of euphemisms the industry has come up with for their ideal body like "toned." The choice of the word sharpen offers a jab at the industry and points towards the unhealthy, destructive way of life they really want from their performers.
    "Guiding with one single hand...you like the feeling." Sexual? Yes. However, I think it has more to do with the perverse attraction to the "ideal" than anything else. I'd offer more of my own thoughts but there is a world outside of the internet that I must attend to.
    MissyHeimeron May 06, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI'm surprised no one's commented on The Knife's slightly incorrect translation of the word "pen" here. Pencils are the ones that are sharpened, but the Swedish word for both pens and pencils are the same unless specified, i.e. adding the word "ink" before it (pen). Not like it's that important, but still noteworthy.

    ...unless they realized that a title such as "Like a Pencil" would sound retarded, thus doing all this intentionally.
    abortismon May 15, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis must be about sex.. One night stands perhaps?
    "It's a shiny shiny morning
    And when the light finds my eye
    I'll be fleeting like a scent"
    "Nothing's wrong you like the feeling"
    DigiLSDon September 24, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's about being a performer.
    nemonemonon November 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDoes anyone else here her say something else at the end of the first chorus?
    It sounds like,
    "Must be five-hundred degrees
    Can't stay long, outworn."
    Does anyone else hear that?
    ComparedPallidon January 28, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaningit should be completely obvious that this song is about someone who CUTS themselves. this is my favorite song by the knife and i'm so disappointed to see everyone misinterpreting it. THE SONG IS ABOUT CUTTING AND SECRETLY WANTING SOMEONE TO FIND OUT. just reread the lyrics with that in mind and there's no questioning what it's about
    sevastra4on January 03, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentKind of late in the game, but I was just re-listening to this album again and I haven't seen this interpretation here yet. To me it seems this song is about the anxiety and the frustration of the creative process (songwriting perhaps?). This is verified with the music video, and if you watch it with this interpretation in mind you will be thoroughly convinced. Anyone that has gone through this, can recognize all the typical obstacles you go through. She starts out the "sharpen my body like a pen", pumping herself up and prepping to get the creative juices flowing. Maybe even taking drugs or drinking caffeine to help get the energy necessary to go through this. The mistranslated of the Swedish pen and pencil has already been pointed out, int he video it's a pencil. "Something too small for a lens" refers to how small and insignificant and idea can be in your mind at first. You must rub it and wipe it, (the way you would erase and wipe of pencil shavings if you were writing something) so as to expand it and make it into something more significant. The pen is also a writing or drawing tool, she refers to "guiding it with one singe hand". When you are writing or drawing, you are using one hand, while the rest of you is immobile stuck in one place. After a while your mind starts to wander into space "all over the land". You lose focus and become discouraged. All this time you keep repeating that you need to show something for all the time and effort you are putting into this. The rest of the song is about this uphill battle you have inside yourself, scrutinizing your work and picking on yourself. Eventually you hit a deadline and you have to wake up as now it's time to go and share your creation with the public. Now you are backstage about to present and feel hot and sweaty before you get on stage before the viewing public. It must be five hundred degrees. You feel anxious about what people will think, and worn out from what you just went through to get here. Will all that hard work and effort show?
    ZabuSabuon August 12, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's fabulous. These two are so cool. They're Swedish. Automatically cool.
    cityondown78on December 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is actually talking about someone who has been taken over by anorexia (most likely a model). "Sharpen my body like a pen" is directly talking about being thinner and having more defined bodily features. Much of the rest of the song is implying different affects that the disease can have on a person's life. Obsession, self-deprecation, seclusion, etc.
    barney18on December 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song immediately brings to mind the burlesque and cabaret. It opens in a warped broadway vibe, with the percussion in the style of the shifting, baton bearing divas of the stage. Easiily my favorite off the album, even though I have to admit I was immediately hostile upon first listening. I agree with barney18, as the last line ("will it show, in my show") brings to mind the worry that someone will notice the depths to which the person afflicted has sunk. The song, at any rate, is meant to convey a perverted sense of the theatre, just as the anorexia of actressess and models is a perversion of the human display.
    Stolenbuson December 24, 2006   Link

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