So suddenly the madness came
With it's whiskered, wolven ether pangs
He locked the door and he shut the blinds
He laid down on the floor and he slept like iron
While the dirty knife wore deep into his spine

Blood runs crazy
Blood runs crazy

Cascading letters pool on the stairs
The grass is high, the cats are wild
Can’t even touch the tip of their tails
And the blood runs crazy with giant strides
He sang nursery rhymes to paralyze
The wolves that eddy out of the corner of his eye
But they squared him, frozen where he stood
In the glow of the furniture piled high for firewood

And the blood runs crazy with giant strides
And the woodsmen failed to breech those fangs in time
So they dragged him through the underbrush
Wearing three winter coats and a dirty knife


Lyrics submitted by delial

Dirty Knife song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentThis. Song. Is. God.
    litteracyon April 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree. Mind boggling that a mere pop tune can reach such a staggering level. Nothing short of pure genius here - somthing comparable to Mozart and Bach, at least for me.
    userstkon April 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn interviews, Neko says that this song is based on stories her grandmother told her about various family members that went crazy at the same time. When someone found them, they were far gone, hence "cascading letters pool on the stairs, the grass is high, the cats are wild" - they had let everything go, and they were burning their furniture for heat.

    I love the imagery of insanity as wolves that have to be kept at bay with nursery rhymes and ultimately destroy the man.

    She also said that she condensed it into a narrative about just one person so it would be easier to understand and work with.
    Ohhhhh Peacheson June 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnyone know what the lyrics/song is she sings at the end of the song? I can't understand it and am wondering if it's in a different language.
    maniaon October 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe final part is Ukrainian and it apparently means "he shouts very loudly, clenching his teeth" according to alwaysontherun.net
    pollyanneon October 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is song is great because of the layers of meaning. At first, I focused on the violent imagery - wolves, blood, a dirty knife, being dragged through the underbrush. Then it suddenly dawned on me that the blood is running not in the obvious place (the ground) but in a more obvious place (the character's veins). The music is excellent too - I love the violence in the cello and the Ukranian singing. A great short story.
    violexon February 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis begins the favorite part of my favorite album -- just a killer sequence of songs beginning here. I'd pay anything to see her perform just this sequence, at full tilt -- knife/lion's jaws/sparrow/at last/needle has landed. Rest of the album is also great, but these 5 songs each pull you through such a journey. Endless loop.
    waccoon June 18, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat a metaphor....as the saying goes, "Wolf's Land Is No Man's Land!"
    temptation777on June 18, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this was for Elliot Smith.
    teenagefeelingon August 27, 2011   Link

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