"A’Rebours" as written by and Peter Doherty....
You sent for me
I was knock knock knocking on death's door
You ignore, adore, a rebours me
You leave me washed up begging for more
If you really cared for me
Ah you'd let me be
You'd set me free
But what you robbed me of is my
Oh is my liberty

The curtain was calling
You were there blewn away and a rebours
In the mirror bawling
If you want it so much you are gonna have it all
Ah if you really cared for me
Christ knows you'd let me be
You'd set me free
I'm too polite to say

I defy you all
You know twice as much as nothing at all
It's still nothing at all
I can defy us all
Tides are now turned and hammered it all
Hammered it all

Ah, no, ah no, ah no

I've been running round this world too much, girl
Pretending not to see
What's drilling me, it's killing me

Oh no, I think I understand
What I misunderstood before
How your love gives me so much more
I am free again, I can see again

But if I should fall
Would you vow today to pay tomorrow
The fucked off big debt I owe to sorrow
Ah, oh, sorrow, sorrow
Ah, oh, sorrow

Ah, no, ah no, ah no


Lyrics submitted by spring90

"A'rebours" as written by Peter Doherty

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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A’Rebours song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentdanyes needs to learn that Pete doesn't need to try and sound clever.
    He is VERY well read and incredibly articulate.
    guyboxerdogon February 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAh this song is amazing, one of the best of the album.
    and:
    I defy you all
    You know twice as much as nothing at all
    It's still nothing at all

    that's just brilliant songwriting, imo :)
    obsessedon May 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA'rebours is a french expression that translates to "against the grain" or "against the normal". Pete isnt using it to sound clever, he's using it to express how he feels isolated from everything because he himself is not normal. The lyrics here are actually wrong, in particular it just says: "The Curtain was calling, you were there and a'rebour". I think in this line Pete is expressing how in his time of need towards the end of the Libertines, he turned to Carl, but Carl wasnt there for him - a'rebour expressing how Pete felt abnormal and that if his best friend couldnt help him, then there would be no-one to help him.

    I've been running round this world too much, girl
    Pretending not to see
    What's drilling me, it's killing me

    This should actually say what's thrilling me is killing me - i.e heroin. He says pretending not to see because in actual fact he knows the damage its doing to him but he uses this self destruction to get back at those who made him feel "a'rebours".
    thealbionsailsonon June 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it almost certain that Pete is familiar with the phrase through the novel I mentioned due to the fact that he has mentioned writers of the decadence period as some of his favourite in interviews (e.g. Baudelaire) and also entitled one of his own diaries A'rebours.

    I just thought it was interesting that the a'rebours song on Down In Albion is a mixture of a couple of other songs Pete had done in previous sessions.

    Did you know that the parts of the song containing the word a'rebours and the part about thrilling and killing used to be two completely different tunes?
    danyeson June 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Would you vow today to pay tomorrow
    The fucked off big debt I owe to sorrow..."

    Brilliant. It truly shows the sad journey he's been trough. Owing to sorrow is a genius lyric. Easily related to. I love it .
    DeathOnTheStairson August 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favourite 'shambles song.
    I also love the
    "twice as much as nothing at all
    it's still nothing at all"
    lines. They are amazingly clever.
    Well done Pete.
    .....Fitty :D
    comebackkid_on October 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's a special song. I think it's upbeat, upbeat in a special way. It's neither a positive nor a optimistic song but the drums, guitars and the voice sounds fucking awesome. It makes me feel happy (in a special way) when I listen to this song. ESPECIALLY the "twice as much" line puts a smile on my face.
    sidewalk91on March 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfor some reason.. when he says "if you really cared for me" reminds me of a beatles tune.
    i cant remember which one but something along the lines of 'happy just to dance with you' or something from that era

    anybody else?
    upthealbionon November 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"But what you robbed me of is my...
    Oh is my liberty"

    i always thought that said my libertine, which could mean carlos.
    but maybe not.
    :)
    icanfeelthesoilon December 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsuperb songwriting.. as many others i just love the "twice as much as nothing at all" part..

    probably the best song on down in albion behind fuck forever and (possibly) pipedown.
    dissoluteon December 29, 2007   Link

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