"Razor Boy" as written by Walter Carl Becker and Donald Jay Fagen....
I hear you are singing a song of the past
I see no tears
I know that you know it may be the last
For many years
You'd gamble or give anything
To be in with the better half
But how many friends must I have
To begin with to make you laugh

[Chorus]
Will you still have a song to sing
When the razor boy comes
And take your fancy things away
Will you still be singing it
On that cold and windy day

You know that the coming is so close at hand
You feel all right
I guess only women in cages can stand
This kind of night
I guess only women in cages
Can play down
The things they lose
You think no tomorrow will come
When you lay down
You can't refuse

[Chorus]


Lyrics submitted by Lukasa

"Razor Boy" as written by Walter Carl Becker, Donald Jay Fagen

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Razor Boy song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI think the Razor Boy is a bad partner, an abusive partner.
    Our Hero is in love with a woman who is in an abusive relationship. The lady is attracted to this unsavory fellow because he is higher up in the social hierarchy -- more "popular" -- than Our Hero ('You'd gamble or give anything/To be in with the better half/ But how many friends must I have/ To Begin with to make you laugh' )
    I think the lady's "fancy things" that the Razor boy is taking away are her dreams and hopes and pretty fantasies, as the abusive partner slashes away at them like a razor while all Our Hapless Hero can do is look on and watch this woman destroy herself with this relationship.
    CuteSparkinaon July 23, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think its Becker and Fagen being cynical again. Perhaps they're singing about a successful guy who needs to be moved down a peg or two and they're saying yeah well what happens when you lose it all (the razor boy will take it). I think a razor boy is a Spanish street urchin who steals by way of threats with a razor blade. God I love this song! The latin feel and the vibes are just perfect!
    Danfanon February 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy interpretation of this song is that no matter how high a level of happiness or success we may achieve within our own lives, we never know if something might be lurking around the corner that could jeopardize all of it.

    The 'Razor Boy' symbolizes that 'something' whether it be a loss of a job, bankruptcy, illness, death, natural disaster...etc. He represents the unexpected turn of events in life that can 'cut' us down to where we're at our most vulnerable.

    The lines referring to 'women in cages' could refer to those in abusive relationships as mentioned in some of the other comments I've read. But less specifically, I think 'women in cages' could also refer to anyone who's spent any length of time trying to work through a personal struggle or hardship - anyone who's never known the pleasure of owning 'fancy things'.

    To me, 'Razor Boy' is song about having to face humility. It poses the questions:
    Would you be able to carry on if your life were to be turned completely upside down? and Could you go from having it all one day, to losing everything the next?
    BobFrappleson May 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was kind of wondering what this song meant to everyone else because it makes little sense to me. Except that the Razor Boy could be some sort of grim reaper.
    Also the second verse up there should be 'You'd gamble or give anything/To be in with the better half/ But how many friends must I have/ To Begin with to make you laugh'
    Mateon June 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCuteSparkina, that is pretty astute.

    I love the imagery of "women in cages" as if he's referring to her as a "kept woman."

    Note the use of acoustic upright bass on this track. Solid.
    GreyBlueEyeson August 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with CuteSparkina's assessment, though this song, to me, also has some drug overtones. I know many people see the "razor boy" as the "grim reaper" of narcotic addiction.

    Whatever it is, this is CTE's best song. :>)
    WritingIsMyReligionon August 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti always thought (at least the chorus) refers to suicide... "razor boy" like slitting your wrists; "takes your fancy things away" because he dies.


    that's the great thing about steely dan: all their lyrics are so great and cryptic that we could debate what this song is about all day.
    acevanson December 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm fairly certain that this song is about cocaine. You use a razor to make a line, you know, and it will take your fancy things away. My dad had a buddy who pawned his parents stuff to buy blow.

    Also, the lyrics are wrong. It's "To be in with the better half, not begin with the better hand.
    Ultharon May 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt should be noted that this song is the inspiration for the term "Razor Girl" in William Gibson's novel "Neuromancer" -a "Razor Girl" being a female mercenary.
    Red Octoberon August 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree Ulthar that this song is about drug addiction. I also think it's a conversation between a stripper/dancer "women in cages" and her boyfriend who has a bad coke habit. She is trying to explain to him that his friends aren't really his friends. She also is sleeping with his dealers so he can score coke for free "You'd gamble or give anything/To be in with the better half/But how many friends must I have/To begin with to make you laugh". The girlfriend is trying to keep this guy from losing everything including her. The woman in this song is streetwise and knows how hard it is to live homeless but the rich junkie has no clue and she's trying to warn him.
    Udiceon September 21, 2008   Link

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