"Genius" as written by Warren Zevon and Larry Klein....
I've got a bitter pot of je ne sais quoi
Guess what---I'm stirring it with a monkey's paw
Since I saw you coming out of my barber's shop
In that skimpy little halter top

Did you light the candles? Did you put on "Kind of Blue"?
Did you use that Ivy Leaage voodoo on him, too?
He thinks he'll be alright but he doesn't know for sure
Like every other unindicted coconspirator

Mata Hari had a house in France
Where she worked on all her secret plans
Men were falling for her sight unseen
She was a genius

There's a face in every window of the Songwriter's Neighborhood
Everybody's your best friend whey you're doing well--I mean good
The poet who lived next door when you were young and poor
Grew up to be a backstabbing entrepreneur

Albert Einstein was a ladies' man
While he was working on his universal plan
He was making out like Charlie Sheen
He was a genius

When you dropped me and you staked your claim
On a V.I.P. who could make your name
You latched on to him and I became
A minor inconvenience

Your protege don't care about art
I'm the one who always told you you were smart
You broke my heart into smithereens
And that took genius

You and the barber make a handsome pair
Guess what---I never liked the way he cut your hair
I didn't like the way he turned your head
But there's nothing I can do or say I haven't done or said

Everybody needs a place to stand
And a method for their schemes and scams
If I could only get my record clean
I'd be a genius

Lyrics submitted by Major Valor

"Genius" as written by

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Genius song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI find the true GENIUS line in the song is this;

    "You broke my heart into smithereens....and that took Genius!"

    Warren was a rather cold hearted and self serving individual. Don't get me wrong, he's my personal songwriting God but read "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon" and you'll be amazed.

    That line......"You broke my heart into smithereens...and that took Genius" speaks to me as a man who thought he'd always be the 'heart breaker' but had the tables turned on him and felt the 'stomach punch' that anybody who's ever had a their heart broken will understand.

    RIP Warren. We miss you man.
    Okemoon May 22, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love how the second line starts out "GUESS WHAT!"
    Only Warren Zevon could write that sort of lyric and make it work the right way
    Imagine Michael Jackson, Billy Joel or even Bob Dylan singing something like that.
    It just wouldn't be the same, and it would sound stupid. But Zevon's whole personality
    lends itself fully to this sort of verbal expression. Guess what--Warren Zevon is great
    TheThornBirdson March 18, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAbsolutely love this song. Top shelf Zevon, for sure.

    I agree that the song is sprinkled with anger, but the first two lines give you an idea of how to take it:

    "I've got a bitter pot of je ne sais quoi" (literally "I don't know what")

    "Guess what-I'm stirring it with a monkey's paw" (an object that grants the possessor 3 wishes with severe consequences)

    His emotions are bubbling over with confusion while being stirred by an object that's capable of producing both enormous joy and pain.

    Also, pay attention to the confessions that are mixed in with the jabs...

    "I became
    A minor inconvenience"

    "I'm the one who always told you you were smart"

    "You broke my heart into smithereens"

    "But there's nothing I can do or say I haven't done or said"

    But the biggest admission and the one that elevates the song to the level of...wait for it...genius is:

    "If I could only get my record clean
    I'd be a genius"

    The previous jabs prove to be slivers of jealousy. He isn't a genius and it's likely that he'll never become one. Therefore, he'll never get her back.

    One thing I really like about the writing is how he hits you with something humorous, then immediately counters with something painful and honest. One moment it's praise for Einstein and Sheen's skill with the ladies, the next is the sobering truth where he admits that he's emotionally destroyed.

    WZ will always be one of the greats. It really sucks that he's gone.
    nicodemusatrophyon September 17, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me it seems like a bitter and sarcastic song for someone who really screwed him over in a relationship; a jab at how well he was played by this woman.
    pandafandangoon January 23, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentInteresting use of autotune here.
    Crane42on January 09, 2013   Link

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