Sing, Muse, of the passion of the pistol
Sing, Muse, of the warning by the whistle
On a night so dark and waning
A dawn obscured by slate sky raining, oh, oh

Five and twenty burglars by the reservoir
A teenage lookout on the signal tower
The mogul's daughter in hog-tie
The mogul fingers the wrong guy, all right

It was a perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect crime
It was a perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect crime

The bagman's quaking at the fingers
The hand-off glance a little lingers
A well-dressed man in the crosshairs
A shot rings out from somewhere upstairs

It was a perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect crime
It was a perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect crime

It was the perfect crime

It was like a ticker-tape parade
When the plastique on the safe was blown away
And we all gaze from eye to eye
As we mouth our silent goodbyes

The valley's sleeping like a bastard
It stinks of slumber and disaster
Two words are spoken with tap wire
The agent's pull finds a surefire backfire

It was a perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect crime
It was a perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect, the perfect crime


Lyrics submitted by Nodima

The Perfect Crime #2 song meanings
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85 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentYou know what's great about the world? That none of you are record producers. Or in a successful band. Or music journalists.

    Go on and keep shitting on bands that try new things. That's REALLY what the indie scene needs right now: a lack of new material. Hell, let's just cut out the middleman and make the entire thing acoustic with bad recording equipment.
    99centmenuon September 26, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commenterrr... isn't this site called songmeanings? because it really seem like it should be called shitalloverasong.com.

    This song is not about JFK. i try to stay away from ad hominems, but people who think that probably aren't aware of many other assassinations. Since i already engaged in one, i'm going to go ahead and say people who don't like this song on lyrical grounds aren't too bright.

    This song is all about intrigues, double and triple-crosses, kidnappings, murders, and all the attendant gunplay and theirvery involved.
    here's the chronology: daughter is kidnapped, a bagman is nervous, the guy making the handoff is killed and the bagman absconds with the loot. Further on, a safe is blown up and the criminals part ways, having achieved their end. Later they are nabbed by Feds. I assume the Feds are corrupt too, and they take the ill-gotten gains... thus the perfect crime.
    Mr.Meon June 23, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is set in a more modern era than the Decemberist's songs usually take place in. Usually they are in times where people wore corsets, and spoke Shakespearean language. This song, I think, sounds more like it it's during the time of the flappers and gangsters. Maybe to set the mood for a different time period, they chose to use different music to show that. The music of the Decemberists is always made to set the mood, and they wanted to try something new and experiment. Personally I feel as if all the songs on this album are a lot different from their last ones, more electronic. This song also doesn't deal with death and murder, probably the happiest song on the album really, and THAT is really why it's out of place, because the people accomplish something... or do they get caught in the end? Is that what is said in the end?
    lindsayms14on September 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyeah, it's different.

    yeah, it's not true to the Decemberists' predefined style.

    but it's catchy as fuck & i don't care what the elitist bastards think.
    sebharperon October 04, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPart of me thinks that there was a mole in the team of burglars, who ratted them out to the police.
    pumkinhedon October 05, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDoes anyone else think that the beginning riff sounds a lot like "Life During Wartime" by Talking Heads? It immediately popped in mind when I first heard this song. Not that that's a bad thing at all...!
    agentzx3on October 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Sing news" should be "Sing, Muse." One of my favorite parts of this song is the fact that Meloy actually invokes a muse, like Homer, Virgil, and Milton before him. Its VERY neo-classical, and its in a 70's-ish disco-ish pop song, which reminds me of Resevoir Dogs. (Maybe because of the "five and twenty burglars by the resevoir.")
    OmnipotentSealon October 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI applaud the Decemberists for expanding their musical territory. The previous albums are good, and I do love Picaresque quite a lot, but let's face it, sonic experimentation is good for any band. Besides, they sound tighter on this album than on any of their previous ones, so I think that's good as well.

    This song is catchy, the lyrics are clever and engaging, and it's infinitely danceable, which isn't an adjective oft applied to Meloy's songwriting. I also can't decide if this song describes ONE crime, or three separate crimes. And then there's the issue of the song's name: is there "The Perfect Crime 1" lurking somewhere in the Decemberists' recording sessions for this album (or, even more likely, still upstairs in Meloy's head)?
    harukion October 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"I also can't decide if this song describes ONE crime, or three separate crimes."

    It maybe one crime that leads to two other crimes, like it starts with the theives kidnapping the mogul's daughter, then leads to a burglarly and eventually an assassination or contract killing. Its all very Usual Suspects-esque.

    "...is there "The Perfect Crime 1" lurking somewhere in the Decemberists' recording sessions for this album (or, even more likely, still upstairs in Meloy's head)? "

    Yes, according to an interview with Meloy at Pitchforkmedia.com, "'The Perfect Crime Number One", which "was recorded live a couple days ago after an absinthe binge," probably won't make the cut." Maybe it'll be locked in the vaults for a while, or appear on a b-sides album, or as a prequel on another album, or whatever...
    OmnipotentSealon October 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAnother reason this song rules: The Decemberists often seem to care for the music itself to actually have relevance to the lyrics. Not always (O Valencia would be an obvious exception) In this case, it matches up perfectly: the music almost sounds like something that would be in a James Bond movie. It's not hard to imagine the burglars slickly pulling off their work with complete calmness and sophistication.

    The rhythm and bass are just totally awesome as well. I think it's great that they branched out a little from the standard format and actually tried to do something hip. With their own style still added in of course.
    SupaManGuyDudeon November 20, 2006   Link

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