A cripple walks amongst you
All you tired human beings
He's got all the things a cripple has
Not working arms and legs
And vital parts fall from his system
And dissolve in Scottish rain
Vitally he doesn't miss them
He's too fucked up to care
Well, is that you in front of me?
Coming back for even more of exactly the same
You must be a masochist to love a modern leper
On his last leg
On his last leg
Well, I crippled your heart a hundred times
And still can't work out why
You see, I've got this disease I can't shake
And I'm just rattling through life
Well, this is how we do things now
Yeah, this is how the modern stay scared
So I cut out all the good stuff
Yeah, I cut off my foot to spite my leg
Well, is that you in front of me?
Coming back for even more of exactly the same
You must be a masochist to love a modern leper
On his last leg
Well, I am ill
But I'm not dead
And I don't know which of those I prefer
Because that limb which I have lost
Well, it was the only thing holding me up
Holding me up
Well, I'm lying on the ground now
Walking through the only door
Well, I have lost my eyesight
Like I said I would
But I still know
And that is you in front of me
And you are back for even more of exactly the same
Well, are you a masochist to love a modern leper
On his last leg
And you are not ill
And I'm not dead
Doesn't that make us the perfect pair?
Just you and me
We'll start again
And you can tell me all about what you did today
What you did today


Lyrics submitted by indierocker13


The Modern Leper song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentI really don't think this is about drugs. At all. Not of any kind, including alcohol. This is all about his mental state, how he is.

    First off, it's modern leper. Not a leper of old, where you risk losing body parts. In our society today, most of our focus is on emotional and mental wellbeing. So a modern leper is someone who's losing himself in that way, not physically.

    To me, he blends in, you wouldn't know him by sight. He's losing himself, parts of who he is, and he doesn't care because he's so far gone.

    The part that sells this to me is well I've crippled your heart a hundred times and still can't work out why, see I've got this disease that I can't shake and I'm just rattling through life.

    Anyone who's dealt with depression, especially depersonalization, knows that it's not something that you can just brush off, and it leaves you drifting in everything you do. If you've ever dealt with someone like that, you know how crushing it can be, trying to help, and not able to do anything because they can't shake it. When you're in that kind of state, depressed, not sure of yourself, unable to feel anything, one of the few things that can break through is a kind of odd desperation. You're surrounded by these people that are doing everything they can think of to help you, and you know it's hurting them when it doesn't work, but they keep trying. Sometimes you have to wonder if they are some kind of masochist to keep trying. You can't help but hurt them, so for them to keep trying is sometimes only explained by them being a masochist of somekind.

    Not necessarily healthy, but that's kind of what it's about.

    The more he loses the things keeping him going, the less it makes sense, the harder it is for him to keep going. And I think at the end, he's kind of starting to come around.

    If I don't make any sense, it's because I've been having a bad night.
    HiringParanoiaon May 02, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General CommentWow...it's been so long since a song has hit me so hard on the first listen. This song is surely about mental illness, specifically depression. The modern leprosy, because people so often don't know how to deal with it so they just isolate the people who have it. Depression makes you numb, you don't care what happens to you. You push away the people who care the most about you, and you hurt them, but you're also weirdly distanced from what you're doing because of your illness. At the same time, the person who keeps trying with you has sometimes got their own issues too. In this song he just wants to start again every time, but he'll keep on hurting her.

    I can't really describe how beautiful I think this song is and how much I can identify with it.
    treacheroustigeron August 04, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentHe is addressing us, the listener, directly;

    "A cripple walks amongst you"

    By 'you', he is talking to us, the fans. Calling us out. For somehow loving this depressing, morbid indie rock character.

    To us, it's all just entertainment. But for him, this is no character act. It's real, genuine human suffering. So, his observation is legitimate; "You must be a masochist to love a modern leper".

    By 'modern', he is refering to the depressing, indie asthetic/character which is quite fashionable these days.
    flayerhateron April 07, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is a very sad song. To me it seems to be about a guy who hates himself and is quite self-destructive, and so cant understand why a girl loves him.
    Yet there's hope: She's "not ill" (mentally ill) so there must be something in him worth loving, and he's "not dead", i.e. he hasnt killed himself. So they start again and try and make their relationship's normal/stable ("you can tell me all about what you did today").
    BoyNamedTimon December 18, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree that this song doesn't necessarily have to be about a drug addict/alcoholic/depressive/all of the above, although it does seem a likely option with the type of personality he's describing. The thing is, whatever he might or might not be addicted to, to me this song is about the fact that he isn't the only addict--they are addicted to each other and the sick cycle that they have together. I love the way the lyrics nail his confusion and contempt for her willingness to swallow his failures over and over again. He needs her to absolve him so he doesn't go completely off the deep end, but the fact that he knows she stays for bad reasons gives him someone to blame other than himself, and gives him a reason to try to cut her free, which the part of him that loves her wants to do even though he knows he needs her. He's angry at himself for screwing up all the time, but feels that he has no alternatives. And even though he is in some ways better off with her because she's the only one who truly cares for him, she does him equal damage because the ways that he hurts her are apparent but inexplicable to him. He hates himself for not being able to figure out a way to stop hurting her, and he half hates her for staying and making him watch what he's doing to her. He doesn't fully understand that she's as addicted as him, because all he can see are his own problems.

    I don't see any hope at all in the last lines, because he's already said unequivocably that he won't change, so basically he's just begging her to ignore his behavior for one more day, ignore him trying to push her away one more time, because that's what most people in such unhealthy situations do--enable each other to maintain the status quo, no matter how broken it may be.

    A great song, beautifully written. I listen to it sometimes to remind myself of a few things it can be easy to forget if this song makes a lot of sense to you because you've lived it.
    carpeomniachicaon September 10, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is so fucking good
    Geddeson April 29, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song doesn't have to be about drugs. To me this song is about a boy who knows that this girl is perfect for her but he is too fucked up emotionally to love her the way that she loves him. This is his leprecy. Maybe he does do drugs, maybe he just always hurts her because he is trying so hard to love her back but it doesn't equal what she deserves. Maybe I'm biased, but that's what I hear when I listen to this song.
    jillbean0015on April 29, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretationi think that this song is just about being in love with someone that isnt good for you for whatever reason. we're all guilty of this. for example me and my on/off boyfriend go round in this cycle when you forget the other person's faults and fall for them time and time again and end up getting hurt -hence the 'masochist' theme.

    build you up then drag you down
    this song helps me a lot.
    janetspon July 21, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthere is one part of the song that has always bothered me...


    "He's got all the things a cripple has
    Not working arms and legs"

    depending on how you punctuate and separate it, it had totally different meanings, so im not sure which one it is.

    "he's got all the things a cripple has: not working arms and legs." (as written above)
    or
    "he's got all the things a cripple has not: working arms and legs"
    he is different from a cripple because unlike the cripple, he DOES have working arms and legs, something a cripple has not.
    it would be saying in this case that he is not physically crippled, but mentally and emotionally he is.

    i don't know... maybe its just the first one and i'm thinking too much into it... but i heard it the second way when first hearing it and after looking up the lyrics and seeing it broken up this way, i started doubting myself.

    what do you think?
    scaredbunnyon November 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song kicks so much ass. anthemic indie rock at its finest.
    rentboyon March 16, 2008   Link

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