Pain works on a sliding scale
So does pleasure in a candy jail
True love doesn't come around any more than fate allows on a Monday in Ft. Lauderdale
I came all this way to see your grave
To see your life as written paraphrased
I have tried be it is written in the furnace of affliction
This is what you couldn’t face

Life in a candy jail
Peppermint bars
Peanut brittle bunk beds and marshmallow walls
Where the guards are gracious
And the grounds are grand
And the warden keeps the data on your favorite brands

Jelly beans and cookie dough
Country restroom on a radio
I got a number on my name
It’s hard to rise above the shame
I’m a branded man made in the mold

These terms engulf the waking mind.
Like cherry, grape and lemon-lime
Like candy corn and licorice
Like bubble gum and Swedish fish
It happens to me all the time

Living in a candy jail
With peppermint bars
Peanut brittle bunk beds
And marshmallow walls

Where the guards are gracious
And the grounds are grand
And the warden really listens
And he understands


Lyrics submitted by natashalaika

Candy Jail song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentIt just feels like a song about sobriety to me. Drugs/ alcohol are on the outside of the candy jail and he's on the inside. Everything is supposed to be great, but it's too sweet.
    TaShawnon March 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLove the posts above and I agree that this is a wonderful song. I couldn't figure out what a Candy Jail was until this morning when I was listening to my mp3 player and walking into work. I think a Candy Jail could certainly be addiction as suggested above, but I think it could really be anything that folks do because they feel trapped by the rewards being offered. Like work. Golden handcuffs, so to speak. I am trapped in this cubicle because I am chasing the golden goose, trying to make that next mortgage payment, buy that guitar I've had my eye on, etc. I agree that Addiction may have been what David was thinking when he wrote it, but for me, my job is my Candy Jail.

    It's amazing how f*cking fantastic David Berman is.
    MattZon July 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Pain works on a sliding scale, so does pleasure in a Candy Jail" - :)

    I though about this one, and I think its about somebody addicted to eating and just being a general fat ass. I know this sounds sort of ridiculous, but its the sort of humour Berman uses. I mean countless songs are written about drug addictions and stuff, and the double entendre can totally be drawn with 'Candy Jail' and drug use, but it's light hearted and fun given the food-context.

    Another song on the record about fatties = Aloysius, Bluegrass Drummer.

    It's hard to rise above the shame...
    acorm88on March 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits a shame thing, a private issue. Berman visits this sort of stuff all the time - "cum" refrained throughout The Natural Bridge, "are you honest when no one is looking?"- American Water.

    It's just an embarrassing part of many people's lives as they wrestle with eating, how people perceive them, etc.
    acorm88on March 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI thought I heard this was about his friend that died recently. I forget his name but he was a film maker and made a few trippy music videos.
    Skiptomylouon March 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentalso this...

    Track 8: CANDY JAIL

    – “I have tried thee, it is written, in the furnace of affliction”

    From Isaiah 48:8-10:

    8 “Even from long ago your ear has not been open,
    Because I knew that you would deal very treacherously;
    And you have been called a rebel from birth.
    9 “For the sake of My name I delay My wrath,
    And for My praise I restrain it for you,
    In order not to cut you off.
    10 “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
    I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
    11 “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act;
    For how can My name be profaned?
    And My glory I will not give to another.”

    – “Country-Restroom on the radio”

    “Country and Restroom” is a Roger Miller-ism.

    – “I got a number on my name/ it’s hard to rise above the shame. / I’m a branded man
    made in the mold”,

    references Merle Haggard’s song “Branded Man” from 1967:

    “I'd like to hold my head up and be proud of who I am
    But they won't let my secret go untold
    I paid the debt I owed them, but they're still not satisfied
    Now I'm a branded man out un the cold
    When they let me out of prison, I held my head up high
    Determined I would rise above the shame
    But no matter where I'm living, the black mark follows me
    I'm branded with a number on my name”
    Skiptomylouon March 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentalso this...

    Track 8: CANDY JAIL

    – “I have tried thee, it is written, in the furnace of affliction”

    From Isaiah 48:8-10:

    8 “Even from long ago your ear has not been open,
    Because I knew that you would deal very treacherously;
    And you have been called a rebel from birth.
    9 “For the sake of My name I delay My wrath,
    And for My praise I restrain it for you,
    In order not to cut you off.
    10 “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
    I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
    11 “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act;
    For how can My name be profaned?
    And My glory I will not give to another.”

    – “Country-Restroom on the radio”

    “Country and Restroom” is a Roger Miller-ism.

    – “I got a number on my name/ it’s hard to rise above the shame. / I’m a branded man
    made in the mold”,

    references Merle Haggard’s song “Branded Man” from 1967:

    “I'd like to hold my head up and be proud of who I am
    But they won't let my secret go untold
    I paid the debt I owed them, but they're still not satisfied
    Now I'm a branded man out un the cold
    When they let me out of prison, I held my head up high
    Determined I would rise above the shame
    But no matter where I'm living, the black mark follows me
    I'm branded with a number on my name”
    Skiptomylouon March 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"This is what you couldn’t face... life in a candy jail, etc."

    After thinking about it more and reading Skip's comments, then yes, it seems like the chorus is talking about what his friend couldn't do, which was to be trapped in a candy jail, i.e. sobriety. Did his friend OD?
    TaShawnon March 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbrightestyoungthings.com/live-dc/david-berman-the-corcoran/

    here i finally found the thing i was looking for. his name was jeremy blake and him and his wife commited suicde. he was close to berman. some of his videos can be found on youtube.
    Skiptomylouon March 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSo, in your estimation, something as catastrophic as WWI is right on the brink?

    Yes, something as catastrophic as a world war or a depression or those things that happen that makes societies evolve. Our society is stuck in this one place. It has to do with consumption. That's why on the album there is a lot of gluttony.

    Like on "Aloyisius, Bluegrass Drummer" the imagery of eating all this hydrogenated fat.

    Right, or like the candy in "Candy Jail." It's probably more normal in rock songs for people to use sin in the sense of lust or robbery or theft or something. Gluttony was the best thing for me. I'm trying to make a record and a lot of records have been written with backgrounds of misery in drugs and alcohol or even a celebration of such. The only mention on the whole record of mind altering substances is the word 'doubles' in "suffering jukebox."

    from junkmedia.org/…
    sundon July 02, 2008   Link

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