Baby got a place in the sun selling people shade
Renting out a room in a remote little corner
A profits promenade
Talking on the phone
Waiting for a ring
Well, everybody's trying to turn me into a suicide machine

I'll be riding forth on my pony
You'll want to see me tonight
Dressed in black up at the line of attack
By my counterpoint in white
Can't look every way
Going to move the street
Everybody's trying to turn me into a suicide machine

Everything's all right
Except for how it seems
And everybody wants to turn me into a suicide machine

Baby got a place in the sun
I had to shade my eyes
I don't think I'll ever know anyone besides you
But it's no surprise
I know what you want
I got what you need
Everybody's trying to turn me into a suicide machine
Everybody's trying to turn me into a suicide machine
Everybody's trying to turn me into a suicide machine


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Suicide Machine song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +6
    General CommentIt's absurd how Elliott's family chose to exclude this amazing song from Basement. It has nothing to do with suicide, yet they put songs like King's Crossing and Little One on the album?

    I think the song pretty clearly is a sarcastic remark at peoples' (critics, fans, etc) expectations of him and his music. Everybody wants him to be this suicidal, sad guy all the time, and to write only sad songs. The fact that this song has a happy rhythm to it is the ultimate slap in the face to those people. Practically everybody that knew Elliott in person has said that he wasn't a sad or depressed person for most of the time; sure he had low points, everyone does, but he was a joker and a fun guy to be around.

    I'll point out some specific lines to support my thoughts. "Baby got a place in the sun selling people shade." Despite the fact that he may be happy, he's selling sad songs to people. "Everything's alright /
    Except for how it seems." Everything is alright, but because of the songs he writes people view him as being in some sort of unending depression. It seems like he's not alright. "I don't think I'll ever know anyone besides you / But it's no surprise. / I know what you want, / I got what you need." He realizes he'll probably never be able to escape the sad sack assumption of his life. He knows people want that, they want the sad songs, and he knows he's perfectly capable of writing what people see as 'sad songs'--even though he never considered them as such.

    I could look at more lines but I think it's pretty obvious.
    fall poetasteron February 10, 2009   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningI disagree with fall poetaster but only slightly.

    What does a suicide machine do? It kills other people. It doesn't kill itself. Elliott was lamenting the fact that he'd been blamed for being a gloom and doom guy that causes other people to be unhappy and suicidal. Clearly he was being tired of having made out to be the sad guy that brings everyone else down.

    But that's what people expected of him and that's what record producers and label guys wanted. Just like in 'New Monkey' where he refers to the monkey on his back...the expectations of labels for him to produce the dark stuff he was seen as having produced over the years. Clearly there were times when his music is uplifting and makes people feel wonderful but the focus became the Needle in the Hay type songs about loss and addiction and desperation.

    Everyone I know saw him as a ray of hope...not a means to being depressed and desperate. His music offered hope to people who enjoyed it because they could relate to it.

    poisondarton March 17, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree totally with your assessment. Well said. And this is an amazing song.

    I never knew of Elliott until after his death. For me, it's almost as if he is still living. I miss him.
    roccojpon February 28, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think fall poetaster summed it up pretty nicely, so I won't go further into the meaning of the song. Suffice it to say this song is just beautiful, and I really wish he'd have finished up this album before he passed.
    Scribbler17on May 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about the world's fascination with turning Elliott Smith into a robot. He would later end his own life because of the mounting pressure of these demands.
    Cavauroon July 22, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI cannot believe I JUST found this and I am a huge fan.
    It is immediately one of my favorites.
    Make's me so happy.


    "Baby got a place in the sun selling people shade."

    That line hits me.

    I love this man.

    XO
    SallySunshineon April 03, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe only striking line to me is:

    Dressed in black up at the line of attack
    By my counterpoint in white

    the line is obviously about chess. the pawn's are the first in line and the first move. they're completely sacrificial.
    berthalittletonon June 27, 2011   Link

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