"When the Pin Hits the Shell" as written by and Earl Hicks Patterson Hood....
You can lie to your Mama, you can lie to your race
But you can't lie to nobody with that cold steel in your face.
And the same God that you're so afraid is gonna send you to hell
Is the same one you're gonna answer to when the pin hits the shell.

Your sister's been blaming everybody.
I don't blame her, man, I guess I'd do the same
If you was my brother, man, I'd probably stand by you.
But you ain't, man, so I got to go my way.
And I ain't gonna crawl upon no high horse
Cause I got thrown off of one

When I was young and I ain't no cowboy
So I ain't going where I don't belong.
It wouldn't do you no good to let you know that it damned near killed me too
So I ain't gonna mourn for you, man, now that you're gone.

Me and you, we liked our pills and our whiskey.
But you don't want your head full of either one when
The house gets quiet and dark.
Having fun used to be so damned easy,
Racing trains from Second Street to Avalon.
Take a trip down memory lane,
You don't see no friendly faces
All the houses have been painted and
Nobody knows your name.
It's enough to make a man not want
To be nobody's Daddy,
When all he thinks he's got left to hand down is guilt and shame.

And I ain't gonna crawl upon no high horse...

You can lie to your Mama, you can lie to your race
But you can't lie to nobody with that cold steel in your face.
And the same God that you're so afraid is gonna send you to hell
Is the same one you're gonna answer to when the pin hits the shell.


Lyrics submitted by Options

"When the Pin Hits the Shell" as written by John Michael Cooley

Lyrics © RAZOR & TIE DIRECT LLC

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When the Pin Hits the Shell song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +2
    Song MeaningIt's a song about a friend's suicide. A really great song and a great summary of my feelings on suicide: I'll remember you and the times we had, but I'm not gonna mourn for you cause you selfishly took your own life.

    Cooley strikes again!
    josegarciaon September 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJose Garcia got it right, but I figured I'd provide a little more detail. The lyrics are straightforward, but there are a few interesting twists thrown in by Cooley that are worth checking out.

    -The most interesting aspect is the distance the narrator puts between himself and the decedent. Indeed, despite the fact that they were obviously good friends who shared good times in the past, he shows no sympathy, no frustration, indeed no discernable emotion at all. He talks about the good times they shared drinking, drugging, and driving fast ("racing trains from Second Street to Avalon"). The times were inevitably replaced by serious trouble for both of them ("...damn near killed me too."). The decedent kills himself, and the narrator is surprisingly unmoved as he matter-of-factly tells his dead friend that he's going to hell for committing suicide. But this heavy moral judgment isn't brought about by the narrator's anger, desperation, or confusion at the event. The narrator admits he's in no position to pass judgment ("I gonna get up on no high horse") and even more amazingly, doesn't even feel the need to defend the friend against criticism ("If you were my brother man I'd probably stand by you/But you ain't man so I gotta go my way"). Most strikingly, he doesn't even seem moved by the death, as he states that he's not going to mourn his friend. This is all complicated by the fact that no explanation is given as to why one guy killed himself and the other didn't.

    There's enough of a tease from Cooley about the characters' past to make the audience's mind bristle with questions. What made the good times turn bad? Most importantly, why did the two characters go in two different directions? Why does he not care at all that his friend kill himself? The lack of answers is haunting.
    OldSouthon April 29, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOld South.... thanks for that outlook.
    James7766on April 04, 2017   Link

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