Used to be a major scale,
But the melody went stale,
Musical cacophony let,
Insy Winsy spider free.

You're a rich little boy,
Who's had to work for his toys,
You've got all the sensibilities, oh,
Of an upper class guy.

No, no I'm not your little slave,
No I don't twist and turn that way,
Only got bad things to say,
You're always asking what is up, up with me,

Could never tell you what happened,
The day I turned seventeen,
The rise of a king and the fall of a queen,
Oh seventeen,
Seventeen.

Oh, you were embarrassed of me,
'Cause I used my tongue freely,
Bet you wish I couldn't speak,
'Cause when I do, you know,
I tell you why you appear weak.


You want a hassle free life?
Go get your upper class wife,
She's got all the personality, oh
Of a lemon that has been.
Truly sucked dry.

You teach me how to behave,
I felt you question the way,
I was brought up as a baby,
Well you don't know fuck about my family.

Could never tell you what happened
The day I turned seventeen
The rise of a king and the fall of a queen
Oh seventeen (seventeen),
Oh seventeen,
Oh seventeen,
The rise of the king and the fall of a queen,
Oh seventeen.

Never felt like a princess,
I used to kill myself in this dress,
That it was just how things,
Were meant to be,
Oh seventeen,
Seventeen.



Lyrics submitted by thesolo940, edited by sigrid1000

"Seventeen" as written by Marina Diamandis

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Seventeen song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +4
    General Comment:I interpret this song as her dad being the king. Her mother is the queen and she is the princess. I've read that her parents split when she was four and that she went to live with her dad around the age of fifteen then moved out around "Seventeen". Seventeen is the legal age to move out on your own in the UK, where she is from. She describes her dad as being upper class who has had to work hard for the fun things he's acquired. I think she's trying to make the point that he was working instead of having a relationship with her. She felt like he was embarrassed by her and was always asking why she seemed so unhappy all the time. There is child psychology going on here that explains her having nothing good to say and thinking she was a bad person. Either she would call her dad out about not being there for her as a child or she felt like the way she behaved made her dad feel weak as a father.
    The part about the upper-class wife could of been a step mother or love interest of her father's. She found the woman to be a bore fests. She also found it hard to believe that he could love a woman like that and not her. Comparing herself and her mom to these new women fueled her fire of resentment. Even worse was that he questioned the way her mother raised her. She says you don't know anything about my family. She is viewing her mother and sister as her real family and he is practically a stranger. This could of been the turning point for her.

    Rise of a king and fall of a queen was her dad leaving her mom to take care of her and her sister while he went off to live a worry free life. She never felt like a princess although she was expected to act like one. Maybe he gave her money but it wasn't what she really needed or wanted but he expected it to make her adore him as a father. At the end she says she tortured herself over making this relationship happen but it just isn't possible. She left at "Seventeen".
    ImagineMakeon August 19, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:I know this probably isn't the meaning at all. But the line, "I could never tell you what happened the day I turned 17, the rise of a king and the fall of a queen." always makes me think immediately of rape. Anyone else think of this?
    frillsthrillsandpillson July 01, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation:I think rape is beyond drastic. I look at the meaning of this song as something more along the lines of she finally gave up trying to be independent and just went with the crowd and let the boy have his way, to be "a trophy girlfriend" or something of the like, really just another possession of the boy's ("he has to work for his toys" implies perhaps he tried really hard at being all sweet and appeasing to her, he had to work to get the "toy" that would be the girl, once again showing that she was just another pretty object in his eyes, on the same level as a Ferrari or a cool mansion).

    The last set of lyrics about her being not feeling like a princess are a clue: a relationship with a rich boy was supposed to be glamorous. But she never felt that way. She never felt right but figured this was "how it was supposed to be".

    A lot of Marina's songs are counter-culture. So it would only make sense that she was bashing one of the pop culture ideas about girls wanting to be a glamorous rich man's wife, and in her eyes it's really just being some dumb "toy" for the man to possess. Whether it happened to her or not, who knows, but it seems to me to be implying that Marina is just once again bashing pop culture. More power to her.
    Dressageron July 04, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:Summary: I think this song is about a loss of independence during the span of a relationship. She becomes submissive and docile, purposeless and depressed after a while of just letting things be when things didn't go right. This song is just an expression of how wrong she'd been in thinking that that was the average way -- the right way.

    "Used to be a major scale,
    But the melody went stale,"

    The two lines above seem to refer to the love the two once had. It used to be all-consuming -- a harmony -- but it is no longer pleasant to hear, not a 'melody' that could soothe her head and heart.

    "Musical cacophony let,
    Insy Winsy spider free.:

    Here, it carries on with music symbolizing their love. While in love, it's like a passionate whirlwind, one never thinks but merely does, it's either a fury of emotion consuming them or the deep, impacting movements of molten lava. But -- with either type -- this love has ebbed away, leaving her to think about their 'love.' The Insy Winsy spider is free, symbolizing 2 things: the loss of her purpose (the spiders role in the story was to get out of the spout, now it's done that, then what's next?) and the revelation of her loss of purpose and independence.

    "You're a rich little boy,
    Who's had to work for his toys,"

    She describes him nearly scornfully, but notably still announces the remainder of feeling for him -- she is his toy, but he worked for her. She liked him 'courting' her and misses it.

    You've got all the sensibilities, oh,
    Of an upper class guy.

    He's grown cold and condescending and she is almost blaming him for her loss of self. She is basically saying "You made me like this by treating me inferior, so I played the part."

    No, no I'm not your little slave,
    No I don't twist and turn that way,

    She's fed up with being the inferior one in the relationship. Now she will not let this role become hers till death.

    Only got bad things to say,
    You're always asking what is up, up with me,

    I think she is saying that HE has only bad things to say but then asks why she's upset. She is pointing out the irony of him asking why she's depressed when he is the very reason.

    Could never tell you what happened,
    The day I turned seventeen,

    This refers to my previous statement, which is that he is the reason she's depressed but she can't tell him that. I'm assuming that 17 is the year they met and when it all began.

    The rise of a king and the fall of a queen,
    Oh seventeen,
    Seventeen.

    Her husband is the king and she was a queen. I think this symbolizes her loss of independence in her own world. She no longer rules herself and, ever since the day they met -- 17, she has been bowing to him.

    Oh, you were embarrassed of me,
    'Cause I used my tongue freely,
    Bet you wish I couldn't speak,
    'Cause when I do, you know,
    I tell you why you appear weak.

    I think this part refers to a time just after she realized that she had lost her independence as a woman to him because it seems as though he is embarrassed by her sudden change in behavior and sudden disdain for him (as she blames him for her being like this).

    You want a hassle free life?
    Go get your upper class wife,

    She refers to him becoming who he is now and who she became after her loss of self. He became rich and condescending because he didn't want worries. Now that he's living luxuriously, she's unhappy and decides to abandon his perfect version of her and live as she wants to be. She doesn't like that they both forgot who they were and are.

    She's got all the personality, oh
    Of a lemon that has been.
    Truly sucked dry.

    The relationship with him has turned her bitter and made her lose her purpose. What use is a lemon if you cannot use it for making lemonade?

    You teach me how to behave,
    I felt you question the way,
    I was brought up as a baby,
    Well you don't know fuck about my family.

    This is a reference to their loss of intimacy. He knows nothing about her and instead of trying to find out about her or why she's become like this, he tries to train her. The baby eludes to the naive self she'd been at 17, but she becomes defensive because she misses that self and the life that brought her up to be that way.

    Could never tell you what happened
    The day I turned seventeen

    He's the reason she's depressed. Her life was doomed since the day that they met -- 17 -- but she can't tell him that.

    The rise of a king and the fall of a queen
    Oh seventeen (seventeen),
    Oh seventeen,
    Oh seventeen,
    The rise of the king and the fall of a queen,
    Oh seventeen.

    The rise of him ruling her world and her loss of independence and self-sufficiency when they met.

    Never felt like a princess,
    I used to kill myself in this dress,

    She reflects on her initial reactions to the docile role she'd begun to assume: she hated it and never felt like the happy, pampered up snob that she appeared to be. But now she is one -- to her dismay -- as is made obvious the distress and hopelessness in her tone as she sings.

    Thought (the lyrics are wrong) it was just how things,
    Were meant to be,
    Oh seventeen,
    Seventeen.

    The only reason she became like this was because she thought love was sacrificing things for one another but in the end, the day they met brought her to her doom. Unintentionally, she'd begun to believe the lie she made so he could be happy and may have destroyed their love in the process.

    -K
    KillerKPon April 11, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:The outro and the chorus made me think this song was a narrative (so not necessarily about Marina herself) about a girl who, at 17, fully realized her desire to physically be a boy. Perhaps the first and second verses refer to her talking to a therapist... or boyfriend who didn't understand what was going on in her head. I mean "rise of a king and fall of a queen" and ESPECIALLY the, "Never felt like a princess, I used to kid myself in this dress..."

    It's a beautiful powerful song no matter what it's about, though.

    Also, I just have to mention that I LOVE what the piano's doing in the background throughout the entire song. Marina is amazing.
    JonieAuthor2bon July 02, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation:To be honest, I think her father the king and her mother the queen were in an arranged marriage. And her father raped her mother. And Had been for most of her life and she didn't know until she turned 17. And at the point she was forced to date this young man who thinks he can do whatever he wants just like her father. But she basically tells him that he can go fuck off, because she's not going to do whatever he wants or change to whoever he wants her to be. He can go find someone else if thats the case. And she can't really tell him what happened.
    And if not the rape then maybe when she turned 17, her father had her mother killed.
    Dyingtobeadiamondon October 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I love this song.
    ParisianSkieson July 22, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:yeh so do i
    it's amazinnng
    thesolo940on July 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaning:Well, what happened the day she turned seventeen? It seems like it must involve the guy she's directing the song toward, but then why can't she tell him about it? Someone please deliver an answer to me, promptly.
    peaceattackon December 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:It's about dating a guy that tries to change you...she stands up to him and he doesn't like it so she tells him where to go. I think turning seventeen just means she grew stronger...
    missmeon December 26, 2009   Link

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