"Cornerstone" as written by and Alex Turner....
I thought I saw you in the battleship
But it was only a look a like
She was nothing but a vision trick
Under the warning light
She was close, close enough to be your ghost
But my chances turned to toast
When I asked her if I could call her your name

I thought I saw you in the rusty hook
Huddled up in wicker chair
I wandered up for a closer look
And kissed who ever was sitting there

She was close, and she held me very tightly
'Til I asked awfully politely, please
Can I call you her name

And I elongated my lift home,
Yeah I let him go the long way round
I smelt your scent on the seat belt
And kept my shortcuts to myself

I thought I saw you in the parrots beak
Messing with the smoke alarm
It was too loud for me to hear her speak
And she had a broken arm

It was close, so close that the walls were wet
And she wrote it out in letraset
No you can't call me her name

Tell me where's your hiding place
I'm worried I'll forget your face
And I've asked everyone
I'm beginning to think I imagined you all along

I elongated my lift home
Yeah I let him go the long way 'round
I smelt your scent on the seat belt
And kept my shortcuts to myself

I saw your sister in the cornerstone
On the phone to the middle man
When I saw that she was on her own
I thought she might understand

She was close, well you couldn't get much closer
She said I'm really not supposed to but yes,
You can call me anything you want


Lyrics submitted by life_aint_chess

"Cornerstone" as written by Alex Turner

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Cornerstone song meanings
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  • +12
    General CommentAmazing song, maybe the best one in Humbug. Well obviously the song is about a guy that can't get over a girl, and this dude keeps on looking for that girl's image in other girls. But Alex's poetic sense of story-telling makes this situation much more beautiful. The only thing I can't figure out is the song's end, that makes it look like it has a good ending for our fella', or perhaps somewhat sad, for the fact that calling a girl in another one's name, well that's just fictional love. And of course, the guy won't come to an overture. what do you think?
    Franky-sanon August 01, 2009   Link
  • +9
    General CommentFirst thing: The girl in the final verse is not a prostitute.
    Why is it that people instantly think "prostitue" when the word "corner" is mentioned?
    A cornerstone is generaly the plaque in a building that states when the building was built and who officialy opened it etc. Nothing to do with corners or prostitutes! But that is not the meaning of the word "cornerstone" in these lyrics...

    # S: (n) basis, base, foundation, fundament, groundwork, cornerstone (the fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained) "the whole argument rested on a basis of conjecture" (Retrieved from Princeton University WordNet Search, wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/…).

    So basically, in the line "I saw your sister in the cornerstone", the songwriter as saying that as soon as he sees the sister he gets the assumption that he's found his answer. He may even be dreaming while his mind is getting ahead of him before he has even talked to the girl.

    Now before I continue I must say that I believe the girl he is looking for in everyone else hes passed away. I don't see how his obsession could have reached its current point unless she was dead. Also the girls ghost is mentioned early in the song. This would also explain the remainder of my analysis for the final verse.

    So the girl is dead, the songwriter and the girls sister meet. Both thier lives aren't going very well at the time. We know the guy has been looking for the girl in everyone else and the sister is "on her own" and in a dead-end job ("on the phone to the middle-man"). "She was close, you couldn't get much closer", obviously, because genetically she is the sister of the girl.

    So to wrap up the final verse, the guy sees the sister, sees that shes having a hard time following the lost of her sibling. His mind starts to go wild and at this point he may very well have already fallen in love with the sister. While he is not in a stable state of mind he goes over to the sister and asks her outright. She is so down and lonely that she needs him just as much as he needs her and they ultimatly fall in love.

    Well thats my analysis of the song anyway. I think the most importent thing is that everyone draws thier own meanings from the song - or any song for that matter. But I'd love to know what you think of my explaination so please comment on it.

    Cheers guys!
    sneakydust
    sneakyduston November 17, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think it's about a guy who has lost a girl, and is going out again trying to find a new girl who reminds him as close as possible to his ex;he still isn't totally over his ex. The "Battle Ship", "Rusty Hook", "Parrots Beak", and the "Cornerstone" are bars that he has been going to in search of a new love. At each one he finds a girl with mutual interest but he blows it everytime trying to make this girl a clone to his ex. I believe that it was a taxi taking him home from a bar in the 5th verse and let the driver take the long way home so he could have some extra time to inhale his ex's scent which he came across in the car. The last part about the sister, if you take it seriously, would be the cloest he could ever get to being with his ex again without actually being with her. I too think that there's something with the pirate references. Pirates are always on quests and journeys in hunt of theri long lost treasure.
    hampton90on August 26, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"she wrote in in letraset"
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    indiebopperon July 31, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is the song the Bakery on really, really good crack.
    wellthen9310on August 25, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTo me it sounds a lot like 'The Bakery'. The music and lyrics are written in a pretty similar way. These lyrics are pretty self-explanatory really. He misses a girl so he tries to replace her with a similar girl and asks if he can call them 'her' name. It gets a bit weird towards the end though, with the bit about him and 'her' sister. Best track on 'Humbug' for me.
    lew0557on August 20, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAt first listen, this is the song that is my instant favourite on Humbug.

    In every verse, i think he is talking about different pubs. Battle Ship, Rusty Hook, Parrots Beak. Not sure why they are all to do with pirates or something but i'm sure there is a reason.

    I think anyone can relate to this, it is about never quite getting over "her". We all compare our new girl with the old one, its normal. I think the way Alex Turner is saying, "Can i call you her name?" is just a poetic way of describing this. Every girl he comes across, is just not the same as the previous.

    At the end I dont think he literally means her sister, i think this is another poetic way of saying someone who reminds him of her. A spitting image.

    I am a bit confused about the 3rd verse about the smoke alarm and why she has a broken arm? Anyone got any ideas?
    Killerofthechaseon August 21, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commentin my opinion the song talks about a boy who fell for a girl who is gone now, so he misses and every time he sees a girl, he think it's her, but she's not. about the taxi thing, it may be a taxi or not, maybe it's just a friends car, and the smell of the girl is around so he doesn't want to arrive home just to breath that scent. the lines "tell me where's your hiding place... along" are pretty obvious, he wants to know where the girl is, and not to forget her face because he is beginning to think he's imagined her. lovely song by the way, probably my favourite from humbug. & sorry for my english..
    saarahon August 25, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My OpinionI beleive that the reference to names of the bars he go's to are linked with pirates because thats what they do... they seek there treasure they lost! opinions??? i'd have to agree that is my favourite on the album at the minute!!
    nyroc3on August 26, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Comment- this reminds me of "catcher in the rye" a little because of the quest and going from bar to bar... it's a bit like that thing holden has for janie. also, the elongated taxi ride reminds me of that, though in CITR it seems to be unintentional, it's more like holden is distracted by something and gives the wrong address to the driver. maybe, who knows, going to new york played him the same tricks as holden...

    - also, this is a bit corny (but it is the CORNerstone after all) the "smelt scent on seat belt" can be literal if someone with the same perfume was in the car just before him [it has happnened to me before to smell the scent of someone i know at places where he wasn't], and i think was alex means here is he's so distracted by this distinctive smell that he loses his train of thought and misses out giving indications to the driver and just lets himself drift in a fantasy about the girl...

    - and of course, i agree with the Bakery similarities. we could say the Bakery was the demo to this, and this is the sophisticated version, in terms of lyrics anyway...
    thinkingofexcusestopostponeon October 06, 2009   Link

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