"Secret Door" as written by and Alex Turner....
Fools on parade cavort and carry on
For waiting eyes
That you would rather be beside than in front of
But she's never been the kind to be hollowed by the stares

She swam out of tonight's phantasm
Grabbed my hand and made it very clear
There's absolutely nothing for us here
It's a magnolia celebration

To be attempted on a Wednesday night
It's better than to get a reputation
As a miserable little tyke
At least that's the conclusion
She came to in this overture

The secret door swings behind us
She's saying nothing
She's just giggling along

Her arms were folded most indignant
Not looking like she was soon to leave
I had to squint in order to believe
And then like a butler pushing on a bookshelf

I'm unveiling the unexpected
How she was never gonna look to?
Suddenly embarrassed and corrected
How could such a creature
Survive in such a habitat

The secret door swings behind us
She's saying nothing
She's just giggling along
And even if they were to find us
I wouldn't notice, I'm completely occupied

At all the fools on parade
Cavort and carry on for waiting eyes
That you would rather be beside than in front of
But she's never been the kind

To be hollowed by the stares
Fools on parade
Frolic and fuck about to make her gaze
Turn to a scribble on a page by a picture

That holds her options
But you're daft to think she'd care

Fools on parade
Fools on parade
Fools on parade
Conduct a sing-along


Lyrics submitted by life_aint_chess, edited by tumblah, prayingmantis84, HatefulSwan

"Secret Door" as written by Alex Turner

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Secret Door song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentObviously another song written about Alexa. I think the fools on parade are specifically the paparazzi.

    There are lots of pictures of Alexa (looking pissed off) pulling Alex along by the hand early on in their relationship. All of this would have been relatively new experience to Alex, even though he was clearly famous already.

    "To make a gaze turn to a scribble on a page by a picture that holds her absence."
    The paparazzi can take one picture and create it's own story with it, regardless of the truth to it.

    When he says "ones you would rather be besides than in front of" he may be referring to Alexa's dream of being a photographer, but I may be getting too literal...
    belledujouron September 24, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General Commentbelledujour has the lyrics correct (as they are typed in the lyrics booklet that comes with the album). I agree its most likely about Alexa (what I wouldn't give to be that girl!!), and that the 'fools on parade' are paps. I think the part about "a butler pushing on a bookshelf" is so killer. Especially the line "I who was earlier reluctant was suddenly embarrassed and corrected, how could such a creature survive in such a habitat?" it feels like its probably about the first time that he realized how Alexa dealt with the paparazzi. He assumed she was a certain way, but was embarrassed at his assumption because she was clearly different. In this context I kind of find this song to be almost defensive of Alexa ("you'd be daft to think she'd care") against the paparazzi and what the media writes about her.
    dangerouslionesson January 18, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General Comment...Does anyone else take the fools on parade to be the famous themselves, rather than photographers or media-stalker types? I think that makes more sense, especially when he says "fools on parade cavort and carry on for waiting eyes," with the fools being the celebrities making their way down a red carpet for photographers and other fame whores waiting for them (the waiting eyes). Also, I think Alex gives more hints that celebrities themselves are the fools on parade: they "frolic and fuck about" as they live their fabulous lives, hoping to get a picture taken by at least one of those waiting eyes.

    And what gets him about this particular female is that she plays the part of one of those fools on parade so perfectly. But after he knows her more, he sees that she's not a fool on parade, but she willingly and almost eagerly plays the part, because "it's better that than get a reputation as a miserable little tyke." In reality, her thoughts are like hey-I'm-with-you-but-I'm-not-like-you when it comes to the celebrity/public situation.

    To me, the rest of the lyric's meanings are about his amazement at her façade, and how he feels like "a butler pushing on a bookshelf and unveiling the unexpected" when he finds out that it's all a show ("how could such a creature survive in such a habitat?"..."she's saying nothing, she's just giggling along"). The best part of it is that despite all the bullshit of the exterior, the two of them are super cool and air-tight on the inside. He's smitten ("Even if they were to find us, I wouldn't notice. I'm completely occupied") and she is too ("..But you're daft to think she'd care") and they could both care less about who is or looks like a fool on parade.

    Every time I hear this tune, I flash back to those pictures belledujour pointed out, lol. Probably my Humbug favorite.
    bueller84on February 11, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentListen carefully at 3:07 sounds like alex is crying xD

    Humbug is a masterpiece and so this song, the final part is epic
    libertineboyon August 26, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFools on parade
    Cavort and carry on
    For waiting eyes
    That you would rather be beside than in front of
    But she’s never been the kind to be hollowed by the stares

    She swam out of tonight’s phantasm
    Grabbed my hand and made it very clear
    There's absolutely nothing for us here
    It's a magnolia celebration to be attempted on a Wednesday night
    It's better than to get a reputation as a miserable little tyke
    At least that’s the conclusion she came to in this overture

    The secret door swings behind us
    She’s saying nothing
    She’s just giggling along

    Her arms were folded most indignant
    Not looking like she was soon to leave
    I had to squint in order to believe
    And then like a butler pushing on a bookshelf
    I'm unveiling the unexpected
    How she was never gonna look to?
    Suddenly embarrassed and corrected
    How could such a creature survive in such a habitat

    The secret door swings behind us
    She's saying nothing
    She's just giggling along
    And even if they were to find us
    I wouldn't notice, I'm completely occupied

    At all the fools on parade
    Cavort and carry on
    For waiting eyes
    That you would rather be beside than in front of
    But she’s never been the kind to be hollowed by the stares
    Fools on parade
    Frolic and fuck about to make her gaze
    Turn to a scribble on a page by a picture
    That holds her options
    But you’re daft to think she'd care

    Fools on parade
    Fools on parade
    Fools on parade conduct a sing-along
    l8punkroceron July 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSounds like "I who was nearly unreluctant" not "how she was gonna look to"
    and the line after is "was suddenly embarrassed and corrected"
    spiritussancti87on August 03, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmost people have the idea its about the media and the eye they keep on him and alexa, it can be taken that way but i believe the lyrics have a darker attempt... alex is cheating on his girlfriend with a mystery girl who becomes alexa possibly



    "She swam out of tonight's phantasm
    Grabbed my hand and made it very clear
    There's absolutely nothing for us here"


    alex is at some sort of party/ nightclub. from out of nowhere the girl swam through the crowd and grabbed alexs hand and told him that he and her should leave together



    "It's a magnolia celebration
    To be attempted on a Wednesday night
    It's better than to get a reputation
    As a miserable little tyke
    At least that's the conclusion
    She came to in this overture"


    here he explains that its a bit of a long shot to have a goodnight out on a wednesday night with his friends. at first he didnt wanna head out but to not get a bad reputation as being miserable he joined the event. she came to the conclusion at that point in time alex was also out to possibly pick up and score.



    "The secret door swings behind us
    She's saying nothing
    She's just giggling along"

    (the lyrics to the chorus at this point in the song dont follow the continuation of the story and dont make sense at first UNTIL after the next verse... you will see)


    "Her arms were folded most indignant
    Not looking like she was soon to leave
    I had to squint in order to believe"



    the mystery girl here is being stubborn and persisting to alex that they go somewhere and get it off. Alex has to squint to believe as this is refering to the fact that he has by now had a few drinks and his eye sight and mindstate are altered from his sober decision making.


    "And then like a butler
    Pushing on a bookshelf
    I'm unveiling the unexpected
    I, who was earlier reluctant
    Was suddenly embarrassed and corrected
    How could such a creature
    Survive in such a habitat?"



    Here Alex who was earlier reluctant to continue his antics with the girl on the dancefloor (possibly because he already had a girlfriend)has taken a change in decision and decided to give into the girls temptation and cheat on his missus. the girl being a creature with some sort of alluring power.

    "And the secret door swings behind us
    She's saying nothing
    She's just giggling along

    Even if they were to find us
    I wouldn't notice
    I'm completely occupied"


    this is where the secret door/the cheating on his gf is trying to be hidden. maybe the secret door is him trying to shut away his guilt. hes told the girl about his relationship but shes saying nothing and is giggiling along. At the point in time he is with the girl even if friends were to find out he wouldnt notice because he is completely occupied with the fun he is having in the moment



    "As all the fools on parade
    Cavort and carry on for waiting eyes
    One you would rather be beside
    Than in front of
    But she's never been the kind
    To be hollowed by the stares'


    the fools on parade is now made clear that its about drunk people having a good/crazy night out on the dancefloor as they cavort and carry on infront of waiting eyes (the rest of the general public) but the mystery girl has never been one to been bothered by the stares of those juding her.


    "Fools on parade
    Frolic and fuck about
    To make her gauge
    Turn to a scribble on a page
    By a picture that holds her absence But you're daft to think she'd care"


    this last part really gives it away that alex is cheating. her guage is the gir eyeing alex off at the beginning, writing her number down on a piece of paper and handing it to alex who places it in his wallet beside a picture of his girlfriend but youd be daft to think the girl trying to pick up alex cares about that.



    and thats the great thing about alex turners songwritng.. everything he writes is left open to each persons own understanding of the lyrics... we all love him











    sex_pistols_69on July 12, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaningokay, I know this is like the 3rd comment I've left here, but now that we've got the lyric corrections out of the way...let's get to the song meaning. the important part. so I'll just go ahead and analyze what I feel is the key verses and whatnot. enjoy (:

    "Fools on parade cavort and carry on for waiting eyes
    Ones you would rather be beside than in front of
    Though she's never been the kind to be hollowed by the stares"

    an introduction to the girl later referenced. a prologue, if you will. starts off by saying many people strive to be in the limelight, but it actually really sucks. this girl, however, is the kind of beautiful and amazing that everyone just naturally stares at her and judges her. but she's used to it, and it's pretty much just normal to her, and he admires that it doesn't bother her.

    "She swam out of tonight's phantasm
    Grabbed my hand and made it very clear
    There's absolutely nothing for us here"

    so he meets this fabulous girl at a party. she drags him away, wanting to be alone with him. not in a, er, sensual way, but just in a way where she can be herself without everyone being all judgmental. he's a little wary, probably because he sees her as...untouchable, too perfect. you know.

    "Her arms were folded, most indignant,
    Not looking like she was soon to leave
    I had to squint in order to believe

    Then like a butler pushing on a bookshelf
    I'm unveiling the unexpected
    I, who was earlier reluctant,
    Was suddenly embarrassed and corrected
    How could such a creature survive in such a habitat?"

    he really would rather be back at the party, away from the girl, but she's stubborn. she stays put and makes him see the real her, not the person everyone assumes she is from the outside. and he realizes he really, really likes this girl on the inside.

    "And the secret door swings behind us
    She's saying nothing, she's just giggling along

    Even if they were to find us
    I wouldn't notice, I'm completely occupied"

    this is referencing the secret place they go to when they're together. metaphorically, of course. it's the only place where they can be themselves.

    "Fools on parade frolic and fuck about to make her gaze
    Turn to a scribble on a page, by a picture
    That holds her options, but you're daft to think she'd care"

    the other guys, the "fools on parade", think that they want her, too. but they don't, not really. they want the girl that they think she is, superficially, not who she actually is. alex is the only guy who loves her for who she is, and that's the only thing she wants.
    gracelizabethon June 10, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think its about a secret that a girl doesnt wanna tell
    so she says: theres absolutely nothing for us here
    and she acts as if she was enchanted by those fools on parade that they are watching. those fools might be the ones that dont know the secret either.
    he stands next to her watching them, because that's what she does until the question he shouldn't have done, fades.
    well read!
    YugoSlapon December 23, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song is so beautifully written and makes me think of things like Narnia and The Secret Garden and other tales of beautiful and magical hidden places. This is one of my favorites of ALL of their songs. I've never taken this song to be about Alex and his girlfriend and the paparazzi but that does make complete sense.

    This is how I see it: I've always thought of it as a shy guy admiring a confident girl. It seems at first that she just craves attention, but he realizes later that she doesn't crave it, she receives it and just doesn't let it bother her because she has a secret place that she escapes to....

    Let's say the fools on parade are people in general. Everyone is trying to do the most to be recognized by anyone who will watch. He doesn't want to be watched, he'd rather watch everyone make a fool of themselves. She won't let the stares stop her from doing what she wants, though. She'll be a "fool" too.

    He's not really living, he's in this dream world just watching everything happen. She kind of wakes him up and grabs his hand like, "hey, you wanna have fun or you wanna be this miserable guy judging everyone?"

    Suddenly, they're in this place he couldn't even fathom (in love). He's astonished. She says nothing, just giggles, she's been here before. They go into their secret place and now he doesn't even care what the other fools are doing, he's completely occupied.

    They're in this secret place--it's like they know everything around them is chaos, just fools on parade, but they've found their safe haven amidst it all--and he doesn't want to leave. But luckily, neither does she. And he realizes that she is smarter than he gave her credit for. She isn't a fool, after all. She's simply living by the words, "if you can't beat them, join them." But remember she's not really joining, just appearing to, because she has her secret door to escape behind, her secret passage behind the bookshelf. And that's how she can survive in that habitat. The other people are fools parading themselves in this crazy world, she's parading a different kind of crazy.

    It's why she doesn't care what the others think as they watch her. They don't know what she knows, and what shy guy now knows, that there's more to life than trying to be noticed all the time or realizing that people just want to get noticed and being so turned off by it that you'd rather just sit there and watch them with the other spectators. The fools on parade are still fooling around trying to immortalize themselves through pictures and words "that holds her [absence]" but she doesn't care that she's missing the party. They conduct a sing-a-long....and clearly, she doesn't care.

    Because they're behind the secret door of love!
    howdidwegethereon January 16, 2014   Link

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