"The Bed Song" as written by and Amanda Palmer....
We are friends in a sleeping bag splitting the heat
We have one filthy pillow to share and your lips are in my hair
Someone upstairs has a rat that we laughed at
And people are drinking
And singing Van Halen and Slayer on a ukulele tear

Well, we found an apartment
It’s not much to look at
A futon on a floor
Torn-off desktop for a door
All the decor's made of milk crates and duct tape
And if we have sex
They can hear us through the floor
But we don’t do that anymore

And I lay there wondering, what is the matter?
Is this a matter of worse or of better?
You took the blanket, so I took the bedsheet
But I would have held you if you'd only

Let me

Exhibit C
Look how quaint
And how quiet and private
Our paychecks have bought us a condo in town
It's the nicest flat around
You picked a mattress and had it delivered
And I walked upstairs
And the sight of it made my heart pound
And I wrapped my arms around me

And I stood there wondering, what is the matter?
Is this a matter of worse or of better?
You walked right past me and straightened the covers
But I would still love you if you wanted a lover
And you said
All the money in the world
Won't buy a bed so big and wide
To guarantee that you won't accidentally touch me
In the night

Now we're both mostly paralyzed
Don't know how long we've been lying here in fear
Too afraid to even feel
I find my glasses and you turn the light out
Roll off on your side
Like you've rolled away for years
Holding back those king-size tears

And I still don't ask you, what is the matter?
Is this a matter of worse or of better?
You take the heart failure
I'll take the cancer
I've long stopped wondering why you don't answer

You can certainly see how fulfilling a life
From the cost and size of stone of our final resting home
We got some nice ones right under a cherry tree
You and me lying the only way we know
Side by side and still and cold

And I finally ask you, what was the matter?
Was it a matter of worse or of better?
You stretch your arms out and finally face me
You say I would have told you

If you'd only asked me
If you'd only asked me
If you'd only asked me


Lyrics submitted by Starmongoose, edited by paedophageplayground

"The Bed Song" as written by Amanda Palmer

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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The Bed Song song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI'm surprised nobody's mentioned this, but Neil Gaiman says some interesting things about this song. journal.neilgaiman.com/2012/05/…
    vrykolakason December 01, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think the line "Is this a matter of worse or of better" is a reference to the part in marriage vows that talks about being with each other for better or for worse. Amanda's trying to figure out how to categorize the communication breakdown between her partner and her- if it's for better, then that's just how the relationship is supposed to be and she shouldn't worry, and if it's for worse, then it's a rough spot that they should try to confront. She repeats it so much because she can't find a way to categorize the problem but wants to be able to have a reason to stay with her partner (the relationship is falling apart but neither of them will leave)
    ukuleledon February 23, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe version i have goes: "singing van halen and slayer" - not sure if this song has been around for a while and she changed the lyrics for the official release or what, but there is definitely a version where she sings that.

    also, i always thought she was saying "someone upstairs has a RAT that we laughed at" - like, they could hear it skittering across the floor? and i also thought she was saying "ukulele tear" instead of dare... yeah, sorry to post nothing but corrections. this song is beautiful. the deterioration of a relationship, scene by scene. not sure why she calls them "exhibits" though, as if it were a trial.
    impon September 14, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the second half of the first verse goes:

    "Someone upstairs has a rap that we laugh at
    And people are drinking and singing about Scarborough Fair
    On a ukulele dare"

    Such a beautiful song. Amanda manages to imbue such simple images and incidents with such power.
    textbook enigmaticon September 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionThis song kills me - very painful listening to it.
    The arrangement, her voice, pace of the song all paint a melancholy life.. so sad.

    Its a warning to us all to live our lives and love our loved ones.
    overheardon December 01, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti know i'm an idiot, but i like this song very much and i fancy i understand each "exhibit" as much as the disconnected/average listener can, except the repeated line "Is it a matter of worse or of better?" what is amanda getting at with that? my only guess at its meaning: she is wondering of her lover if he likes their current situation and noncommunication or hates it as much as she does.
    paedophageplaygroundon January 03, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationOn "Is this a matter of worse or of better?" -- To me, this has always felt like the narrator is unsure whether the lack of intimacy in the relationship is a sign of a good thing, and is just how long-term relationships mature; or if it's a sign of a bad thing, and maybe the partner wants out and just isn't saying so. I know I have had similar thoughts in relationships in the past: you become so comfortable with one another that you start taking each other for granted. I think if a relationship continues on long enough, this is somewhat inevitable if the people involved don't actively work against it. I like how this song reserves judgment, though, and merely reinforces the importance of communication. Still makes me break down every time.
    kschapon September 10, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love how it's portrayed like evidence."Exhibit a, exhibit b."

    The whole thing is absolutely brilliant. As they get older, their relationship with material things gets grander, but the relationship between the two people gets worse and worse because they aren't communicating. Also, as the beds get bigger and the space between them grows in both the literal and metaphysical sense. Boom.

    Amanda Palmer is a genius.
    Syntiffon March 20, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionIt's pretty obvious that it's about a degrading relationship, but it's more important to ask why. She says "And I still don't ask you what is the matter
    " Basically saying there's no communication or trust between the two, or the trust has faded away. "And I finally ask you what was the matter... You say I would have told you if you'd only asked me" It becomes clear that if she asked him sooner, if she tried to communicate and get close to him before this all started, none of it would happen, and they wold die happily together. I'm obsessed with honesty and loyalty so this song means so much to me.
    khalid1502on May 20, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe two bed companions in this narrative have grown apart, but neither of them have the courage or trust in each other to ask why. Over time the space between them has widened both literally and figuratively (damn you're good AFP). A few of us have said that if they had communicated more that they could have lived happily ever after with each other.

    I think that really the main issue is how much both of them have missed. They met when they were young and seemed to aimlessly sail through life with each other. What if they had of broken up in Exhibit B? What if they had of gone separate ways and found love and success in other places? Exhibit E makes me think that they turn to each other with regret because those chose comfort and safety (apathy) over facing the truth of their incompatibility and parting.
    PandasaurusRexon June 05, 2015   Link

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