"Pap Smear" as written by Alice Glass and Ethan Kath....
You never got to bloom
They cut you from the stem
You're innocent at birth
Until you understand

Repeat every word that you say to me
They put you to use or put you to sleep
I cant tell you the difference between
An embryo or a planted seed

So many shades of white
So many shades of pale
I know what you hate
So I do it constantly

Many shades of white
Many shades of pale
I know how to cut
A wound that will not heal

Consistency of dirt
Insects that spun your silk
They wait for gratitude
They wait for mother's milk

Repeat every word that you say to me
They put you to use or put you to sleep
I cant tell you the difference between
An embryo or a planted seed

So many shades of white
So many shades of pale
I know what you hate
So I do it constantly

Many shades of white
Many shades of pale
I know how to cut
A wound that will not heal


Lyrics submitted by anausteregentleman, edited by westcoast510

"Pap Smear" as written by Ethan Kath Alice Glass

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Pap Smear song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentI love this song. It's definitely about abortion, and hits on a subject that I myself have been constantly going back and forth over: When does life begin?

    "You never got to bloom
    They cut you from the stem
    You're innocent at birth
    until you understand"

    Talking about the fetus.

    "Repeat every word that you say to me
    They put you to use or put you to sleep"

    The world either puts you to work (you're born and forced to work through your life and constantly struggle) or you don't make it that far, and die before you are born.

    "I cant tell you the difference between
    an embryo or a planted seed"

    Those of the pro-choice persuasion often say not to call an unborn child a "baby", because it's technically a fetus. But is it a baby in the terms we think about? Does it have a soul? When does a fetus become an individual life? The narrator is having trouble figuring that out.

    "So many shades of white
    So many shades of pale"

    Nothing in life is just plain right or wrong-- there are thousands of shades of gray in between, and exceptions and other options-- and that in itself can be kind of tiring; sometimes we just want something to be a simple Good or Bad, but that's not how life works.

    "I know how to cut
    a wound that will not heal"

    Alluding to the procedure that kills the unborn child, and also majorly effects and could possibly emotionally scar the mother-- that is, the abortion itself.

    "Consistancy of dirt
    Insects that spun your silk
    They wait for gratitude
    They wait for mother's milk"

    Maybe the narrator is trying to convince themself that a fetus is the equivilent of a "parasite"-- as I've often heard those who are pro-choice try to sway me with-- which gives us the image of some lower lifeform, of some sort of insect, even. Still, it seems like the narrator is having a hard time persuading herself of all of these things she's heard . Even if they seemlogical, and she believes them to be true, her naural emotions and automatic sympathy get in the way-- even insects just want to survive, and even insects have mothers.

    This comment was, for the record, neither pro-life or pro-choice. In fact, that's the point. The narrator is debating her stance on this, because it's an uncomfortable subject that no one can really give you the answer to. It's just shitty like that.

    Like I said, I love this song. I can relate so much.
    vivalapandabearon May 05, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI've been thinking about this song all day long because it brings back sweet memories of my annual exam, which always takes place right around christmastime. (I schedule it that way deliberately, as a festive present to myself.)

    I am IN LOVE with my gyno, which I know is wrong, but he is young, studly and very unashamed. We've gotten to know the ins and outs of each others lives quite intimately and I consider him a close personal friend.

    Even tho' a pap smear isn't the MOST pleasant sensation, I can honestly say that I enjoy it. It's kinda like John Cougar's song "Hurts So Good". The main reason I like it is because HE seems to enjoy it so much. My favorite part is at the end, after he is finished washing his hands, he always turns to me and says, " You were great. Evereything looks amazing. That was THEE best exam yet. Keep doing whatever you are doing".

    When I tell my friends what he says to me each year, they think I need to say something about it. They think it isn't okay. WELL WHY IN THE HELL WOULD I DO THAT? I just think he really knows how to handle me, because I always look forward to the next one....

    CatHadMyTongueon May 11, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOH MY GOD I TOTALLY POSTED THE WRONG LYRICS ON THE WRONG PAGE OH MY GOD.
    xxzxcuzxyouon April 25, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe narrator has abortion close to her heart for the probable reason. but is trying to push it away from herself so that she can be clinical about it. she is involved in the practice of abortion but is still uncertain about it as there are so many questions in her mind, it's not a black and white issue. yet she wants to be happy with her life choices. there are also those that do abortion so late the mother has begun to lactate. she doesnt agree with this. but also she doesnt agree with the majority view of people criticising abortion when they havent been through the tough choice themselves. You're innocent at birth... until you understand the things that you may have to do in life.
    InfidelityWeTruston May 06, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIf this song is indeed about abortion, I highly doubt it's anti abortion, Alice glass doesn't seem like the type (yes there's a type) who would be pro-life.
    This song might not even have a meaning, but if it is about abortion, it's probably just TALKING about it, rather than condemning it. It is possible to have feelings about abortion, and to feel scarred afterward without being pro-life.
    GenevieveKuzakon September 18, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song isn't about abortion. Why do so many people think songs are about abortion?

    The title is PAP SMEAR. People get pap smears to test for abnormal/pre-cancerous cells that may form as a result of being infected with a strain of the HPV or genital wart virus.

    The wound that doesn't heal is speaking to the potential that in time the flesh may become malignant; once infected the virus is always there.
    chaslon December 01, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe fact is there is no definition of a soul that we can measure or test. This is the sort of idea that is imposed by those who find answers delivered to them by others still that seek to control their lives (and willing acceptance of this control is common). Does a heart beat constitute life worth saving? Does death matter if no one is there to care? Does the death of an unborn fetus weigh in the same as the death of a person you've lived with for 20 years? Heavy questions but the reality is miscarriages happen all the time and sad as they may be (I am a father of a miscarried child) the majority do not have funerals or talk about this all to common reality in any mainstream mediums. I can't take anyone seriously who can pretend to give me simple answers to these questions while attempting to hold any authority. These are deeply personal questions.

    While the opposite of pro-life may be strikingly pro-death the truth is that opposites and extremes are not the only choices. I do not follow these movements but promote the choice of a woman to make her own decision. Ultimately, the action she chooses will rest upon her shoulders alone, if she chooses to have a child she will have to raise it or live with the burden of putting that child up for adoption (not as easy a task as is promoted by those that profit in the industry). OR, with the assumption that the unborn child would come to term (never a guarantee) she will live with the knowledge of abortion and the premature ending of that life/potential for that life.

    This is not a simple black or white topic. No one should decide what is right for a woman that faces this choice, I offer the solution of support. Support a woman to analyze the outcome that suits her specifically based upon her unique circumstances and needs. I know many commit to abortion and for some it is a robot action and others it is a heart wrenching traumatic experience, but life is not all fuzzy bunnies and facing the darker side of life is a necessity we all must do at times.

    Ultimately if you feel it necessary to force your opinion on anyone you must seriously ask yourself: precisely what makes you an expert in their life to say what is right for them?
    dichotomyon May 07, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe only words I can make out are:

    "Tell me she's fine, tell me she's OK"
    CrookedKidon April 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyou'll never get to ?
    because you don't understand
    you're innocent at first
    until you understand

    with me, i'll lose my sanctity
    with you too, ?
    oh yeah, turn to you to ?
    ? galaxy

    tell me she's alright, tell me she's okay
    i didn't think so, ?
    tell me she's alright tell me she's okay
    i never counted on ?

    consistency ?
    ? understand
    they break your bread in two
    they'll never understand

    you'll never get to ?
    because you don't understand
    you're innocent at first
    until you understand

    with me, i'll lose my sanctity
    with you too, ?
    oh yeah, turn to you to ?
    ? galaxy

    tell me she's alright, tell me she's okay
    i didn't think so, ?
    tell me she's alright tell me she's okay
    i never counted on ?

    tell me she's alright, tell me
    i never counted on him
    tell me she's alright, tell me
    i never counted on him

    i never counted on ?
    i never counted on ?
    jnoddingon April 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHaha, I hope official lyrics for the album come out soon, because I hear something far different from both versions up here. The part I'm fairly sure of is that the second stanza (and the the time it's repeated later) should start with the lines:

    Repeat every word that you say [or maybe said] to me
    Repeat until you [suffer honestly? I'm not sure]

    Meh.
    I keep trying to figure out this song, but the massive reverb makes it a real challenge.
    kingtoboon April 23, 2010   Link

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