"Mace Spray" as written by and Samuel Henry Lockwood Nikolas Stephan Kaloper....
There's a place in the town, a statue,
She'd make me wait beneath,
But its magnif icent archways, archways,
That's where I'd go to weep.

I'm right up onto the counter;
Showgirl, perfect the slow body-roll.
And breakaway from the anger, oh, hoe,
Just got to let it all go,

But she loves me
More than anyone who wouldn't lay a hand.
She keeps mace spray,
For you can't rely on the common man.

That night up under the starlight,
Holly, you call, 'the great blistering blue,'
A strange formation came down from the ceiling,
And it began to move.

And so the shattering shards of glass fell,
And glistened this way and that,
But she would say I won't find my way through the plaster;
I'm an empty hourglass in the sand,

But she loves me,
More than anyone who wouldn't speak like that.
She keeps mace spray,
For you can't rely on the common man.

But it is alright,
Here in the time and the place I am,
You leave a light on all night,
Just to remind of the place I am.


Lyrics submitted by poizen-ivy

Mace Spray song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI read what Nik Kaloper had said about this song in the "Triple J" magazine a while ago and I had no idea what he was saying. He said it was about questioning a particular ideology (presumably feminism) or something to that effect. It didn't make sense to me at all. Until I read this interview here with Hayley Mary: blastmagazine.com/the-magazine/entertainment/music/bands/the-jezabels-feminine-mystique/

    Here's a quote from her:
    "I studied a little bit of gender studies towards the end of my arts degree, and I really got interested in the stigma of feminism, and how people are kind of like, oh, get over it, and it’s just sort of a bad word. And to be a feminist is, you know, passe and negative and naive, and all that kind of stuff. And I wanted to somehow be a femme band but be aware of that at the same time, and I think my lyrics are just a process of me trying to do that. Whether I succeed or not is questionable, because most people don’t get it. With (the song) “Mace Spray,” for example (whose chorus includes the line, “She loves me / More than anyone who wouldn’t lay a hand”), it’s kind of about feminism, the “she” in it. And her as a sort of fairly fickle master, and having trouble with her because she wants to liberate you and she means so many good things to you as a woman, or as a girl. But at the same time, she makes you really scared and she makes you have a lot of anger. And trying to sort of be a modern feminist, or a contemporary feminist, or someone who doesn’t have to hate men and all the negatives of feminism. I suppose, for me, it’s an attempt to try and put feminism in your face, whilst transcending or even satirizing that attitude that it’s a negative thing. But also, I’m torn. Like, it sometimes is a bad thing for me. It makes you angry. It’s basically my ongoing struggle with feminism."
    m0ofinon April 04, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song has been bugging me, so I thought I'd try to rationalise it using the 'feminist' theory - more to get my head around my own interpretation than anything else. Maybe it will help you decide what it means to you...

    The protagonist perceives stereotypical feminism as seeing females as subrogated in the social architechture of society (feminism asks her to "wait beneath" the "statue"). When the protagonist reflects on the shape and construction of society (when she "goes" there), it causes sadness (she "weeps").

    Instead the protagonist takes a post-feminist stance, taking control of her own subrogation by using her sexuality to her advantage ("onto the counter"), being proud of it ("showgirl") and perfecting it ("perfect the slow body roll"). The protagonist is "breaking away" from the anger of social contructs, by breaking away from one set of sterotypes (the virgin wife), but at the same time she is self critical ("hoe"), and realising that in letting go of anger she may be lettig go of something more ("let it all go").

    The protagonist is conflicted, wanting to reject stereotypical feminism, but at the same time being drawn to it. In the same way it is hard to get rid of/escape those who love you (family/friends/bad relationships) she finds it hard to escape feminist notions ("But she loves me"), even if stereotypical feminism is forceful in its approach ("more than anyone wouldn't lay a hand"). At the same time she is repulsed by how vulnerable females are within the feminist stereotype, as victims who cannot trust anyone and need to take steps to protect their rights ("keeps mace spray"), because according to feminist stereotypes the male race will not do it for them (you can't rely on the common man").

    All of these ideas are not clear, or only barely illuminated ("night", "under the starlight"), Feminism calls for the protagonist ("you call"), and shows that the protagonist is cold/detached (blistering as in blistering cold, blue being a colour for cold). Confronting feminism, the protagonist sees that the rigid contructs of society begin to change. The constructs begin to break (the ceiling began to move) and the very the formation of society shatters, but it is wonderful (glistens). Feminism postulates that the protagonist will be lost without having gender roles to ascribe to (won't find her way through the plaster") and the values and attitudes the protagonist held inside as being hers will be exposed as being common, and insignificant (an empty hourglass in the sand).

    But the protagonist can't escape feminism, and the protagonist is attracted to feminist thought despite how cruel its philosophy is to ideals that many women ascribe to ("ore than anyone who wouldn't speak like that" - ie saying that the protagonist will be lost)

    In the end the protagonist accepts that she will have this love/hate relationship with feminism, and its stereotypes, and accepts that she may never resolve it. It is alright for her to feel this way, and where she is emotionally and philosophically ("the place I am"), with an air of hope that in time that will change (the reference to "time") and someday will be able to rationalise her relationship with feminist thought. Feminism hopes the protagonist will come full circle and embrace feminist beliefs, leaving a "light on at night". The prospect of fully embracing one ideology, at thisstage, only reinforces the pprotagonist's aversion to feminism, and her love/hate relationship with its moores.
    elforn01on May 06, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti can honestly say i have made no connection to any meaning in this song but there is definetly one. The chorus in this song is very heart wrenching and its a all round great song. one of jezabels best.
    esbon1on March 15, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis is just my interpretation of the song:

    The first verse is hard to understand. It seems to be talking about too different things, a statue and archways. But she could be going there to meet someone who never shows up, but she never stops going because she wants to believe that maybe one day they will come, that’s why it becomes a place where she goes to weep.

    I interoperate the next verse of the song to be about a prostitute (or maybe more of a burlesque dancer), although it says ‘show girl’ the use of the word ‘hoe’ seems to disagree with the showgirl term. Her anger is the reason she’s doing it and it becomes a way to let go of everything.

    The chorus is difficult. “But she loves me. More than anyone who wouldn't lay a hand.” I’m not sure what this means. The last part of the chorus is saying she doesn’t trust people in society so she feels she must carry ‘mace spray’ in order to protect herself from these people.

    The next three verses are confusing, I don’t really understand what it’s trying to say. Holly, most probably the other girl talked about throughout the song, I don’t know what 'the great blistering blue’ is suppose to be. ‘A strange formation came down from the ceiling’ is referring to something that she doesn’t know. The shattering of the glass could refer to the breakdown of a relationship.

    If you look at the song as if she has a mental issue it actually makes a little more sense.
    singmealullabyon April 12, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOn the assumption that the subject of the song is women...she is where you go to...the body roll is either sexual or a death roll. It could signify the difficulties or the ending of a relationship...but a body roll in the sea often shows joy so a little ambiguous showing confusion of emotions....two extremes....with me so far?

    She is speaking her mind…the anger the confusion the desire...the song says "she loves me more than anyone who wouldn't lay hand"...we are always honest and risk hurting most those we love the most…more than anyone who would not express their whole depth for feelings.

    She also says she cannot rely on the common man. What has someone done and said that has made her feel she cannot rely on them, to trust them…to fulfill her love?

    Mace spray is used as a defense by potential victims against their attacker. She is the potential victim of a love. She does not feel she can trust it...trust them and their feelings. She is scared of getting deeply hurt and therefore is angry ...also a defensive action......and is pushing them away.

    The star and night sky represent love and romance...and are smashed...references to glass and plaster...glass the stars...plaster the sky or the stars when they land on earth.

    She seems to suggest that the one who loves her cannot find their way through the broken plaster to get to her, win her...because they are "an empty hour glass in the sand" suggesting that there is no depth to their feelings... they are not real...that they are shallow. A player perhaps...she is testing them...”can you prove to her your worth make her believe in your feelings for her....make her feel she can trust and believe you and all you say and do”

    She repeats she loves them " more than anyone who wouldn't speak like that"...she is telling them what they need to do to prove themselves...they have to find a path , a way to her through the destruction...the anger and the hurt.

    All is not lost..."it’s alright...light on...remind the place I am"...again is testing the feelings. She wants the person to know there is hope but they have to find the way to where she is...this could be mentally or physically.
    MColliardon August 07, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEven though Hayley says it's about feminism and that ..fun stuff. That's too intricate for my tiny brain, and I'd rather relate it to love, because it's a sweet little song x)

    To me this is more of a ... story. First part is just her going to a familiar place where she admires the architecture and...self reflects and crys. For the moment, "she" is herself.

    Second verse...well, she a hoe. She doesn't like it, but she's good at it. And then she detached and just does her thing...

    Then she remembers...someone loves her. "More than anyone who wouldn't lay a hand" = More than anyone who's ever tried or been gentle with her. Whatever >_> But that doesn't make her feel any more secure in the ..world I guess you can say, and whoever this person shes involved with is. I like to think it's a man that she can't rely on so she keeps mace spray just in case. (You keep mace spray, for you can't rely on the common man. Ha!) She finds it funny, i guess. She feels this way, knows its probably a bit...much, but she still has a bit of a bright look on it. I kind of imagine her looking at her mace spray, thinking about possibly using it on some guy {or to make up for some guy failing to protect her} having a chuckle...walking away to soon think about her lover. (This is also just because I'm a freak, btw) Metaphorically speaking of course...

    Later at night, she's staring up at the moon and stars and junk. (I picture it a very nice little display, much like the ending scene of Kingdom Hearts...) something comes down to her and moves...the glass shatters all around her looking pretty and stuff. To me this paints an epiphany. That whatever shes got going for her is a good thing, its beautiful and mysterious.} Kind of like a higher force trying to make her realize there isn't a need to be -so- afraid and crap...But, she only sees that its an obstacle she can't get through, because she's "an empty hourglass in the sand" = nothing important. I mean..you can only do so much with an empty hourglass. You can stare for a while...play with it o.O ....your going to get bored. Especially if all the "sand" is around it, yeah?

    Then she realizes again someone loves her x) and it makes her feel better. Even though she's got her guard up cause men suck...she's going to try to go along with it. Because the person is patient with her, gentle (But it is all right, here in the time and the place i am. you leave a light on -all night- just to remind of the place i am) and just loves her for her, and reminds her that she's a bit more then just...something to look at.......and a hoe. She's still conflicted about it though, having her guard up or if she should let it down. But...y'know.


    The actual end of the song isn't here...But i think it's one of the most important parts...

    But she loves me..
    Hey, yeah
    In the time and the place I am
    You keep mace spray
    Hey yeah,
    You can't rely on the common man...


    To me the "hey yeah" are kind of...like shes saying it. "She loves me...hey, yeah she does" kind of thing. But shes still got her mace spray! To me this is like a nice little balance, between her distrust and her love with her other.


    I'm horrible at explaining x_x but there is my feedback. I can't relate to feminism...because that seems hard. Idk, hopefully you guys get my what i'm trying to get at...maybe someone could rewrite it with like.. elegance and ...sense.


    x) Merry Christmas
    xXxMonsteron March 14, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me it sounds to me like her relationship with this woman, be it a friend, mother or her lover is abusive. But she accepts it because there's this rhetoric about doing this because I love you, I'm protecting you. "she loves me more that anyone who wouldn't raise a hand" (in anger).

    This woman is so afraid of men, the world that she's stifling the writer, "she keeps mace spray for you can't rely on the common man"

    I agree with monster that the second verse is about an epiphany, but this woman is once again trying to stifle it by telling her it wont amount to anything. "But she would say I won't find my way through the plaster; I'm an empty hourglass in the sand"

    But once again the writer is so under the thumb that these words aren't seen as coming from manipulation but love.
    chewedbluecrayonon June 17, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI have listened to this song over and over. I appreciate the feminist overtones and history, but let's keep it simple. It's a great message of a song, I think about a mother and a daughter that has decided to be a stripper. The song is a story; listen:
    There is a place with a statue and archways (a church): she feels shame, so she weeps there.
    Onto the counter, breakaway from the anger, the slow body role? A stripper.. But someone still loves her, and wants to protect her.
    But there is an awakening to her a strange formation and the shards of glass fell. And the mother doubts that she can see sense can't find her way out of a plaster, an empty hour glass in the sand. She won't change, the mother is the only one who would say that.because she loves her.
    She leaves a light on, always to come home, because she loves her, and she will protect her: mace spray.
    It's a song that is about female strength, feminism, but not the singer, her mother
    Tiger2761on November 13, 2014   Link

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