Pawn Shop Blues is a song that has featured on both The Money Hunny Recordings and the Lana Del Ray a.k.a. Lizzy Grant album. Both versions are different, the former being an acoustic demo version...
Well, I didn't know it would come to this
But that's what happens when you're on your own
And you're alright letting nice things go

Well, I pawned the earrings that you gave me
Gold and made of flowers dangling
And I almost cried as I sold them all
I don't mind living on bread and oranges, no no
But I gotta get to and from where I come
And it's gonna take money to go
Oh no, oh oh, oh oh...

In the name of higher consciousness
I let the best man I knew go
'Cause it's nice to love and be loved
But it's better to know all you can know
I said it's nice to love and be loved
But I'd rather know what God knows
Oh no, oh no, oh no...

I can do this once more
No man can keep me together
Been broken since I was born

Well, I didn't know it would come to this
But that's what happens when you're on your own
And you're alright letting nice things go


Lyrics submitted by zxcvb99

Pawn Shop Blues song meanings
Add your thoughts

6 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +3
    General CommentI think the lyrics in this are pretty literal. It's about Lana, and her exboyfriend, I assume. She's "on [her] own", and has found that she has to pawn the earrings he gave her, to make means for herself. And seeing that love be sold is a sad thing for her, she "almost cried" as she watched them go. She had to do this to make money - she doesn't live a lavish lifestyle "I don't mind living on bread and oranges" but she needs to pay for travelling expenses, and so, she sells the earrings he gave her.

    It's also very clear why they broke up - "in the name of higher consciousness" - ie because of God. Lana seems to believe in God and has acknowledged she had a "wild" past, but hasn't had a drink or anything in seven years. She's a reformed wild child, and upon having the spiritual reawakening she seems to have had, she had to "let the best man [she] knew go". She would rather "know what God knows" because "no man can keep [her] together". She relies on God now.

    But she still has those Pawnshop Blues, watching her old love go. It reminds her of him, and is symbolic of finally letting him go.
    bambinoiron February 19, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationNice interpretation, bambinoir! LOVE the verse that begins "In the name of..." But I think you did it justice, so I won't interpret that particular lyric.

    Lana is quite good with symbolic hooks. The song isn't called "Breakup Blues." It's "Pawn Shop Blues." She is, essentially, equating a breakup with trading in precious possessions to get by. It sheds entirely new light on the topic, revealing a whole new perspective on the end - or "death," as I prefer to call it - of a relationship.

    Once you have reached that lonely, but tranquil point of acceptance, you finally have the strength to let "nice things go." The golden earrings she pawns symbolize the memories she is letting go - perhaps the very sign of final acceptance. To release those memories is to deny the sacredness of the dead relationship. In a manner of speaking, to end one's mourning over their dead relationship. She pawns the earrings to get by monetarily; pawns the memories to get by emotionally.

    "I can do this once more...No man can keep me together...Been broken since I was born." So beautiful, it shatters my soul with every listen. Here, Lana realizes life's harshest truth: People are not going to make you happy. YOU are going to make you happy. She realizes she could go through this again and again - and emerge from her mourning alive each time. No man broke her; the harsh consequences of human existence broke her.
    WritesToLiveon June 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI've loved this song for a year now and just had a revelation about it. I think this song takes place in the 60's, obviously Lana's favourite time period. It's not only about a girl breaking up with her boyfriend and selling off jewelry he bought her for some money, or to get over the relationship. I think this is a girl so lost and confused she is joining a cult, similar to the one Charles Manson started.
    "I don't mind living on bread and oranges, no no
    But I gotta get to and from where I come
    And it's gonna take money to go"

    Example that they had little food to eat and had to sell off all their possessions and give money to their leader. In return they were promised a place in some holy after life.

    "In the name of higher consciousness
    I let the best man I knew go"

    She let her boyfriend, and probably all loved ones, go in exchange for some kind of promised relationship with god.
    iammariaon October 11, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThe above comments are pretty good interpretations, but I think this one is about drug addiction. I know ya'll say she's a reformed bad girl (although her newer songs like Ride point to her being not-so-reformed, after all), but I think this was written when she was 'partying' a lot.

    I know from experience with heroin that when you run out of money you'll do just about anything to get your fix. That typically means selling stuff you already have to a pawn shop or stealing stuff to sell at a pawn shop. Hence 'the pawn shop blues'. Obviously she's having to sell stuff past boyfriends have given her, which is making her pretty depressed, but she's still alright with it if it ends with her to attaining "higher consciousness" (getting high).

    Also she doesn't say she's giving anything up for 'God', she say's "but I'd rather know what God knows". A lot of people feel like they are 'Gods' when they are high. Like they are invincible and somewhat all-knowing. She doesn't say she wants to please God, she wants to know what he knows (or be him).

    It also seems like her former boyfriend left her because of her addiction: "In the name of higher consciousness, I let the best man I knew go"

    That's my spin on things. Of course everything's skewed in the eyes of an addict.
    HalfJack483on November 29, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't know why everyone always thinks songs are about drugs. Here's a short story I wrote while listening to Pawn Shop Blues. This is what I was feeling related to the song:

    Melanie sat at the window and watched Lake Michigan crash against the rocky shoreline like it was sobbing with her. She let out an exhausted sigh and twirled her strawberry blonde hair in her fingers. The chorus of pots and pans colliding and the unfamiliar bridge of adjusted furniture was a song she had never heard before. He was leaving and collecting everything he ever touched. Melanie gripped the backs of her gold earrings, praying he'd forget them.
    He had been in and out all day; loading up his truck, leaving a trail of dirt from spider plants and safety pins that had once held everything together.
    They hadn't spoken since last night's dinner when he said he couldn't keep up anymore. Melanie desperately wished he would've found someone else; that someone else would be the reason for his depart. When the song was coming to a close and she could feel him behind her, hugging his last box, she wiped the tears. She didn't turn around.
    "I can't do this once more," he spoke.
    "No man can keep you together. You've been broken since you were born."
    With that, he was gone, taking everything but a half a loaf of bread and a few oranges.
    The final concerto of the heavy front door slamming left her lonely.
    She removed the earrings from her lobes and held them in her palm.
    She'd pawn them to buy a couch or coffee table or coasters to put on said coffee table; something to make it feel like home again.
    She never thought it'd come to this, but that's what happens when you're on your own.
    hwool185on February 22, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe line "And your alright, with letting nice things go." To me is the best line and meaning of the song. The guy is okay with letting nice things go aka Lana.. I feel like Lana is the earring, and he gave her away like how Lana is pawning the earrings for some fix. I really love this song.
    rangitauon September 05, 2015   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain