"Black Angel's Death Song" as written by Lou Reed and John Davies Cale....
The myriad choices of his fate
Set themselves out upon a plate
For him to choose
What had he to lose

Not a ghost bloodied country
All covered with sleep
Where the black angel did weep
Not an old city street in the east
Gone to choose

And wandering's brother
Walked on through the night
With his hair in his face
On a long splintered cut from the knife of g.t.

The rally man's patter ran on through the dawn
Until we said so long
To his skull-shrill yell

Shining brightly red-rimmed and
Red-lined with the time
Infused with the choice of the mind
On ice skates scraping chunks
From the bells

Cut mouth bleeding razor's
Forgetting the pain
Antiseptic remains cool goodbye
So you fly
To the cozy brown snow of the east
Gone to choose, choose again

Sacrificials remains make it hard to forget
Where you come from
The stools of your eyes
Serve to realize fame, choose again

And roverman's refrain of the sacrilege recluse
For the loss of a horse
Went the bowels and a tail of a rat
Come again, choose to go

And if epiphany's terror reduced you to shame
Have your head bobbed and weaved
Choose a side to be on

If the stone glances off
Split didactics in two
Leave the colors of the mouse trails
Don't scream, try between
If you choose, if you choose, try to lose
For the loss of remain come and start

Start the game i che che che che i
Che che ka tak koh
Choose to choose
Choose to choose, choose to go


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"Black Angel's Death Song" as written by Lou Reed, John Davies Cale

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

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Black Angel's Death Song song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentAs soon as I read the first few lines I was reminded of Eliot's Prufrock poem, which is also about fate and choice. He refers to one having choices "dropped on a plate" in much the same way that Lou Reed does. this was probably not intentional at all, but the song and the poem go together in an interesting way. here's the specific verse:

    "There will be time to murder and create,
    And time for all the works and days of hands
    That lift and drop a question on your plate;
    Time for you and time for me,
    And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
    And for a hundred visions and revisions,
    Before the taking of a toast and tea."
    theegoist1917on July 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSomeone living life, making choices, trying to find their place. The last lines are like advice talking about staying balance, not being overwhelmed by truth and realizations and being free to anything you are feeling. Free to your own opinions, path and everything in-between.
    AndrewVSon June 12, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is song is what it's titled, "the black angel's death song." It's starts out describing someone's fate and the choices he can make, but then it's narrated by the black angel. The black angel is describing to someone the different lifestyles he may choose to have, but all of them suck, so he says "choose to go." He's making it o.k. for someone to give up on life.
    NoThankYou!on January 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is song is what it's titled, "the black angel's death song." It's starts out describing someone's fate and the choices he can make, but then it's narrated by the black angel. The black angel is describing to someone the different lifestyles he may choose to have, but all of them suck, so he says "choose to go." He's making it o.k. for someone to give up on life.
    NoThankYou!on January 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA masterpiece...

    ... the 'cozy brown snow of the east' is obviously smack. But what or who is G.T. ?
    astravanon February 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe song heroin does that to me. something in the drone.
    WhiteHeaton December 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAccording to some of the lyrics, I think it could also be about communism.

    Not a ghost bloodied country
    All covered with sleep...

    Not an old city street in the east...

    I think he's talking about a real country here.
    the 'choose to choose' line goes without saying, of course.
    Gwyllon May 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"And if Epiphany's terror reduced you to shame"...to me this hit so hard as over time i've become aware and i guess "enlightened" to certain things in life that are very frightening realities...realities i've previously found myself apart of...causing great shame.
    viciou5on June 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSounds a little like Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came"; Browning said of it, "When I wrote this, God and Browning knew what it meant. Now God only knows." Simple. It's also epic and almost plotless like said poem.

    It could be about communism, but it also sort of has that transcribed dream feel. Or it's a Bob Dylan parody.
    Cynothoglyson June 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdefinitely one of their best songs and definitely a mention of heroin...awesome
    SoundgardeNirvanaon May 02, 2008   Link

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