There was a girl - call her Animal X
22, 24, 25, it's hard to tell, it's hard to tell
She comes from the city where there is light and air
Where you can watch television
And you can go to the movies
And read books just for the joy of it
And she went out walking
She was drawn along by a kind of humming
A kind of praying, a kind of prayer
And she winds up down on the waterfront
Out on the boondocks, out on the boondocks
And at the gates, she meets a boy, Animal Y
22, 24, it's hard to tell, it's hard to tell
I mean I really never can tell
But he wasn't her type, he was a different kind
They were built for each other
Bit by bit and piece by piece
They were built for each other
By some cosmic hand just for the joy of it
Down on the boondocks, down on the waterfront
And he calls out something in a language she doesn't understand
And he calls out something in a language she doesn't understand
And she put her hand on his stomach just for the joy of it
But his stomach was where his head was
And she put her hand on his head just for the joy of it
But his head was where his feet were
And she put her hand on his heart, right there on his heart
Just for the joy of it and his heart was lying down on the road
And Animal X says to Animal Y
They can build their gods way up high
They can build their gods but they don't own the sky
Says Animal X to Animal Y
They can build their gods way up high
And I'll lay right down beside you
Be your Bride Of Frankenstein
He was a head with no heart
He was an arm with no hand
He was a leg with no feet
He was a head with no heart
She was a head with no heart
She was an arm with no hand
She was a leg with no feet
She was a head with no heart
Yea, 5 foot 1, 5'11", 6'3"
It's hard to tell, it's hard to tell
Yea but she sure looked good going down the waterfront
She sure looked good going down the boondocks


Lyrics submitted by smallwonderrobot

Animal X song meanings
Add your thoughts

1 Comment

sort form View by:
  • +1
    My InterpretationThat is a totally disturbing and beautiful song, and a real Nick Cave. I discovered it today and I would like to give my thoughts and lyrics interpretation, I would be grateful if anyone gives more ideas.

    There was a girl - call her Animal X
    22, 24, 25, it's hard to tell, it's hard to tell

    So there is nothing we need in that girl's personality - even her age is vague. What we need are instincts, that is why she is called an animal.

    She comes from the city where there is light and air
    Where you can watch television
    And you can go to the movies
    And read books just for the joy of it

    So the 'city' is a place associated here with civilization. You can make things just for the joy of it, not because you have to survive.

    And she went out walking
    She was drawn along by a kind of humming
    A kind of praying, a kind of prayer
    And she winds up down on the waterfront
    Out on the boondocks, out on the boondocks

    Animal X leaves civilized city and turns up at the waterfront. Now, water could be a symbol of nature, from where the instincts come. She is drawn by some
    'humming' which leads her to Animal Y, as if by some divine design.

    But he wasn't her type, he was a different kind
    They were built for each other
    Bit by bit and piece by piece
    They were built for each other
    By some cosmic hand just for the joy of it

    They were built for each other, but he isn't her type - and that was made for the joy of it. Designed that way, she would never notice him if he didn't turn up here that night by some divine intervention. He calls out to her in a language she doesn't understand, but still it is seen later in the song that they are able to communicate somehow, probably by instinctive means.

    But his stomach was where his head was
    And she put her hand on his head just for the joy of it
    But his head was where his feet were

    That sounds very cryptic - it seems he is internally a very different creature from what human being is. He is a 'Frankenstein's Monster'. What I think that means is that he was build up by different events of his life, which act as his 'body parts'.

    They can build their gods way up high
    They can build their gods but they don't own the sky

    Animal X may be speaking of the fact, that humankind was able to imagine gods but wasn't able to be close to them. Another possibility, more probable, is that she says that all creations of human mind - such as God's law and morale - are just creations of imagination and can easily be neglected. She wants to 'lay right down beside' Animal Y and 'be [...] Bride of Frankenstein', which apparently is against morale or divine law.

    He was a head with no heart
    He was an arm with no hand
    He was a leg with no feet
    He was a head with no heart
    She was a head with no heart
    She was an arm with no hand
    She was a leg with no feet
    She was a head with no heart

    They are misfits. They possess the general features (not directly arms and legs, perhaps general intelligence or something like that) but they don't have the most vital parts of these features and thus cannot fit into the society.

    Realizing that, perhaps they wander off at that point never to be seen again - indications of height can be a reference to the fact that they were looked for later, and the last lines state that she was last seen going down to the waterfront.

    I may be looking at things too shallowly, but that is how I see that magnificent piece of lyric. The lyrics themselves fit the atmosphere of 'Push the Sky Away' but the music doesn't fit the overall placidity of the album, which could be the reason why the song was left out. Anyway, thank Nick Cave for another beautiful piece of music.
    lodgeon June 03, 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