"Barely Legal" as written by and Julian Casablancas....
I didn't take no shortcuts
I spent the money that I saved up
Oh, Momma running out of luck
Like my sister, don't give a fuck

I wanna steal your innocence
To me, my life, it don't make sense
Those strange manners, I loved 'em so
"Why won't you wear your new trench coat?"

I should've worked much harder
I should've just not bothered
I never show up on weekdays
Something that you learned yesterday

"Drive you to work; you'll be on time
These little problems they're not yours and mine,"
"Come on and listen to what I say
I've got some secrets that'll make you stay"

I just want to turn you down
I just want to turn you around
Oh, you ain't never had nothin' I wanted, but
I want it all
I just can't figure out

And all together it went well
We made pretend we were best friends
Then she said, "Oh, you're a freak"
"They ordered me to make mistakes"
Together again, like the beginning
It all works somehow in the end
The things we did, the things you hide
For the record it's between you and I

Oh, I didn't take no shortcuts
I spent the money that I saved up
Oh, Momma running out of luck
Like my sister, don't give a fuck

I wanna steal your innocence
To me my life, it just don't make any sense
Those strange manners, I loved 'em so
"Why won't you wear your new trench coat?"

I just want to misbehave
I just want to be your slave
Oh, you ain't never had nothing I wanted, but
I want it all
I just can't figure out

And all together it went well
We made pretend we were best friends
Then she said, "Oh, I can wait"
They ordered me to make mistakes
Together again like the beginning
It all works somehow in the end
The things we did, the things you hide
And for the record, it's between you and I

Lyrics submitted by mudfly

"Barely Legal" as written by Julian Casablancas


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Barely Legal song meanings
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  • +7
    General Commenti think it's about a guy who's just burnt out despite the fact that he's young. he's played by the rules all of his life (in never taking any short cuts) but now he's knowingly "running out of luck" and doing everything he can get away with before it all comes to a crashing hault. i agree with pheav--he can't make sense of his own life so he thinks that having sex with this girl will some how make it all better.

    it seems like he and this girl arent exactly strangers though. they have an off and on relationship ("together AGAIN like the beginning"). when they were young and barely legal they pulled a lot of shit ("the things we did, the things you hide, for the record its between you and i") but all of it is their secret. he's obviously conflicted--he wants the girl back just so he can be the one to "turn her down." he tells himself that she never brought anything to his life but then he realizes that he wanted her anyway. he's confused and wants it all.

    the barely legal singer struggles in an adult world. all he wants to do is misbehave and be with this girl even though they aren't meant for eachother. he's lazy and regrets not "working harder" but continues with this way of life.

    i still dont get the trenchcoat reference though. any thoughts? it IS an awesome line.
    rita meteron November 08, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Commentwill i really ruin the mood if i say i don't think it is about sex? i think it's about how sometimes when someone has screwed his life and there's nothing that actually means anything, he wants to corrupt and hurt someone else as well...not necessarily in a sexual way even though that's obviously a part of it..but it can't be about rape...i think...
    marzon March 07, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWell, yes the Strokes, and Julian make us all want to have sex. I saw them live once, and damn taht was hot. Anyway, I have spent a lot of time thinking about this song, and here is what i have come up with:

    It is about a girl who is just now 18, and therefore thinks that she has a little power, because although she is just barely legal, she is indeed now legal. Enter the song't narrator. Maybe in his mid to later 20s, he has really screwed up everything. Out of luck, out of money, and confused about where his life is going, and abnout what to do next. Somehow these two people at these strange stages of their lives meet, and it all happens.

    A tumutlous relationship ensues, in which this girl, a virgin, and who has never really had a boyfirend before believes that finally she has met some great man, and expects to have a mature relationship, but at the same time has no idea what this means, so she is fine in this strange relationship inwhich, he doesn't show up on weekdays, won't tell her his age (today's the day when I was born) a guy who only wants to satisfy his own needs ( I want to steal your innosence, i just want to mis-a-behaive, etc) but her needs are totally overlooked (he says: you won't leave me alone, you just ask for more) Things get more complicated, though.....He tells her finally "drive you to work and you'll be on tiime" to me, this is an allusion to a pregnancy scare, which of course makes the two a little nervous, he not wanting anythig other than to have sex with a younger girl in order to attempt tp give his life meaning, and her not exactly in any position for anything like this. He is willing, though to let this problem be his and not hers, as if he will right it however nesicarry. Thinsgs in the end, though went well. Nothing happened, it was just a scare. They though as a result of this maybe then ended the physical aspect of the relationship, and are able to appear as just best friends. I think that both of the characters, though learned something from all of this and he, being the older one, the one who would of course be set with the blame makes sure that "the things we did, the things y ou hide are for the record just between you and I" to save his own ass. I donno, that was really poorly explained..sorry. I do think though that it is really about a relationship between an older man and a younger girl, one could say that se is even like 17, and not even quite legal. I also think that even though this guy is a loser, this girl is still really too naive to figure anything out, and is more than anything thrilled to be dating or whatever him. They are maybe in escence using eachother, he to prove thath he is not getting old, because he can still date and have sex younger chicks, and her becuase she is young, but feels powerful for being able to catch the attention, and date an older guy.
    ModKittenon June 02, 2005   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI can relate the lyrics to growing up in a dysfunctional family.

    If you have, the line "I wanna steal your innocence" can have a different meaning than the obvious sexual one.

    If your parents are fucked up in one way or another (which Julian's seem to be, at least his greedy father) you have to grow up early and learn to adapt to "strange manners" and also learn to love them even though you really don't, in order to keep the family system working.

    You do this because you think that your parents will love you if you do. But the sad truth is, they really wont, it's an endless nightmare.
    And when you don't get the love you obviously deserve from your parents, your life "just don't make any sense."

    Everyone in a dysfunctional family are deprived of love and can therefore not really help each other "my sister don't give a fuck".

    And when you can't be affectionate with each other you recive love in terms of gifts, thus "why won't you wear your new trenchcoat".

    "These little problems they're not yours they're mine
    Come on listen to what I say
    I got some secrets that'll make you stay"

    The lyrics above sums it up pretty well. In a dysfunctional family you don't take responsibility for your own problems, you blame the other family members.
    The root of the dysfunction lies in secrets, or more like covered up negative emotions so the atmosphere at home is sort of spooky and you never know what to expect.
    Still, this makes it sort of exciting and as long as the secrets are being held you stick together.

    There are a few more examples, but I reckon I've made my point. Hehe.

    I never really dug this song, but now that I can relate to the lyrics, I'm gonna give it another go.

    Cheers yall!!!
    hou5ekeepingon October 11, 2011   Link
  • +2
    MemoryI know *exactly* what this song is about. I relate to it completely. My first sexual relationship, I was 17 and the man (well, really a boy) was 22. We pretended to just be good acquaintances("We made pretend we were best friends") and our parents were neighbors and had a close friendship, which made it easy to 'run into each other'. He had a ton of problems, he smoked way too much weed and he dropped out of college and worked menial jobs and just couldn't get his shit together.("I didn't take no shortcuts/I spent the money that I saved up/Aw mama runnin' out of luck/Well like my sister don't give a fuck/I wanna steal your innocence/To me my life it don't make sense".) He liked me but also didn't like me, he had no idea why, I realized later, and wouldn't turn anything into a real relationship, I also sadly realized later. ("I just want to turn you down/I just want to turn you around/You ain't never had nothing I wanted/But I want it all I just can't figure out nothin'.")His inability to commit or to have solid feelings for me was because a)we truly weren't compatible (it was really the allure of the forbidden for both of us, my parents totally hated his guts and I was just a young catholic school girl) and b)both of our lack of maturity. That whole lien, 'I never show up on week days/That's something that you learned yesterday', resonates with me the most because I knew he was a bad idea, but I pursued him anyway, and I knew when he was going to show up at neighborhood barbecues. I would wear deliberately provocative clothing. He would run into me at events and sit next to me. We would meet up at the park. He would always drop me off right in front of my house at suspicious times and he did NOT care if I was going to be in trouble ("Drive you to work and you will be on time/These little problems they're not yours they're mine.") He was occasionally cold and unfeeling but would open up to me, make me feel sorry for him, so that I was more attracted to him ("Come on listen to what I say/I have some secrets that will make you stay.") When our parents found out, the shit hit the fan and we just turned on each other, blaming each other. I realized how pathetic he was, that I could do better, I felt guilty because it was partially my fault, but I also thrust a lot of blame on him, because I was young and he was the adult (And then she said Oh you're a freak/They ordered me to make mistakes.") It was a mistake for both of us and and it was just as much my fault, maybe more so, but sometimes, I still really really hate him.
    sassbackon January 27, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment i think he's talking about lying and pretending to like a young "barelyt legal "girl in order to steal her virginity partly because he's so confused in his own life...hell i dont know!...sounds goo though
    Pheavon June 12, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthis voice is fucking awesome. it just by itself makes me wanna have sex =)
    vermiciousknidon August 02, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've had sex with Julian before.
    Title_Trackon March 29, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti agree, excellent song. im confused about the trenchcoat too, however.
    barelylegal32on November 09, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"These strange manners, I love you so
    Why won't you wear your new trenchcoat"


    great song but still; wtf?!
    .nevermindon November 20, 2004   Link

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