"Pretty Pink Ribbon" as written by and John Mccrea....
Without the pretty pink ribbon
You'd end up just like me
Without the pretty pink ribbon
You'd float down to the sea

Without the pretty pink ribbon
You'd say just what you please
Without the sticky little kitten
Your ticket could never be free

Without the tight little denim
Your virtues would all go unknown
Without the room that you live in
Your cancer would eat to the bone

Your muscles would bulge underground
Your demons would all be around
Without the pretty pink ribbon
You'd end up just like me

Without the pretty pink ribbon
You'd end up just like me
Without the pretty pink ribbon
You'd burn all these dying leaves

Without the pretty pink ribbon
You'd lift this steaming herd
You would kill all the sick ones
You would bury them deep in the earth

Without the tight little denim
Your virtues would all go unknown
Without the room that you live in
Your cancers would eat to the bone

Your muscles would bulge underground
Your demons would all be around
Without the pretty pink ribbon
You'd end up just like me


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"Pretty Pink Ribbon" as written by John M Mccrea

Lyrics © Cake - Stamen Music

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Pretty Pink Ribbon song meanings
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  • +2
    General Commentradiocakedoves, actually, I agree with you on your first impressions of this song. Either way, Cake rocks
    fetalpig86on August 25, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"pretty pink ribbon" ... "sticky little kitten" ... "tight little denim" It's definitely about a female getting away with stuff & getting advantages simply because of being female. I think the ticket reference is more about not receiving traffic tickets than being given free tickets.
    " Your muscles would bulge underground"
    Could this refer to Male anatomy?
    I don't think the cancer reference is literal; John doesn't write like that. I think the cancer is some unnamed personal flaw.
    And what about "lift this steaming herd ... kill all the sick ones ... bury them deep in the earth" ? Is this referring to male responsibility; men having to do the unpleasant physical tasks? And the idea that because of her frailness & femininity she's excused from these hardships.
    JustJulieon October 28, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that her 'pretty pink ribbon' is just the fact that she's female. It's always seemed like this song is just about how women have it easier, and how if they weren't women, they'd be completely different--'end up just like me.' He mentions things that are typically female, like tight denim, free tickets, etc. and basically says that if she wasn't a woman, these wouldn't be important and she'd change altogether. Kind of like radiocakedoves' and morningstar's ideas put together, but her redeeming quality is only that she's female.
    belle1313on April 10, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"room that you live in" = vagina.
    rasputin33on December 26, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm curious how many of the above posters have been male, esp those discussing women have it so much better?

    I, for one, have always felt like it's about how women are very much constrained by the feminine roles they are supposed to fulfill, and it describes what those roles are and the societal results of fulfilling those roles. I mean, "Without the pretty pink ribbon, you'd say just what you pleased."

    I feel like basically the pretty pink ribbon symbolizes the intense constraints/ribbon of femininity/pretty pink.

    I think it a situation with this song that Elvis Costello faced earlier in his career in which people thought he was misogynistic because of his songs talking of the vapid roles women were in, but the reality was that he was complaining about them having to be in such roles and was really more of a feminist than a misogynist.
    VictoriaLeeon April 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI assume this is some kind of twisted love song; obviously, the girl's got a great ass, and it's about her only positive point (tight little denim). Perhaps she's a kept woman, or whatever the appropriate term for that is these days. Freud would love this song.
    ButtOfMalmseyon May 02, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about a girl with cancer. Pink ribbons are a sign for cancer and the song also talks about the room that she lives in (perhaps a hospital room) and it even mentions 'your cancer would eat through the bone' it may not actually be that she has cancer but a mataphor. He may have cancer or some bad quality in him and she doesnt. He is saying that she would be just like him and have this bad quality if it werent for the pink ribbon. -just a thought, not actually sure about this one though
    punkrockprincess311on May 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe "Cancer" angle is one I have not considered, it's great. However, when I heard this song for the first time, I thought that this was an observation on the vanity of society. How we excuse the "pretty" people of such crimes as banality and utter stupidity. We worship them because they are easy on the eye. We actually care what they have to say. Nothing bad ever seems to happen to these people. They lead perfect lives. Or is that just on the surface? Do they struggle with the daily trials and tribulations of being role-models to thousands of the misguided, diluted masses. Sorry for the melodrama, i was just kidding.
    radiocakedoveson June 11, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that this song is about a woman that is as rotten to the core as the speaker but has outward beauty that lets her get away with it. Hope i didn't steal anyones ideas here, anyway, the cancer angle is interesting as well ;)
    MorningStaron September 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think its saying that hes kind of jealous because this hot gurl can get more things than he can jstu because shes female and can get guys to do things he cant. i think the pink ribbon DOES represent the gurliness of her and hes saying that with out the feminine charm she has she would be just like him. haha sux for guys.
    Baileyroxon June 01, 2004   Link

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