He got lucky one time
Hitting with the girl in room 509
She turned her back on him facing the frame
Said, "Listen Joe, don't you come here again"

White sun scattered all over the sea
He could think of nothing but her name "Elise"
God is the sweat running down his back
The water soaked her blonde hair black

Its a perfect day Elise

He got burned by the sun
His face so pale and his hands so worn
Let himself in room 509
Said a prayer, and cried

It's a perfect day, Elise



Lyrics submitted by shut

"A Perfect Day Elise" as written by Polly Jean Harvey

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

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A Perfect Day Elise song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment:Correct|full lyrics:

    He got, he got lucky one time,
    Hitting with the girl in room 509.
    She turned her back on her facing the frame,
    Said, 'Listen Joe, don't you come here again.'

    White sun scattered all over the sea,
    He could think of nothing but her name, 'Elise.'
    God is the sweat running down his back.
    Hm. The water soaked her blonde hair black.

    It's a perfect day,
    A perfect day, Elise.

    He got burned by the sun;
    (He's a lucky man)
    His face so pale and his hands so warm;
    (In the sky)
    Let himself in room 509;
    (As he turns away)
    Said a prayer, pulled the trigger and cried.
    (Just tell me why)

    "It's a perfect day,
    A perfect day, Elise."

    It's a perfect day,
    A perfect day, Elise.



    This is my favorite Polly song ever since 1998. Hands down.
    stentorianon April 29, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:Thank you, Stentorian, for mentioning Salinger. The entire song is based around "A Perfect Day for Bananafish." It's very clear if you've read the story, even at a passing listen, that this song mirrors the events in Salinger's story. The "Joe" in the song appears as a character throughout the album, but seems to be the general representation of the male figure, as the name of the character in "Bananafish" was Seymour Glass. There are a number of women in the story, as well, and it seems she could be referencing or quoting any number of them in the song. Seymour's (or Joe, in the song) mother and wife are annoyed or upset with him, but the little girl in the story is the character with whom he has the best relationship before he kills himself that afternoon.
    This is another of the literary references in this album, (some of the other apparent ones [IMO] are Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" and Brönte's "Wuthering Heights" as well as the Bible).
    foreignwordson April 23, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:By the way, this song was inspired by the short story by J D Salinger, "A perfect day for banana fish." Absolutely adore it.
    stentorianon April 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation:I think he first kills her by drowning her ("The water soaked her blonde hair black"), then kills himself ("said a prayer, pulled the trigger and cried")
    JJ_Ramoneon July 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Why has no one commented on this song yet? PJ Harvey rocks, and this is a great song.
    EnjoySuccubuson July 26, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I agree, I agree...
    Marajaon September 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:heck yeah, just was listening to this song
    moobyjoeon December 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I friggin' love this song...

    to me, it seems to be about this guy who hooks up with a girl in "room 509" but she ends it. he's devastated because he's completely in love with her. he goes down to the beach and sits on the sand, just thinking about her. then goes back to the room and... "Said a prayer, pulled the trigger and cried" (i think the lyrics here they miss 'pulled the trigger') he kills her. then cries.
    lorraine86on January 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:having sex at sea. Fatal.
    _ellieon February 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:"said a prayer, PULLED THE TRIGGER, and cried"

    c'mon, let's not use the censored lyrics.

    anyway, i think this eerie song is obviously about some kind of murderous activity. possibly a murder, possibly a suicide, maybe even both.
    SWRJoneson March 10, 2006   Link

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