"Long Snake Moan" as written by and Polly Jean Harvey....
Dunk you under deep salt water
Bring me lover
All your power
I'll be no hell
Out of your spell
Over under die of pleasure

Hear my dreaming
You'll be drowning
Hell's no God above
All drunk on my love
You ought to hear my long snake moan
You ought to see me from my throne

Dunk you under deep salt water
In my dreaming
You'll be drowning
Raise me up Lord
Call me Lazarus
Hey lord help me
Make me my fail

You ought to hear my long snake moan
You ought to see me from my throne
It's my voodoo working
It's my voodoo working
It's my voodoo working
It's my voodoo working

Moan
Moan
Moan
Moan
Ooh!
Moan
Moan
Moan


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"Long Snake Moan" as written by Polly Harvey

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Long Snake Moan song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI definitely think it's sexual, too...yes. A lot of her songs seem to be about taking on a male sexual persona in order to get power (particularly on Rid Of Me). I think this is one of them.
    missmeon February 25, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the line is "Duck you under" and not "Dark hue undone"
    pumkinhedon February 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe album "To Bring You My Love" was very dark/haunting. a lot of religion is discussed in her songs on there... well, thats what i think. is this about baptisim?... at first it seems shes all for this baptism... then theres the line about drowning. signifying a lack of belief? Snakes are commonly evil symbols. Voodoo is for sure work of the devil.
    Moaning is not really an angelic sound. lol.
    I love it, i just wish i understood.
    am i on the right track at all?
    forcetenhurricaneon October 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFor me...this song is about power exchange in a relationship...she wants to drown her lover in sexual pleasure to the point that she is able to absorb his physical power over her and turn it back on him...that's why she says "hear my long snake moan"....this is symbolic of the penis and male physical power...she uses all her "voodoo" to make the exchange happen
    musicatokcon July 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationMy interpretation is a little too dark I think...hahah.

    I always thought of the last line as a question, instead of a statement: "Is my voodoo working?" It seems to fit much better in what I believe is the meaning of the song.

    I agree, she wants to somehow "drown" her lover in her "sea" of passion, (Dunk you / under / deep salt / water) to the point in which he'll "die of pleasure." But by the line "No hell / Out of Your spell" I think she means it as a revenge, for making her suffer for him to the point of madness, a recurrent theme in pj, men driving her absolutely insane. (When she finally puts out her suffering by consummating the sexual act, she'll finally be "out of his spell.") The desperate screams in the chorus make it nothing related to a sweet longing for love, it's almost a threat, or a promise that she will turn the "spell" back to him. It's a very disturbing song, everything explicity sexual, there is no hint of any hope or romanticism. (Nowhere in the album, actually.. )

    But i think it's even darker, because there is that hint of esoterism everywhere. God, Lazarus, spells. She seems to be invocing some dark power of God, using witchcraft, hence all the "voodoo." Instead of singing, it almost seems like she's chanting. The snake is always depicted as an evil creature, but i think the snake is actually HER. The snake is the cause for all evil in the world, because it tempted Eve. Here, Pj is the temptation in itself, she turns into a snake, or so to say, and «moans» with pleasure.

    That”s why she asks «Is my voodoo working?» like asking «do you feel it now?»
    APerfectDayEliseon October 22, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is what I hear..

    ------------------
    Dunk you under
    Deep salt water
    Bring me, lover
    All your power

    I'll be no hell
    Out of your spell
    Over, under
    Die of pleasure

    In my dreamin'
    You'll be drownin'
    Hell's low, God above
    All drunk on my love

    You outta hear my long snake moan
    You outta see me from my throne

    Dunk you under
    Deep salt water
    In my dreamin'
    You'll be drownin'

    Raise me up, Lord
    Call me "Lazarus"
    Hey Lord, help me
    Make ready my veil

    You outta hear my long snake moan
    You outta see me from my throne

    It's my voodoo workin'..

    Moan!
    -------------------

    The snake is a very familiar image with various interpretations and meanings. Some people use it to signify evil.. others consider it a symbol of rejuvenation. This is probably one of the primary reasons it was chosen for this song. The image of the snake is something that really hits us on an unconscious level. The way it hisses and slithers is generally unsettling (or at least, intriguing) to almost everyone, and this is consistent with the unsettling, voodoo-like sound effects used in the song.

    At its core, Long Snake Moan uses the snake as a symbol for transcendence, especially with respect to the concepts of religion, "right" vs. "wrong", life vs. death, and traditional gender roles. In a 1995 interview, PJ Harvey said:

    "I look towards religion as possibly one means to finding an answer, to making sense why we’re here. That’s what drives the creative force, to make sense of one’s life. A very natural place to look is in that divine area, because it’s so strong and has been here long before us."

    Although not a religious person herself, PJ understands the importance of religion in its pure, non-corrupted form where both 'God' and 'Satan' become part of the same abstraction. In other words, God and Satan are essentially the same thing on a certain level: they both represent something that transcends the boundary between the physical and the spiritual. They interact with the physical realm, but they aren't restricted to it.

    The narrator in the song is identifying herself with this concept. This is why she says "Call me Lazarus", because Lazarus transcended the boundary between life and death after he was resurrected by Jesus. This is also noted in other lines throughout (e.g. "Over, under" and "Hell's low, God above"). She also includes the religious ideas of baptism ("dunk you under deep salt water") and obligation/fidelity to God ("make ready my veil").

    Thinking about this from a more human/female perspective, the term "Long Snake Moan" seems to be a reference to both 1) the narrator's libido, and 2) her declaration of independence from a controlling relationship (that's where "Out of your spell" comes from). She has transcended gender by taking on the dominant sexual role in the relationship (a role usually played by the male). This role-reversal is accomplished through her "voodoo", where she summons the power of higher transcendental beings (like God and Satan). In this way, she resembles the snake and takes on its symbolic characteristics.

    What is particularly beautiful about this song, imo, is that PJ incorporates the religious idea of transcendence into her own broader abstraction, where the transcendence of morality (right vs. wrong), mortality (life vs death), and gender (male vs. female) are all weaved together to form an extremely rich artistic expression.
    rejesterdon November 29, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"It's my voodoo working "
    I love that line
    Bambooon December 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentoh and it's "raise me up lord" not "race me of lord"
    pumkinhedon February 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcorrections:

    "Dunk you under"

    "die of pleasure"

    "in my dreaming"
    SWRJoneson March 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAn unholy baptism.
    fishbellyfaceon April 20, 2010   Link

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