"Evil" as written by and Mark Edward Kozelek....
Sad reminders of what seems years ago
Warm southern sun shines through
Station wagon windows like solar energy
And when in the night your brother turned to me
And said, "God, do you look evil in the dark?"

That made me feel good

Sad reminders of mid-west winter snow
Cold catholic church heaven in stained glass windows
Like rock candy and when on Sunday their daughter turned at me
And said, "Mom and dad, is it a boy or a girl?
Mom and dad, is it a he or a she?"

That made me feel good

Lyrics submitted by ThreeMilesDown

"Evil" as written by Mark Edward Kozelek

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Evil song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationTo me there's a definite anti-religious sentiment in these words, with phrases like "cold catholic church" and "sad reminders" being associated with Church-going. The two events that must be looked at closely here are the quotes and the narrator's subsequent emotional response to them:

    'God, do you look evil in the dark?'

    That made me feel good"

    It seems that merely questioning the morality of God brings about a positive emotional response in the narrator, as if to suggest that the mysterious aspects of life are good merely by that very quality of mystery, and not through the predetermination of religion.

    In the second quote:

    "And said, 'Mom and dad, is it a boy or a girl?
    Mom and dad, is it a he or a she?'

    That made me feel good"

    To me the first thought that comes to my mind on the subject of 'he or she' that is being referred to, is God itself. This is the only deduction that seems reasonable in the religious tone of this song. Also, the daughter asking her parents about this suggests that this would be a child asking this, and therefore innocent to the aspects of religion that adults take for granted (such as the gender of God).

    Once again religion is undermined so that the narrator can experience childhood the way it was meant to be experienced--with childlike wonder and abandon.
    VoVoVoioVoVoVon September 08, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of Kozelek's most obscure songs... and one more time, what a great song !
    The last minutes of this song have got a "strange magic", when the guitar gets stronger slowly and the vocals sound like something that can't be determined : male / female ? angels / demons ? the voice of evil ? You must hear it, it blows my mind every time
    Does anybody know what this sentence refers to : "mom and dad, is it a he or a she" ?
    This song remains particularly enigmatic to me...
    The Dog That Ate...on July 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't know why, but this reminds me of sitting in the back of an old Sedan as a kid, which is driving on a fairly sunny day. My favorite part is "That made me feel good", but my god, this song is amongst their best.
    Anilandon October 14, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the key to the song is not religion but nostalgia. Nostalgia is always touched with the sadness of loss. The reference to the temperature of the church is hardly a censure of religion rather than a visceral depiction one can easily relate to.

    The whole thing is written quite haphazardly; probably from a collection of notes which are really non-sequiturs; the sun shining through a window is not like solar energy it is solar energy, and it has no more to do with the following than rock candy has to do with the second verse, unless you find a cold church sickly sweet- no i think it's here to hold space and because it is also a bit nostalgic.

    It's easy to assume Kozelek has poured layer on layer of thought into these lyrics because he sings them both so well and so earnestly, but if you presented them as poetry to someone who'd never heard them sung I don't think the response would always be so positive and I often wish he'd revised parts of them. On the other hand, if he had then some of the most beautiful rough edges might have got knocked off and they may not have been so encompassing- for instance the whole 'good as Dad/dead' pun in New Jersey is awful but I wouldn't be without it in the song, and 'I've being having mental problems' is not how one should leave a lyric but it's so powerful because of that.

    The dynamic of this song, I agree, is angled to the perverse as a temper for this nostalgia. I'd assumed the second stanza was merely a trite account of a child asking after the gender of her future sibling. This gives the song a balance in that Kozelek appreciates both 'macabre' and 'positive' auspices. Recently though I think the touch of perversity that threads the song and gives it its title runs right through the lyric and what makes Kozelek feel good may be in the inference that the women the child is asking after is both in earshot and not actually pregnant; ha-ha indeed.
    Counterclockwerkon November 10, 2017   Link

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