"Make Up" as written by and Lou Reed....
Your face when sleeping is sublime
And then you open up your eyes

Then comes pancake factor number one
Eyeliner, rose hips and lip gloss, such fun
You're a slick little girl, you're a slick little girl
Rouge and coloring, incense and ice
Perfume and kisses, oh it's all so nice
You're a slick little girl, you're a slick little girl

Now we're coming out, out of our closets
Out on the streets, yeah, we're coming out

When you're in bed it's so wonderful
It'd be so nice to fall in love
When you get dressed I really get my fill
People say that it's impossible

Gowns lovely made out of lace
And all the things that you do to your face
You're a slick little girl, you're a slick little girl
Eyeliner, whitener then color the eyes
Yellow and green, oh what a surprise
You're a slick little girl, oh, you're such a slick little girl

Now we're coming out, out of our closets
Out on the streets, yes, we're coming out
Yeah, we're coming out

Lyrics submitted by spliphstar

"Make Up" as written by


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Make Up song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentAlways thought this song was about a boy, actually.
    missastroon September 17, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentoh and i think it's more of an "oOOh" rather than "oh"
    pumkinhedon November 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow, me to on the nyc underground glory days, but all the same i think his tone and words imply he's bored with this high maintenance girl or lifestyle or whatever.
    lost_in_twlighton April 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't think he sounds bored at all! I think he sounds sort of sleepy; like he's just woken up and he's lying about in bed watching this person (not sure if it's a boy or girl) get dressed and put their make up on. He sounds really affectionate and chilled out, but not neccessarily in love....
    Coney_island_babyon December 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song is about a man in love with a cross-dressing man. Too bad this has to be spelled out.

    Most of the lyrics are vague about the sex of the person applying the make up. I think this is deliberate. But the chorus ("...we're coming out, out of our closets, out on the streets...") should remove any doubt.

    Lou Reed has never been shy about bringing up issues of sexuality. Just look at the cover of the album, not to mention it's name ("Transformer").
    jcovarruon July 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe music in actual section about make up sounds almost childish and mocking (eg the oom-pah bass, the nursery rhyme style singing). Could this be Lou showing his dislike for "the things that you do to your face" such as "pancake factor". You are only the "slick little girl" (Male or Female) when sleeping and un-made up (,your face, it's sublime).
    bugoffon January 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Pancake Factor Number One" refers to Max Factor makeup.

    Note the name of the song "make up" doesn't just refer to cosmetics. It also is a verb, meaning "to pretend". As in, to pretend to be a girl when you're really a boy.

    Again, need I point out the lyrics "we're coming out, out of our closets, out on the streets"?

    Like much of the album, it is sung in deadpan not out of boredom, but out of the cynic's melancholy view of the world, wanting to enjoy love and life but not being allowed to by society.
    jcovarruon August 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI wish there were more songs written about crossdressers. xD
    Such an interesting subject for a song.
    and jcovarru-
    nailed it.
    Willboeon January 07, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI imagine if Bukowski were to be a singer, he would have sounded like lou reed is signing in this song. Not bored, just observant. Being honest, what a slick little song
    ausitnmromineon August 20, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis one's about a cross-dresser taking a risk and going out of his closet
    Niccoloon April 23, 2016   Link

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