"The Kids" as written by and Lou Reed....
They're taking her children away
Because they said she was not a good mother
They're taking her children away
Because she was making it with sisters and brothers
And everyone else, all of the others
Like cheap officers who would stand there and flirt in front of me

They're taking her children away
Because they said she was not a good mother
They're taking her children away
Because of the things that they heard she had done
The black Air Force sergeant was not the first one
And all of the drugs she took, every one, every one

And I am the Water Boy, the real game's not over here
But my heart is overflowin' anyway
I'm just a tired man, no words to say
But since she lost her daughter
It's her eyes that fill with water
And I am much happier this way

They're taking her children away
Because they said she was not a good mother
They're taking her children away
Because number on was the girl friend from Paris
The things that they did - ah - they didn't have to ask us
And then the Welshman from India, who came here to stay

They're taking her children away
Because they said she was not a good mother
They're taking her children away
Because of the things she did in the streets
In the alleys and bars, no she couldn't be beat
That miserable rotten slut couldn't turn anyone away

I am the Water Boy, the real game's not over here
But my heart is overflowin' anyway
I'm just a tired man, no words to say
But since she lost her daughter
It's her eyes that fill with water
And I am much happier this way



Lyrics submitted by spliphstar

"The Kids" as written by

Lyrics © SONY ATV MUSIC PUB LLC

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9 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentThe really scary thing about this song is the way Lou spends most of it listing the shortcomings of the woman - "that miserable, rotten SLUT!" - making us think that taking her kids from her is probably best for all involved. Then once that idea has had time to sink in, WHAM. He hits us with the other side of it, the kids screaming their hearts out. Sadistic, and absolutely beautiful.
    beer goodon September 28, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's not true that the producer locked the kids in the cupboard! He just told them it was time for bed... My son cries like that sometimes when I tell him he can't play with the kitchen knives.

    Whatever the actual cause of the cries of the children, this is a classic Lou Reed song: simple, human, moving, devastating. Broke my heart before I became a parent and shatters it now. RIP Lou... you were a true poet of the dispossessed. If there's a lesson to be learned from Lou it's that every street freak is deserving of a moment of empathy. "My heart is overflowing anyway..."

    (This was the second Lou Reed song I listened to on the day he died. I was fortunate enough for the first to be "Sweet Nothing" live by My Morning Jacket with Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Jenny Lewis, & others. A beautiful moment and I was glad to be part of it.)
    half_duprasson October 30, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationWow, what a song.
    I think that the point of the crying kids is overlooked. Obviously the mother has a rough history and created a lot of problems for herself, that is very sad and a continuous cycle of bad decisions and terrible circumstances. I feel empathy for her, but she is broken. I have heard the horror stories from these kids with druggy parents (my in-laws are very generous foster parents) and they are crying because their mother is too doped up to respond. We never hear mom replying to them because she is either in a drugged out trance or left them at home to fend for themselves. Maybe they are crying from burning themselves while cooking up meth for their parents (true story) or they are starving and covered in their own filth because their parents are denying them food for crying, or they aren't feeding them because they spent all the money on drugs (another true story). There are children surviving from garbage cans because their craphole parents can't keep off of dope, but keep popping out kids because of their self centered lifestyle.
    Lou was a genius at observing people and seeing what was tearing them apart, however, from many interviews he admits that he was not supportive of their behavior, he just recognized that they were in it and had feelings too. It is terrible that these parents like the mother in his story can't get out of their problems because of addiction or being abused or whatever, but why do they keep reproducing just to ruin their children's lives?
    Lou also makes a phenomenal point in the song when they take the sobbing kids away. It goes quiet. She wants to be a good mother, she wants to fix her life, so now maybe taking her kids and protecting them will motivate her to do so.
    Lou Reed was a genius musician, but even more he was extremely empathetic and saw both sides of the story in peoples live that most people turn away from. Drugs suck! Abusing children sucks worse! At least the children will be given attention, fed and (usually) not neglected as badly as they were.
    How sad.
    chrisd1lon December 13, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy favorite Lou Reed album.One of his best songs-just heartbreaking- the chorus & the way he sings it is just amazing. The screaming kids adds to the effect dramatically. Not for the faint of heart or those who don't like the sound of screaming children. I've pissed off quite a few people having this song full blast out of the speakers.
    tripperfreekon October 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentapparently the producer of 'berlin' locked his own children in a cupboard and told them their mother wasn't coming back, pressed record and later used their frantic screaming on this song. nice.
    watchingforeveron January 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentby watchingforever on 01-16-2006 @ 12:27:20 AM
    apparently the producer of 'berlin' locked his own children in a cupboard and told them their mother wasn't coming back, pressed record and later used their frantic screaming on this song. nice.

    I've heard that too butit has been flatly dnied by all parties...still, qould be quite a story
    lou_reedon May 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song belongs in the movie Gone Baby Gone for sure. "And I am the Water Boy, the real game's not over here/But my heart is overflowin' anyway" means being useless and powerless, watching life go by. Being in some kind of bubble where nothing ever happens, meaninglessness + still caring=torture.
    thebodiesobtainedon April 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe kids crying story sounds interesting. Doubt its true tho sounds way too cruel. Personally one of my least faves on the album but thats because the screaming child part degrades it for me. An easy way at creating emotion, not like the craft shown in other tracks. None the less a great track adored by many.
    TheGrillon July 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhose point of view do you think the song is being sung from?
    IAteTheLotuson August 23, 2008   Link

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