"Tunic" as written by Kim Gordon, Lee M. Ranaldo, Steven Jay Shelley and Thurston Joseph Moore....
Dreaming, dreaming of a girl like me
Hey what are you waiting for, feeding, feeding me
I feel like I'm disappearing, getting smaller every day
But I look in the mirror, I'm bigger in every way

She said,
You aren't never going anywhere
You aren't never going anywhere
I ain't never going anywhere
I ain't never going anywhere

I'm in heaven now, I can see you Richard
Goodbye Hollywood, goodbye Downey, hello Janis
Hello Dennis, Elvis and all my brand new friends
I'm so glad you're all here with me, until the very end

Dreaming, dreaming of how it's supposed to be
But now this tunic's spinning, around my arms and knees
I feel like I'm disappearing, getting smaller every day
But when I open my mouth to sing, I'm bigger in every way

She said,
You aren't never going anywhere
You aren't never going anywhere
I ain't never going anywhere
I ain't never going anywhere

Hey mom! Look I'm up here, I finally made it
I'm playing the drums again too
Don't be sad, the band doesn't sound half bad
And I remember mom, what you said
You said honey, you look so under-fed

Another green salad, another ice tea
There's a tunic in the closet waiting just for me
I feel like I'm disappearing, getting smaller every day
But I look in your eyes, and I'm bigger in every way

She said,
You aren't never going anywhere
You aren't never going anywhere
I ain't never going anywhere
I ain't never going anywhere

Goodbye Richard, gotta go now
I'm finally on my own, but Dan's got a gig
Keep the love lights glowing, little girl's got the blues
I can still hear momma say: "honey don't let it go to your head"


Lyrics submitted by shut

"Tunic (Song for Karen)" as written by Lee M. Ranaldo Kim Gordon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Tunic song meanings
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  • +4
    General Commentand oh yeah, i thought everyone knew karen carpenter died of complications from anorexia nervosa. she'd been obsessively dieting--and abusing laxatives (in unbelievable quantity)--for years and years.

    it was probably a classic case of maintaining control over the one thing you actually can control, when everything else in your life is controlled by others. the A&M label (and owner herb alpert) were notorious for not allowing them to make decisions about their career, esp. karen.

    only occasionally were they allowed to choose the songs they recorded. karen loved playing the drums but their management insisted she needed to be more visible on stage (and they hardly let her play in the studio either). presumably so her cute wholesome face would help sell records (I'm sure it did), and also they probably believed the idiotic stereotype that drums aren't feminine.

    i spoke with a european flautist who was stunned & appalled when i mentioned how a friend's nephew was getting beaten up for playing the flute (it's too "girly") and had to stop. there's nothing gendered about it. you don't play a musical instrument with THOSE parts of your body.

    karen entered therapy and was getting better. unfortunately eating disorders were poorly understood at the time. we know how important it is to put the weight back on gradually. when karen recovered, she gained 20 pounds in a couple of weeks and her heart couldn't take it.

    because of the ignorance at the time, her death was ruled to be not only from the complications of an eating disorder, but also a toxic reaction to abuse of syrup of ipecac. richard always firmly denied the latter.

    he and karen lived in two apartments which they bought, and had them modified to be adjoining. he said if karen had been abusing ipecac, he'd have seen the empty bottles (he was aware of her laxative abuse; they lived too closely together for her to be able to keep too many secrets from him). also if she'd vomited repeatedly over a long period there would have been observable signs, which there weren't.

    both were naive young people who overnight became among the most successful musicians ever (many of their recordings sold more than the beatles). richard had a problem with quaaludes, although in the '70s that wasn't too unusual.

    i would sonic youth genuinely appreciate Carpenters songs on a musical level, simultaneous with the endless possibilities for ironic humor and social commentary of an odd pop cultural phenomenon.
    foreverdroneon June 20, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Commentwhen i had this song on repeat, and all the other times before i listened to this song, everytime i heard the part "you aren't never going anywhere" i always visioned karen's mother telling her that it'll all be right and that she won't die, at least, die like the way she did.
    but after watching the video just now on youtube, i got the impression that maybe karen had a rough relationship with her mother and her mother told her all her life that "you aren't never going anywhere" thus the basis of her anorexia.

    which one is right?
    aaronmarkon January 26, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commentits about karen carpenter right?
    MyFriendGoOon March 22, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYes - it's about Karen Carpenter. And that 'incomprehensible' bit in the middle is Kim Gordon and J Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr) singing 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft'. Top trivia!
    panickyfrighton April 21, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentdefinitely definitely aboyt karen carpenter

    gosh this song has that something... it just feels desolate when you listen to it or soemthing but is a great great song, cant stop listeining to it
    DanI SantIon August 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is about anorexia/bulemia brought about by the pressure of fame and necessity to be perfect before the media. All the people referenced in the song including "mum" are the people she's trying to reach out to for help.
    Mainstreeton August 18, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"hey mum look
    i'm up here
    i finally made it
    i play in a drumsband too
    don't be sad
    the band doesn't sound half bad "

    I thought that part was supposed to be Karen Carpenter in heaven
    TonyInPortlandon March 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about Karen Carpenter's anorexia. just do a little research. ...end of story.
    BillyLiaron May 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhatever it's about- it tells such a sad story, and it's added to music very well. top notch Sonic Youth tune here.
    TBeasleyon June 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, it's about Karen Carpenter. "Richard" being her husband/bandmate Richard Carpenter. Sonic Youth (well, mostly Lee Renaldo) kind of have a fascination with her story: Karen Koltrane and Karen Revisited seem to be about her too, and they also covered The Carpenters' "Superstar" for a tribute album.
    destroyalltacoson July 29, 2006   Link

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