"Kid Fears" as written by Amy Elizabeth Ray and Emily Ann Saliers....
Pain from pearls, hey little girl
How much have you grown?
Pain from pearls, hey little girl
Flowers for the ones you've known

Are you on fire
From the years?
What would you give for your
Kid fears?

Secret staircase (secret staircase), running high (running high)
You had a hiding place
Secret staircase (secret staircase), running low (running low)
They all know, now you're inside

Are you on fire
From the years?
What would you give for your
Kid fears?
Kid fears

Skipping stones, we know the price now
Any sin will do
How much further, if you can spin
How much further, if you are smooth

Are you on fire (are you on fire)
From the years? (from the years)
What would you give for your
Kid fears?

Replace the rent with the stars above
Replace the need with love

Replace the anger with the tide
Replace the ones, the ones, the ones, that you love

The ones that you love
Are you on fire
From the years?
What would you give for your
Kid fears?

Are you on fire
From the years
What would you give for your
Kid fears
What would you give for your
Kid fears
What would you give for your
Kid fears
You can't feel
The kids


Lyrics submitted by aur0ra

"Kid Fears" as written by Emily Ann Saliers Amy Elizabeth Ray

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Kid Fears song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThe following is from an Indigo Girls interview in Spin magazine, from August 1989:

    Amy Ray: "'Kid Fears' is about the difficulty of growing up, getting into a world where people know where your hiding places are and what your secrets are. In the third verse, when I say 'Skipping stones/We know the price now,' that's specifically about the music industry. I used the image of skipping stones because the flatter and smoother the stone is, the better it skips and the more spin you put on it the farther it goes. When I say smooth, I'm talking about being polished and dressing right. 'We know the price now/Any sin will do' - there's a lot of things you can do to get further in the industry, and a lot of them, to me, are sins, because they're compromises. I stick to principles too much. I have a real short temper and tend to be outspoken. It's like, one person says something like 'Oh, when the paychecks start rolling in you'll change your mind about that,' can make you say 'Well f*ck you, because I'm never going to change, I'm always going to feel this way and I know I am.' You have to be really strong, and remember that you're getting to play and that's really what you want to do."
    porcineon February 18, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment1) My #1 favourite song of all time!

    2) My #1 favourite musical act [i.e. groups and/or solo artists] of all time! As far as I know, they have NEVER released a song that was less than good. And they've written (and covered [e.g. "Findlandia", "Get Together", "I Don't Want To Talk About It"]) quite a few that are outstanding.

    3) IMHO, the first 4 comments on here have got it wrong. It's not about Anne Frank, it's not about incest. It's about PREFERING "Kid Fears" to the adult reality we're now faced with:
    "What would you give [now... IF you only could] for your
    Kid fears?

    Replace the rent [i.e. adult responsibilities] with the stars above [childhood Joy at Life]
    Replace the [today's] need with [the] love [from back then].

    Replace the [adult, growing] anger [that doesn't go away] with the tide [of emotions that come and go and cause no lasting damage].
    Replace the ones, the ones, the ones, that you love." (I admit that this line is the hardest for me to understand. Does it mean 'Replace the shallow, pseudo-loves that are faked with the pure loves of childhood where NOTHING is faked'?)

    4) The 4th comment quotes Amy Ray, who WROTE the song and sets us all straight.
    JimmyHopon April 07, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Secret staircase, running high
    You had a hiding place
    Secret staircase, running low
    But they all know, now you're inside"

    I've heard a few theories floating around that it's about Anne Frank, and I totally agree. The quote lyrics above could be about the staircase that separated her family from the office below, and "Replace the need with love/Replace the anger with the tide" could reference to her mother.
    Just a thought.
    funkaliciouson December 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs dark as this seems, I think the song is about incest. It sounds to me like she's saying that she would give anything to replace the memories and things that hurt her with simple childhood fears. So many of the phrases, like "any sin will do" and "replace the ones that you love" could refer to that. And the last phrase "hey kids, hold on" goes right to my heart.
    Makahikion December 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the song is about incest as well."Are you on fire from the years" is about PTSD and how the fear she felt as a child follows her into adulthood. The line about secret hiding places is about both hiding from the abuser and hiding inside yourself by dissociating.
    amymonkeyon October 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentto me, this song seems to be about the death of a loved one from a child's perspective.

    "pain from pearls" to me represents the funeral, being all dressed up and feeling uncomfortable while being in pain from greiving

    "Hey little girl, how much have you grown?" = relatives making small talk during funeral

    "flowers for the one's you've known" - obviously, flowers given to the dead.

    "are you on fire from the years, what would you give for your kid fears?" represents the pain that has built up over the years from loss, and longing for the time when the only pain you had was "kid fears" like monsters under the bed

    kaiasmommyon May 23, 2009   Link

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