"I Break Horses" as written by and Stephan Mathieu William Rahr Callahan....
Well, I rode out to the ocean
And the water looked like tarnished gold
I rode out on a broken horse
Who told me she'd never felt so old
She asked me if I'd feed her
And ride her now and then

No no no, no no no, no no no
I break horses
I don't tend to them
I break horses

They seem to come to me
Asking to be broken
They seem to run to me
I break horses

Doesn't take me long
Just a few well-placed words
And their wandering hearts are gone
At first her warmth felt good between my legs
Living breathing heart-beating flesh
But soon that warmth turned to an itch

Turned to a scratch
Turned to a gash
I break horses
I don't tend to them

Tonight I'm swimming to my favorite island
And I don't want to see you swimming behind
Tonight I'm swimming to my favorite island
And I don't want to see you swimming behind

No, I break horses
I don't tend to them



Lyrics submitted by typo

"I Break Horses" as written by Stephan Mathieu Bill Callahan

Lyrics © CONEXION MEDIA GROUP, INC.

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I Break Horses song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment"'I Break Horses' has often been misconstrued. Some people tell me, "Ah, I get it-- we are all murderers under the skin!" That's not it. I don't give a shit about people's dark sides. I wrote that song to help a friend try to understand how a guy she had a one-night stand with could possibly not return her phone calls the next day or ever again. There is also a lot more going on with that song, but that was the impetus. It is rooted in Good." - bill callahan interview on pitchfork
    pitchforkmedia.com/article/feature/…
    tarynalion July 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis one relates directly with cold discovery.

    'enjoy the despair i have tenderly designated to you'
    'you know i can only bring you pain, but you still want to be around me'

    maybe his songs have disturbed me more.
    sonicthreaton February 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is quite obviously about his relationships with women and how he's not good at/has no interest in maintaining them. I like the lines:
    At first her warmth felt good between my legs
    Living breathing heart-beating flesh
    But soon that warmth turned to an itch
    Turned to a scratch
    Turned to a gash
    I break horses
    I don't tend to them
    At first, he enjoys being with this woman, she is lively, fresh, but then as time went on, their relationship, or just she, became an irritation to him and to her, it festered into a wound (emotional hurt) and it became worse until she was "broken"

    Tonight I'm swimming to my favorite island
    And I don't want to see you swimming behind
    Tonight I'm swimming to my favorite island
    And I don't want to see you swimming behind
    No I break horses
    I don't tend to them
    I think this is basically about him venturing to be by himself so that he doesn't have anyone else depending on him in any way (ie, so that he doesn't have to tend to them). He wants to be by himself and doesn't need a "horse" (woman) to be his beast of burden becasue he can carry his own personal burdens and has no need/desire to carry hers

    Good song though, I really like his voice :)
    warfarinon April 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a very good song and continues his obsession with horses-here used as a metaphor for breaking free.
    tartifletteon June 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe feels as though every women that comes his way gets broken. He doesn't want to deal with the relationship, he just wants to be alone. At first a girl might seem attractive, but as he gets further into the relationship he just gets more and more disillusioned.

    The island is isolation.

    I can relate to this song very well.
    Eyesaqueon September 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthes quite good at seducing women,
    >"Just a few well-placed words"

    the women he tames are ready to settle down,
    >"And their wandering hearts are gone"

    but he doesnt really love the women he breaks, hes in it for the act of taming them.
    >"I break horses"
    >"I don't tend to them"

    brilliant song, maybe his best. i dunno.
    caramelprisoneron December 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am just recently discovering Smog's music and am hooked, Callahan is a beautiful songwriter and this song in particular makes me cry. I have rode and loved horses probably since the day I was born and with a long and bitter history of romantic heartache this song has a special meaning to me.
    starsinmyeyeson January 06, 2012   Link

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