"Add It Up" as written by and Gordon Gano....
Day after day
I will walk and I will play
But the day after today
I will stop and I will start

Why can't I get just one kiss
Why can't I get just one kiss
Believe me, there'd be somethings that I wouldn't miss
But I look at your pants and I need a kiss
Why can't I get just one screw
Why can't I get just one screw
Believe me, I know what to do
But something won't let me make love to you

Why can't I get just one fuck
Why can't I get just one fuck
I guess it got something to do with luck
But I waited my whole life for just one

Day after day
I get angry and I will say
That the day is in my sight
When I'll take a bow and say goodnight

Oh, ma-mama, mama-mo-ma-mum
Have you kept your eye, your eye on your son?
I know you've had problems, you're not the only one
When your sugar left, he left you on the run

Oh, ma-mama, mama-mo-ma-mum
Take a look now at what your boy has done
He's walking around like he's number one
Went downtown and you got him a gun

So don't shoot, shoot, shoot that thing at me
Don't shoot, shoot, shoot that thing at me
You know you've got my sympathy
But don't shoot, shoot, shoot that thing at me

Don't shoot, shoot, shoot that thing at me
Don't shoot, shoot, shoot that thing at me
You know you've got my sympathy
But don't shoot, shoot, shoot that thing at me

Broken down kitchen at the top of the stairs
Can I mix in with your affairs?
Share a smoke, make a joke
Grasp and reach for a leg of hope

Words to memorize, words hypnotize
Words make my mouth exercise
Words all failed the magic prize
Nothing I can say when I'm in your thighs

Oh, ma-mama, mo-ma, mo-my mother
I would love to love you, lover
City is restless, it's ready to pounce
Oh, here in your bedroom, ounce for ounce

Say, ma-mama, mo-ma, mo-my mother
I would love to love you, lover
City is restless, it's ready to pounce
Oh, here in your bedroom, ounce for ounce

I've given you a decision to make
Things to lose, things to take
Just as she's about ready to cut it up
She says, "wait a minute, honey, I'm gonna add it up!"
Add it up! Add it up! Add it up! Add it up!
Add it up! Add it up! Add it up! Add it up!

Day after day, I get angry and I will say
That the day is in my sight
When I'll take a bow and say goodnight


Lyrics submitted by typo, edited by bioya

"Add It Up" as written by Gordon James Gano

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Add It Up song meanings
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37 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentI don't think it's about prostitutes or an oedipus complex.

    It's a virgin (waiting all my life for just one) who's obsessed with sex (words all fail the magic prize), who's hitting on some girl who is interested in him but leading him on. He delivers an ultimatum that he'll leave if he doesn't get sex, he'll leave her (i'm giving you a decision to make of things to lose and things to take), and the girl relents (just as he's about ready to cut it up, she says wait a minute honey, let me add it up). She's not adding up cash money, she's weighing the value of keeping him around for her purposes vs giving him what he wants.

    The oh my mother stuff is just entreating to authority, to say, look at what this bad boy is doing. The boy's raised by a single mother who tried to teach him right, but now that he's thinking with his prick he's a loose cannon. A loaded gun could be a firearm, or it could be a penis. "don't shoot that thing at me" could be referring to ejaculation.
    autoerraticaon October 20, 2011   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningOn the surface, this song appears to be about teenage angst and sexual frustration. But what exactly is being added up?

    This is a song about purchasing service from a prostitute. The boy is frustrated and wanting (why can't I get....).
    The purchase of the gun was necessary for him to go to the bad part of town (presumably where the prostitutes are).

    Broken-down kitchen at the top of the stairs, Can I mix in with your affairs? Share a smoke, make a joke, Grasp and reach for a leg of hope -- Is describing the brothel.

    Toward the end of the song, right before the act takes place, the prostitute says "wait a minute honey, I'm gonna add it up". She wants to count the money before performing service.
    TdyYrLoveon June 21, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationLike many here, i think this song is about a sexually frustrated teenage virgin. For me, this song has 2 parts: The real world (verse 1-5 + the last one) and the kids imagination ( the rest). The kid is in puberty, between being a boy ("Day after day
    I will walk and I will play ) and an adult, how wants to act on his urges. He wants to stop being a child and begin his adult life and sees having sex as his milestone.
    But to his dismay, no girl seems to care for him even though (he thinks) he would be a good lover. Frustrated and alone, he dreams of the time he leaves this old life (and his childhood) behind by finally having sex.
    This is where the imagination kicks in and he imagines losing his virginity to a hooker. The hooker (too) had a rough life which drove her to prostitute herself ("I know you've had problems, you're not the only one | When your sugar left, he left you on the run"). She goes down on the kid, giving him a blowjob ("went downtown") and making his penis errect which is referred to as a "gun", representing the power sex has for/over the kid (of cause the penis, like a gun, also shoots something). Verse 8+9 describe her feelings and that doesn't want him to cum on her. In the next part he meets the other clients of the prostitute, chat with them while they wait in line, they are talking about sex which makes the kid crave it even more (Verse 11). The "whole town" is standing in line, "ounce for ounce" referring to the bodily fluids being exchanged in that bedroom. Finally its his turn (either the blowjob scene was another imagination, the events are out of order or after it, he came back with more money to get the full package now). The add it up echoing in the end is him waking up from the dream and the last verse is his reality again, swearing to himself that he is one day gonna leave this old life behind ("When I'll take a bow and say goodnight")
    masterfghon April 02, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is one of the best songs about sexual frustration ever
    intoodeepon April 18, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is probably the Femmes' darkest song. It mixes sexual frustration with violent urges. Ultimately he rejects the violent part of him "you know you've got my sympathy, but don't point that thing at me." This turns disturbing though when he indicates that the violence may be channeled inwardly... perhaps suicide: "the day is in my sight when I'll take a bow and say goodnight."

    Acoustic bass simply rocks, by the way.
    Skaman2on February 08, 2005   Link
  • +1
    My Opinion1. He has waited his whole life for sex with his mother
    2. His "bow and goodnight" is his planned suicide
    3. He gets a gun, goes downtown, and shoots a bunch of people
    4. He then goes to his mother's house, finds her in the kitchen, and takes her to her bedroom to fulfill his fantasy. Mom has a kitchen knife with her. She knows her boy is no good but she can't bring herself to kill him. Then the city pounces i.e., the police
    Dasmuleon January 26, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's not many bands around like this. The song kicks ass and so do the Violent Femmes.
    Narnie23on September 24, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love how insistent and desperate for sex he seems to get through the entire song...then it seems like he gives up and "leaves it up to her," thoroughly frustrated and ready to leave.
    There's the whole end part missing, though, while he's screaming "Add it up...":

    Day after day
    I get angry
    And I will say
    That the day
    Is in my sight
    When I’ll take a bow
    And say goodnight
    Poppinson December 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. I read this list of Dresden Dolls mp3's and Add It Up was one of them, but you couldn't listen to it. Does anyone know if the dolls covered it?
    americanmusicon February 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSkaman2-

    Yea Acoustic bass does simply rock...Have you heard "Please Do Not Go" Oh man its an orgy of acoustic bass...I have been telling people for like 7 years that that song has the absolute BEST bass solo EVER....then again have you ever really heard an acoustic bass guitar solo before? Either way, check that song out!!! AMAZING!!!!
    Monstrelon March 14, 2005   Link

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