The dust from a four-day affair is now landing
All over the floor and your brown legs,
The gold plated legs of my rival,
Whose eyes have no reason to fall.

You've led no celibate life,
No skirt while chemicals danced on your head.
You stole the keys to this ride, and your fables
Are falling tonight.

Because of your struggle to make them
The taste for your past life is fading.
Remember the girls in the middle
Are always the first to fall off.

You've learned to live like a mouse,
Searching the cracks in the walls to remember
All of the dregs of the crowd
You barely recall.

You've led no celibate life,
No skirt while chemicals danced on your head.
You stole the keys to this ride.
You're falling tonight.

Lyrics submitted by rudegirl, edited by moocandles

The Celibate Life song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI don't want to sound like a douchebag, but this song is the best the Shins have written so far.
    douchebagon December 27, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Commentcertainly my favorite song by the shins.
    it's just a really great pop song.
    mayonneggon August 14, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"because of your struggle to make them
    their taste for your past time is fading
    remember the girls in the middle
    are always the first to fall off"

    They way this bit is sung really gets me good.
    SatchelChargeon May 04, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentisn't he says "walls" instead of "floor" in
    "you'll learn to live like a mouse
    searching the cracks in the WALLS to remember"

    i agree with most of what's being said
    along with it's one of their best songs
    dkjivvaon November 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI've been a huge fan of The Shins for about four years now, during which they've become my all-time favourite band. For some reason, while I go through phases with others of their songs, this one has constantly grown on me the whole time I've listened to them.

    I'm gonna agree with Satchel that it's that one verse that always grabs me. However, I've always heard "remember the girls in the middle / are always the first to follow." Does no one else hear this?

    No idea what the song's actually about, mind you, but it's so damn beautiful that I don't really care.

    P.S. - Oh, Inverted World turns 10 on June 19th! Celebrate by giving it a good, long listen that day. :)
    TheLastRoboton May 29, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI just love this song. It's pretty much my favorite on Oh, Inverted World. I tear up every time I hear it :) And my favorite line is, "No skirt while chemicals danced on your head." It's just such a great line!
    NirvanaStrokesluvon March 24, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the song is about a guy who is in love with a girl who has led 'no celebrate life'. The first verse, talking about her 'four day affair' and the 'gold plated legs of my rival' imply he has desired her, but just watches as she has fling after fling.

    The song is about what he wants to say to her 'remeber the girls in the middle are always the first to fall off' as well as what he observes about her life and the narrative he assumes applies to her.

    Despite the obvious sadness and longing there is an ambivalence to her, which is probably why he hasn't been one of the flings. He wants to love her, but he can't because she won't love him exclusively.
    U4R1Con January 19, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIts not about actualy drugs. The chemicals hes talking about are the ones that flood your brain when you are in the moment with another individual.
    He's refering about the consequences of a past spent leading a life in such a manner.
    odnupson March 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was thinking the chemicals referred to vain things like dying of your hair and ruining it in order to look better. leading "no celibate life" can obviously refer to sex but might also refer to indulging in other things, and maybe being selfish in general.
    meggganon March 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am so confused. I cannot begin to decode this song . . help please.
    ragamuffin88on June 01, 2005   Link

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