"Pot Kettle Black" as written by and Jeffrey Scott/bennett Tweedy....
Crazy rides rockets
Who has a magic wand
Empty out your pockets
Words without a song

I myself have found a real rival in myself
I am hoping for a re-arrival of my health

Sleeping eye sockets
Baby suck your thumb
I'll keep you in my locket
A string I never strum

It's become so obvious
You are so oblivious to yourself

You're tied in a knot
But I'm not gonna get caught
Calling a pot kettle black
Every song's a comeback
Every moment's a little bit later

Lazy locomotives
Wherever you may roll
I think you have no motive
I know you have no home

It's become so obvious
You are so oblivious to yourself

You're tied in a knot
But I'm not gonna get caught
Calling a pot kettle black
Every song's a comeback
Every moment's a little bit later [Repeat: x4]


Lyrics submitted by jonesth

"Pot kettle black" as written by Jay Bennett Jeff Tweedy

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Pot Kettle Black song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentThere's a famous thing people say, Pot calling the kettle black. Which means condemning something even though you possess the same trait. He's saying that even though he's 'tied in a knot', he's not going to lash out at others.
    Eelsruleon August 01, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentEelsrule nailed it. the singer's saying he's not going to criticize others for "having no motive" or "being so oblivious to yourself" or whatever - because he sees it in himself as well.
    eagle-bearon December 06, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell, it clearly harkens to the "a pot calling a kettle black," but it sounds to me like he's actually calling the kettle black. He just doesn't want to call the pot "kettle-black." This makes perfect sense to me, but is hard to express electronically (i.e., without verbal cadence) due to lack of perfectly appropriate punctuation. This would be a typical double-standard lyric of late period Wilco, IMO.
    Luminol58on January 20, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song. I guess everyone gets what it's saying. I agree with the interpretation by Luminol58 that he is actually calling the pot "kettle-black." However, I think the speaker feels entitled to what he says because he has "emptied out his pockets" (owned up to what he has to own up to). "Empty out your pockets" is the speaker (Kettle) urging "Pot" to own up to their mistakes/wrongdoings as well. In a sense, he is calling the pot "kettle-black," but the fact that he can admit to his own actions makes it okay for him to say those things. I just wanted to touch on that specific aspect because no one else has said anything about it and I don't feel like stating the more obvious or repeating what has already been said. Isn't Wilco the greatest!?

    Also, I agree with Lou-Lou--the underlying melody is extremely similar and I urge others to go have a listen. I have noticed a variation of the melody from "In Between Days" in other Cure songs. It may just be the actual technical breakdown of the melody that is so similar. I don't think there is any real harm or unjustice in the similarity.
    miriamleamanon July 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is probably my favorite Wilco song, although I haven't had a chance to get my grubby fingers on their newest album "A Ghost is Born." (I'm pretty sure that's the title.. Anyway) Not that it matters. It'd be nearly impossible to do better than Hotel. (Sorry Wilco, that album is just too fuckin' awesome.)

    Anyhow, I'm not sure what it is about this song that I like so much-- I think Poor Places, etc. are better lyrically, but this one is catchy, I suppose. It gets stuck in my head for days on end. (Well, so did "Uncle Walter" by Ben Folds Five, and there's nothing extraordinary about that song, though it's good.)

    Man. I honestly don't know what it is. I don't really understand the lyrics, but I love them.
    Some of it's easy-- life is crazy, self-searching, self-apathy, refusal to be hypocritical.

    What a bittersweet sound.
    Greyshoeson December 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthmm this sounds in mean creek i think
    abusingeddieon March 26, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat does, "not gonna get caught calling a pot kettle black" mean?
    sk1bton June 21, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song, it is so soft and peaceful, the vibes in it are awesome=). I'm not sure what it's about though. Has anyone else realised that the guitar in this is actually the same as the song by The Cure "In Between Days" ?
    Lou-Louon July 08, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt really seems like sort of a throwback to "Summerteeth", to me at least.
    pumkinhedon December 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy theory is that this is about the breakdown of the relationship between Wilco lead singer Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett, his former songwriting partner in the band who quit (or was fired) during the recording of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Both were very difficult personalities fighting for creative control in the band, In this song, Tweedy, despite his anger at Bennett, is acknowledging how difficult he was to work with himself.
    svenllamaon May 18, 2007   Link

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