"A Short Term Effect" as written by Robert James Smith, Laurence Andrew Tolhurst and Simon Gallup....
Movement
No movement
Just a falling bird
Cold as it hits the bleeding ground
He lived and died
Catch sight
Cover me with earth
Draped in black
Static
White sound
A day without substance
A change of thought
An atmosphere that rots with time
Colors that flicker in water
A short term effect

Scream
As she tries to push him over
Helpless and sick
With teeth of madness
Jump jump dance and sing
Sideways across the desert
A charcoal face
Bites my hand
Time is sweet

Derange and disengage everything
A day without substance
A change of thought
The atmosphere rots with time
Colors that flicker in water
A short term effect

A short term effect
A short term effect
An echo
And a stranger's hand
A short term effect
An echo
And a stranger's hand
A short term effect


Lyrics submitted by oofus

"A Short Term Effect" as written by Robert James Smith Laurence Andrew Tolhurst

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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A Short Term Effect song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentthis song is part dream part semi reality... The charcoal face is actually a painting by a person from an insane asylum, i forgot how he got a hold of it.. also it's just a great song about the fluttery disorientation you get while on a controlled substance and how that can sometimes get old; "atmosphere rots in time" freakin love it
    girlintheforeston October 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song, like much of the Pornography album, is, I think, about the decay of things. (The bird falling to the ground/"an atmosphere that rots with time") Perhaps the title "A Short Term Effect" relates to the perishability of this earth and the passing away of all that we know.
    theexplodinggirlon January 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPornography - "Lurid or sensational material" according to dictionary.com...
    pfsalon January 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah, i think a lot of it is just the disintegration of things like you said. a bird falling to the ground.. bleeding.. rotting atmosphere.

    then it almost seems like it speaks of what it's like when he's clean: 'a day without substance, a change of thought'... as if drugs and all are only short term and then he has to return to reality.
    in_the_secret_showon December 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe descent from bleak, stark reality to equally horrible, but at least more interesting, hallucinations
    Cynothoglyson July 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAccprding to Mr. Smith it's "about drugs, again, and their effect, (a short-term one, think.)"

    I sing this in the shower when i'm down; nothing like a little wallowing to make you feel better.
    charlieSometimeson July 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenta drug and its effect
    sweetx3on February 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits fairly easy to pass off a lot of his lyrics as about hallucinations, as they seem to be beautiful and strange but have little continuity with the rest of the song, but i think it's a case of him just fitting words around the song as he often claims to do...

    i think he said in the liner notes of the deluxe edition (or in the book i read on him, either) - "with pornography we had the music then i just added words that seemed to fit or i thought described the music" or something of that effect.
    then again, he could be lying!
    robot in disguiseon July 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think it's about time, earth, life, etc decaying.

    "cover me with earth..." implies that everything (perhaps even himself) is dying, obviously when you are buried your coffin is covered with earth.
    "movement, no movement, just a falling bird, cold as it hits the bleeding ground." not only humans are dying out but so are animals and such... "the bleeding ground" means that the earth is rotting too... it's kind of self explanatory, hence the fact that if you're bleeding you can be dying or injured. in this case, it would be dying. here i think that he might be writing about the world eventually falling apart.

    i have seen where it says that Robert said it was about a drug. he also could have been hallucinating, while he was on this drug, that the world was falling apart and he was as well... it could be either.
    __ohmelancholyon January 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI remember reading that it was about a drug. The experience was rather short lived, he thought. He's comparing it to a bunch of things that don't last very long but if you read the second verse carefully it sounds a lot like a drug trip.
    donkeymanon March 06, 2008   Link

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