"Trigger Cut/Wounded-Kite at :17" as written by and S. Kannberg S. Malkmus....
Lies and betrayals
Fruit-covered nails
Electricity and lust
Won't break the door

I've got a heavy coat
It's filled with rocks and sand
And if I lose it
I'll be coming back today (I've got a message for you)
I'll be coming back today (I keep it in my hand)
You know I'm coming back one day (I've got a system for two)
And I'll be coming back today

Ex-magician
That still knows the tricks
Tricks are everything to me
Until it's free

I've got a trigger cut
And I can't pull it back
But if I learn how
I'll be coming back today (I've got a message for you)
You know I'm coming back today (I keep it in my hand)
You will look at me and say (I've got a system for two)
That you just wish I went away

Sha-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

I learned the truth
The truth of the words
Truth I made for you because
It's just as good

And if I spit it out
Before I chew the ring
I'll rearrange it till it
Looks just like today (I've got a message for you)
And I'll be comin' back my way (I keep it in my hand)
Then you will look at me and say (I've got a system for two)
That you just wish I went away
Today

Ahh-ooh (sha-la-la-la)
Ahh-ooh (sha-la-la-la)
Ahh-ooh (sha-la-la-la-la)
Ahh-ooh


Lyrics submitted by summerbabe

"Trigger Cut/Wounded-Kite At :17" as written by S. Malkmus S. Kannberg

Lyrics © WORDS & MUSIC A DIV OF BIG DEAL MUSIC LLC

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Trigger Cut/Wounded-Kite at :17 song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentNot a full reading here, but "if I spit it out/before I chew the ring" looks like an allusion to the old trope of shoving a wedding ring into a cake as a surprise--sort of fits with the "ex-magician/That still knows the tricks".

    And fuck, now I want to read that line as a double meaning, which means I'm looking way too far into it. "Tricks" as sluts or skanks or something along those lines changes the way that whole stanza functions; basically, that he's a magician of exs, like he can just pull them out of a hat, and that these hos are everything to him. Then, bam, "until it's free"? Like, until he finds someone he doesn't just take out drinking before he drags them back to his place? It's probably far from intentional, but it's definitely in there, and it doesn't argue with the rest of the song at all.

    I'd totally write that off, but it fits with the fear of commitment undertone I tend to read into Pavement songs; compare against Rattled by the Rush for instance, and it really paints this idea of SM as being terrified to actually fall into a serious relationship with someone. I don't think he leaves, though. It seems more likely that his weirdnesses (that slow, sick sucking part of him, maybe) eventually piled too high for the other person: "Then you will look at me and say/'I just wish you went away/Today'." That's definitely a rejection, which makes me think he was trying and just wound up fucking himself in the end.

    So, verse one's addressing how he's lived his life. The first chorus is about how all that shit's pushed him to a point where he's ready to go--heavy coat akin to Virginia Woolfe, as Charlatan pointed out--but that he's not sure he really wants out or, at the very least, he makes a concession to the notion that he's not ready to.

    Then the magician verse--no matter how you look at it, it's another conversation about the past and, either way, it's about something far, far, far less serious than the potential suicide implied in the chorus. Illusions or easy lays, he's laying out just how lame of a background he has. The next chorus seems to almost drop the notion of suicide entirely, though: "trigger cut/and I can't pull it back." It's in his head, but he can't do it. I take the "sha la la" section as akin to Baudelaire's mad dancing in "Seven Old Men," maybe William Carlos Williams in "Danse Russe." He's dealt with a sickened madness and now he's just laughing about it, maybe at it.

    Next up, there's an interesting contrast between "I learned the truth," and "Truth I made for you." It seems like it could only be one or the other, that there's a contradiction in terms; the argument could be made that he made the truth prior and finally understood it, but I'm not really sure how to approach that verse at all. "It's just as good" makes me think that he's realizing that he misspoke by saying he learned the truth; maybe that the opening lines talk about two separate kinds of truth. He realized that he made himself feel the way he felt, and that's just as good as if it'd come naturally? That there's something of a lie built into the backbone of the whole thing, but sometimes a lie's just as good as truth?

    Definitely the most complicated verse in the damned song.

    Then the "if I spit it out" stanza, which I already kinda pored through, so I'm not gonna worry about it again. Seems to make sense overall, though. "Here's where I've been. I think I want out of life. Here's where I've been. I'm not so sure I want out. Here's why I feel the way I do. If I fuck this up before we stick together then, well, I'll fuck around to get the pieces back together--even if you want my ass gone."

    And that's way too much written about Trigger Cut. I do love that the vocals kick in at seventeen seconds, though.

    ...should've been studying for my midterm instead of writing this.
    JaycetheJayceon March 03, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationLies and betrayals
    Fruit-covered nails
    Electricity and lust
    Won't break the door
    Lies and betrayals, (sweet covered back stabbing) electricity or even lust wont change this. Things are listed here that won't change how he feels.

    I've got a heavy coat
    It's filled with rocks and sand
    Others touched on this nicely. I'd agree it represents depression, or being 'weighed down'. next he says what he wants, and what he thinks will help.

    In the chorus he talks about what he will do if he comes out of it. To me 'A system for two' sounds like an offer for a relationship.

    Ex-magician
    That still knows the tricks
    Tricks are everything to me
    Until it's free
    he holds this person in high regard because he is mystified by their 'tricks', and that mystery is important to him. He realizes that once that's gone, though, his interest will fade. maybe that makes him sad? He could also be referring to himself and his own tricks here, it's kind of up to your interpretation.

    I've got a trigger cut
    And I can't pull it back
    The wording here is a little confusing at first, but i see it as saying, "What's done is done. there's no going back for me." this leads nicely into the next part...

    But if I learn how...
    etc.
    this sounds like wishful thinking to me. He knows he's doomed maybe, but he's still going to speak like there's a chance.

    Then the chorus changes with this:
    You will look at me and say (I've got a system for two)
    That you just wish I went away
    Her idea of a 'system for two' is him going away. Poor guy.

    I learned the truth
    The truth of the words
    Truth I made for you because
    It's just as good
    Have you ever lied to someone you liked to gain a common ground with them? Not like a whole lie, where you state the opposite of what you believe, but saying you really like Star Wars because they love Star Wars. Really though, you're pretty indifferent about it. But that little 'lie' gives you common ground. I only say lie because it contrasts 'truth in this verse. The 'truth I made for you' is that lie, or really, that half-truth. To him that should be just as good to her.

    That's kind of another flaw he has, he's not 'true to himself'. Corny, I know, but that's how he feels, inadequate, and weighed down. It's depressing not being able to connect with someone you want to connect with, and then more so to be rejected by them.

    And if I spit it out
    Before I chew the ring
    I'll rearrange it till it
    Looks just right today
    First line: If he changes this Half-truth behavior, this trickery(?). When he changes who he is, to who he needs to be, or who he thinks he needs to be... Second line: Chew the ring = call off the idea of marriage/relationship. If he can stop himself and fix this before he gives up on his hopes altogether, then...
    Third/Fourth line: He'll work on himself and rearrange what needs to be rearranged until it looks just right.

    This is one of my favorite songs. It's very poetic to me, and manages to say very much with very few words.
    TinyDancer1on November 22, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is at least partially about contemplating suicide. The heavy coat lines seem to reference the way that Virginia Woolfe drowned herself. However, the singer still might lose the coat and come back.
    CharlatanSinon June 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song rocks. i can't believe it doesn't have any comments.
    ___heartcooksbrainon August 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is the song that made me fall in love with Pavement when someone left a tape of Slanted in my dorm room about 13 years ago... Fantastic song.
    isotope23on December 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti always laugh when he sings "tricks are everything to me"

    dont really know why...
    bricksandwind0wson March 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow - very insightful charlatansin or whatever yr name is. i never thought of that. like a suicide threat song! he contemplated it but now he;s coming back. and he is the wounded kite - shot down but still gonna fly!

    i always thought it was about a guy who was a liar and a (very good) bullshitter - who is unable to commit - and who nearly ended up getting married (chew the ring).

    but parts never made sense (like the heavy coat, the trigger cut - another suicide reference).

    now i get it - he;s a bullshitter who was betrayed and nearly offed himself but is now determined to bounce back!

    hats off to you charlatan sin!

    that's my (real) email address, by the way - ex_magician
    moikon June 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of the best songs ive ever heard. Ill never tire of it.
    BigRobbon January 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"tricks are everything to me until it's free"=definitely about prostitutes or the idea of having to trick a girl into liking you
    dontkillwhiteyon March 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell . . . when you hear "trick" in the same sentence as "magician" do you really think he's talking about prostitution?
    moikon March 24, 2007   Link

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