"The New Pollution" as written by Beck Hansen, John Robert King and Michael S. Simpson....
She's got cigarette on each arm
She's got the lily-white cavity crazes
She's got a carburetor tied to the moon
Pink eyes looking to the food of the ages

She's alone in the new pollution
She's alone in the new pollution

She's got a hand on a wheel of pain
She can talk to the mangling strangers
She can sleep in a fiery bog
Throwing troubles to the dying embers

She's alone in the new pollution
She's alone in the new pollution
She's alone in the new pollution
She's alone in the new pollution

She's got a paradise camouflage
Like a whip-crack sending me shivers
She's a boat through a strip-mine ocean
Riding low on the drunken rivers

She's alone in the new pollution
She's alone in the new pollution


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"The New Pollution" as written by John Robert King Beck Hansen

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The New Pollution song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI feel like the character here is the flip side of Nightmare Hippy Girl. While the Hippy is a "new age let down," living in the past, this girl is making the most out of the present, terrible situation.
    DevastatorJr.on November 12, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation"She's got cigarette on each arm..."

    - A perfect example of "new pollution", cigarette smoke. This is a classic beck move to start out with something literal and then gradually become more figurative.

    "She's got the lily-white cavity crazes..."

    -She smokes cigarettes, but yet worries about her teeth being white. He is poking fun at trends in vanity.

    "She's got a carburetor tied to the moon..."

    - On a car, the carburetor regulates the flow of air and fuel (the life blood of an engine) .. Her "carburetor" is tied to the moon in the sense that she functions best at night. He is either making reference to the fact that she gets horny at night or she gets energized by going out on the town

    Pink eyes looking to the food of the ages

    - When she goes out, shes looking for some lovin' ;)


    "She's got a hand on a wheel of pain..."


    - This hurts his feelings a lot, of course.


    "She can talk to the mangling strangers..."

    - She's going to flirt with strangers who are just going to "mangle" her body

    "She can sleep in a fiery bog..."

    (she can sleep with someone else)


    "Throwing troubles to the dying embers..."

    and when she does, he's going to know about it and its going to bother him. The 'dying embers' are his relationship with the girl he is singing to.

    "She's got a paradise camouflage
    Like a whip-crack sending me shivers
    She's a boat through a strip-mine ocean
    Riding low on the drunken rivers"

    She's trying to get hers over on him by pretending to live "well", but in his opinion, she's robbed herself of the best parts of life, hence the "strip-mine ocean"


    I really hate when people say that Beck's songs are meaningless because if you break them down line by line they are the complete opposite. This is actually a very dense song. If only the people on this website weren't the same way...
    tjdonohueon August 28, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlright Greggy, props for that meaning.

    I think it's about a girl lost in our society that's new to her. (our society is polluted).
    subterranean_summeron June 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of my favourite Beck songs. I love the funky keyboards and then the great sax later on, and Beck's lyrics are just always entertaining.
    Karlon September 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti always felt this song was about a lady who could use sex as a weapon to get her way. " shes got a hand on the wheel of pain , she can talk to the mangled strangers," kinda like she can make you jealous by flirtin with new guys and what not
    wilcokidon March 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI heard somewhere that Beck said it was about how the media and internet and all these new electronic things have polluted our society, and the girl in the song is able to remain pure.
    "She can sleep in a fiery bog
    Throwing troubles to the dying embers"
    it's a love song.
    subterranean_summeron March 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with treefingers505... and I like the keyboards here. Good song.
    DJgifon November 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe chorus is Beatles like. The keys are Doors like, the sax reminds me of Bowie.

    Damn.
    ArsMoridenion October 19, 2014   Link
  • -1
    General CommentIn this particular piece, Beck is referring to a common frustration of middle-aged, balding caucasian males. The "new pollution" (also known as 'poluição nova' in his native language of Portuguese) represents an extreme fear of the unknown. The 'unknown' in this case, however, is perfectly obvious to an objective observer; it is his discovery of 'a camoflauged paradise' -- or a chronic inability to achieve a solid, firm erection. The unfortunate discovery hits Beck like an a bolt of lightning. It is a sobering, caustic "whip-crack sending [him] shivers." So much, in fact, that it causes an identity crisis seen by Beck's refering to himself in third person, as a female, throughout the song. And as I'm sure many of you have inferred, when Beck says "cigarette" he clearly means "penis."
    Greggyon June 15, 2002   Link
  • -1
    General CommentIt means nothing Greggy, but you have an interesting imagination. Music lyrics don't need meaning to make an amazing song as Beck demonstrates in almost all of his hits.
    ZidaneTribalon October 21, 2004   Link

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