Dirty dirty fingernails, dirty dirty fingernails
out of the shower, onto the bathroom floor
out in the kitchen, underneath the casserole
Dirty dirty fingernails, dirty dirty fingernails
Dirty dirty fingernails, dirty dirty fingernails
On a journey south, I took a walk
It takes a lot of energy to make that sound
Out of the shower, on to the bathroom floor
Out in the kitchen, underneath the casserole
Out on the patio, out in the great outdoors

Lyrics submitted by PLANES, edited by ryan526797

Dirty Fingernails song meanings
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  • +3
    General Commenta compulsive feeling that you're never mentally or physically clean?
    Dianaxon September 18, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWhat's almost as interesting as this song is some of the comments made about this song, and how they reflect what is prominent on the author's mind. There were ideas that it meant suicide, death, sex, drugs (and specific ones at that, not just the general idea of narcotics), and the desire to be a little kid again. Lyrics like these are really what you want them to be, and I can tell what most of you want.

    But the truth is all of those make sense (except the little kid idea, that was just... should I say childish?), I like to look for meanings that are not the typical deeper meanings present in most songs, or that is interpretted in most songs. That is to say I don't like to think that it is like every other song that is about/interpretted as about sex, drugs and suicide.

    That being said, I can find several different meanings myself, but none of them are more valid than the previous ones, and perhaps prove only that I have too much time on my hands. If you take it on a semi-literal sense, one should ask "why are his fingernails so dirty?" well while some may answer with some kind of drug reference, I think a more common way to get dirt under your nails is by some kind of outdoors work. Perhaps this song is simply the daily routine of a lumberjack, presumably in Washington where there are a lot of trees.

    Perhaps the song is about some kind of traumatic event or personal baggage. You can't ever completely cleanse yourself of such, similar to dirt under your fingernails. He carries this baggage with him everywhere. "underneath the cassarole" symbolically showing how the dirt goes from his fingernails and into his food, which would metaphorically always be poisoning him.

    Why would he choose casserole? Was it just a random food that almost rimes with foor and outdoors? Perhaps casserole was chosen because traditionally casseroles are just kind a mix of all kinds of ingredients, strewn about in a pan and thrown in an oven. If each of these ingredients may represent what makes up his life or "him," but underneath it all lie "these dirty dirty fingernails."

    Perhaps the most perplexinb and least addressed line of this song is "It takes a lot of energy to make that sound." What sound could he be talking about? Is he referring to the sound of Modest Mouse? Perhaps the entire songs or the lyrics? Maybe this is simply a song of writer's block, as he looks around to figure out something to write about, he notices his finger nails are dirty. He is thinking about what to write in the shower, steps onto the bathroom floor, goes into the kitchen to grab breakfast (or lunch) and then steps onto the patio to find inspiration. All the while, it is explaining how hard it is to write a song, and shows exactly what goes through his mind when he's trying to. Shows the energy that goes into making that sound.

    Or perhaps sound is much more metaphorical. Sound can represent communication or some kind of emotional outburst, or perhaps some deed he is doing for someone else. I'm not sure how this could relate to the rest of the song though.

    It is true that after the lyrics, there is some barely audible Brock whisperings, that seem to start with "I woke up in Wyoming." I'm not sure if those are the correct words, how it may relate, or if it does at all. It is just an interesting little side note.
    wasabi51989on March 24, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentbest ever
    rubybubbleon March 28, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song.
    I think it's about the baggage we carry.
    Like the stuff we can't seem to let go of kind of following us every where.
    but I don't know.
    JPardizzleon July 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song.
    NachoPunkon May 23, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit wouldn't be as great if he didn't scream! this song is awesome
    I_Eat_Gnomeson July 18, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love it...it's so hopeless. out of the shower into being ruined again...
    necessityon September 16, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdirty. go dirty
    dirtyradioon October 12, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgotta love this song. but what does it mean to you guys? when i hear it i think of sex. perhaps that's just me. "out of the shower, on to the bathroom floor"... etc.
    TheNoisesSheMakeson June 28, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, this song is about never being able to get rid of all the crap that's on you. Like you get in the shower and get clean, and as soon as you get out you are on the bathroom floor (which is usually thought of as really dirty and a really low place to be).

    When he sings "Out in the kitchen, underneath the caserole, I think of him getting a knife to kill himself with, and then out in the patio to the great outdoors is his spirit floating out.

    I know it's morbid, but that's my interpretation. :-\
    Spikeyon May 16, 2004   Link

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