I've flown the house of freezing, the house of freezing steel
And though my body's back I know it can't be real
'Cause I've been on that house without a guiding wheel
The house of freezing steel
Oh where's it going, picked me up at seven
When my eyes were weak from the light of the morning
Oh sister won't you tell me what a man might want to know
This madness is fine, yes if you're mad at the time

Back on the house of freezing, the house of freezing steel
The tied my body up, I'm forced to eat my meal
A cold plate of lamb and cold potatoes too
Now what's a soul to do
Oh Lord above, brother won't you tell me
Is this a Eucharistic dove
'Cause I've been waiting for the right one to appear
But I've seen it in your face, and baby this ain't the place

Up on the house of freezing, the house of freezing steel.
I made my mind up then to get me to the wheel
I made the cabin door, the pilot turned around
He said we're Venus bound
Oh please take me home
After all I'm only human and the Earth is where I belong
I must have looked pitiful to this freak without a face
'Cause as he touched my head I saw myself back in bed

I've flown the house of freezing, the house of freezing steel
And though my body's back I know it can't be real
'Cause I've been on that house without a guiding wheel
The house of freezing steel

Lyrics submitted by BrainDamage

"Freezing Steel" as written by Stevens

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Freezing Steel song meanings
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  • 0
    My InterpretationI think this song is about a nightmare Cat had during his commercial pop star days.

    "The house of freezing steel" is an airplane. For some period of years, Cat was touring, on the road all the time, practically living in an airplane going from place to place, hence the airplane was his "house." Not even whatever hotel room he stayed in on any given night was his house, because he only crashed there, after each gig, so he would not even remember the scenery of those brief lights-out rest intervals between gigs. He would only remember the "winding-up" he surely had to do, to get ready for the next gig, wide awake, probably with the help of drugs at least from time to time, while on his flight. (What a GRIND that would be! SO GLAD _I_ wasn't a pop star! All the money, all the easy access to places, cities, venues, all the easy chicks, all the adoring crowds, would not have been enough to keep me happy forever (or for long), either, as I suspect Cat might have already known would be his experience as well, even before he immersed himself in that "life-style.") He played the same songs over and over again, in city after city - remember, one definition of "insanity" is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results - so Cat saw how the touring life as a pop star was a taste of insanity: never satisfying, always draining, even exhausting, always leaving him unfulfilled, even feeling trapped as in a prison or insane asylum, even feeling suffocated, even as the illusion of that kind of show business was (to many) that anyone living like that was "on top of the world."

    The "house" Cat flew in only added to that trapped, suffocating feeling. So he had a bad dream about it all. So he turned it into a song about the "pop star grind." That's my theory, for what it's worth.

    I have an album of Cat Stevens before he hit the really big time - where he looked more like a "clean-cut" (for the 1960s) pop singer-performer like the Tom Joneses and Engelbert Humperdincks of that time. I have not listened to that album for decades! But, I am almost certain that in the brief interludes in this song, where we hear Cat singing in the background, almost like a faint echo, he is repeating within the rhythm and accompaniment to "Freezing Steel" one of the nonsense, "doo-wop"-like sounds that he sang on one of the tracks on that old album:
    ["bah-pah-bah, bah-pah bahhh, bah-pah-bah-bah...bah-pah-bah, bah-pah-bah-bah, bah-pah, bah-pah"]
    Hipnoticedon March 14, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFreezing Steel is about the seventh stage one experiences while meditating. It comes from the Ten Bulls of Zen. The album it is from is Catch Bull at Four, the fourth stage of Zen. This was Stevens' fourth album with Island Records and he felt, at that time, that he had reached the fourth Bull stage of Zen. Each song on this album is loosely based on it's corresponding stage. The first song, Sitting, is about the first stage, when one is on his way to reaching self-awareness, but still somewhat confused and afraid. The eighth song, O Caritas, is about reaching Nirvana, which is the eighth stage of Zen. In the seventh stage, one begins to hallucinate about meeting a religious leader or spiritual being. So, if your Jewish, you may hallucinate about meeting Moses or Abraham. If your Christian you will hallucinate about meeting Jesus or Mary. (Think of all those middle aged women who pray at Marion Shrines and swear that they encounter the Blessed Virgin.) If your Buddhist or Hari Krishna you will meet Siddhartha Gautama or the Lord Krishna. In this song, Stevens is implying that he is meditating and waiting to meet some Eucharistic Dove, but is abducted by an alien instead. To me, this song is probably an inside joke. He admitted he never moved past the fourth stage so he is just speculating about what stage seven would be like, so he compares it to being abducted by an alien who is transporting him to Venus. Either way, reaching stage seven while meditating is an out of world experience and his simile is appropriate in modern times.
    KevinDuignanon January 10, 2019   Link

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