They only want you when you're seventeen,
When you're 21, you're no fun.
They take a Polaroid and let you go
Say they'll let you know, so come on.

Lyrics submitted by stara

Seventeen Lyrics as written by Daniel Hunt

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Seventeen song meanings
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  • +6
    General Commentthe song is obviously about fishing. if you are too big(21 inches) they can't legally keep you, so they take a picture and throw you back in. if you are the right size(17 inches) they want you. you guys read too much into these songs sometimes.
    shoezon December 30, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentit's not necessarily about modeling per se, but youth-obsession in general, & how society leeches on youth. Media, older men (ephebophiles?), fashion, they take what they can from a girl or boy's most magical age (under 21), when she still has that sparkle in her eyes... then they throw her away or ignore her. The polaroid doesn't have to relate to modeling, the polaroid represents stolen youth, eg. the older man captures a girl in the perfect age (17), sucks her of her youth then lets her go.

    I suppose you could also relate it to underage porn, as even if a victim of such child abuse has escaped this sleazy lifestyle, her pictures will never be erased from the internet/pervert's collections... I could go on, but this is what a lot of pedos do, they keep a kid's picture as a twisted souvenir.
    linalkaon March 01, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthey only want you when youre beautiful in their eyes, young and virile, vulnerable and pure. even 21 is too old and they throw you away. 'they' could be anyone or anything, hollywood or the way men in our society have been brainwashed to think of women, young or old.
    liztilon April 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about how our society is so disposable. Society exploits teenagers as a commodity, manipulates us into being a resource, purchasing whatever Corporations are selling. This song serves as an indictment of our exploitive society, which views teens merely as sex objects and pocketbooks. I myself am 17, and I'm glad there is such a great song dedicated to my age. 17 is the best year of you life becasue it's the end of childhood, the last year of innocence and vulnerability. Ladytron totally realizes this and crafts an amazing teen anthem. I love the robotic vocals on the track, everytime I hear thissong I just imagine a futuristic, robotic, society, where they harvest youth and discard them in human dumps. Then again, that;s really creepy, so I just like to dance and sing along to this track too.
    indie-YYYon December 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentModels.
    No question.
    LeSpinachon August 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti agree that it is about modeling, but it can also be about these "agencies" that take young girls and make them believe they're talented and get them to pay lots of money. you can hear towards the end a girl singing, her voice doesn't sound like ladytron's (it's less professional, there are cracks and she doesn't sound like a professional singer) yet she participated in ladytron's song cause she/her parents paid for it. young girls are easier to manipulate, especially ones that are seventeen. they don't know what to do with their lives yet, and modeling/singing sounds and looks like the best option, and with these "agents". this dream looks possible.
    karin10928on May 20, 2021   Link
  • 0
    General Commentto me, this song sounds like the modeling industry. they only want you when you're young because when you're older, your body ages too (and your mind and you start realizing how fake it is) and they start looking for younger, vulnerable, innocent, sexy, more impressionable girls. i used to be a model and the way some agencies do it is they have things like cattle calls where they just take a picture of you and say "thanks we'll let you know" and you're on your way.
    paper hearts ripon May 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI had a girlfriend once who thought it was about the porn industry, and child pornography, they want you when you're ripe and illegal, but when you're old enough you're too old.
    farfronormon June 07, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about the modelling industry for sure.
    Trashazonon January 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the fishing explanation!
    therealciviczcon March 23, 2005   Link

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