Called to see if your back was still aligned
And your sheets were growing grass out of the corners of your bed

But you've got too much to wear on your sleeves
That has too much to do with me
And secretly I want to bury in the yard
The grey remains of a friendship scarred

You told us of your new life there
You've got someone coming 'round
Gluing tinsel to your crown
He's got you talking pretty loud

Berate, remember your ailing heart and your criminal eyes
You say you're still in love
And it's true what can be done
It's hard to leave all these moments behind

Called to see if your back is still aligned
And your sheets are growing grass out of the corners of your bed

And you've got too much to wear on your sleeves
It's too much to do with me
And secretly I want to bury in the yard
The grey remains of a friendship scarred

You tested your medal of doe's skin and petals
Kissing the lipless and bleed all the sweetness away

Lyrics submitted by doobeydoobeydude, edited by smallwonderrobot, gina102083, BrynMollet

Kissing the Lipless Lyrics as written by James Russell Mercer

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Kissing the Lipless song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +9
    General CommentGuys and Gals, it's mettle, not metal. "Testing your mettle" is testing your worth or your skills. Perhaps she tested how much she could accomplish with sweetness and light (doe skin and petals), but it was futile because the persons upon whom she was lavishing her attentions were heartless. Kissing the lipless, Loving the heartless?
    bugmenoton August 16, 2005   Link
  • +8
    General CommentYou're kissing the lipless. AKA you're giving to those who you know cannot return the favor.
    bumpygrimeson December 04, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe first couple of lines? On an extremely shallow level, I thought he was inquiring of her sexual activity as in 'back was still aligned and your sheets were growing grass' due to lack of use. Again, it's two people that aren't together though the feelings are certainly there and mutual.
    Mootiwanon May 11, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"The Lipless, who bleed all the Sweetness Away". I like to think that "Kissing the Lipless" means trying to make something work that you know shouldn't. Trying to mend a relationship where all the sweetness has bled away, but eventually you realize all you're really struggling with is, how "it's hard to leave all these moments behind".
    myeh_manon October 09, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI don't think this song talks about how he is still in love with her. I think it's saying that she has a new beau and that he treats her pretty good, even though she doesn't really care about him, still being in love with the narrator.
    He's saying that though there were good things going on in their relationship, he would rather bury it all and forget about it. "secretly, i want to bury in the yard, the gray remains of a friendship scarred."
    I agree the intro is him taking an intrest in her sex life, to see if even though she still professes love for him, if she's sleeping with the guy she's with now. I agree with subterranean with the statement that she's cheapening everything they had together by 'bleeding the sweetness away'.
    harlequincynicon December 14, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree with "tested your metal of doe's skin and petals" meaning she puts on a tough front, but she's really soft. Did anyone think that his usage of the word metal is a pun? Mettle - another word for courage. The song is about two former lovers, who still share mutual feelings. She's out there testing her courage, "kissing the lipless," i.e. she's still hung up on the singer, but she wants to be strong and not worry about him, so in order to forget about him she's out fooling around with people that don't mean anything to her.
    NikTeslaon April 28, 2005   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning
    What about this (one of I'm sure many interpretations):

    The narrator is the lipless. He is the one who doesn't want to be friends with her. He is the one that likely broke it off with her (why else would she have an ailing heart? He is cold in this song to her, while she is the one who is "still in love"

    Possibly scenario:

    The narrator is in a relationship with a woman (not mentioned in the song). He has a friend who is a girl and they either have an affair or a one night stand. He breaks it off, even though he still has feelings for her and the girl is still in love with him, so she moves away to try to get away from her hurt that he wouldn’t leave his wife/girlfriend for her.

    He calls to see if she is single, ok, sexless, etc. She's got a lot of problems (sleeves) and it has a lot to do with him because he created the and the hurt inside her. He feels bad that the friendship is ruined and wants to stop talking to her, but feels guilty.

    She tells him (and possibly his wife? Maybe they were all friends? Hence the "told *US*" line) about the new guy he's got and everyone is right on with these lines, so I won't elaborate.

    She gets down on herself, her broken heart, and her 'criminal eyes' which refers to the illicitness of the affair.

    It's hard for him to have broken it off with her, as well. He doesn't say it's hard for *her* to leave all the moments behind.

    "tested" is used in the PAST tense, referring to her past involvement with him. She (inadvertantly) tested her strength (metal), because she thought she was strong enough, by getting involved with a man in a relationship, and he realizes now she was soft and vulnerable (doe's skin and petals). He was lipless because his lips belonged to another woman. He bled all of the good things out of the girl he was having the affair with.

    I think the last 4 lines are directed at her; "don't mess with the bull, you'll get the horns" kind of thing. "don't get involved with things like this, you're too vulnerable, stay away from people who can't kiss you back"

    This song is really sad.

    I adore it.
    meowcaton May 07, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI have a completely different interpretation. There probably is a romantic backstory to the song, but I think the song is mainly about how someone that the Shin's guy really cares about is cutting themself. "Kissing the Lipless" refers to the fact that instead of seeking comfort from other people, the person finds solace in inflicting physical harm, the lipless being the blade.
    It's apparent in several lines:

    ..."But you've got too much to wear on your sleeves
    It has too much to do with me"
    The person is covering up their arms to cover their scars

    "The grey remains of a friendship scarred"

    "You tested your metal
    Of doe's skin and petals
    While kissing the lipless
    Who bleed all the sweetness away"...
    The metal explicitly refers to the blade, which is euphemized with "doe's skin and petals" to refer to that fact the the person doesn't realize how destructive their habit is.

    I found that the diction and metaphors strongly point towards the meaning of someone cutting themselves.

    goodintheoryon June 21, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI dont think it is about a break up. I think it is about a broken friendship.

    Called to see
    If your back was still aligned
    And your sheets
    Were growing grass
    All on the corners of your bed.

    Called to see if you still had a spine
    and you sheets were growing on grass
    all on the corners of your bed is a metaphor
    for a grave as he goes to say

    But you've got too much to wear on your sleeves
    It has too much to do with me
    And secretly
    I want bury in the yard
    The grey remains of a friendship scarred.

    He's basically saying.. You're dead to me.
    DEANOFDENSon October 23, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSo obviously they broke up - or maybe they just hooked up once and then he ditched her ("friendship scarred"). Or maybe he broke up with her/wouldn't date her because she wouldn't have sex with him. Anyway, I think those first two lines are The Shins guy calling to check up on her, see if she's still the same, b/c she used to be a "good girl" before he got to her (aligned back and grass growing in bed = no sex). She used to be kind of prude, sweet, innocent - and he broke her heart ("too much to wear on your sleeves; it has too much to do with me") - and now she's trying to hook up/be sluttier to get over/impress The Shins guy, and Shins Guy feels guilty ("secretly I want to bury in the yard"). She's bragging about having sex with the new guy ("talking pretty loud") but at the same time, she's still in love with The Shins guy, and he feels bad. And her "metal of doe's skin and petals" is her trying to be strong and act tough, act like she can hook up without getting emotionally attached, even though in reality she's really too sweet for that - and she's been hooking up with mean guys, the wrong guys, the guys that just want sex - the "lipless" - and they're ruining her, bleeding her sweetness away. And again Shins Guy feels guilty. The only part I don't get is the "criminal eyes"...? Maybe she caught him cheating?
    ihadalitlweenieon December 28, 2004   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top