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A Stone Lyrics

Hot breath
rought skin,
warm laughs and smiling,
the lovliest words
whispered and meant
you like all these things.

But, though you like all these things
you love a stone.
You love a stone,
because it's smooth and it's cold.
And you'd love most
to be told
that it's all your own.

You love white veins,
you love hard grey,
the heaviest weight,
the clumsiest shape,
the earthiest smell,
the hollowest tone
you love a stone.

And I'm found too fast,
called too fond of flames,
and then I'm phoning my friends,
and then I'm shouldering the blame,
while you're picking pebbles
out of the drain,
miles ago.
You're out singing songs,
and I'm down shouting names
at the flickerless screen,
going fucking insane.
Am I losing my cool,
overstating my case?
Well, baby what can I say?

You know I never claimed
that I was a stone.
And you love a stone.
You love white veins,
you love hard grey,
the heaviest weight,
the clumsiest shape,
the earthiest smell,
the hollowest tone
you love a stone.

You love a stone,
because it's dark and it's old,
and if it could start
being alive
you'd stop living alone.
And I think I believe that,
if stones could dream,
they'd dream of being laid
side-by-side,
piece-by-piece,
and turned into a castle
for some towering queen
they're unable to know.

And when that queen's daughter
came of age,
I think she'd be lovely
and stubborn and brave,
and suitors would journey
from kingdoms away
just to make themselves known.

And I think that I know the bitter dismay of a lover who brought
fresh brouquets every day
when she turned him away
to remember some knave
who once gave
just one rose, one day, years ago.
Song Info
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Submitted on
May 01, 2005
39 Meanings
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I am not convinced the central metaphor in the song, "a stone" is meant to mean a grave stone though I am sure the fact that a grave stone comes to mind is no accident. An emotionless unavailable person you want a relationship with is a lot like wanting to be with someone or something that is dead an gone. The central metaphor is complex and not one-to-one as another poster pointed out.

I am surprised to see no one has thought of the stone as an unpolished, unintended, and accidental thing. The frustrated guy (Black Sheep Boy) is going out of his way to woo the girl he wants and getting nowhere while "a stone" who does nothing for her on purpose manages to catch her affection.

The general theme of the song, i think, has been nailed down as unrequited affection. The contrast between the stone and the lover, however, has yet to become clear. The lover (Black Sheep Boy, the character I see as the protagonist present in each song and who the album is all about) knows what the girl likes:

"Hot breath, rough skin, warm laughs, and smiling, the lovliest words, whispered and meant"

but does not give her what she loves:

"white veins, [...] hard grey, the heaviest weight, the clumsiest shape, the earthiest smell, the hollowest tone, [...] a stone."

The girl "likes" being loved and cared for, but "loves" wanting the things she cannot have. The shift in word choice is no accident. An inescapable irony emerges as you see the girl the narrator loves is a stone to him just as the guy the girl loves is a stone to her. The stone probably loves someone else not mentioned in the song. The real contrast in the song is varying attitudes lover, or potential lovers, take toward one another. We all want what we cannot have, don't understand, and drives us crazy. The human psyche is a messy place.

Black Sheep Boy is "found too fast [and] called too fond of flames" meaning he falls for girls too easily, gets burned again and again, and in a way seems to like it. Why else would he keep repeating the same mistake? He loves getting burned, not the girl.

The girl loves a stone "because it's dark and it's old," "because it's smooth and it's cold," or in other words because it is mysterious, damaged, worn down by experience, detached and indifferent to her beauty. The notion "that it's all ...[her] own" is what she really wants. If her stone "could start being alive" she'd "stop living alone." She is not any different than the Black Sheep Boy in her unrequited affection, and neither of them is very different from any of us who hear the song.

The last section of the song is a projection of the results of unrequited love.

"And I think I believe that, if stones could dream, they'd dream of being laid side-by-side, piece-by-piece, and turned into a castle for some towering queen they're unable to know."

If the stone could love anyone he would wind up just like Black Sheep Boy, one of thousands of protectors of a girl that wants someone else. Black Sheep Boy wants to think that if the stone could show the girl some real feeling she would not want him anymore.

And the cycle will continue on through the generations "when the queens daughter c[o]me[s] of age." Many will want her, but the one she wants will be nothing special, doesn't try to win her, and completely unavailable.

I really like this unrequited love being represented by the stone. Especially that he would be a stone to somebody else (he would want to be laid next to his stone). I guess the description of it including "the heaviest weight, the clumsiest shape, the earthiest smell" really evokes death, but uhh kudos?

I had some trouble figuring out this song but I think you absolutly hit the spot. Thank you

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We've all been in the narrator's position. Every one of us.

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about a guy who's closed off and the girl that loves him

@pinder totally agree, but did you ever consider that the girl is the narrator, while the guy she loves spends all his time on a computer (the stone)? that possibility has an interesting correlation to the section "if stones could dream, they'd dream of being laid side by side, piece by piece and turned into a castle for some towering queen they're unable to know" think of the internet (the castle), all the cold and emotionally distant men connecting to it, having no comprehension of what it really is or who they're serving by attaching themselves to it (towering queen, AI?). while...

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I think everyone has felt like that at somepoint. He is in madly in love with a woman but she doesn't care that she has a good thing going. She wants the flame. She wants a guy who is emotionless (like a stone). And it drives him absolutly crazy.

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Many of you have grasped the greater themes I think (though it's not really necessary to nail down whether the "stone" implies a dead lover or not. It might or it might not; it makes no difference whether it is even human, really. It can be any lingering one-sided obsession on the part of the unreachable beloved. If you are looking only at this one song, of course.)

But do be very careful of how you refer to "he/she" or "the singer." Will Sheff is a poet and a student of literature. This song fits into the greater narrative of the entire "Black Sheep Boy" album and the narrator of this song is no more "the singer" than Shakespeare is the main character of all his plays (!) You belittle this small piece of poetry to simplfy it as such.

That said, I'm extremely curious to see how anyone reading this thinks it might fit in to the greater narrative of "Black , especially in Sheep Boy," the album. Especially, in relation to songs like "For Real" ("...sometimes i thirst for real blood, for real knives, for real cries...I want to know this time if you’re really finally mine...") or "A King and a Queen" ("...be hands holding a knife. Be a being on two feet, with his heart trembling, butchering for a king he believes in though he's never seen. Be the princess in that stone tower, crying for that handsome butcher's plight...") The same unreachable beloved shows up but who are these different narrators? Or are they the same character? The recurring motif of the princess in the tower of willing stones...the blood...hot life vs.the cold inanimate...what do you make of it, hey?

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cry

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It's worth noting that Friedrich Nietzsche has a philosophical concept called "The Heaviest Weight". Just saying since that is a lyric in the song. But basically the heaviest weight is if in the darkest moment of your loneliness, a demon approaches you and says after death you will relive your life ad infinitum. If one would be content with that, then that means they have been living authentically, or true to themself, because in that situation, there is no outside influence causing you to act in bad faith.

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I think y'all are right about this song referring to a girl who is in love with a "stone" instead of the man who tries so hard to get her attention. Yet, there seems to be a respect or knowledge about what it means to be that stone. That he gave just one rose on one day long ago, and that was enough. Hey! That's pretty impressive.

Somehow, I have to consider this song within the rest of the Black Sheep context. The stone is the black sheep man, right!? He is troubled and outcast and knows it. Would probably like to change but never does. He's a stone, a mere existent, and yet so attractive given the simplicity. The irony is there especially when considering in this case it is not the social outcast who is cast aside, but rather the guy who every mother would prefer her daughter to marry. Rejection is in the eye of the beholder. Once again. ..Will Sheff captures some sort of ironic truth of reality with this song in a beautiful way.

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I think that people are forgetting that this song is a part of a story of sorts, a concept album (something tippita touched on an odd year ago), and that as such, the song is probably a smaller portion of a greater meaning, a single dimension of a fully formed figure.

People tend to have a desire to dissect every line to interpret its meaning with respect to the whole of the song. The problem with this is that invariably, you wind up with some loose ends that can't be tied in with the interpretation. The white veins, the earthy smell, the hollow tone; in my view, these are simply references to the metaphor of the stone as a whole. They very well may have secondary meaning behind them, but they're meant to concrete the central nature of the stone in the song. Therefor, I do not desire to take each and every line and make it my own. Rather, I will present my argument with the backing that the song provides. You can decide if it makes sense to you or not.

For the short time that I've studied this album, from a purely literal stance, it is an album centering around the choices we make, the righting of past wrongs, and the consequences thereof. I believe that the album changes perspectives radically from song to song, verse to verse, progressing the story at some points while delving further into the psyche of the 'black sheep boy' at others. This song appears to be of the latter variety, describing the black sheep boy's love of a girl who, to him, rejects his romantic intentions.

In 'Black' we see into the past of the girl he loves, who was apparently raped, or possibly simply wronged somehow. The black sheep boy wants her to take revenge on the boy, even fancying taking that revenge himself.

But I digress, I'm not reviewing 'Black'. Just providing some quick backing to my argument.

The black sheep boy mourns his unrequited love, for the girl of his fancy loves a stone. While many have argued that this stone is another man, I believe it is a much deeper metaphor. Given the girl's past from 'Black', it seems unlikely that she would love another. Let's dissect this piece by piece so there isn't any confusion. Well, as little confusion as possible, anyways.

These first few lines show us the girl's state of mind, at least from the black sheep boy's perspective. He earnestly believes that she longs for the passionate love that he could give her (the first stanza). But she 'likes' them, and loves a stone. What is a stone? It's smooth and cold. I believe that the stone can mean any number of things, though for the purposes of this interpretation, I'll wager that it means loneliness. I know, I know, it sounds insane. The girl has been hurt very deeply, and as any person would, she has turned inward rather than face those demons and move on. So says our narrator, she has grown attached to her feelings of alienation. Yes, it's cold. It hurts. But it's reliable. It's always there. And there's no risk of it betraying her.

The singer then goes on to describe the rather extreme way that he's dealing with what he interprets as a hopeless love. Others around him know that he's upset ('I'm found to fast') and that he's prone to, shall we say, explosive, violent outbursts ('Called too fond of flames'). He's collapsing emotionally, taking the blame for her current state. Meanwhile, much to his dismay, she's continuing to take a strange, surreal comfort from her isolation 'miles ago'. Since he is human, and therefor by definition unreliable, he cannot be a stone, nor claim to be.

The bit about 'And if it could start being alive, you'd stop living alone', it's simply a reference to that loneliness that the girl has come to rely on. If somehow that feeling could live, she would never be alone again, for it would be with her always, just as it is now.

Kings and queens are referenced a few times in this album. This song ends with a touching metaphor of stones that can dream. Again, the black sheep boy believes that the girl is taking comfort in loneliness, having felt it for so long. It is a dark, cold, unchanging stone. He then personifies her loneliness in his own mind, which then twists the metaphors into something entirely different. Stones that build themselves 'into a castle for some towering queen they're unable to know'. The girl is possibly the queen here. Well, some of you may wonder, then who is the princess, the daughter of the queen? It seems to me that the daughter could very well be the girl's love, which the black sheep boy so desires. Her adoration, which any young man would desire, so says the black sheep boy.

The song ends with a seemingly hopeful overtone, which doesn't quite fit the morbid depression that underlies the entire song. The knave who gave just one rose one day could very well be the stone again, that loneliness that comforts her so. Though the black sheep boy gives her all of his love, fresh bouquets of it, she ultimately turns him away. Yes, her grief does not give her the love that the black sheep boy could, it still gave her just one rose. One tiny bit of comfort that she wants to keep close to her, to avoid being hurt again.

I apologize for the frazzled nature of this interpretation. It is my first one, and was done extremely late at night, at a time in which I am incredibly sleep depraved. However, just as a suggestion, try to view this song as I did, from the perspective of the black sheep boy, who we know to be quite mentally unstable. Anything that he says could be interpreted multiple ways, and his thoughts collide frequently into themselves, taking unexpected turns (as they do at the very end of the song). This is a man who has no hope for the girl he loves, and is desperately seeking some meaning behind her rejection of him, even as he is destroyed by his own interpretation.

My Interpretation
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i think this is a first person song, and the singer is in love with a girl who loves a stone, and he is questioning why the girl loves the man who is such a hard, cold, stone-like man.....saying pretty much that he has way more to offer, and why doesnt she love him instead of the stone

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