Turn the lights down (way down low)
Turn up the music (hi as fi can go)
All the gang's here (everyone you know)
It's a crazy scene (hey there just look over your shoulder)
Get the picture?

No no no no (Yes)
Walk a tightrope (your life-sign-line)
Such a bright hope (right place, right time)
What's your number?(never you mind)

Take a powder (but hang on a minute what's coming round the corner?)
Have you a future?
No no no no (yes)

Well I've been up all night again
Party-time wasting is too much fun
Then I step back thinking
Of life's inner meaning
And my latest fling
It's the same old story
All love and glory
It's a pantomime

If you're looking for love
In a looking glass world
It's pretty hard to find
Oh mother of pearl
I wouldn't trade you
For another girl
Divine intervention
Always my intention
So I take my time

I've been looking for something
I've always wanted
But was never mine
But now I've seen that something
Just out of reach, glowing
Very Holy grail
Oh mother of pearl
Lustrous lady
Of a sacred world

Thus, even Zarathustra
Could believe in you
With every goddess a let down
Every idol a bring down
It gets you down
But the search for perfection
Your own predilection
Goes on and on and on and on
Canadian Club love
A place in the Country
Everyone's ideal

But you are my favorita
And a place in your heart dear
Makes me feel more real
Oh mother of pearl
I wouldn't change you
For the whole world
You're highbrow, holy
With lots of soul

Melancholy shimmering
Serpentine sleekness
Was always my weakness
Like a simple tune
But no dilettante
Filigree fancy

Beats the plastic you
Career girl cover
Exposed and another
Slips right into-view
Oh looking for love
In a looking glass world
Is pretty hard for you
Few throwaway kisses
The boomerang misses
Spin round and round
Fall on featherbed quilted
Faced with silk

Softly stuffed eider down
Take refuge in pleasure
Just give me your future
We'll forget your past
Oh mother of pearl
Submarine lover

In a shrinking world
Oh lonely dreamer
Your choker provokes
A picture cameo
Oh mother of pearl
So so semi-precious
In your detached world
Oh mother of pearl
I wouldn't trade you
For another girl

Oh mother of pearl
I wouldn't trade you
For another girl

Oh mother of pearl
I wouldn't trade you
For another girl

Oh mother of pearl
I wouldn't trade you
For another girl

Oh mother of pearl
I wouldn't trade you
For another girl

Oh mother of pearl
I wouldn't trade you
For another girl

Lyrics submitted by kevinsucks

Mother of Pearl Lyrics as written by Bryan Ferry

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Mother of Pearl song meanings
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  • +4
    General Comment
    I love this song. To me, it sounds like it is about being in love with (i.e. addicted to) a prostitute. Mother of Pearl is a very common, cheap "gem" (inside of an oyster shell), yet is very beautiful, looking like the more expensive pearls that are produced by the oyster. A pearl would be a beautiful, but proper lady. Just my two cents.
    IrishPoeton January 26, 2010   Link
  • +4
    My Interpretation
    MOTHER OF PEARL This is a wonderful song, poetic yet hard-hitting: an artistic recreation in two parts, of an experience and a contemplation of that experience.This is not the only time Ferry produces a disturbing monologue on the vacuous nature of opulence to for its own sake. "Dreamhome" resonates with the same notion. I have yet to see a coherent explanation of this song. It has been interpreted as a eulogy to cocaine, but I disagree. Maybe the song is a poem, a song and an experience which defies explanation but here goes anyway! The first part creates the party, with its frenzied pace and loud guitar. The music is overpowering, everyone of note is there, and they all "take a powder". The scene is set, and is underpinned by Mananzera's dominant guitar. Then Ferry takes centre stage, and with stylised movements, begins a stream of consciousness contemplating the emptiness of the life he has chosen. He is the consummate player, with every movement, every wave of his hand carefully orchestrated. At this point, it is necessary to consider the title. "Mother of Pearl" is a substitute for real pearl. and is derived from a veneer inside the oyster's shell. An excellent metaphor for his superficial life which has a lustrous veneer but no substance. He is aware that this "party time wasting" is devoid of meaning, empty, superficial, "a pantomime" yet he is lured in just the same. . The world of fame, parties, changes of partners who are solely concerned with image is not conducive to happiness. The following line will feature several times: "If you're looking for love/in a looking glass world /it's pretty hard to find." However, although aware that there is a higher love, it is out of reach, and at that point begins the religious imagery, which adds an ambivalent overlay to the song: "Very holy grail" " Lustrous lady of a sacred world". "Highbrow holy" This love may be aspired to but was "never mine." The celestial, which is merely glimpsed briefly, is juxtaposed with secular love, and the protagonist seems unable to make the distinction. And so it is that the substitute life is embraced. This false shimmering god is irresistible, even to Zarathustra. (Zarathustra is a character in Nietzsche's philosophical novel which is often mistaken as a nihilistic system of thought- Ferry himself makes this error), and in the same way Ferry cannot resist. "Serpentine sleekness" refers to the biblical temptress who engineered the downfall of Adam, and who is the false ideal the protagonist has chosen to worship. He is fully aware of the choice he has made and so " no filigree fancy beats the plastic you." All the magazine cover girls are vacuous and interchangeable: "Career girl cover/exposed and another/slips right into view." The "throwaway kisses" could be for anyone, who cares if they meet their intended target? Just fall back into a life of luxury and all will be in order. Towards the end we have the "choker" image, which is both the necklace which adorns the female, yet also a symbol of her demise, being literally choked in the world where image is rated more highly than reality and sincerity. Finally, and depressingly, we have the affirmation of superficiality above authenticity. "Mother of pearl/ so semi precious/ in your detached world." There is multiple repetition, involving several unaccompanied voices, of: "Mother of Pearl I wouldn't trade you for another girl", reinforcing that message.
    Jillgiannottaon December 29, 2016   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    It's a two-parter set at a party. First half is frantic and reflective of a party in full swing. Second half is the quiet, reflective aftermath. Come on! You've all been there...
    simonevanson February 22, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    I think simonevans is right about the two parts (diptych). The legend is that the first part was recorded and then the band only had the music to work from. Ferry went off, wrote down a few lines and then produced a 'stream of consciousness' which makes up all the second part of the song. Along with 'In Every Dream home' this is one of Roxy's best songs.
    mgvsmithon January 14, 2008   Link
  • +3
    Song Meaning
    Not much to add to those who have written before me, but I'll try ... Sorry, no, the song isn't about cocaine. Rather, it's the lament of a narcissist. Yes, the song's preamble represents being at a party, the main thrust of the song is the about afterwards, when one realizes that party life is a worthless pursuit. But Mr. Ferry stresses here that although he knows this, party life is just too irresistible -- its just too much fun. While he asserts that he can't find the "right" girl, this mother of pearl", this perfect woman of his desires, he acknowledges that he loves the gutter too much -- "serpentine sleekness, always my weakness" and so continues the pantomime, the throwaway kisses and boomerang misses of a man who plays at love. But most revealing is his claim that no woman will ever measure up -- "With every goddess a let down, Every idol a bring down" These are classic narcissist themes -- finding fault with every woman who comes his way, while always looking for the perfect woman, and the bald-faced admission that "looking for love in a looking glass world is pretty hard to find". For him, the search for perfection is very Holy Grail -- just out of reach. And though he concludes that he'll never get that perfect girl, that Mother of Pearl, he refuses to let the dream of her die - he'll "never trade her for another girl". Ferry outdoes himself lyrically -- the song writing is magnificent.
    1cpcon July 06, 2017   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    Loved this song the first time I heard it in '74 at a party! Always loved this song and felt that it was about the fakery and shallowness of the modeling world, seeing that Bryan Ferry has always had a penchant for young models,and how he felt. Read more into the lyrics than just seeing "take a powder" and assume it means blow. Take a powder also means take a rest or slow down. Maybe some of you out there are too young to know that expression.
    Organicmomon January 16, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    I'm pretty sure this song is not just about cocaine. The first part is about meeting a girl at a party doing cocaine. The second part is about being in love and in a relationship with that girl who is fully addicted to cocaine.
    hermongoon August 18, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    I think is interesting when he says: "Party time wasting is too much fun"...like wasting time would be something relevant and necessary to withstand the cruelty and boredom that being alive do much of the time mean...also...then he says something about "Life's inner meaning...", what makes me think about him being a philosophical kind of person getting to paralised into a mid-crisis or possibly neurotical and perfeccionistic kind of attitude, which simply keeps him from coming up or ahead in life and gets hin all stranded there...
    ToniTon April 09, 2015   Link
  • +1
    My Opinion
    This song found me in the late 70s, early 80s and resonated powerfully with me. If I were asked at that time to describe my life, this would express what I couldn't put into words. Listening now at 65 years old I am that lost 28 year old again.
    JimGwebon June 10, 2017   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    amazing lyrics.
    Theremin85on September 28, 2019   Link

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