"What's the World? (James cover)" as written by and James Glennie Gavin Whelan....
"Um ... this song was written by ... erm, erm..."
What would you sell?
Loose glasses and suit
Heart and soul
Won't wear out

That's not enough!
I wonder what's inside
Fish fillet knife
Can cut
Right through my eye...

I'm looking for some words
To call my own
Worn-out phrases
And a hand-me-down

They'll knock me
Under where I stand
Sad on his back
In a corned beef pan

Going under
You can feel them pulling me down
To the rust inside...

This is the way...
Franken-star is born

Bits and pieces
Others have worn
All held together by a management glue
Too much glue
Watch the stars turn blue
Turn blue
Turn blue
Turn blue
Turn blue

I'm going under
You can feel them pulling me down
To the halls of rust

I, I, I, I, I...
Thank you...

Lyrics submitted by Midxcore, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"What's the World?" as written by James Glennie Gavin Whelan

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG Rights Management, CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP

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What's the World? (James cover) song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commentthis is a cover from an early James song...
    never quite knew why did they decided to cover this particular song.
    elmedioon December 08, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentum... because it's a good one? :o)
    never got the lyrics to this one though.
    jonasminduimon September 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis was James' first single and is about the music industry i think.. a slightly recurring theme for Tim in the early days - look up Johnny Yen. some of the lyrics printed above are wrong though.

    should read something like:

    "what will you sell,
    with the glasses and suit,
    heart and soul, wont wear out?
    that's not enough,
    i want what's inside.
    take the fish fillet knife
    and cut right through my eyes.

    I'm looking for some words to call my own.
    not worn out phrases and hand-me-downs.
    They'll mock me on where i stand.
    A bug on its back in a corned beef can.

    Going under, you can feel them pulling you down
    to the rust inside.

    This is the way a new star is born
    From those bits and pieces others have worn
    All held together by a management glue
    Too much glue and watch your stars turn blue...

    going under, you can feel them stripping you down
    to the holes inside."

    rustypicoon July 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningIt's an early song by the British band James. The lyrics that are listed here are what seem to have been picked up from the Smiths' live performance, which sounds slightly varied from the original, but these listed do actually sound like the words Morrissey sings in the cover. The original lyrics are as follows:

    "What will you sell with the glasses and suit?
    Heart and soul? It won't wear out!

    "That's not enough I want what's inside!
    Fish fillet knife would cut right through my eyes!

    "I'm looking for some words to call my own.
    Not worn-out phrases and hand-me-downs.

    "They'll knock me in where I stand,
    Put on its back in a corned beef can.

    "I'm going under!
    You can feel them stripping me down... to the rust inside!

    "This is the way Frankenstar is born!
    From bits and pieces others have worn.
    All held together by a management glue.
    Too much glue, and the stars turn blue!
    Turn blue!
    Turn blue!
    Turn blue!
    Turn blue!

    "I'm going under!
    You can feel them pulling me down... to the holes inside!"

    The song is about the compromises that a dedicated music artist is often asked to make by the business side of the recording industry, and this often seems to the artist(s) like a fundamental choice between their integrity and identity vs. an artificial image that is made of them to the public by marketers. Images in the song like being stuffed into a corned beef can, or being patched together with mainstream elements a Frankenstein monster, evoke the hands of recording marketeers mucking with the personality of music artists. This mucking can bring success, but the newly made stars can "turn blue" from the process. The process can almost seem unavoidable at times, because keeping a studio interested would require at least some of this mucking, and over time I would think it would become progressively worse, hence the imagery about being "dragged down" into the process and the system.

    Early on, this struggle was common for both The Smiths and James, as it was for many alternative bands in the '80s. The '80s was often filled with alternative bands that had a successful run in that world, only to be reinvented into something more mainstream by their recording studios for at least one album. Some bands remained within that element. Others reverted back to their original image. This would inevitably lead to band with a more public face as a one-hit-wonder, while simultaneously being more well-known and varied through a pretty solid career in the alternative scene.

    Still others (like The Smiths) never participated in this at all and always fought to stay true to what they saw as their genuine image. More widespread success eluded those groups, and this song expresses I think the frustration in that situation. I think Morrissey, Marr, and the Smiths identified with the struggle against this choice, which motivated the cover.
    m0zarton June 30, 2016   Link

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