"Everything's Turning To White" as written by and Paul Maurice Kelly....
Late on a Friday, my husband went up
To the mountains with three friends
They took provisions and bottles of bourbon
To last them all through the weekend
One hundred miles they drove
Just to fish in a stream
And there's so much water, so close to home

When they arrived, it was cold and dark
They set up their camp quickly
Warmed up with whiskey, they walked to the river
Where the water flowed past darkly
In the moonlight they saw the body
Of a girl floating face down
And there's so much water, so close to home

When he holds me now, I'm pretending
I feel like I'm frozen inside
And behind my eyes, my daily disguise
Everything's turning to white

It was too hard to tell how long she'd been dead
The river was that close to freezing
But one thing for sure
The girl hadn't died very well to judge from the bruising
They stood there above her all thinking
The same thoughts at the same time
There's so much water, so close to home

So this is what they did
They carried her downstream from their fishing
Between two smooth rocks, they gently wedged her
After all, it was late, and they'd come a long way
The girl would keep, she was going nowhere
They stayed up there fishing for two days
They reported it on Sunday when they came back down
There's so much water, so close to home

When he holds me now, I'm pretending
Nothing is working inside
And behind my eyes, my daily disguise
Everything's turning to white

The newspapers said that the girl had been strangled
To death and also molested
On the day of the funeral the radio reported
That a young man had been arrested
I went to the service a stranger
I drove past the lake out of town
There's so much water, so close to home

When he holds me now I'm pretending
I feel like I'm frozen inside
And behind my eyes, my daily disguise
Everything's turning to white

Lyrics submitted by thunderball

"Everything's Turning To White [Live]" as written by Paul Maurice Kelly

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Everything's Turning To White song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is from the album 'So much water so close to home' which is the title of the Raymond Carver short story on which it's based. A version of this story also appears in Robert Altman film 'Short Cuts', the various stories in the film being based on Carver's stories. The story is from Carver's collection 'What we talk about when we talk about love'. Highly recommended as Carver was one of American greatest writers, and Paul Kelly songwriting style is quite similar, not just this song.

    Carver's story is told from the wife's pov, and is about her husband and his fishing buddies discovering the body of a girl in the water when they arrive at the fishing hole, but don't report it till the end of the fishing trip. It turns out the girl has been raped and murdered, snd wife is shocked that her husband could have carried on fishing in these circumstances. She starts to question what sort of man her husband is and how well she really knows him if he can act in what seem thinks is such a inhumane and callous manner.

    It sounds like the film Ria talks about is also based on 'So much water.....'.
    BruceBaylisson January 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"...behind my eyes, my daily disguise, everything's turning to white"

    to me, white doesn't bring thoughts of bad things. Yet, given the context of the song, perhaps "white" is boring, or something like that. Perhaps the color white has different meaning in other (non-north american) cultures???

    The song is clever as shit.
    meow13on June 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that this song is wriiten from the perspective of a wife, who knows that her husband killed this young girl. Everything's turning to white meaning that she's losing her emotions\feelings to saty with her killer husband.
    big_piss_drinkeron June 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI rekon it tells the story of an innocent man wrongly accused and jailed for murder, from the perspective of the wife whose life has been totally wrecked.
    "On the day of the funeral the radio reported that a young man had been arrested. I went to the service a stranger, I drove past the lake out of town" She went to the service by herself, not admitting to be the "killers" wife, because hubby had been arrested.
    dangarmanon October 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt sounds like it's about the movie Jindabyne which is about a young aboriginal girl being murdered and these three mates go on a fishing trip and find her body but instead of reporting it they just stay there and fish then tell the cops when they get home. The song sounds like its about the wifes perspective and how she can't believe they did that.
    riaon December 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentto me the "white" is the opposite to black (in the movie the woman murdered is aboriginal). The connotations of black are negative and cold (often associated with death and depression). Perhaps Paul Kelly meant the white to be the opposite of black but to still retain the cold, negative connotations?
    Paul Kelly also discusses the loss of love in

    its also about the betralal that the woman feels that her husband could let that go unreported. The very fact that he could go fising out of the same water that a woman was dumped in.
    Alifuson August 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRia has the right interpretation, is was on 'So much water...' and BruceBayliss' second paragraph breaks it down. I studied this song pretty hard in class this year and those 2 covered the REAL meaning behind this song, all the others are just interpretations from their life experiences.
    The Hoskon October 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think the "white" reference is about the wife feeling numb towards her husband. Ria and BruceBayliss have it right down i think.
    shit this song is so sad. i'm always so close to tears when i hear it.
    mixitupon November 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI may be way out of line here, it could be my twisted imagination...
    But the line about "The newspapers said that the girl had been strangled to death and also molested" always subtly hints to me that it wasn't necessarily the murderer that did the molesting.

    And that three men in the mountains with bottles of bourbon may just have had another reason for not reporting the crime immediately, but wait for three days to get their story straight.
    For a small town, the newspapers could have only got their "official" story
    It's only after the story broke in the paper is the young man arrested. Did he turn himself in?
    And it's the wife of the one of the men that tells us "When he holds me now I'm pretending
    I feel like I'm frozen inside".
    She may know his dark secret.

    As I say, I could be way off, but this song always has a dark edge to me. Something even more sinister than the obvious.

    Loved the film Jindabyne too by the way.
    kamahl_o_koalaon May 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe film Jindabyne was written from this song, must of thought it would make a film. i love this song.... it's tells a story not just a bunch of random words
    JemBem5on June 12, 2008   Link

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