"Prison Girls" as written by and Neko Case....
I pass the light that the young people make
How joyfully it's wasted
I feel the weight of the needle's repeat and sigh
Sang my weight in metric trash
Trip the light in Saturn's embrace
You'll give up some local girl while our lights
Our lights blot out her face

All of you lie about some day (You know you do, all of you, shame on you, all of you lie)
You're on a first-name basis
All of you lie about some day (You know you do, all of you, shame on you, all of you lie)
You're on a first-name basis

All of you lie about some day (You know you do, all of you, shame on you, all of you lie)
You're on a first-name basis
All of you lie about some day (You know you do, all of you, shame on you, all of you lie)
You're on a first-name basis

God damn the time
God damn the miles
And take me away from you
And change your face

And change the way I love you
And change the way I love you
And change the way I loved you
And change the way I loved you

Lyrics submitted by persimmon

"Local Girl" as written by Neko Case

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Prison Girls song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI get that maybe she is staying in a filthy hotel. She's really jumpy, like nervous for some reason. Then I think maybe some one slips in quietly, maybe breaks in. They're the shadow slipping under the door. She can't tell at first if this person is a lady or a man. She's then either raped or has voluntary sex. She doesn't know much about the person except she loves their long shadows, (shadow on the wall, I guess), and their gunpowder eyes. Then she's thinking about the prison convicts that might clean this up for community service. They'd like come in and clean the room and there would be no trace left of her or the incident. Or maybe she is the prison girl. IDK.
    OnlineParasiteon February 26, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI think both 'sterilestriking' and 'SparkleNShine' are on the right track. Who knows what it is really about. I know she's in to movies, especially classics, so I wondered if it is about her being in a lonely motel, while on tour, watching one of those great B-movies on wild prison girls that they made in the 50's and 60's before going to sleep. They were deliciously noir with dark, severe lighting that cast long shadows and the women were wonderfully trashy and tough, with dark, smokey makeup.
    ginintonicon August 26, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song really gets to me. It's phenomenal. I think it tells a story. I could be way off, but here is my take...

    Verse One:
    Setting - Late at night in a prison cell. She's in that state between awake and asleep. She's dreaming of somewhere else, trying to keep the dream going because it's better than where she is. She envisions her cell as a hotel room. It's a logical comparison. It's not home. It's transient.

    Verse Two:
    She hears the night guard and is trying to figure out which one it is. The guards that pass are like "humming helicopters. They only hover a while outside her cell. When they pass by the bars distort the light from the hallway like the blades of a fan would. She tries to discern who the voice belongs to because one of the guards routinely rapes her. She convinces herself she loves him. "I love your long shadows and your gunpowder eyes" refers to that guard. Because she never sees him during the daylight, shadows and darkened eyes are the only associations she can make with him.

    Verse Three:
    She gets out of bed to follow the voice outside her cell. She turns on the light, but the guard turns it off. He does not wish to draw any unwanted attention. In darkness she stumbles to the floor and the guard takes her there. Although the prisoner is enjoying the attention, its a twisted sort of love. "A passage so poorly lit there are moths flying away from it," refers both to the location of their coupling, and also to the darkness of their relationship.

    Verse Four:
    It is morning. The guard is long gone and the prisoner is once again waking up in her "hotel room," but seeing the other prison girls also rising to begin their chores reminds her that she is in fact in prison and the things that happen at night are not "real." Desperate to validate her night-time "relationship" she tell the other girls, i.e. "her audience" about the guard that comes to her cell a night. Their secret is out.

    Verse Five:
    The other prison girls feel sorry for her. They know she will be punished for not keeping quiet. She's not the only one the guards rape. Some of the other girls even try to use sex to barter for favors such as cigarettes. It's an uneven trade.

    Verse Six:
    It's sometime in the middle of the night. The girl is dead. The guard killed her. She's laying on the same floor where they used to have sex, her cold cheek pressed to the hard ground. The other girls are in bed, not thinking of much in particular. In the morning the news of her death will have spread. She will "wear" their thoughts, because they won't be able to think of anything else. She is a cautionary tale.

    Final Line:
    In the girl's twisted mind there are no regrets. She loved her long shadowed night guard. She died happy.
    ParkLaneon January 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's:

    A light switch spooks and runs away


    The prison girls have filled their beds
    Their socks to dry above their heads
    holbytlaon March 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSomething about it made me think of Miss Saigon on first listen. Still haven't really gotten grasp since then.
    waccoon April 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAre you kidding? Where's the comments? This is one of the Neko's best songs! I absolutely love the lyrics, especially:
    I love your long shadows, and your gunpowder eyes-----brilliant! just brilliant!
    ....to a passage so poorly lit, there are moths flying away from it------wonderful

    anyone have insight into the meaning of the song? Not sure, don't know much 'bout prison but love this song
    raptor15on November 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is very beautiful. I have no idea what it's about, though.
    larastoneon December 18, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI get a dreamlike feeling from this song, both in the lyrics and the tone of it in general. The whole thing seems to take place in room she's sleeping and in the hallway outside that room. I got the impression she was staying in a hotel room, but I don't know what "prison girls" would be doing there or what they would represent.

    Along with that, I find there to be noir-ish quality to the a whole thing, like a dark, grey-scale atmosphere. There's an air of danger to it, too: we have "gunpowder eyes" and "humming helicopters through the blades of a fan".

    So, basically, I have no idea what she is talking about. I just wanted to convey my impressions to stir some discussion. My best guess is that she is referring to this whole darker side of life that she never has and probably will never experience, of "prison girls". Maybe she's haunted by this, which would explain why it's coming through in this dreamlike environment.
    sterilestrikingon February 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have what may be a completely off-the-wall read on this song, but it's stuck with me since the first listen. I think the protagonist has either overdosed or is committing suicide, possibly both.

    In the first verse, she's fading out, and not really caring too much about it since nobody is there to care.

    Second verse, she's awakened by a sound and vision she can't really understand. The humming helicopters and fan remind me of the opening scene of Apocalypse Now with the ceiling fan fading into helicopter sounds before the scene cuts to war scenes.

    Third verse, she stumbles out of bed to turn on the light, but can't quite make it to the switch and collapses onto the floor. Someone walks past in the hall and the shadows of their legs are cast long across the floor. The ultra-dark hall she sings of isn't the literal hall, but her fading almost to black.

    Fourth verse, Her last chance is the "prison girls" who I think are hotel maids on work release. She tries one last time to get someone's attention, but fails.

    Fifth verse, the maids don't hear her and she finishes dying. She laments that even the maids have made more of themselves than she has.

    Last verse, she's dead, dead, dead. The maids that didn't hear her the night before and went to bed with their own thoughts will be thinking of her as they clean up the room.

    I don't care if it's right, that's the beauty of art. This is what the song will always mean to me.
    SmellsHomelesson January 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the end with the repetition of "I love your long shadows and your gunpowder eyes" with the piano.
    b0sendorferon June 22, 2012   Link

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