"We Real Cool" as written by and Warren Ellis Nicholas Cave....
Who took your measurements
From your toes to the top of your head?
Yea you know
Who bought you clothes and new shoes
And wrote you a book you never read?
Yea you know

Who was it? Yea you know
We real cool
On the far side of the morning
Who was it? Yea you know
We real cool
I hope you're listening
Are you?

Who was it you called the Good Shepherd
Rounding up the kids for their meal?
Who chased your shadow running up behind
Clinging to your highflying heels?
Highflying highflying heels?

Who was it? Yea you know
We real cool
On the far side of the morning
Who was it? Yea you know
We real cool
And I hope you're listening too

Who measured the distance from the planets
Right down to your big blue spinning world
And heartbeats and tears and nervous laughter
Spilling down all over you, girl

Who was it? Yea you know
We real cool
And the world keeps on turning
Who was it? Yea you know
We real cool
I hope you're listening
Are you?

Sirius is 8.6 light years away
Arcturus is 37
The past is the past
And it's here to stay
Wikipedia is heaven
When you don't want to remember anymore

On the far side of the morning
Who was it? Yea you know
We real cool
And I hope you hear me
And you'll call
Yea we real cool
Yea we're real real cool




Lyrics submitted by smallwonderrobot, edited by pankykapus

We Real Cool song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +2
    My InterpretationI think this song is about how the role of myth and religion in society has been replaced by the certainty of facts and how accessible and dominant they are. Nick Cave has conflated that story line with a paternal older male lover chiding his young female lover for her perceived lack of gratitude.
    PatrickOon March 12, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think it’s more likely to be about his son Jethro or maybe Luke (more likely Jethro as I don’t think he would have measured Luke, also Jethro thinks he’s pretty fucken cool).

    Jethro if you're reading this call your dad.
    Eurybiadeson April 10, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Commentpossibly the 'who' is Christ, which would make this a little obnoxiously proselytic, but the other thread is the theme of aging, like a lot of the songs on this album... i do like the idea of Nick Cave reading about The Birthday Party on Wikipedia and remembering gigs he forgot about because he was out of his mind on heroin.
    one or clownon February 28, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me the whole song is about the success of science. From philosophy of Aristoteles to Heisenberg or even the great poets, who gave another insight to the knowledge of the world. It's a bit similiar to the Grinderman song "Go Tell The Women". But at some points some of these science inventions mind be a bit trivial. This can be seen at the stuff like the heels or something.
    The Good Shepard seems like a joke from the narrator.
    Dohleon January 10, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationAnother interpretation is the relation of children to their parents - who took their measurements, bought their clothes, ran after them and literally defined the universe for them. But then, the children find a world that provides them all the information they might ever need and with far more certainty. The parents are reduced to somebody that might be called on occasion.
    PeterSion April 05, 2014   Link
  • 0
    Link(s)poets.org/poetsorg/poem/…
    mlincolnon July 28, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationon one hand,
    who measure your height from the toes to the top of your head?
    a coffin maker.
    that's the first and very unambiguous association.

    new cloths and shoes are also very often the part of the ritual.
    and a book you never read... there are plenty of post-mortem variants.

    on the other hand there is a strong reference to the SUN!!!

    "on the far side of the morning" is always SUN
    "who chase your shadow?" the light.
    and SUN by the very fact of casting your shadow, indeed is measuring you from the top of your head...

    "who measured the distance to the planets?" THE LIGHT!
    it is so damn unambiguous!

    what does it mean as a whole i have no idea.
    sillysadon October 02, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe's Christian, he says--but he seems like the kind that don't fit in the reg box. To me the song feels like a call from beyond and a mocking of those who feel "real cool" but deny Who they don't accept or get, which to him is foolish n not that cool. It feels otherworldly, like a voice from an agnostic otherworld. Fun stuff.
    jroberts71on January 07, 2017   Link

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