"Candy Says" as written by and Lou Reed....
Candy says I've come to hate my body
And all that it requires in this world
Candy says I'd like to know completely
What others so discretely talk about

I'm gonna watch the blue birds fly over my shoulder
I'm gonna watch them pass me by
Maybe when I'm older
What do you think I'd see
If I could walk away from me

Candy says I hate the quiet places
That cause the smallest taste of what will be
Candy says I hate the big decisions
That cause endless revisions in my mind

I'm gonna watch the blue birds fly over my shoulder
I'm gonna watch them pass me by
Maybe when I'm older
What do you think I'd see
If I could walk away from me


Lyrics submitted by capitol76

"Candy Says" as written by Lou Reed Lewis Allen Reed

Lyrics © SONY ATV MUSIC PUB LLC

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Candy Says song meanings
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25 Comments

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  • +12
    General CommentIt doesn't have to be about Candy or about a sex change.
    To me, it speaks of the sad and futile yearning to be as free as blue birds, to be a part of the flow of nature and without the heavy burdens of a human body and big decisions draining your soul.
    I like to think of it as wanting to just BE. to not have a body or any of that, to just exist. And that is what the question means: what would we see if we were able to be free of our selves?
    words&trickson July 05, 2006   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThe crossdresser makes more sense but until now I always thought Candy was a prostitute.

    She hates the way she uses her body and the things that happen as a result.

    Candy came from out on the island
    In the backroom she was everybody's darlin
    But she never lost her head, even while she was giving head.
    She said hey baby, take a walk on the wildside.
    Okita-Kunon April 26, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIts so cool listening to this song right after "Sister Ray" ends. Its like the morning after a big blowout (White Light /White Heat album) into a calming after effect (The Velvet Underground). Beautiful song, beautiful album. Really shows the diversity and brillaince of the VU.
    billhilfon February 10, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI'm sure the song is about Candy Darling. Thanks for sharing all of your interpretations, I learn from each and everyone of you. Beautiful song.
    jinxedsunshineon January 19, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song's about Candy Darling, who was a cross-dresser in the '60s and part of Andy Warhol's regular crowd...great song; one of their best.
    stephaniesayson March 14, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSorry SIsterRay, but Stephaniesays is right. The song is about Candy Darling, who was also part of Andy Warhol's Factory, along with Lou Reed and a lot of people mentioned in Reed's lyrics. I've always interpreted the line

    "Candy says I hate the big decisions
    that cause endless revisions in my mind"

    to be about the sex change operation that Candy had wanted but never got. Unfortunately, Candy died of leukemia at the age of 25. Such a a sad and meloncholy song since it mentions "getting older" which Candy never got to do.

    Beautiful song.
    jackrabbit37on January 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI think it's about wanting to fit in with the world around you, and the fact remains you haven't ever been part of the world which adds to confusion. So you want to get rid of yourself to become like others and be connected with them rather than apart. It's a personal song about a person who is taking things personally at this stage in his life as for me, this song means a lot to my teen years, because you can't figure things out and hate the big decisions in life that are thrown at you. Looking ahead.... you wish you could just walk away from these things in your life but you can't... even when you're older than before.
    INLimBo7on October 13, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song reflects some of the nihilistic ideas of the Velvet Underground.

    "Candy says I hate the quiet places
    that cause the smallest taste of what will be."

    ie, she hates being alone and confused, not least because of an overwhelming fear of the nothingness of death.
    poshboyon December 30, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is definitely about TRANSGENDER (I have to capitalize this because I guess some people do not know or choose to make transphobic slurs) actress Candy Darling; she was not just confused and depressed because of the dilemma she had about getting the operation, but because she felt she was unacceptable. She hated herself deep down (this was mentioned in the lovely documentary Beautiful Darling) and was very lost on how to live her life.

    In general, it's about the decisions we all have to make and growing up and introspection. Candy knew she was a woman, but never truly knew who she was. She died so young from lymphoma...it was tragic. She never got to see the progress we made in acceptance of the trans community. Although it is not much, it was better than in her day when even drag queens were arrested in NYC.

    Candy was not a prostitute; she felt guilty in sexual encounters because men thought she was a cisgender woman and probably would have killed her if they found out she happened to have a penis. She did enjoy sexual encounters where she didn't get naked, but she still felt guilt. It was taking a walk on the wild side because of her transgender status.
    houndsofloveon March 13, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSo many weird interpretations of this song here, I can't see it as anything about other than how Candy Darling felt alienated from being a poor trans woman in the 1960's and 70's.

    "Candy says I've come to hate my body
    And all that it requires in this world"

    I interpret this as relating to her dysphoria regarding her body, and becoming detached from physicality as a result, many trans women suffer from anorexia due to this, which may be another angle to look at it from.

    "Candy says I'd like to know completely
    What others so discretely talk about"

    I see this as being unable to relate to others, due to feeling so different and lost. There wasn't much terminology regarding or understanding of transsexuality at that time, and I can understand the impact of this on how an individual then relates to, communicates with, and interprets information from others. I think the word "completely" is key to this as it conveys uncertainty of reality.

    The chorus is fairly clear, hoping that things will improve for herself as time passes, 'maybe when I'm older'.

    "What do you think I'd see
    If I could walk away from me"

    Candy was intensely self loathing, which is understandable, as you can easily become like that if you are continually treated with contempt, suspicion, and disgust. These lines also strike me as optimistic, in that deep down she is certain of her identity, but the attitudes of others toward her have cause her to doubt this. If she could abandon the image of herself that others have imposed on her then what could she achieve?

    "Candy says I hate the quiet places
    That cause the smallest taste of what will be
    Candy says I hate the big decisions
    That cause endless revisions in my mind"

    I see this verse as relating to loneliness and uncertainty. Candy wrote often about how lonely she felt, that she felt she would forever be unlovable, and was unable to relate to people.

    The last two lines of the verse could conceivably relate to sex reassignment surgery, which Candy expressed concerns about, but I think that ultimately relates to her poor perception of self, brought on by the attitudes of others.

    I think this song is about how Candy Darling could have flourished given love and support, but she was continually exploited and lived a short, unlucky life, and thus came to dislike and doubt herself. In the letter she wrote just before she passed away, she says "Did you know I couldn't last? I always knew it."
    themeoflauraon August 20, 2015   Link

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