the big day has come
the bell is sounding
i run my hands through my hair one last time
outside the prison walls
the town is gathering
people are trading crime for crime

everyone needs to see the prisoner
they need to make it even easier
they see me as a symbol, and not a human being
that way they can kill me
say it's not murder, it's a metaphor
we are killing off our own failure
and starting clean

standing in the gallows
everyone turned my way
i hear a voice ask me
if i've got any last words to say
and i'm looking out over the field of familiar eyes
somewhere in a woman's arms a baby cries

i think guilt and innocence
they are a matter of degree
what might be justice to you
might not be justice to me
i went to far, i'm sorry
i guess now i'm going home
so let any amongst you cast the first stone
now we've got all these complicated machines
so no one person ever has to have blood on their hands
we've got complex organizations
and if everyone just does their job
no one person has to understand

you might be the wrong color
you might be too poor
justice isn't something just anyone can afford
you might not pull the trigger
you might be out in the car
and you might get a lethal injection
'cause we take a metaphor that far

the big day has come
the bell is sounding
i run my hands through my hair one last time
outside the prison walls
the town has gathered
people are trading crime for crime
people are trading crime for crime
people are still trading crime for crime


Lyrics submitted by aur0ra

Crime for Crime Lyrics as written by Ani Difranco

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Crime for Crime song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • 0
    General Comment

    i agree with this song completely. it describes my view of the death penalty -- kill someone to prove that it's wrong to kill someone. we have become god, and we try to view it as a 'symbol' or 'metaphor' that everyone can LEARN from.

    then she says: 'now we've got all these complicated machines so no one person ever has to have blood on their hands we've got complex organizations and if everyone just does their job no one person has to understand' talking about how no one understands the atrocity they're committing. we've dehumanized murder, but only if we ourselves commit it. no one has to be 'guilty', because they don't have the blood on their hands.

    it's all bullshit.

    sapphireskieson March 22, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    very well put...

    tonimaeon March 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song is powerful, sad, filled with strong imagery, and great sounding. listening to it right now

    Ani difranco has kick ass political messages that she doesn't get enough credit for.

    Fuck execution, who the hell do the government officials think they are to be able to determine whether someone lives or not based on the rules of the ruling class and their bureaucratic positions. Crime for a Crime-that is the best way to sum up execution

    River Wolfon March 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song is so well phrased and very powerful!.. I think its about more than the death penalty however, I think its about a system that at its worst includes the death penalty.. but its also saying alot about the prison industrial complex as a whole and our judicial system. Saying "you might be the wrong color you might be too poor justice isn't something just anyone can afford" is a massive statement to the fact that our system is nowhere close to nuetral and is actually extreamely racist, sexist and classist. Kudos for naming it Ani..

    PositivelyPositiveon October 23, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song is so well phrased and very powerful!.. I think its about more than the death penalty however, I think its about a system that at its worst includes the death penalty.. but its also saying alot about the prison industrial complex as a whole and our judicial system. Saying "you might be the wrong color you might be too poor justice isn't something just anyone can afford" is a massive statement to the fact that our system is nowhere close to nuetral and is actually extreamely racist, sexist and classist. Kudos for naming it Ani..

    PositivelyPositiveon October 23, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Rich people can and do literally get away with murder, but if you are poor and your trailer trash boyfriend decides to rob a gas station while you are driving, that's a joint venture you could die for if you can't find a good lawyer.

    watevaon February 27, 2014   Link

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