Speak to me of universal laws
The whores hustle and the hustlers whore
All around me people bleed
Speak to me your song of greed

Speak to me of your inner charm
Of how you'll keep me safe from harm
I don't think so, I don't see
Speak to me of your inner peace, oh

Little people at the amusement park
City people in the dark
Speak to us, send us a sign
Just give us something to keep us trying

And the whores hustle and the hustlers whore
Too many people out of love
The whores hustle and the hustlers whore
This city's ripped right to the core

Speak to me of heroin and speed
Of genocide and suicide, of syphilis and greed
Speak to me the language of love
The language of violence, the language of the heart

This isn't the first time I've asked for money or love
Heaven and earth don't ever mean enough
Speak to me of heroin and speed
Just give me something I can believe

The whores hustle and the hustlers whore
Too many people out of love
The whores hustle and the hustlers whore
This city's ripped right to the core

Oh, oh
Oh, oh
Oh, oh
Oh, oh
Oh, oh
Oh, oh
Oh, oh


Lyrics submitted by shut

The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore Lyrics as written by Polly Jean Harvey

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.,

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The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +1
    General Comment

    Those who think they are exploiting, are in reality themselves being exploited, and the exploited, in turn, will just as soon exploit others.

    Byzantium90on April 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    seems to me that shes singing about the breakdown of society - not because of the general way the system works, but because of individual people themselves. the bad corrupts the good.

    atthedrive-inon November 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i agree, hits me as being about the corruption of the world. when i first read the lyrics, the first thing that came to my mind, was the thought of it being about the world of current rap music - people who rap about bootys, hoes, drive-bys, guns, ect.

    Speak to me

    Of heroin and speed

    Genocide and suicide

    Of syphilis and greed

    Just the negative effects on soceity that irresponsible artists have.

    that_sullen_girlon September 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This is another song about/directed to Nick (Cave). These lines give it away:

    "Speak to me Of heroin and speed Genocide and suicide Of syphilis and greed Speak to me The language of love The language of violence The language of the heart"

    Nick used to enjoy his heroin and speed, his songs are all about love/the heart (he aslo lectures about the love song), and usually contain a decent portion of violence, and "syphilis and greed" is a lyric borrowed directly from his song Mercy:

    "A viper's voice would plead Thick with innuendo syphilis and greed

    And she cried `Mercy' Have mercy upon me And I told her to get down on her knees"

    I'm not sure whether Polly is comparing him to the viper's voice, or whether she is asking for mercy, since she left him, and he didn't exactly take it well (we have her to thank for most of his beautiful album, The Boatman's Call).

    Just my two cents.

    the_boatmanon September 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    To me it is a song about the eternal balance between survival/money/whoring etc.. and love and respect for one another as humans. The art of deception in nature has always been intrinsically intertwined with sexuality and prolonging life. Look at birds who decieve via appearance to look more beautiful and therefore attractive to mates. Likewise other animals pretend to have more food or material wealth than they actually do. These two deceptive forces meet and ... "the whores hustle and the hustlers whore"

    whydfukdoihaveon December 09, 2014   Link
  • -1
    General Comment

    seems pretty straightforward. this song has always sounded a bit immature to me, like she wants to write about something she doesn't know anything about. "speak to me of heroin and speed"... uh, ok, whatta you wanna know?

    and i hate to break it to Sullen Girl, but the evils of our world are not being inflicted upon us by rap artists.

    SWRJoneson March 10, 2006   Link

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