Can you hear them?
The helicopters?
I'm in New York
No need for words now
We sit in silence
You look me
In the eye directly
You met me
I think it's Wednesday
The evening
The mess we're in and
(Oh) The city sun sets over me
(Oh) The city sun sets over me

Night and day
I dream of making love
To you now, baby
Impossible dream
And I have seen
The sunrise
Over the river
The freeway
Of this mess we're in and
(Oh) The city sun sets over me
(Oh) The city sun sets over me

The city sunset over me
The city sun sets over me

What were you wanting? (What was it you wanted?)
I just want to say (I just want to say)
Don't ever change now, baby (don't ever change)
And thank you (and thank you)
I don't think we will meet again (I don't think we will meet again)
You must leave now before the sun rises above the skyscrapers
(And you must leave now)
And the city landscape (before the sunrise)
Comes into view (above skyscrapers)
Sweat on my skin, and oh (the sin and)
This mess we're in

(Oh) The city sun sets over me
(Oh) The city sunset over me
(Oh) The city sun sets over me
(Oh) The city sun sets over me

Lyrics submitted by shut, edited by goodnews

This Mess We're In Lyrics as written by Polly Harvey

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.,

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This Mess We're In song meanings
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  • +6
    General Comment
    they "want" each other, but they're obligated to someone else, perhaps a spouse. they get together for a night, but that's all.
    mystikmuzikon March 27, 2003   Link
  • +4
    General Comment
    I love the way PJ's words 'sweat on my skin' and Thom's 'sin' overlap, so that they become one. The sweat on her skin is his sin. Its typical of the whole song; beautiful and perfectly formed. You can tell they've really thought about what they're saying and the way they say it. They take real pleasure in their art.
    boss_2kon April 15, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    The discussion taking place on the PJ Harvey thread for this song suggests that the song might be about a pair of lovers who ae obligated to someone else, perhaps a spouse (thanks to Mystic_Muzic), and whom get together for one night, decide it won't work, and then call it quits for good in a terribly tragic love story.
    Arianrhodon June 19, 2003   Link
  • +3
    My Interpretation
    He's attached, meaning he has another lover, and they get together from time to time, although it goes on and on about "never seeing again". I think it just what they say every time he leaves before the dawn, and then they always get back together. I mostly think of this b/c of the line "Night and day I dream of making love to you now, baby Love making on screen Impossible dream" Love making on screen means going out in the open about her, and that's something he can't do, since he has the other girl. And it's definitely an affair, that's the "mess" they're in, but at the same time though they can't be together, they just can't be apart, even when "sitting in silence, no need for words"... The best part, as boss_2k said, when PJ Harvey's "sweat on my skin ugh" and Tom Yorke's "sin" overlap. It's obvious, the sweat the "ugh"... they're having sex, and though it's a sin for him, seeing her happy with him is worth it... that's why he keeps dreaming the impossible dream.
    311210on August 29, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    this song is great, it kind of leaves me with a hauntered sort of feeling, dunno why, perhaps the intention, i love it though, pjs latest album is brilliant someone should post the songs - the letter- track 5 is just fantastic
    productofthe80son September 19, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    It really is about a one night stand they spent. Shit is they shouldn't have, for whatever reason.. oh, the mess. And it's she who leaves... You're all missing the best part of the lyrics, when PJ and Thom are both singing in turns, PJ sings: What was it you wanted? I just wanna say don't ever change and thank you i don't think we will meet again i really must leave now before the sunrises over the skyscrapers and the city's landscape comes into being the sweat on my skin... oh! this last line kills me every time. Enjoy!
    _RiK_on April 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    I think that along with pj harvey's complex relation with the city, which in this song represents the tragedy of reality, this song is about a relationship falling apart. the two lovers still love each other but are waking, "the city sun set over me," to the fact that their relationship cannot work. As for the theory that they are pre-engaged, i think thats plausible enough for me. PS pj harvey rules
    samthehatteron June 24, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    this song was the soundtrack to my long distance relationship.
    oh okon August 27, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    Didn't entirely understand this song until I had an affair of my own. Something like...I knew that she knew that I knew that we'd done something wrong, but it felt right at the time. Regardless, I left her house before the sun came up, haven't seen her since.
    zerocharismaon April 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    you're right lauradee, that was dumb.
    akagoldfishon October 06, 2008   Link

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