"This Mess We're In" as written by and Polly Jean Harvey....
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 ohh (the city sunset over me)
Ohh (the city sunset over me)

Night and day
I dream of
Making love
To you now baby
Love making on screen

Impossible dream
And I have seen
The sunrise over the river
The freeway
Reminding of

This mess we're in
And ohh (the city sunset over me)
Ohh (the city sunset over me)

And ohh (the city sunset over me)
Ohh (the city sunset over me)

What were you wanting? (What was that you wanted?)
I just wanna say (I just wanna say)
(Don't ever change) Don't ever change now baby
(And thank you) And thank you
(I don't think we will meet again) I don't think we will meet again

(And you must leave now) And you must leave now (Before the sun rises over the skyscrapers)
Before the sun rise (And the city landscape comes into view)
Over the skyscrapers (Sweat on my skin, oh)
The city

This mess we're in
And ohh (the city sunset over me)
Ohh (the city sunset over me)
Ohh (the city sunset over me)
Ohh (the city sunset over me)


Lyrics submitted by shut, edited by goodnews

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

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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This Mess We're In song meanings
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36 Comments

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  • +4
    General Commentthey "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 CommentI 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 CommentThe 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 InterpretationHe'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
  • +1
    General CommentI 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 Commentthis 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
  • +1
    General CommentIt 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 Commentthis song was the soundtrack to my long distance relationship.
    oh okon August 27, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDidn'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 Commentyou're right lauradee, that was dumb.
    akagoldfishon October 05, 2008   Link

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