Hey
Been trying to meet you
Hey
Must be a devil between us
Or whores in my head
Whores at the door
Whore in my bed
But hey
Where have you been?
If you go, I will surely die

We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained

'Uh' said the man to the lady
'Uh' said the lady to the man she adored
And the whores like a choir
Go 'uh' all night
And Mary ain't you tired of this?
Uh
Is
The
Sound
That the mother makes when the baby breaks
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained
We're chained


Lyrics submitted by riffic

"Hey" as written by Charles Thompson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Hey song meanings
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129 Comments

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  • +11
    General Commentgeneral theme is sex. feeling chained to someone because they'll screw you, maybe finding someone you can actually love but all the other sex getting in the way, being diverted from one whore to the next. too much sex messes with your head, especially if lots of different people. you dont know which one to be chained to. "mary ain't you tired of this": asking arent you tired of the same old thing-empty sex with no feeling. but the hey been trying to meet you makes me think of hitting on people. also-the second verse thing shows men arent as chained to partners as the ladies are, and sometimes women succumb to sex just because they adore their man. musically- i like the guitar part; it has a pained sound.
    antisoapon July 11, 2002   Link
  • +11
    General CommentI think the song is somewhat about the various sexual partners he has had, but even more about the woman he wants. There's whores all over his bed, but if she leaves his life, he will surely die. It's about a woman he can't have, and he feels chained to her, even though he tries to fill the void with meaningless sexual escapades. The whores in the choir taunt him because he can't have the real thing he wants, because the woman and him can't be for some reason.
    glumbleon December 14, 2004   Link
  • +7
    General CommentI don't think this song is necessisarily about sex. The indications that sex is the main theme of this song is strong, but I think it is mainly about love gone wrong but still miserably alive. The opening line, "Hey, been trying to meet you" is like a plea to reconcile with this person, even though it might be like trying to be with someone who has drastically changed, almost like meeting a new person. The whores aren't literally whores, they're more like ideas and preconceptions about love and relationships the speaker of the song has given into. Whores can be beautiful and alluring, but illogical and eventually devoid of truth, and they are the ideals the person in the song has clung to, and that person is realizing that it is damaging the realationship he is in. Despite how illogical and harmful it is to be together with this person, he still wants to cultivate his adamant view of love with his lover; they are chained because they are avoiding the cold truth about their love.
    The second part is more about the sexual part of their realationship; the "whores like a choir", their ideals keeping their futile love alive. The whole part about Mary might be a religious reference. The lovers in the song may view thier love as this immaculate and beautiful thing, like the way Jesus was made. But the baby is aborted, and their love is something that never will be complete nor immaculate, there isn't any use for it to be alive. So the lovers are held together forever, they still love each other even though they'll never be together again.
    Ink_Kisson January 29, 2005   Link
  • +6
    My InterpretationI think the meaning of this song has been mostly fleshed-out over the course of the comments, but I wanted to add one thing. I've seen a lot of comments about the "Mary, ain't you tired of this?" line being in reference to the Virgin Mary (as someone here aptly wrote, "the most famous virgin in history"). However, let us not forget that there's another Mary (from the very same book, no less) who is perhaps the most famous *whore* in history! Mary Magdalene has been traditionally miscast a prostitute who, after meeting Jesus, reforms her ways and joins him as a disciple. Now, put that in the context of this song:

    "Mary, ain't you tired of this?"
    The speaker (could be Francis as Jesus at this point) is saying "Mary, aren't you tired of the casual meaningless sex? Aren't tired of being a whore? Change your ways and be with me."

    The speaker is comparing himself to Mary Magdalene because he has met the girl that he wants to be with (been tryin' to meet you), but knows that his lifestyle (his whores) are preventing him from being with her (a devil between us, or whores in my bed). Despite calling the girls he sleeps with "whores" throughout the song, it is actually the speaker that is the whore!

    Pretty amazing that Black Francis has the lyrical ability to write a song comparing a man's love for a particular woman to Mary Magdalene's love for Jesus, all while filling it with sexual imagery, grunts, and one of the best guitar riffs and solos in history.
    Saxydudeon January 28, 2010   Link
  • +6
    General CommentThe Pixies are an amazingly important band to modern rock and this song in particular resonates with me and normally I don't comment with my own interpretations but it seems I look at it differently and I was curious what people thought.

    The song starts with "Been trying to meet you" - whether this is a longing for a while or just a girl that's been spotted at a party or something, regardless, a certain female has caught his eye. She drives him wild and he wants to meet her.

    When you first have that fiery feeling of attraction and meet someone, looking in their eyes is a really intense experience, the emotions boil and its very exciting - an adrenaline rush, similar to other exhilarating / thrilling experiences. "Must be a devil between us" is an acknowledgement of this sexual tension - she can feel it to.
    He's seducing her, she is digging it, but social conditioning / resistance to his charm or whatever is making her a bit uneasy, why is this man so confident? Why does she feel like this? "well there must be a devil between us..."

    Really its his frames of reference, his many other conquests, he's done this many times before - just because this girl he is intoxicated by doesn't mean he's going to be any more reserved - he wants this girl and he will take her.
    "Or whores in my head, whores in my door, a whore in my bed" - this is just his sexual confidence, he doesn't see women as whores but he couples all of his conquests together as a purely "sexual" conquests, they have no meaning to him outside of sex.

    Think for a second about the structure of the song, the bassline, the guitar, its got a VERY sexual bassy sound to it - the way the lyrics are delivered are almost like they are being spoken to someone.

    "But hey, where have you been? if you go I will surely die!" - this is playful, its flirting, he's going to get what he wants, he really desires this girl - perhaps he doesn't know why, maybe at this point he thinks she is different / special / not like the rest. In this moment this is the only woman in the world to him.

    He takes her home.

    Musical interlude - its a sexual song, no need to figure out what is going on here? the end of the 'solo'... sounds like a bit of a crescendo (or climax?).

    HUH said the man to the lady? HUH said the lady to the man?
    Well... they are enjoying each other and clearly having quite a passionate time.

    Now he is disappointed, he's had her now, she's now like the countless others, the mystery has gone and she moans and groans just like all the others.

    Mary aren't you tired of this?

    He's coming to the realisation that he isn't getting what he needs from sex any more... maybe he's contemplating staying with this girl... who knows? He thought this was perhaps someone he could become attached to be now he's not so sure.

    However, the choice is taken away from him in the end - HUH is also the sound the mother makes when the baby breaks... giving birth, the pains of giving birth, screaming out in agony instead of ecstasy.

    Now he is chained to her, previously the chains have been metaphorical, but now he is literally chained to this chick - he has the extra meaning in his relationship with this chick, but its not love or anything like that, its being shackled to her due to responsibility.

    He's just as broken as he was at the start.
    padrin0on December 13, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI was a little surprised that nobody has mentioned the tarot reference in this song. The idea of having "a devil between us" and being "chained" directly mirrors The Devil, card XV of the major Arcana.
    sekainohatenon March 04, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think this song is about someone who lives a life full of sexual escapade after sexual escapade. Hence the whores in his bed. However, he's not satisfied with it. He wants someone that's more than that, someone more significant than just a one night stand. He wants to meet someone he can feel passionately about, someone he can devote himself, but all he can muster is sexual flings. I think he finally does meet someone he feels he could potentially love and is thrilled (If you go I will surely die) but, tragically, she's only interested for the sex (and mary ain't you tired of this).

    I don't think the man and lady described (that go "Uh" to each other) are the two people at the beginning. I think they're a separate scenario, what would usually be expected, what he was expecting through their encounter - for him to not care and for her to be brimming with adoration. But instead, it's just the opposite. He wants more from her than she's interested in giving.

    "We're chained" is the idea that they're both chained to this same situation, doomed to repeat simple meaningless sex over and over again, that he can't find anything new and different like how he so badly wants, but is stuck repeating this same pattern of get in, get out.

    Maybe.
    ariomnessdon February 01, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commentfirst off, I only read the first page as a result of my attention span. so sorry if this has already been said. but, THAT said...

    the emphasis of Black Francis on the "we're chained" and the sore/anguished sear of the guitar lead me to believe the aim is more at a deeper pain than just sex.

    one aspect of it is that people, in a way that's more instinct and nature than simply choice, are pulled towards sex. there's the obvious tone of tiredness of the process-- whores and routine "uh"s and the continual stream of "heys" as the narrator goes for another. but of course, tug against it as much as we may, we're chained.

    then it takes sex, that natural tendency of man, and goes on to say that it fuels on the next step of man, which both are met by a grunt of either pleasure or pain or boredom. the next time "we're chained" is sung, it still means the same as the first one, with us being chained by our natural instincts, but it adds the chain of our connection/obligation to the rest of mankind and the chain (from the child's perspective) of being born out of and into the "uh" all over again.

    so I'd go as far as summing the point as- Man is forever bound to his instincts and to the people around him, so too bad, go ahead and keep to it.
    eleventyon January 04, 2008   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningPerusing through the previous comments, I have come up with my own interpretation. When he's speaking about being "chained", I think of it as a ball and chain- a prisoner: Thoughts that overcome some men when they find out they're about to have a kid.
    The inevitability of having that child born and never being able to mess around with another women again.

    Black says, "must be a devil between us". When he and his lover hug, her pregnant belly is in between them. He probably doesn't literally mean the devil. It's just that feeling when you think to yourself, damn.. This is real.. I'm having a kid.. But in the back of your head.. You're also thinking about all the girls you'll be missing out on.

    He then says, "Or whores in my head, whores at the door, whores in my bed" I think he's cheating or at least just thinking about all the girls he'll be missing out on. Although I would like to think it's him cheating because.. I don't know how to explain it but I think it means he's cheating.

    Then he says, "But hey where have you been? if you go I will surely die". He says this after he brags about whores but then he uses this kinda tone that's like, "But hey it's not my fault that I'm messing or thinking of these whores..where have you been?" He's speaking directly to her and asking where has she been. Maybe she's been gone (either mentally, or physically) and that's how he's been able to sneak all these "whores" around.

    But when he says, "but if you go I will surely die". I don't know if he genuinely meant that or he's kind of saying that to her to bump up those trust points.. Or whatever. Kinda of like dramatic irony. Because some girls are like that... fall for mushy stuff.

    I was thinking maybe the part where he's says,
    "uh said the man to the lady" I think the "lady" is his lover but he refers to her as to just a lady because he's kinda debasing her.
    "uh said the lady to the man she adored", You can interpret the "uh" in any way if you think about it. But the fact that it says, "to the man she adored", shows a little obliviousness on her part and see's the man in much higher regard.

    And of course obviously you know that this part, "and the whores like a choir go uh all night", is probably just his exaggeration of all the girls he's been with moaning.

    Now this part is brilliant.. I think this is a nice allusion. This part of the song is what made me interpret it the way I did "and mary ain't you tired of this
    uh
    is
    the
    sound
    that the mother makes when the baby breaks
    we're chained"

    Back to the baby reference.. It's kind of foreshadowing if you use my interpretation. The Virgin mary, was a VIRGIN and she had a baby. (Duh).
    If you modernized that situation. Mary must really feel screwed over. She had this kid that god kind just laid on her. So now she can't really screw around if she wanted to. Especially since it's Jesus... Like that would just make her look bad.. So now she's "chained". If you look up "uh" on dictionary.com it says, (used to indicate hesitation, doubt, or a pause). So maybe she was feeling doubt.

    But if we go back to all the "uh"s that were used in the moaning parts. Just remember there is no onomatopoeia for a moan.. That I can think of.

    So yeah I think I just about covered everything. Hope this get's you thinking. (:
    SallyJustShutUpon August 26, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti couldn't agree more with you antisoap. I love the way this entire song is performed. The vocals have so much emotion and character to them, like previous people said, the way he says "hey" and the grunting. I love it when his voice cracks when he sings "is the sound that the mother makes when the baby breaks."

    I use to swear by Monkey Gone to Heaven being the best Pixies song untill i heard this.
    daisie_bfaon May 06, 2004   Link

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