"Southern Belle" as written by and Steven P. Smith....
Killing a southern belle is all you know how to do
That and give other people hell
It's what they expect from you too
But I wouldn't have you how you want

I don't want to walk around
I don't even want to breathe
I live in a southern town
Where all you can do is grit yr teeth

But I wouldn't have you how you want
How come you're not ashamed of what you are?
And sorry that you're the one she got?
Ain't nobody looking now

Nobody nothing's said
No one's about to shout
Nobody's seen red
But I wouldn't have you how you want

You're killing a southern belle
Killing a southern belle
Killing a southern belle

Lyrics submitted by EnjOy IncUbus, edited by gophergun

"Southern Belle" as written by Steven P. Smith

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Southern Belle song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentYeah, it is about a husband who's abusive to his wife, Elliotts stepfather to his mother, specifically. Elliott really loved his mom, but seemed to absolutely despise his stepfather, who was abusive to him, and I'm guessing from this song, also abusive to his mom.
    crimpon December 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits about an husband abusing his wife methinks.
    probably when they marry she used to be very lovely, probably a "belle"...now her life it's ruined and what she had of good (her rank as "belle") it's gone away. he deprives her of her good qualities, she's not a southern belle anymore, just a battered wife. its about killing someone's soul through abuse either physical or mental.
    dorareeveron April 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, this one is the frustrated thoughts of someone who doesn't understand why a certain girl is going for the big, loud, redneck, tough-guy a--hole, when it's obvious he doesn't treat her well. He thinks he can offer her more, but the fact that he can't makes him angry. He sees her being tarnished and degraded by someone not worthy of her. And maybe, she even wants to be treated that way, because it's all she knows. I think it's also about being an outsider in a place where you're outnumbered by people with a more primitive mindset than yours ("I live in a southern town/where all you can do is grit your teeth"). You can't really do anything about it. Elliott grew up in Texas, by the way.
    facedownowlson May 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's about his mom and his stepfather.
    precipitateon November 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, it's about Charlie Welch. Very emotional and raw.
    NishFetson December 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti really like the part "how come you're not ashamed of what you are?". at the same time he's saying that he hates this person, but also that he is somehow ashamed over who he is, wondering how it comes that this horrible person thinks he's a good person, while elliott can't accept himself.
    found_storyon March 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits slightly oedipal isn't it? especially to those who weren't aware that it was about his mom and step-dad, it seems as though he wishes he was the "one she got". great song though, wish he was still alive to give us more of the same, R.I.P.
    badgeon May 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the ending lyrics. They fit in with the intensity of the song
    Merkson December 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentinteresting. i just found out theres a strain of poppies called southern belle
    high timeson April 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that everyone has the right idea here, and it's really interesting to me because I never knew it was about his stepfather and mother. It makes sense though. I also love the line "no one's about to shout / nobody's seeing red / but I wouldn't have you how you want". It's like nobody else seems to notice just how wrong this situation is except Elliott (or Steven, whichever), and his anger is so pointed and sure that it's somehow more powerful than a punch or a shaking fist. I love this song, I think it's got some of the best guitar work of his entire catalogue. He really makes such dynamic use of his acoustic that it would honestly ruin the song to put any more instrumention in it. Amazing.

    On another note, I am very pleased to note that under "E" on the main page the two artists are Eminem and Elliott Smith. It's great to see his influence and popularity are only growing as time goes moves on. We miss you terribly, Elliott.
    imfromtexas02on July 05, 2006   Link

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