"Coming Up Roses" as written by and Steven P. Smith....
I'm a junkyard full of false starts
And I don't need your permission
To bury my love under this bare lightbulb

The moon is a sickle-cell
I'll kill you in time
Your cold white brother alive in your blood
Like spun glass in your sore eye

While the moon does it's division
You're buried below
And it's coming up roses everywhere
You've gone red roses fall in love

The things that you tell yourself
They'll kill you in time
Your cold white brother alive in your blood
Spinning in the night sky

While the moon does its division
You're buried below
And it's coming up roses everywhere
You've gone red roses

So you got in a kind of trouble
That nobody knows
It's coming up roses everywhere
You've gone red roses.

Lyrics submitted by EnjOy IncUbus, edited by kellylugosisdead, Marijuanaut

"Coming Up Roses" as written by Steven P. Smith

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Coming Up Roses song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThe imagery in this song is perhaps the most vivid of all Elliott's songs.
    It's very poetic, and fraught with metaphors and ambiguities.

    To me, though, this song just speaks of the awkward, difficulties of life,
    "I'm a junkyard full of false starts"
    and the way people are always struggling to stay above the water, always hiding things, and always just barely making it through the day out of pure luck, because there's no organisation, no purpose, no drive in their lives;

    "So you got in a kind of trouble that nobody knows
    And you're coming up roses everywhere you go
    Red roses"

    But that's just me. I adore this song.
    Visionistaon September 25, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentpushing up daisies
    dubtigeron February 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song makes me think about sickle cell anemia (the moon is a sickle cell/It'll kill you), and refers to red and white blood.. the sickle cell moon doing division.. It's clever. I don't know where to go with that though. It's like sadness is an illness?
    32flavrson July 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentElliott Smith so often hides his drug references in everyday phrases made into elaborate metaphors, and that's why I think he's one of the greatest writers about that subject ever. it all sort of represents the way addiction just creeps into every part of a person's life.
    strange_as_angels86on August 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThere's an underlying problem that no one can see: "So you got in a kind of trouble that nobody knows." To interpret this song you have to work off of this idea -- that your troubles cannot be seen by others. What others see, in stark contrast, is you "coming up roses everywhere you go." They see you succeeding. Everywhere you go things are working out. But all this success is prone to collapse if the "trouble that nobody knows" comes out. In a sense, you're bound to everyone's misperception of you, and you become a distorted version of your ideal self. What exists in the void created by the differentiation between your distorted self and your ideal self? But these ideas are expressed at the end of the song. From here, we have to work backward to attempt to answer the question I have raised, among many others that many others have certainly raised. Unfortunately, the lyrics at the front end of the song lend themselves to so many different interpretations it's startling. (Meaning, I'm not yet ready to go there.)

    iamjackslifeon November 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've always thought this song was about the masks people wear, the way we present ourselves as being "fine," or "okay," when, really, our world is falling to peices and there's a wall we can't climb-we're lost and lonely, afraid and discouraged. We're still "coming up roses" on the outside.
    StarClaireon July 23, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthmm... while I hate having to say any elliott songs are about drugs, this one is one that I believe is. "Coming up Roses" supposedly means the flash of blood that shoots into the syringe when you shoot up on heroin. "cold white brother riding your blood" is the drug itself... "I don't need your permission to bury my love under this bare light bulb" I've always interpreted as even though people rant about doing drugs, he's not gonna stop, he'll bury his love (heroin) in his arm under the bare light bulb, maybe in a basement or something somewhere. "While the moon does its division you're buried below" is either dead or in that same basement, shooting up. "The things that you tell yourself, they'll kill you in time" is how he might say "heroin's OK, it won't hurt me" will eventually hurt him.
    mon no jigokuon June 07, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti have to agree with mon no jigoku. the signs are obvious...and not that im familiar with the lingo...but come on. i've never been a fan of trying to interpret other peoples work, but there isn't much to interpret here. hes talking about shooting up.
    heartgrewfonderon June 22, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is absolutely awesome. I can't get much about it, but I was thinking he was trying to cheer up during his life long depression by saying to himself "it's coming up roses" when really he was falling apart. Errie
    28064212on September 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthese lyrics are amazing.
    promisexkepton December 14, 2004   Link

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