I got sunshine in my stomach
Like I just rocked my baby to sleep
I got sunshine in my stomach
But I can't keep me from creeping sleep
Sleep, deep in the deep

Rockface moves to press my skin
White liquid turn sour within
Turn fast, turn sour
Turn sweat, turn sour

Must tell myself that I'm not here
I'm drowning in a liquid fear
Bottled in a strong compression
My distortion shows obsession

In the cave
Get me out of this cave

If I keep my self-control
I'll be safe in my soul
And the childhood belief
Brings a moment's relief
But my cynic soon returns
And the lifeboat burns
My spirit just never learns

Stalactites, stalagmites
Shut me in, lock me tight
Lips are dry, throat is dry
Feel like burning, stomach churning

I'm dressed up in a white costume
Padding out leftover room
Body stretching, feel the wrenching

In the cage
Get me out of the cage

In the glare of a light
I see a strange kind of sight
Of cages joined to form a star
Each person can't go very far
All tied to their things
They're netted by their strings
Free to flutter in memories of their wasted wings

Outside the cage I see my Brother John
He turns his head so slowly round
I cry out "Help!"
Before he can be gone
And he looks at me without a sound
And I shout out "John please help me!"
But he does not even want to try to speak
I'm helpless in my violent rage
And a silent tear of blood dribbles down his cheek
And I watch him turn away and leave the cage
My little runaway

(Raindrops keep failing on my head, they keep falling on my)
(Raindrops keep failing on my head, they keep falling on my)
(Raindrops keep failing on my head, they keep falling on my)

In a trap, feel a strap
Holding still
Pinned for kill
Chances narrow that I'll make it
In the cushioned straight-jacket
Just like 22nd Street
They got me by my neck and feet
Pressures building, can't take more
My headaches charge, ear aches roar
In this pain
Get me out of this pain

If I could change to liquid
I could fill the cracks up in the rocks
I know that I am solid
And I am my own bad luck

Outside John disappears, and my cage dissolves
Without any reason my body revolves

Keep on turning
Keep on turning
Keep on turning
Keep on turning
Keep on turning
Turning around
Just spinning around

(Round, round, round, round)

Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

In the Cage [New Stereo Mix] Lyrics as written by Michael Rutherford Anthony Banks


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In The Cage song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThe song begins with Rael feeling comfortable and warm in the cuckoo cocoon- "I got sunshine in my stomach." He feels so good that he falls asleep, and when he wakes up he notices something... different about the cave, something that he can't put his finger on yet. The bass and organ in this song do a great job of conveying the mounting fear in the pit of Rael's stomach as he leans back against the rock wall of the cave- "rockface moves to press my skin." I don't understand all the references to liquid that follow, but something in the cave is scaring Rael, so he "must tell [him]self that [he's] not here, [he's] drowning in some liquid fear." He keeps the fear hidden inside- "bottle in a strong compression-" and tells himself that he's blowing the whole thing out of proportion, it's stupid to fear the dark- "my distortion shows obsession." But he *is* scared nonetheless, and calls "Get me out of this cave!" Rael is sure that if he can keep his self-control, he'll be safe "in [his] soul," and finds a "moment's relief" with this idea, even though he calls it merely a "childhood belief." He is older and knows better, is more used to danger now. Indeed, his "cynic soon returns," his natural, current mindset that allows him to look for the worse side of everything, and he is no longer saved by comforting himself- "the lifeboat burns." He admits that his "spirit just never learns-" he can never keep himself comfortable for too long. Now the stalactites and stalagmites are forming a cage around Rael, trapping him in, and he starts to feel sick- "lips are dry, throat is dry, feel like burning, stomach churning." I don't understand the "white costume" reference though. Rael yells again for help- "Get me out of this cage!"

    The next verse of the song I have my own theory about that I don't want to get into here, but I'll say that I believe the people in cages above Rael have some relation to the "butterflies" that the narrator from the beginning of the Lamb's liner notes has. The point is that Rael notices there are more people trapped just like him. He then notices his brother John, a new character introduced in the story, standing outside of the cave. This is probably my favorite part of the story, because I can see so clearly Rael yelling for his brother to help him- "I shout out 'Help!' before he can be gone, and he looks at me without a sound. And I shout out 'John, please help me!,' but he does not even want to try to speak." Obviously John is not a very loving brother, as he selfishly abandons Rael to face his doom without even speaking to Rael. I imagine his face completely emotionless in contrast to Rael's- Rael is probably screaming in anguish and desperation, pounding on the bars of the cage ("helpless in my violent rage"), and John is expressionless and blank, even as a tear of blood runs down his cheek (which suggests that he showing false sympathy for Rael). Then he betrays Rael and leaves him by himself, and although Rael should be angry at him or at least keep yelling for help he only lets this occurrence slide by with the affectionate remark of "My little runaway." To me, this suggests that John has done this sort of thing before, abandoning Rael in his time of need, and that Rael is used to it now, though it exasperates him more than anything. The next frenetic chant of "Raindrops keep falling on my head..." creeps me out, as if Rael is trying not to go crazy by chanting this. That line reminds me of Chinese water torture, actually (I do know what song it's referencing though).

    Rael resigns himself to his fate. He notes that the feeling is "just like 22nd Street, when they got me by my neck and feet," which I think is referring to when he was caught and hauled into the Pontiac Reformatory in his backstory. The fear is the same now. The pain grows worse, and he wishes that he could change to liquid and escape, but still can't comfort himself with lies. He also blames himself for getting caught- "I am my own bad luck-" which is heartbreaking to hear because he couldn't avoid it in any way. Then the cage dissolves and Rael is taken to his next destination, the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging. This song is significant because Rael develops a fear of the dark/caves, which comes back to bite him in The Waiting Room/Anyway. It is also the first time that John betrays Rael.
    EnduringChillon February 11, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me this and the preceding song (Cuckoo Cocoon) together could be interpreted as Rael / Peter describing a (possibly really experienced by Gabriel?) drug trip.
    He takes drugs and the initial feeling is quite good (Cuckoo Cocoon & the first 3 lines of this song) but then the bad trip kicks in: unpleasant body aches, which are described quite consistently and are typical of taking drugs, mix themselves with a horrific rush of drug-induced imagery of fear and anxiety.
    If you have experienced something similar in your life, you can't but recognize that this is a vivident, magnificent description of a bad drug trip. This is sheer bloody poetry, chapeau to Mr. Gabriel for that.
    Enrico81on June 17, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is Peter Gabriel and Genesis at it's best. There aren't many songs these days much like this one. It is absolutely the greatest. Thanks
    yariv99on July 24, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBack to the song!!!! When do you get sunshine in your stomach? When you are in love - such a wonderful feeling, such a lovely opening line. The rest of the song means something totally different, but I just love that opening line
    nagromnaion May 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is a really great song. i love genesis. my mum intorduced the band to me and i always listen to it for my 16th birthday i will be getting most of the albums.
    portia the pirateon July 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've only heard this album up to this song, but I'm already thinking that this could be one of my favorite albums. For me, this is amazing. The only other album to have such an impact for me on first listen was Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick, which just happens to be my favorite album of all time. Things bode well for this one...
    inpraiseoffollyon October 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song is about Rael's fear and insecurities, manifested by a panic attack. The Cage is the intense psychological fear he is experiencing. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, as Gabriel explained, is an allegory - a pilgrim's progress. It is the tale, on the surface anyway, of a young disenfranchised Puerto Rican, who likes arson and violence - but in essence, is trying to find out who he really is. John, his brother in the story, is really Rael's alter ego. Rael is on journey of self discovery. Gabriel's finest lyrics and for me, Genesis's finest album. Peter Gabriel himself said it is the only album which still stands the test of time and also considers it their best work,
    Kelticon February 13, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationto me the song is all about the opening line. "I got sunshine in my stomach" to me this signifies the orange sunshine of the 70's which were acid tabs. The rest describes the story of a bad trip experienced by the user. I could be wrong but no other explanation works for me although I like the John Lennon idea.
    james11087on June 15, 2019   Link
  • -1
    My Interpretationi wonder who "john" might be in this passage:

    Outside the cage I see my Brother John,
    He turns his head so slowly round.
    I cry out Help! before he can be gone,
    And he looks at me without a sound.
    And I shout out 'John please help me!'
    But he does not even want to try to speak.
    I'm helpless in my violent rage
    And a silent tear of blood dribbles down his cheek,
    And I watch him turn away and leave the cage.
    My little runaway.

    could it be john lennon? does anyone know of any siblings of any members that were named john? in this version b in brother is capitalized, signifying to me a religious connection.

    i think it could be john lennon because i just read the other day that the previous album, 'selling england by the pound', was praised by lennon. they found out about that praised and were very proud that a hero of theirs like what they produced.

    also, the references to the song/album/movie 'help!' (with the exclamation point) are giving it away.
    luckymustardon May 22, 2011   Link
  • -3
    General Commentall references to the rael story throught the lamb, easiest explained (altho not in any logical way) through the story on the album sleeve. just to add something tho... while this is definately brilliant in every way, its unfair to claim peter gabriels era in anyway better to phils or even ray wilsons. a band is a band, people move about. -if u like peter u follow him etc. if i werent for the conversion over time to a more public friendly kind of music then 1987s wembley gig and the ultimate worldwide fame genesis found wouldnt've happened. anyway, by 1974 gabriel had started to dominate the band when it was always banks and rutherfords baby. if he hadnt have left then the next album would have been terrible as the members started to hate the man. u have to learn to enjoy all the songs based on what they are, not what u think they coulda been if other people were involved. there is no sense in that.
    parberooon April 15, 2005   Link

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