Nirvana: Heart Shaped Box Meaning
Song Released: 1998
Heart Shaped Box Lyrics
I've been locked inside your Heart Shaped box for a weeks
I've been drawn into your magnet tar pit trap
I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black
I've got a new...
anonymous Jan 23rd, 2007 1:34am report
The whole song is about how Courtney has trapped him!
Verse one about how she trapped him on herion, and verse two how she trapped him into having a baby (both against his wishes)
Courtney is a Pisces and astrologically is a dominant sign (She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak), She gave him a heart shaped box as a present when they first met, and he kept his drugs in it (I've been locked in your heart shaped box for weeks). Magnet tar pit is the actual drug, and "eat your cancer when you trun black", is about how she has made him feel as rotten as she was, ie, the drug addiction.
Verse two "meat eating orchids" is her labia, "cut myself on angel hair and baby's breath" - he was delighted to be a father even though he didn't want to be, "broken hymen of your highness" is a reference to the sexual power women hold over men, "throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back" - he is so fucked and trapped that he assumes the feotal position.
So - the song is about the power struggle within the relationship - she always has to be in control - Kurt is emtionally weak and fragile, she knows this and takes advantage of it, he hates himself and her for being so weak.
Fucking brilliant lyrics! This should be awarded some kind of literal accolade or honour.
I saw them at Reading Festival in '92. I had just turned 19 and at my first festival and was completely blown away by it. Who would have known it would be his last British gig.
Well done you fucking mad bastard!
anonymous Dec 27th, 2005 12:32pm report
I agree more with the last interpretation, in a way. See, this song is sort of an ironic tribute to a woman (most likely Courtney). He likes this woman, lusts after her, so she's got him in her "heart shaped box", in that he's totally under her control. He'd do anything for her. This sort of bothers him (leading to his "complaints", if you will), but at the same time he's obsessive over her with a passion that can't be erased. The whole mood of the song speaks of this. So this woman's sort of got a spell on him, but he likes it, likes it a lot. He wouldn't have it any other way. This sort of describes the complexities of love(as well as lust and passion). And the hymen reference definitely points to sex, but also to his obsession with her body in general.
He's so obsessed he says "I've been caught up in your magnet tar pit trap/ I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black."
This brooding, lusting, obsession over this woman is the focus of the song.
anonymous Dec 20th, 2006 12:19am report
I can understand the meanings of every nirvana song!!!..and albums as concept albums!
This song is about...the media, MTV, television, and the work world. Truely. The nevermind album is about persuing sex, losing innosence, and finding frustration in really never being happy. Like, Lithium he does, but then gets fed up toward the end. And then wants to trap and manipulate him/her in the song Polly (which was inspired by a newspaper article...but captures the appropriate feeling. It cycles over and over..in and out...just like teen depression, sex, and relationships in general. Guns are dicks...everybody...in reference to his likenings.
On the cover of Nevermind it shows a baby chasing a dollar bill...like "Okay, now you're alive, follow the dollar and die.
And THATS WHAT HEART SHAPED BOX IS ABOUT. It moves from the teen depression to adult depression. It's more in reference to Kurt being under the microscope of the media. So is Rape Me. They may have been inspired by acual events, but no ARTIST JUST REPORTS THE NEWS. THEY TELL THE TRUTH. THE TRUTH. THE TRUTH!!!! In this case, the heart shaped box is our television. It is also a settled marriage. "I wish I could eat your cancer" like "I would die for and with you." And you really do kill your self in a marriage...sad and touching, which is the contrast of it ...CONTRAST IS ART...Courtney and Kurt were both really smart, and she understood the challenges of marriage and defeating the self and succuming to selfishness.
The "She" in the song is the media. Looking at him when he's weak and focusing on his errors. Posing as an Orchid and hurting him. Reprters that come from a good child hood and make Kurt look black and bad. (Dave Chapelle's "Black Sheep" joke alludes to this also.) Him wishing that he could be there to exloit their struggles and faults (cancer) when they are bad. The Heart Shaped Box is the Meida's Eye. Our Television. Heart Shaped Box is our Television.
THE VIDEO- The beginning room where they wait is a quaint model of America's representation...or lack there of..of truth. A dead man being sustained by the economic stability of rasing and creating new children...making people get jobs where the rich are richer..also forcing people to go to church, not literally force, but it is usual for a parent to go when they have a new child and want to raise them in a perfect world. Anyways, There's a curtain with a little light being let in. The light represents... Truth...or Truth. (The concept, or the Grand Hidden Truth of society. Which krist opens at the end, and floods the room with light. Kurt told Krist to do this, probably because he was the most innocent out of them. and to show that nirvana was really telling the truth about things, which like I said, is the role of the artist. One can't preech it,as jehovah's whitness, but as Emily Dickinson says "Speack truth in slant". Kurt says "What do I think I think? Hate your enemies. Save Your Friends. Find Your Place. Speak the Truth." SPEAK THE TRUTH!!!)
Jesus in the video walking around is Kurt. Notice he's picking Poppies...heroine reference. And he is crucified by society. Who paid attention so much to his bads and not his goods. (Tupac makes the same allusion on his Makeveli album...where he says the crusifixion on the album cover is a reference to him being cucified by the media. Which is just what our world does to someone who speaks the truth. As Jesus, or the beatles, or John Lenon, or Tupac, or Nirvana...or even JFK, but later it serves to show how society should check itself and change.)
The KKK kid represents children who inherit the hates of their parents. You know, people who write great music are those who don't have a very good child hood to reflect on..only one of pain. Like Kurt, or Beethoven.
Notice when the kid is on the grass (off the path)and the angel notices her and stands upset...and the child gets scared. This is accurately showing what happens to people who are confused about upbringing and contemplate things a lot instead of being productive. ("The lunatic is on the grass...Remembering games, and daisy chains and laughs. GOT TO KEEP THE LUNIES ON THE PATH"-Roger waters, Pink Floyd...Kurt's showing the same idea, essentially.) Also, too much thinking makes one go insane and question reality...insanity is sometimes brilliance though, especially in Art. The angel is this economy with the name of God we set up. Fat as ever. Operating in a false reality. A set, if you will. Which it very much does look like a phony, small, repetitious set. And we are all suppose to be actors and hide ourselves in script. The angel reaches to embrace the birth of children...to keep Jesus alive.
The Kid also represents Kurt. I think Kurt was just really sensitive and wished he was never born. And let's be honest, most great artists are a bit girly and sensitive. That's how they write great songs. The child reaches to the cross to get help. (Kurt did accept Jesus at one time) Reaches to the children tree for power and innosence.(Probably why he had Francis...and Kurt wished he could just be Kid again or not be born.)
As her outfit becomes black ("I'm left black.") the room is shown again with no light and just her in black. CONTRAST!! And then Kurt takes her place to show they are the same.
When her heart begins bleeding, she is being looked up at...almost glorified...and inside that heart is nirvana. And the heart is a box that keeps them trapped. And they are constantly contrasting their postitions with each other. Emotions and representations of them. And differing ones from scene to scene in the box...deifferent stances and emotions of each person...down and up...shot to shot ART! All in a box. And He is staring right at us!!!!!!!!!!!! Go to Youtube.com and watch the video. Pause and just think. Let it play all the way through. And notice that when you are watching his percing look at the camera.. and he yells!!, he's yelling at you through the TV. He's in the TV yelling! In the Heart Shaped Box yelling. Like "Hey DO YOU FUCKING GET IT YET IDIOTS!!! MTV obviously doesn't!"
Notice how the whole video is on a soundstage set. This is commenting on the phony society we have set up. Believe me, it's the meaning! And How it is distracting and dilluding by hiding behind dead Jesus. A dead Jesus in everyone's face... and Truth, though available through the slight light in the curtains...is really covered up and nullified by dead Jesus and curtains...the set of reality.
We all can pull the curtains...just give it a chance. "Imagine"...by John Lennon...is basically the same Idea as heart Shaped Box.
And also, the songs melody is similar to "Paint it Black" by the rolling stones. Slower, more surreal, romanitc, and better recorded...but along the same lines as the stones song.
Please, I hope someone reads this and thinks about it. I know the other statements are right. The box and everything is true. And I think kourtney actually helped him right the song...lyrics and melody...vocal melody.
P.S. The Dollar on the hook on the cover of never mind is the umbilical noose. And look at the cover of In Utero. He's crawled back in the Unterus. (Of the woman, of the world, of the job, of society?) and then he killed himself. He hated his parents fighting so much that he made himself unborn. And killed popular music with him!
God DAMN IT!
anonymous Jan 20th, 2013 1:37pm report
The lyrics aren't "HEY! HATE!I GOT A NEW COMPLAINT!" they are "HEY! WAIT! I GOT A NEW COMPLAINT!" I know this because I looked at like 20 different websites and they all said the same thing, "Hey! Wait! I got a new complaint!"
anonymous Oct 24th, 2012 10:44pm report
This song is mainly about death, and the video further supports this. The entire Courtney Love angle may be true on a surface level, but that is just a cover for the real meaning of the lyrics. Hence the lyrics are much deeper than most assume. And if you couple this with the video, this is truly one of the most terrifying songs ever created. It is very otherworldly at the same time, concerned with more the next world, and the transition phase.
Meat Eating Orchids symbolise the earth, and how everyone will be eaten by it at some point, no one is forgiven meaning no one can bypass death......yet. I think he says "yet" because he speaking to the inhabitants of this material world.
That just touches the surface, for more visit this website:http://thestygianport.blogspot.ca/2009/01/heart-shaped-coffin.html
anonymous Oct 10th, 2012 10:14pm report
Its about Courtneys vagina
And Courtney isn't a pisces shes a cancer she was born in july
katherine.gurovsky Jul 25th, 2012 7:58am report
dubdubdubDOTcobaincaseDOTcm. just like my bumber sticker say: courtney k****d kurt. (except with no astericks in the middle word - i dunno how strict they are with comments around here.
anyone seen the series of kurt interviews, "about a son" ?? its f*****g awesome! wow, what a treasure all those interview tapes are! jeez.
unfortunately, you all know that he wouldn't have been praised half as much for his genius (even though i believe he would deserve every bit anyway) if he hadnt ended like it did (murder, i mean. NOT SUICIDE!) i could sit here and list every contradictory fact to his so-called suicide, but i KNOW some "genius" out there will have something annoying to say, for the sake of just saying something! haha wharever i dont care. the main ones that stick out are 1. kurts "suicide note" is thought to be more like a retirement letter, addressed to fans! only the last 4 lines, at the bottom, NOT IN HIS HANDWRITING by the way, indicated anything like a suicide. 2. the heroin levels in his blood 5 DAYS AFTER DEATH were over 3x a lethal dose. he barely weighed 120 lbs. no way, on gods green eath, could that man have put his gear (needles, black, cottons, etc) away in the cigar box, picked up the shotgun, and pulled the trigger. its not physically possible. period. i kno from experience, trust me. and 3. courtney later accidentally revealed she had a second note from kurt, which established the first note as a retirement letter. re-read it (cept the last 4 fake handwriting lines) with the expectation on his retirement instead of his death. also in this second note, was kurt's intent to divorce courtney and leave seattle. he leaves her, she gets half at best. hes dead, she gets everything and then some. ALSO, dead mean dont write letters...if he wrote the first one, then killed himself, how is it possible he wrote her a second note, clearly established by love as from him and the second note of the first, whereas he spoke more of retirement and leaving the mansion in seattle and, in turn, her! 5. the shotgun fired was bought weeks before he even overdosed in rome or checked into exodus rehab...and it had no prints, NOT ONE, when found by seattle so-called police (great investigative skills guys...you completely botched one of the highest profile deaths in history. nice job). also, the empty shell in relation to kurts body and placement of the gun doesnt add up IN THE SLIGHTEST based on modern day crime scene forensice. it is highly thougt by several noteworthy medical examiners as well as tim allen, the P.I courtney conveniently hired the day before kurt jumped the wall in rehab (weird? think so)that kurts actual cause of death was overdose, not gunshot. he had blood in his ear-notconsistent at all to a shotgun barrel to the dome. also, kurt only carried one credit card. courtney shut it off "..to keep better track of him after he jumped the wall" but suspiciously that credit card was not in his wallet. even more curious was the fact that THAT SAME CARD blonging to kurt was used DAYS after the body was found. courtney's evil, mixed with police incompetency, mixed with rash-assumptions made by people when a few keywords like "suicide" "heroin" etc are thrown into the pot, all just dont add up. the evidence doesnt make sense. the worst part...we'll never kno. courtney was livin it up after his death, with his money (she made sure she had it-a motive as old as time itself) with the likes of billy corgan, trent reznor (she hired tim allen again to spy on trent, and there is recorded convos of her talking to allen about trent and saying how "its frances' money." and edward norton. she made sure nothing could turn up solid against her-he was cremated, and the greenhouse above the garage, promplty torn down. is it just me, or do all these factors put together paint an entirely diofferent picture to you guys than suicide? i definitely think so. ive spent a lot of time and energy reading, watching and listening to every single thing i can find...and im convinced. she had someone do it (oh! i forgot to mention the fact that she had tried to get some shady big ass dude to kill kurt for $50k but he pulled out. probably cause, anyone???) ITS HER FAULT HES GONE!
ok, ill stop. wow i could rant on all night on this.
anonymous Jul 16th, 2012 7:49am report
these is about last times or moments of a dying man and he keep on thinking about his childhood and the thought of being born again. the man is figuring out himself in different stages of life at the same time, seeing them complaining and advising to each other some sort like that. Actually there is another person whom that man is talking to, a friend or a love one, knowing that he is about to leave already he is thinking if that person whom he know will cry really know him the way he know himself.
anonymous Apr 22nd, 2012 4:27pm report
Kurt said this song was about kids with cancer
Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet."
This describes cancer perfectly, and it forgives nobody, not even a child.
"Cut myself on angel hair and baby's breath."
Meaning the child is innocent yet still got cancer.
"Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back"
yet another amazing metaphor depicting the innocence of a child being brought down by cancer.
anonymous Apr 15th, 2012 4:27am report
I don't have children, so my cnomemts may sound outdated, but whatever happened to children going home for lunch or having their lunch packed daily by parents?? I would NEVER let a child eat that crap they seem to be serving at school. That's disgusting.
anonymous Mar 12th, 2012 3:44pm report
First off, Courtney is not a pisces, she is a cancer. Kurt is a pisces.
But I think the song talks about how she's taken over his life, and his constant struggle between loving her and hating her.
anonymous Mar 9th, 2012 3:56am report
I actually believe it's about his mother.
anonymous Mar 8th, 2012 3:07am report
So sad and true that the best most beautiful song are all about Heroin. The heart shaped box is rumored to be where Kurt kept his stash of Heroin. It a magnet tar pit of heroin, that's a cancer he can't control. He cuts himself on angel hairs which addicts refer to the fine point of a new needle as. The refernce to a broken hymn is his reference to the needle breaking his skin and causing blood, which then turns black/blue. And lastly his refernce to the umbilical noose is the tourniquet he uses when he shoots up.
anonymous Mar 4th, 2012 3:28pm report
heart shaped box. i think instead of a heart he is saying a heart shaped box. so the woman he is talking about doesnt have a real heart to love him with. i think several lines suggest that he is trapped by his marriage and his child with courtney.
anonymous Feb 7th, 2012 2:41pm report
The statements and the whole video are larded with a symbolism which admits several interpretations.Letters are just charged as figures with quite a certain energy. Thus the word Cancer stands for an animal as well as for an illness. It concerns an analogy.Kurt Cobain an aversion had against apples because the acid attacked his stomach. I had 1st of August, 2002 a car accident which became by a hot apple turnover veruracht. I carried on this day also a white Cobain for shirt on which as a result of a cut injury my blood dripped.I found correspondence to the video to Heart Shaped box. I also found correspondence to You know you're right. Steaming soup against here mouth: with it the steaming apple turnover is meant which caused my accident, because in the video to You know you're right apples are also to be seen in a short sequence.Also I suffered in 2001 from an evil ovarian tumour: I wish i could eat your cancer. As a result of that I was struck by paranoid depressions: when you turn black. The orchid is an analogy to the fertility organs, so to the ovary.I was born exactly like Cobain also in the sign of the fish with a virgin Aszendenten. This sign is predestined for insanity.The fish are connected by a string and swim in contradicting directions. I have the same Anamnes like Cobain. I am manic-depressively, if a Skolliose and a sensitive stomach has.Is this not reason enough to be persuaded of the fact that he means me?
anonymous Oct 15th, 2011 10:04pm report
Heart-shaped box makes me think maybe the girl he loved didn't actually love him. It's just a heart-shaped box, not her real heart and love, that she is just faking.
anonymous Sep 9th, 2011 9:09pm report
Kurt Cobain was a Pisces Courtney Love is a Cancer. Astrologically they are compatible.
anonymous Aug 25th, 2011 8:01am report
I WROTE A THESIS ON THIS SONG IN 11TH GRADE (31 NOW) AND I THE VERSE "CUT MY SELF ON ANGEL HAIR, AND BABES BREATH" seems to me as HIS REGRET OF GETTING MARRIED. ANGELS HAIR IS COMMONLY KNOWN AS A THREAD USED IN WEDDING VALES. ALSO THE FLOWER (BABIES BREATH) ARE ALSO PRESENT AT WEDDINGS. WHEN MR. COBAIN USES THE WORD WORD "CUT", AS IN MANY OF HIS SONGS, HE ALSO INTER CHANGES IT WITH THE WORD "HURT". "F'ed, by getting married" seems to make the most sense to me. let me know what you think?
More Nirvana song meanings »
Submit Your Interpretation
Related Blog Posts
|Don't Stop Believin'||anonymous|
|You and me||anonymous|
|Jesus Don't Want Me For A Sunbeam||anonymous|
|She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)||anonymous|
|Shot Me Down||anonymous|