What does What a Good Boy mean?

Search Login

Barenaked Ladies: What a Good Boy Meaning

Song Released: 1993


Get "What a Good Boy" on MP3:

Get MP3 from Amazon
Get MP3 from iTunes

What a Good Boy Lyrics

When I was born, they looked at me and said
what a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy.
And when you were born, they looked at you and said,
what a good girl, what a what a smart girl, what a pretty girl.

We've got these chains...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 24th, 2005 9:02pm report


    This song is about expectations, and how those expectations weigh us down. Whether it be parents, teachers, or ourselves. We are all presured by our own potential. Many times in life, it is our light and not our darkness that scares us most. Our goodness is hardest to accept. This song encompasses how those who love us and see us for who se truly are can sometimes break us before we are ready to accept ourselves.



  2. 2TOP RATED

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 14th, 2015 12:31pm report


    I thought that this song was about the expectations put on us as children and how those expectations influences us. Specifically, gender roles and how those influence us. At the beginning of the song he mentions that when he was born his parents looked at him and said he was a good boy, smart boy, strong boy whereas she was a good girl, smart girl, pretty girl. This shows the different expectations between the boy and the girl and how those (and other) expectations weigh down on people. When he was born there were immediately expectations put on him that were specific to his assumed gender. The same thing happened to the girl just with slightly different expectations. The song is about how hard it is to break through gender roles and other expectations placed on us throughout our lives.



  3. 3TOP RATED

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 24th, 2017 9:49pm report


    I think it is about being a transgender boy or girl...



  4.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 22nd, 6:56am report


    It's about the deep regret of being unable to fulfill those expectations laid upon us early in life. The melancholia of bitter disappointment and the resulting depressive state.



  5.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 30th, 3:15am report


    It's clearly an incestuous relationship. And the unspeakable forbidden has overshadowed the writer's life.



  6.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 6th, 2019 12:48pm report


    I always thought this was about gender roles and intimacy.
    They aren't married yet, and for them to be more intimate is considered wrong, as the girl is expected to be pure and to get close to the boy is considered dirty and vile of her. The boy is also pressured, as people treat him as if he "ruined the girl" by, y'know. So they both feel wrong and feel pressured to live up to the standards put on them since birth by their gender and the way society treats it.



  7.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 24th, 2016 10:06am report


    I believe this song is about a love affair.
    A relationship forbidden by family or society. Maybe they were in love with each other since they were children...maybe they are cousins or something.



  8.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 29th, 2015 9:21am report


    I always thought it was about incest. The affair has been on the cards and also forbidden since the pair were born. The boy has been tormented by his desire for his sister the whole time he was growing up. The name is the hairshirt because they share it - and (in slightly oblique ways) the girl's hair represents their too close relationship. Be with me tonight - I know that it isn't right, he sings - whereas in a love song, the consummation of love really ought to be right. Here it is emphatically not.



  9.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 5th, 2014 11:12pm report


    After seeing Steven page at a mental health conferance, he spoke about how many years after writing this song, he realized it was about hisome deeper issues and what would have been his depression.



  10.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 15th, 2012 11:17pm report


    The boy is confused about his choices and has made mistakes and is trying to pursue someone that he has wronged. He feels that he has let people down from the expectations from early childhood but people have also let him down or want him to fail.The hair shirt is a symbol of punishing himself with her hair. He feels trapped and needs to take action to atone for his mistakes. He is frustrated with where he is in life and needs to empower himself to make better choices.



  11.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 7th, 2012 3:38pm report


    I'm seriously under the impression that this song is about incest.



  12.  

    rissahunter
    click a star to vote
    Oct 29th, 2008 10:44pm report


    Actually, this is a song about cheating. And its a song to the mistress.

    He talks about what a good boy he "WAS" . . .

    This name is the hairshirt I wear - hairshirt: a shirt made out of goat or animal hair, and worn by people in biblical times as a sign of mortification and penance.
    She is the source of his guilt...hence the shirt is worn from her hair...

    So there we go - not such a happy song



  13.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 2nd, 2006 12:09am report


    I think everyone else is right, but here's a more creative interpretation:

    Romeo and Juliet! They both were hated because of their names. "This name is the hairshirt I wear." woven from her "brown hair." Their relationship is deemed wrong because of the family feuds. "Be with me tonight. I know that it isn't right."

    Of course, I don't think this is wholly what the song is about, but I wouldn't be surprised if the clever band twisted the story around and at least thought of Romeo and Juliet when writing the song.



  14.  

    username
    click a star to vote
    Jul 9th, 2005 7:50pm report


    This song plays in the opening credits of the show "Intervention" on A&E.

    The song is about a man and a woman that have a lot of baggage. Their lives were altered by temptation and circumstances and now they look back and say what good boys and girls they were before they met and before life unraveled.




More Barenaked Ladies song meanings ยป


 


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]






Just Posted

Mr. Tinkertrain anonymous
Return To Innocence anonymous
Take On Me anonymous
Kill My Mind anonymous
Habit anonymous
Devil Town theoisntthriving
End of the Day anonymous
Mirror anonymous
Sing Me To Sleep anonymous
Nautical Disaster anonymous
Apologize anonymous
This Is War anonymous
Hero/Heroine anonymous
Flume anonymous
Teenagers anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

Truck
HARDY
Next Girl
Carly Pearce
What Do You Think Of?
Lauren Alaina
What They'll Say About Us
FINNEAS
Bummerland
AJR
Never Be Sorry
Old Dominion
Long Live
Florida Georgia Line
Obey
Bring Me the Horizon