What does Nine Crimes mean?

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Damien Rice: Nine Crimes Meaning

Song Released: 2006

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Nine Crimes Lyrics

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Leave me out with the waste
This is not what I do
It's the wrong kind of place
To be thinking of you
It's the wrong time
For somebody new
It's a small crime
And I've got no excuse

Is that alright?
Give my gun away when it's loaded


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    May 5th, 2009 5:32pm report

    "leave me out with the waste, this is not what I do"- She feels like trash for what she has done, and is down in the dumps so to speak, because she is not normally someone who cheats.

    "Wrong kind of place to be thinking of you"- This references the point in her life that she is at. Basically, she is thinking of another man while she is with her boyfriend.

    “It’s the wrong time for someone new”- She is in a relationship with some she though she has/had feeling for. She doesn’t want to breakup with her boyfriend for another man. She feels guilty about the situation she is in.

    “It’s a small crime, and I’ve got no excuse”- By having an emotional/physical affair, she broke the commitment she made to her boyfriend, and there is no justification…she is guilty for doing what she did.

    “Is that alright”- Her heart is asking her conscience to justify what she has done.

    “Give my gun away when it is already loaded”- the reference to the gun is a reference to her heart. She is asking herself how could she cheat on her boyfriend when her heart is “loaded” or filled with love for her current boyfriend. Even though her heart is filled with love for her boyfriend, she is thinking about giving it to the man she is cheating with. She is struggling with the situation and having feelings for more than one person.

    “Is that alright”- She is asking herself if it is okay to give away her heart that still has love for her boyfriend to the man she is cheating with. She is questioning how long she can continue to live the lie..the lie being that she has a whole heart to give either one of the men at this point.

    “If you don’t shoot it, how am I supposed to hold it”- Meaning she doesn't have the power to end it with either person. She needs either the boyfriend or the man she is cheating with to end things. Otherwise, she doesn't know how long she can hold on because of the conflict of having feelings for both of them. If someone doesn’t shoot her down, she is not sure how much longer she can live the lie.

    “Is that alright” for her to end it with one person for a relationship with another.

    “Is that alright, yeah, with you? Asking the man she is cheating with if he is okay with the situation she is in, knowing he wants to be with her even though she is still involved with her boyfriend. She is infering that he needs to end it since she can't, and if he doesn't, she is not sure how much longer she can continue to deal with the conflict.

    2nd Corus…
    “leave me out with the waste”- He feels bad for getting involved with someone who is in a relationship, while he too, is in a relationship, but feels worse because of the conflict he has cause the woman he is cheating with.

    “This is not what I do”- Hurt the person he is involved with by cheating on her, and hurt the person he is cheating with because he doesn't want to end it with her knowing she can't continue with the relationship with him.

    “It’s the wrong place to be cheating on you”- When he is with his girlfriend he feels like he is cheating on the girl he is cheating with. Basically, cheating on your girlfriend by going home to your wife.

    “It’s the wrong time”- he is also involved with someone else.

    “She’s pulling me through”- He can sense that his feelings are changing, and that his feelings for the woman he is cheating with are stronger than the feelings for his girlfriend...and those feelings for her are what is getting him through, enabling him to continue with the affair.

    “It’s a small crime and I’ve got no excuse”- Knows it’s wrong to be cheating on his girlfriend with someone who is cheating on their boyfriend. Basically, two wrongs don't make it right.

    Duet…”Is that alright”- Knowing the "other woman" is struggling with the situation more so than he is, he is asking himself if it is still okay to be with her.

    “Is that alright with you, NO”- He comes to the realization that not only was it wrong to cheat, but it was not okay to continue to cheat with her when he knew how much she was struggling with the fact she was also cheating on her boyfriend. The broken pieces at the end of the video seem to indicate he only realized it was not okay to do what they were doing only after the girl he was cheating with fell apart and could no longer do it. Basically, he broke both of thier hearts.


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    Feb 5th, 2008 2:49pm report

    It's mostly about temptation.

    Here's the analysis:

    "Leave me out with the waste, this is not what I do" - she feels like trash, she doesn't normally consider cheating.

    "It's the wrong kind of place to be thinking of you" - the wrong place in her life to be thinking of another lover.

    "It's the wrong time for somebody new" - she's already in a relationship.

    "It's a small crime, and I've got no excuse" - her relationship is good, there's no reason she should be considering this.

    "Is that alright with you" - in this segment, the "you" switches meaning, referring to her conscience... She's calling upon conscience to solve this for her.

    "Give my gun away when it's loaded" - a loaded gun is a defense mechanism. giving away a loaded gun is putting down your defenses, and in this case putting aside morality and giving into temptation.

    "If you don't shoot it, how am I supposed to hold it?" - if her conscience isn't going to shoot down temptation, what's the point in even resisting it.

    ...and the same for Damien's part.

    and at the end:
    "Is that alright with you? No." - their conscience finally answered the question, but only after the duet climax of the song (i.e. The crime's been committed). The soft ending of the song coupled with declared "no" is guilt.


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    Oct 25th, 2007 10:57am report

    The song is a tragedy.

    The song is describing the breakup of a couple. The woman is cheating on him, at some bar or "Lonely Hearts" No-tell motel. He's found someone to "pull him through" the hard times during the breakup.

    The real tragedy is that the love has slowly melted away; there is no fiery confrontation or breakup, and neither has really let go -- "Is that alright with you?" Both of them keep asking, keep hoping that the answer is a resounding "NO!"; something, anything to trigger a reaction from the other.

    To "give away a gun while it's loaded" -- is there not enough passion left even to feel bitter, to feel anger, to pull the trigger? "If you don't shoot it, how am I supposed to hold it" -- if you won't protest me leaving, does that mean I have to quietly watch you walk away too?

    The final word says it all -- No. It's not alright, but she doesn't think there's anything left to fight for. He's already gone.


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    Sep 29th, 2018 9:06pm report

    Having just painfully experienced it myself, I interpret this song as a woman making a choice no one else can make. Not the Supreme Court, not her parents, not her religion and most notably not her man. In my interpretation, She is speaking of having an abortion and how does the other partner get a say? “Give my gun away when it’s loaded” (give the choice to end it to someone else)
    Wrong time to be cheating on you..He doesn’t want to “cheat her” by “selfishly” (by means of having her bring to term something she doesn’t want) wanting it or not wanting it. “give my gun away when it’s loaded” can be a metaphor for willpower/ choice/ made up mind?

    Anyways, not the happiest interpretation but how else can one answer such an awful conundrum ?
    9 crimes = 9 months lost
    Small crime = an early termination
    Wrong time for sombody New

    This song is about having to make an impossible choice where they are conflicted by differing choices.
    Who owns the choice?

    Please don’t politicize it here. Think it but no need to write it to me here.
    Just sharing an interpretation of art that hopefully has us asking tough questions and finding our own insights.


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    Nov 29th, 2017 11:53pm report

    The whole song is about giving in to sexual temptation between a man and woman. It builds to a climax in the duet and the feeling of guilt/regret at the end after the sexual release when Damien sings "No". Gun = need for sexual release. Couldn't be more clear.


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    Jul 15th, 2017 7:33am report

    It's the wrong place to be cheating on you.
    It's in the astral world
    He found his twin flame but it was too late b/c he loves his soul mate


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    Mar 11th, 2017 3:57pm report

    I haven't read this interpretation anywhere yet, though I always think about it:

    I feel like he's just lost his wife and immediately starts a relationship with another girl, but still feels like he is cheating on his wife.

    The new girlfriend feels like she should leave him to get over his grief and sings to him.
    "Leave me out with the waste, this is not what I do" --> I shouldn't be taking you away from your feelings toward your wife.
    "It's the wrong kind of place to be thinking of you" --> I shouldn't fall in love with you now, as if I'm happy your wife died.
    "It's the wrong time for somebody new" --> you're not ready yet, you need your own time first, before you can move on.

    And he sings to his wife about his new girlfriend and how he shouldn't do that, because he still belongs to his wife.
    "It's the wrong kind of place to be cheating on you" --> it's as if you still live with me, having a new girlfriend feels like cheating.
    "it's the wrong time, she's pulling me through" --> just after we buried you, but this girl gets me to go on with my life...

    "is that alright with you? Give my gun away when it's loaded" --> Would it be okay with you if I moved on with this new girl, even though you're still mine, I still belong to you (it's loaded)?

    It might completely not be what was meant with the song but it's a beautiful meaning to me. Gives it a bittersweet touch.


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    May 13th, 2016 5:25am report

    You are married/in a relationship.
    You unexpectedly feel strong feelings for another one.
    You feel like trash
    It is not something you do/expected/wanted.
    It happened.
    They both know it is wrong
    The excitement of finding each other has mixed feelings of love, excitement, new thing.
    She tries to run from it, he pursues her. She can not run and returns. They both feel new strong love. They KNOW it is a loaded gun and that it can end bad. Is that alright ? Her heart asks her mind.
    They are caught. Doesn't matter by whom, even a child.A small conversation/gossip breaks the relationship. It breaks her also. She is left without either lover. He is alive but dead.


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    Dec 5th, 2015 12:07am report

    It is a song about cheating, and the complex emotions involved in cheating. The chorus, "Is that alright?" seems to allude to the difficulty when you love somebody, and you've wronged that person by cheating, and now you have to walk on eggshells with that person.

    You also have to deal with the third wheel in the relationship, the other party you cheated with, so sometimes you have to, well, get permission from the person you're committed to just to TALK to the other party and wrap things up.

    "Is that alright?" There's a constant pleading, "Is that alright?" But sometimes it's angry, almost sarcastic. IS THAT ALRIGHT? I did this because you didn't love me enough...can I just go out by myself? Is that alright?

    Unlike others who think the loaded gun represents the heart, I think it alludes to reproduction. A loaded gun is more like a penis loaded with sperm, or an ovary packed with eggs, than a heart. Life gets really complicated when, well, as a result of this affair there's a pregnancy. Giving one's gun away when it's loaded refers to getting knocked up, or knocking somebody up.

    So, the first part of the song...leave me out, with the waste, this is not what I do. Yes, I agree, she feels like trash for what she's done. She's been unfaithful.

    And how it's the "wrong kind of place to be thinking of you." How odd, to think of the person you're committed to, while in the midst of cheating. And yet it happens. Cheating can be a carnal thing, not a thing of the heart. So when you're done cheating, you are drawn to the person you love.

    The fact two voices sing the song seems to allude to the fact that "vengeance cheating" happens. They're both in a cheating mess. But when I hear "is that alright," what I get, over and over, is that odd feeling you have when you've wronged the other person, and now you have to walk on eggshells. You have to constantly ask, "Is that alright?" And yet you also blame the other person for putting you in this position by, well, not loving you enough. IS THAT ALRIGHT? Is it alright for me to be LOVED?

    A haunting, beautiful song about sad, complex human behavior.


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    Dec 13th, 2014 12:52am report

    I think the lyrics intend to imply the true feelings of love for another and the fact that being in love with someone else can make you feel like crap when you can't hurt another ones feelings. However the people that you have been with first draw you back and make you feel as though you cannot break their hearts. This gives us the idea that she is guilty for what she has done and should be left out by the "waste".


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    Jul 29th, 2013 7:26am report

    She is still in love with her boyfriend but she has begun to date someone else. When your heart is so full of love you have to share it with someone and her boyfriend is not ready to be that person. Either because he is going through something (job loss) that is distracting him,or there is someone else but he is not committing to her.
    It is a small crime. This is the first time she is doing it, the first date with someone else.
    She still loves him but her heart is too full not to find expression. Just like mine is.


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    Mar 6th, 2013 3:20am report

    I don't think that this song is about 'cheating' in the traditional way.

    It sounds more like the two persons are involved with each other in a relationship that isn't working. It is the wrong timing, and somehow they know that continuing this relationship is wrong, and that they should know better, but neither has the courage to end it because they are too weak to say good bye.

    "Leave me out with the waste" - She is telling him to leave him, thus implying that she doesn't have the courage to end it herself.

    "Give my gun away when it's loaded" - This refers to still having feelings or lust for the other person, which makes it hard to leave him.

    "If you don't shoot it how am I supposed to hold it?" This phrase is ambivalent I think. She wants the other person to "shoot it", which could mean both ending the relationship or take it to the next step. Altso it refers to her waiting for him to do something. She is stuck in the middle and unable to do anything.

    The "cheating" and the "crime" that the text mentions are metaphors. There's certainly no criminal activities mentioned, and not necessary any cheating either. It just plays on the fact that neither of the percipients are being "true" to themselves or each other.


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    Feb 15th, 2013 2:55am report

    I agree with most of the upper interpretations. exept giving away the loaded gun. I think it's about sexual desire. "if you can't satify me anymore. i need someone who can'.
    is that alright yeah?.. reffering to own guilt. to give my gun away when it's loaded:> releashing the sexual desire when it's at peak.


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    Mar 6th, 2012 3:53am report

    Hello there!My husband's pohrognapry addiction is killing our marriage. He gives his time, emotional and physical energy to the computer rather than his wife, who incidentally is more than willing to be whatever he needs sexually. Instead, porn is easier, especially when I am not there (I'm just about never gone more than 8hours). He lies, sneaks, and exhibits all sorts of angry and deceitful addict behavior when he is confronted about watching porn. He just keeps justifying his behavior. Would you rather I really cheated on you? I hate the porn, and I wish I knew how to help him see that he is breaking my heart by cheating with his computer. Advice needed!


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    Oct 18th, 2011 10:29pm report

    I really dont get where you all get the cheatting thing from. Its like poetry, quotes, and metaphor's used to describe something, a feeling. I take it nobody here reads quotes or poetry? Like love is like a loaded gun? Leave out with the waste i feel like trash? Just because they use the word cheat dosent mean he is cheating. Its a feeling they say small crime to clue you in, and cheating isnt a small crime. This song is clearly about 2 people who were and still are in love with eachother, the thing is they never spoke on how they felt thus the relationship ended. So they decided to move on. In the process they are still thinking of eachother,when they are with different people, thus it is a small crime.I relate to this song because i know what its like to feel guilty trying to be with someone else knowing another has my heart, and it feels like cheating you have no love for this person yet you sleep with them and evrything.Even at the end they talk about moving on when they know they love eachother dearly asking if thats all right?, And they both agree at the end that its not all right. People need to stop taking one word from the song and turning into something its not, cheating isnt a small crime but the feeling that you are when you love some one is.


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    Aug 4th, 2011 8:31pm report

    The couple is estranged, hurt, but neither feel like the relationship is over, but they are still in love. They are at different places, a pub, a party, and are assuaging their perspective pain with other people, neither of whom is anything more than a tool to use for the evening. He has gone a bit farther with it than she has, but both are cheating. The other woman is pulling him through, i.e., giving him what he needs to distract himself right now. They both feel horrible about it, and imagine asking the other if they really even *care*, if this is all right with the other, what they're doing, and really, if they're all right with what they're doing themselves.


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    Apr 29th, 2011 4:07pm report

    About the gun issue, which I find the most hard to understand.

    I try to read it with least metaphoric explanations possible, assuming she talks to the guy she cheats with in this segment.

    You ask someone else to take your gun when you don't count on yourself to use it cautiously, or to use it at all when needed. She conditions it on the gun being loaded, meaning, please take my gun - intervene in my very personal realm, when you see I am about to shoot it (you load the gun if you are going to use it). I guess that she means that if he sees she is about to fall apart (meaning committing suicide, or metaphoric suicide), then she allows him to intervene, meaning take control of her. The gun seems to be her power to hurt herself using the guilt (which is the ammunition). This seems prima facie as a call for him to guard her.

    but then we proceed to "if you don't shoot it, how am I supposed to hold it" - if the guy will not shoot the gun in order to aid her with her suicide(!), why she bothers to carry it. The meaning is: when I am about to fall apart, please help me because I will not be able to do so. If you can't promise me that, it means you don't love me enough, so this cheating isn't worth it, meaning it's not fair that I pay this price of building this guilt inside me.

    Since he repeats these lines afterwards, it seems to me they both ask the other one to be true enough about their feelings in order that the price will be worth it, on one hand, and if the price will be to high mentally, then the other needs to help to finish it, on the other hand.

    Disclaimer: I am not a native speaker. Actually, I am Israeli :)


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    Mar 31st, 2011 3:34am report

    I think this song is not about a couple at all.
    I think its about abortion.

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