What does Heart Shaped Box mean?

Nirvana: Heart Shaped Box Meaning

Album cover for Heart Shaped Box album cover

Song Released: 1998

Heart Shaped Box Lyrics

She eyes me like a pisces when I am weak
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...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jan 23rd 2007 !⃝

    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!

    Ally Ross


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Dec 27th 2005 !⃝

    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.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Feb 12th 2007 !⃝

    to the person above who said that Courtney was a pisces was wrong, Courtney was a cancer, Kurt was actually a pisces

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 12th 2023 !⃝

    She killed him and the police including myself are just so lazy because society provides us with Netflix, phones, internet, etc. when my grandpa was younger he hopped on a train from Ontario for which today you get charged started a business after getting his journeyman in plastering and concrete.

    The whole wall was plastered not just drywall like I did. Hard work and he grew vegetables every year, had a honey bee on his farm until he got stung and realized he was allergic. After he sold the farm the vegetables were still grown on my uncles acreage. He roto-tilled I think that’s how it’s pronounced, every week, around the vegetables, moved locations and it just kept getting bigger every year. My uncles four children helped. I always wished I grew up on that acreage instead of the city and coincidentally my cousins wanted to be in the city. What I’m saying is that everyone is getting lazy and it’s not our fault. I would prefer to work but we have restrictions if we do and I don’t want to get jabbed.

    The song clearly indicated he had complaints but addiction isn’t something people want to do it’s an ADDICTION! It’s a medical problem which is why B.C is doing a new focus on addiction next January and in 2023 the cops will receive re-training, they still can’t be used near a driver or within reach so maybe in the back of a station wagon….joke. She clearly has motive and wanted to have it all and knew she would go through half way too quick, so a shotgun after he already overdosed and his ghost wrote additional lines but I guess floating around it was just messy. Please. I have been in those relationships where you can’t leave even though you know it’s for the best, she cries when I try to kick her out and has nowhere to go and I would feel guilty so I would recant. Okay you can stay.

    My friends would say she has cheated on you. Yes, but I don’t sleep with her and she is going to treatment….well still waiting. 5 years no sex. I feel better but I’m still a sucker getting used! So ya I’m no better but I’m pretty sure everyone I thought was my friend has tried killing me and I am not paranoid it’s the fucking truth. I am always on guard and listening and watching. When I sense the slightest little thing off im out.

    Now I listen to my father who keeps saying; “You have no fucking friends!” Thanks dad. Thanks for always being there and never turning your back on me even at my worst. Now if my dad dies I would wipe the shit off his ass and clip his toe nails or massage him if he needed it. Even if he is too proud to ask! He did it for me and the same goes for my mom who carried me around her belly for at least 8-9 months. I had an umbilical noose that almost killed me but I was in a little dome for three weeks alone. Shitty! I don’t think I had the strength to crawl right back but I’ll take fresh air over being choked half to death by my own cord any day!

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 30th 2022 !⃝

    Tbh, the ‘priceless advice’ part sounds like Courtney advising Kurt to do heroine and him now regretting it

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 15th 2020 !⃝

    All the signs are there.
    Spirit cooking!

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 28th 2020 !⃝

    I think he is describing that part of his life but I don't think he was unhappy with it. He enjoyed heroin even though he could describe it as a trap. Same with having a child and his relationship with Courtney. He described everything in his life this way. With dark poetic sarcasm. I think he preferred to be in that head space.

  8. kerusso
    click a star to vote
    May 5th 2016 !⃝

    heart shaped box... it has no meaning. even Kurt himself said that most songs didn't have a meaning.. ' i wish i could eat your cancer when you turn black" for y'all to think that is about courtney love is crazy. y'all are really pulling things out of thin air. and i fully believe courtney had kurt killed. i don't think he killed his self

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 28th 2014 !⃝

    I can see what everyone is say about it being about Courtney Love but Kurt and her both had a heavy addiction to lots of drugs and when he sings "I've been drawn into you magnet TAR PIT TRAP" that line is most likely talked about heroin... I personally think the songs is about his addiction to Courtney and to heroin, about how he is unable to leave because he so dependant on both them... I think its about heroin and Courtney Love

    (She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak
    I've been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks
    I've been drawn into your magnet tar-pit trap
    I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black)

  10. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 9th 2014 !⃝

    Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain both collected heart shaped boxes and would give them to each other with notes inside as presents or just randomly, so the song is probably about Courtney. I think this is a rant about Courtney Love. He's just saying in these lyrics (I think) That he is drawn to her but wishes he wasn't. He cares too much for her and he can't help it even though its not good for him.

  11. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 20th 2013 !⃝

    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!"

  12. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 24th 2012 !⃝

    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

  13. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 10th 2012 !⃝

    Its about Courtneys vagina
    And Courtney isn't a pisces shes a cancer she was born in july

  14. katherine.gurovsky
    click a star to vote
    Jul 25th 2012 !⃝

    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.

  15. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 16th 2012 !⃝

    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.

  16. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 22nd 2012 !⃝

    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.

  17. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 15th 2012 !⃝

    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.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  18. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 12th 2012 !⃝

    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.

‹ prev 12345678

More Nirvana songs »


Latest Articles


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

Lemon Boy anonymous
Drama Club anonymous
Gravity anonymous
Our First Time anonymous
Nymphetamine anonymous
Liquid Smooth anonymous
Teddy Bear anonymous
New Divide anonymous
BOP anonymous
VIBEZ anonymous
Suge anonymous
Baby Sitter anonymous
Alone Again, Naturally anonymous
Patiently Waiting (Ft. Eminem) anonymous
Everytime anonymous

(We won't give out your email)