What does Babylon Sister mean?

Steely Dan: Babylon Sister Meaning

Album cover for Babylon Sister album cover

Babylon Sister Lyrics

Drive west on Sunset
To the sea
Turn that jungle music down
Just until we're out of town
This is no one night stand
It's a real occasion
Close your eyes and you'll be there
It's everything they say
The end of a perfect day
Distant lights...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Apr 3rd 2009 !⃝

    Babylon Sisters is a Biblical reference to a fallen people, fallen women, fallen and degenerate lifestyles, he realizes he is getting to old for this shallow experiences. He is with his young girl on the Santa Ana Freeway on his way to a three way sexual encounter. ("Its cheap but its not free...Love is not a game for three, San Fransico Show and Tell is another sex rerefence) Cotton candy = nose candy (cocaine and or young girl reference)."So Fine So Young Tell me I'm the only One" a delusional refrence about relationships with prostitutes..These women are so young he no longer has much in common with them ("Turn that jungle music down").
    Babylon Sister Shake It... Its no secret about indulgent rock lifesytles, he has talked about his indulgent destructive behavior before (In Kid Charlamagne, also in Time Out Of Mind phrase "Tonight When I Chase The Dragon ,are all drug references) he has mentioned his preference for fast women (prostitutes) in his songs before. There is also some sadness, remorse, guilt?... as he realizes he is getting to old for this shallow experiences....but it has never stopped him before as in the Song Do It Again that is about addictions compulsions and repeating his mistakes again and again. So Babylon Sister Shake It....."you got to shake it baby you got to shake it baby you got to shake it"...........

  2. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 3rd 2023 !⃝

    I get these references to drugs, sex, whatnot, but I think the interpretations are too literal as in the narrator is actually living these experiences. I see it a shade differently. I see the narrator as a type of mentor, warning others perhaps younger men of his past indiscretions. Don’t do what I did. These are the caveats of my life. He’s describing some seedy lifestyles and basically as a man aging out he says it’s not worth it. He’s also criticizing the culture of the west coast. It’s fucked up and shallow because everyone is into drugs and hooking up. It all sounds beautiful and fun but there is a price you pay. Also the three-some could be including his wife. Love is not a game for three, for infidelity, stepping out , and he has remorse about destroying his marriage. He says you’ll just burn bridges, burn out so don’t go for the sweet stuff, the sex and cotton candy. It’s a very sad song and it is not idealizing that free lifestyle after getting burned by it.

  3. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 21st 2018 !⃝

    To me this song has been a reference to an African-American prostitute. (Jungle Music) Missed the 3-way reference though. Everything else seems to fit in my opinion. Nose candy, life of remorse for a guy getting older.

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