The Dresden Dolls: Half Jack Meaning
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Half Jack Lyrics
i'm half my mother's daughter
a fraction's left up to dispute
the whole collection
half off the price they're asking
in the halfway house of ill repute
half pain full instrumental
i have a lot to think...
anonymous Nov 19th, 11:24am report
Shes half her mothers daughter because the dad isn't present leaving half of a biological parenting couple . The divorce left a half finished feeling in growing up not knowing the father as much.
I am a writer / artist/ musician who has followed Amanda and been inspired parallel to her for a decade . I feel it with my heart this is the artistic inspiration of that lyric .
anonymous Jan 7th, 2019 1:50am report
The interpretations listed here drove me so crazy I had to comment.
No, Half-Jack is definitely NOT about bi-polar disorder, for three very good reasons:
1. Bi-polar disorder is where you have episodes of depression, that's "depression". Bi-Polar is where you suffer episodes of MANIA. That's where you think everything is so awesome and you are so fantastic and I can swim to New Zealand and let's bet all our money on this racehourse!! There is NOTHING in these lyrics reflective of manic episodes.
2. Amanda Palmer isn't bi-polar.
3. Her father, from whom she was estranged for most of her life, is NAMED "Jack".
The song has two express references to inheriting her mother's characteristics ("I"m half my mother's daughter", "I see my mother in my face") and mentions her Dad BY NAME but ISN'T about her father??
Yeah, good luck with that one.
Personally, I think the song meaning is pretty clear - she feels she's inherited a lot of negative personality traits from her father, and wishes she hadn't. It's in the opening two lines:
"Half underwater, I'm half my mother's daughter
A fraction's left up to dispute"
The remainder of the song is about her battle with that "fraction left up to dispute" - fighting and running from the impulses she's inherited from "Jack".
"When I let him, when I feel the stitches getting sicker
I try to wash him out but like they say, 'The blood is thicker'
I see my mother in my face but only when I travel
I run as fast as I can run but Jack comes tumbling after..."
Incidentally, she's since reconciled with her Dad - https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/music/2016/07/13/amanda-palmer-teams-with-long-estranged-father-for-album-tour/kBlKoh12BFW6NTJQ0QPj4N/story.html
anonymous Jul 4th, 2015 7:02pm report
In my opinion, this song is an obvious reference to bipolar disorder. If you watch the video, it seems a but easier to understand, but basically, there's a sad, depressed, "underwater" side (Jack), and a happy, loving side (Jill). The underwater thing makes sense because when you are depressed, it feels like you're drowning. "...before they had these pills to take it back..." could easily be a reference to birth control, supporting the claim that this is about daddy issues, but it could just as easily be about medication for her bipolar disorder. I believe that, though the claim that the song is in fact about her father, it could possibly, if not likely, be about bipolar disorder and the struggle it is to live with it.
anonymous Jun 30th, 2014 6:28pm report
What I first thought when I heard this song was that it was about split personality disorder. There's a female who has another personality, a male, and she doesn't want him and wants to get rid of him because she can't deal with him.
But I've also heard theories about it being about her parents. She likes her mother, but hates her father, and it distresses her that she is related to her father. He was so horrible that she can't even bear the thought of having his genes. She wants to be completely rid of his blood, but she can't and it's frustrating.
anonymous Jul 30th, 2012 7:10am report
Jack is Amanda Palmer's dad. Geeze people. It's about daddy issues.
anonymous Jul 29th, 2011 7:07am report
How do you explain "half corrective surgery gone wrong"?
Also; the term "half jack" is used on someone who's considering a sex change or someone who feels trapped in a
"Half underwater" = maybe a sea of confusion or thoughts?
Just because they other opinions about what the lyrics MIGHT mean, does not make them idiots.
I haven't made up my mind yet, but I got inspired by the term =)
anonymous May 23rd, 2011 5:20pm report
You are all retarded. This song is about being bipolar. Half underwater, I'm half my mother's daughter. It means that she feels like she underwater, because you literally feel like you're drowning in the sea when you are depressed. She's only half her mother's daughter, because you have a very ugly side when you are bipolar and that is not the part of you that you feel is your parents' child. You become this evil person. When she says before they had these pills to take it back, she was saying before they had medications to treat it. The song is an entire reference to being bipolar and any idiot can see that.
anonymous Dec 27th, 2010 12:09am report
anonymous Feb 2nd, 2010 2:37am report
It's about her divorced parents and how much she hates her father.
anonymous Aug 20th, 2009 8:27pm report
To me it sounds like The product of a rape victem, especially if you've seen the Video, Theres a little girl trying to save an older woman from being accosted by "jack" and she says she's willing to sacrafice herself or in her case never be born, in order to not be half jack.
anonymous Apr 30th, 2009 4:12pm report
This may be a song for a transexual. She was born male and became a female(half corrective surgery gone wrong). But, she is not accepted from society and her family. Jill desires to "kill" Jack, her past(when i'm brave enough and find a clever way to kick him out) and (i try to wash him out) start a new life. Finally, the pills mentioned may be psychiatric pills.
DresdenDoll Jan 25th, 2008 1:40pm report
I say this song sounds like it has multiple meanings which I'm not exactly sure of which is right. One of them is definitely about being transgendered, feeling split between Jill (female) and Jack (male). It could also be about abusive parents (Jill being the mother, Jack the father), possibly the father leaving, the mother being depressed/alcoholic. My interpretation definitely sticks to the first one.
anonymous Apr 27th, 2007 4:33pm report
It always seemed to me that it was about being transsexual. Being born male but feeling female. "I'm half Jill and half Jack" - mentally, Jill. Biologically Jack.
anonymous Apr 2nd, 2007 4:58pm report
I think that this song is about how she finds out that she's a mistake ("Before they had these pills to take it back") and she feels kinda split. Like she's a bit like her mother ("I'm half my mother's daughter" "I see my mother in my face, but only when I travel") and her father just is in her blood and doesn't want to go away ("i'm half jill, and half jack" "I try to wash him out but like they say, the blood I thicker"). Basically that she's not sure about who she is and that jack (her father) just keeps hunting her down because he's a part of her ("it might destory me but i'd sacrifice my body if it meant I got the jack part out" "I run as fast as I can run but jack comes tumbling after").
Kinda hard to explain but yeah, something like that..
When I first heard this song I thought it was about horrible parents. It sounds as if the father left the mother and the mother treated the child unfairly. I'm not completely sure, but it reminds me of child abuse, and the child being a "mistake" in the first place (according to the parents).
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