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This Charming Man
The Smiths Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Punctured bicycle
On a hillside desolate
Will nature make a man of me yet?

When in this charming car
This charming man

Why pamper life's complexity
When the leather runs smooth
On the passenger seat?

I would go out tonight
But I haven't got a stitch to wear
This man said, "It's gruesome
That someone so handsome should care"

Ah, a jumped-up pantry boy
Who never knew his place
He said, "Return the ring"
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things

I would go out tonight
But I haven't got a stitch to wear
This man said, "It's gruesome
That someone so handsome should care"

Na, na-na, na-na, na-na, this charming man
Oh, na-na, na-na, na-na, this charming man

Ah, a jumped-up pantry boy
Who never knew his place
He said, "Return the ring"
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things

Overall Meaning

The Smiths' famous and beloved song "This Charming Man" tells a story through its cryptic lyrics about a young man trying to navigate his place in the world while also grappling with societal expectations and his own desires. The song's opening line, "Punctured bicycle on a hillside desolate," sets the melancholic tone for the rest of the song. The singer of the song is questioning whether his current circumstances will ultimately shape him into the person he wants to be, and wonders if his connection to nature will be his salvation.


The chorus of "This Charming Man" serves as a moment of relief and ultimately gives the song its soothing quality. The line "Why pamper life's complexity when the leather runs smooth on the passenger's seat?" suggests that sometimes life's greatest pleasures come from indulging in the simple things, like riding in a "charming car." However, the song still retains a sense of mystery and melancholy, as the singer yearns to go out but feels restricted by societal norms.


The final lines of the song, "Ah, a jumped-up pantry boy who never knew his place / He said, 'Return the ring' / He knows so much about these things" are particularly intriguing. The lyrics suggest that the singer has been interacting with a member of the upper class who is condescending and dismissive of his desires. The phrase "jumped-up pantry boy" is a derogatory term for someone who is trying to move up in class or social status, implying that the singer is not quite sure where he fits in. The song's ending leaves the story open to interpretation, but it ultimately conveys the idea that the search for identity is complex and ongoing.


Line by Line Meaning

Punctured bicycle
A broken bicycle that has a flat tire


On a hillside desolate
The bicycle is on a barren hill with no life around


Will nature make a man of me yet?
The singer is questioning whether being in nature will make him a better person


When in this charming car
The artist is describing being in a car with a charming man


This charming man
The artist is referring to the man who is driving the car


Why pamper life's complexity
The singer is questioning why people bother with complicated things in life


When the leather runs smooth
The singer is referring to the smoothness of the car seat leather


On the passenger's seat?
The artist is asking a rhetorical question about the leather seat on the passenger's side


I would go out tonight
The artist wishes to go out that night


But I haven't got a stitch to wear
The artist does not have suitable clothing to wear


This man said, "It's gruesome
The charming man comments negatively on the fact that the singer has nothing to wear


That someone so handsome should care"
The charming man is questioning why the artist, who may not be as attractive, would care about his clothing


Ah, a jumped-up pantry boy
The charming man may be referring to the singer as an insignificant boy from the kitchen or pantry


Who never knew his place
The charming man is saying that the singer needs to learn his place in society


He said, "Return the ring"
The charming man tells someone to give back a ring


He knows so much about these things
The charming man is making a snarky comment about the person, implying that they know about giving back engagement rings


La, la-la, la-la, la-la, this charming man
The artist repeats the phrase describing the charming man


Oh, la-la, la-la, la-la, this charming man
The singer repeats the phrase describing the charming man


Ah, a jumped-up pantry boy
The charming man may be referring to the singer as an insignificant boy from the kitchen or pantry


Who never knew his place
The charming man is saying that the artist needs to learn his place in society


He said, "Return the ring"
The charming man tells someone to give back a ring


He knows so much about these things
The charming man is making a snarky comment about the person, implying that they know about giving back engagement rings


He knows so much about these things
The charming man is making a snarky comment about the person, implying that they know about giving back engagement rings




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Written by: Steven Morrissey, Johnny Marr

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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