Song Analysis “Portions for Foxes” Rilo Kiley

There’s blood in my mouth
Cause I’ve been biting my tongue all week
I keep on talking trash
But I never say anything
And the talking leads to touching
And the touching leads to sex
And then there is no mystery left

[The speaker bites her lip to keep from saying what she feels the urge to say.
But as she insults this guy, a funny thing happens. In a kind of love/hate dynamic, the two people who
start off mocking each other begin touching. And then they are in bed together. The line about “no mystery left” is a truth about relationships. Two people in a relationship let down their defenses and share their most intimate secrets.]

And it’s bad news, baby, I’m bad news
I’m just bad news, bad news, bad news

[She’s warning this poor guy that she’s nothing but trouble. Their relationship will be unhealthy
and destructive.]
I know I’m alone
If I’m with or without you
But just being around you
Offers me another form of relief
When the loneliness leads to bad dreams
And the bad dreams lead me to calling you
And I call you and say “c’mere!”

[This part is about loneliness. People have a misconception that loneliness is
the same as being alone. A person can be alone but emotionally content, and thus not lonely.
Also, a person can be surrounded by people who don’t understand him or her and feel lonely.
There is an apparent contradiction here. She says that she feels alone even when she’s with
this guy. Yet he brings her some comfort. Maybe she’s depressed on top of being lonely. Being
with him makes her feel happier but still lonely. Perhaps her dreams make her fearful that she
will be lonely forever. The bad dreams make her vulnerable. When she feels vulnerable, she reaches
out for him.]

And it’s bad news, baby, I’m bad news
I’m just bad news, bad news, bad news

And it’s bad news, baby, it’s bad news
It’s just bad news, bad news, bad news

Cause you’re just damage control
For a walking corpse like me, like you

Cause we’ll all be portions for foxes
Yeah we’ll all be portions for foxes

[This part alludes to the Bible, King James Version. See:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+63&version=KJV. “Portions for foxes”
is an elegant way of saying “worm food” as in dead and gone. Foxes are scavengers and eat
carcasses of animals. I wonder if foxes has a double meaning here. An attractive person can also
be a fox. Maybe she’s suggesting that we’re all potential victims for abuse by beautiful people.]

There’s a pretty young thing in front of you
And she’s real pretty
And she’s real into you
And then she’s sleeping inside of you
And the talking leads to touching
And the touching leads to sex
And then there is no mystery left

[“Pretty young thing” strikes me as a rather interesting phrase. It’s complimentary
yet still serves to objectify a person. Also, what does it mean for a woman to sleep inside
a man? This flips the usual expectation of a man “being inside” a woman. She may mean
sleeping in his arms, in his embrace. Notice that the speaker is saying “she,” referring to
someone other than herself. So her guy is cheating on her.]

And it’s bad news, I don’t blame you
I do the same thing, I get lonely too

And you’re bad news, my friends tell me to leave you
That you’re bad news, bad news, bad news

You’re bad news, baby you’re bad news
And you’re bad news, baby you’re bad news
And you’re bad news, I don’t care I like you
And you’re bad news, I don’t care I like you
I like you

[In the face of infidelity, the speaker receives advice to leave this guy.
She feels conflicted. She knows this relationship is unhealthy and destructive.
Yet she still feels powerfully attracted to him. The fact that she ends with, “I like
you,” gives a strong implication that she wants to give the guy another chance.]

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  1. #1 by Hos. on February 1, 2011 - 9:11 am

    Couldn’t agree more. Detailed and well-explained. Thanks for the breakdown! Just FYI, the phrase ‘portions for foxes’ can be found in Psalms 63 in the bible as well.

    God bless!

  2. #2 by Danielle Lam on March 17, 2011 - 12:48 pm

    Great interpretation,

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