my girlfriend died 18 days short of one year ago today, and I'm a heroin addict. my girlfriend was the only girl who I feel I truly loved, and I've had a fiance before, long term relationships, and have had sex with something like way over 40 women... I never manipulated them or lied to them, and was friends with the majority of them. My girlfriend was just... well, I think the idea of soul mates is silly and I always thought it was bullshit. but this girl was the one. the perfect girl, like an angel... staring into her eyes and feeling her love made me a deeply spiritual and loving person and I finally was able to feel love more than I thought was possible for anyone. I loved her, and still do love her, more than I can ever even fully comprehend personally, let alone express to someone else with words...
Anyways, about the song. I feel like the black beauty is his love who had wonderful black hair. This seems very obvious to me. I think she either left him or died. It's clear that he did not want the relationship with this girl to end. when he lays in bed, depressed, he touches his skin and realizes / remembers or is reminding himself again that he is just flesh and bone; that his body will inevitably stop working one day, because nothing is permanent and human life is fragile... skin and bone and what we are made of doesn't even last as long as all the shit in our houses. we are so delicate.
saying stuff like "if only you'd come back to me then I wouldn't have to do ___" is bargaining. it's a stage of grief. I went through it myself, and sometimes I revert back to that stage even... A few weeks before I had heart of jeff buckley or ever heard this song, I remember specifically telling my friend and morphine/heroin dealer that I wouldn't need to poke myself and put this shit in my veins if Elyse was alive and with me (aka, if only you'd come back to me / by my side / wouldn't need no mojo pin / only way to keep me satisfied ). It's so spot fucking on and relevant to my situation at the time. He worded this song very articulately and expressed the feeling very well. It's conveyed to the listener perfectly, and when Jeff Buckley sings it, he is so intensely emotional showcasing how personal the meaning of the song is to him.
"Don't wanna weep for you
Don't wanna know
I'm blind and tortured
The white horses flow (horse has flown)
The rhythms fall slow
Black beauty I love you so...."
He has shed enough tears, I'm sure. Reliving it over and over is exhausting.
not wanting to know suggests that he probably used morphine/heroin(definitely an opiate) or SOME SORT of outlet that I obviously don't get, if its not what I'm thinking, but I highly highly doubt the latter. Someone close to him might have actually been the one to experience this and he empathized so intensely with that person that he wrote this song for them... and perhaps Jeff is not the subject / hasn't ever used H before in his life! Doubtful about all of that part though. Memories fire whether you want them to or not, they come and go in ups and downs and rhythms. The peak of an emotional response to a memory firing/recall slowly gets less intense... then fires again later.
The lyrics of this song have a meaning that is very clear and HONEST. This isn't all complex metaphors, like many of you are suggesting.
I want my lovers opinions to hit me hard, and give me that feeling of surprise and clarity. My late girlfriend was very intelligent and I love when a girl can surprise me, with what she says and maybe even make me feel dumb for a minute, because I realize that my opinion about x (any subject at all. ANYTHING) might not have been as thought out as I thought it was. Lovers are full of surprise and intrigue. When they die, or are gone then you want them to just... TALK TO YOU. soooo badly. I talk to my dead girlfriend in case she is listening every day but I would kill a man to hear her voice again, saying things to me like she did when she was alive. "give me more" = he says this twice... and it's her he's waited his life for because she is his perfect one and only. No one else is her. There is only one "her". He will (and I will as well) never have "her" again. In his song "grace" he talks about how he would be okay with dying now, but chooses to live because of the pain he would leave behind. Coincidence? I think the entire album is connected. This is most likely a very personal experience based on lyrics / how true they ring to me who has been through this / also the raw emotion and honesty in his singing voice. He suffers. He has searched his life for her, found her, knew true love, and has lost her for good.
"Song meanings" that I think are total bullshit:
Horse is an antiquated slang for heroin. People don't call it that much anymore. I have never heard anyone say it. I've been shooting heroin since I was 17. I'm 27. ten years. I have lived in NYC, L.A., and the midwest. The slang is the same all over. white horse is not referring to heroin.... welts of scorn is not referring to track marks. that's hilariously ridiculous. I have no visible track marks after ten years of heroin use. whips of opinion = not a sociopolitical commentary about societys stigma towards heroin users. are you shitting me? "give me more" isn't referring to heroin. He's got plenty. He's a musician. that whole verse is talking about his girl / lover. there doesn't have to be a drug reference in every single line, just because he resorts to using opiates out of despair /grief. black beauty = his beautiful girl with black hair. he loves that black hair of hers. it doesn't mean black tar. again, theres not a drug reference in every single line. people don't get so emotional about fiending for drugs. they get desperate. buckley is emotional about a girl. when he's lying in bed, he isn't high thinking about the drug flowing through him... like that guy up there suggested. It's a "memento mori" type thing. for non latin speakers that means "remember that you also will die" or basically "remind yourself that you are just flesh and bone and YOUR life will end too." Your heart beat is a timer that ticks with a beat. It's counting down...
and finally and most importantly, about jeff buckleys quote on the meaning of the song: I think that musicians (I'm a professional one too! Sing/play guitar) don't always give the same meaning to what a phrase they use is. One day it means one thing, the other it means something totally different. Another thing is that he said that in response to someone's question about the song meaning... of course whatever he said would get spread around. Heroin addicts do not admit they are addicts. Even occasional / recreational heroin users don't admit it. Why the fuck would they? He could lose an entire demographic fan base over a few words. His meaning also makes absolute perfect sense as to what the term mojo pin's potential definition. When my girlfriend passed away, I started doing things she did, bought stuff she liked, watched shows I used to hate that she loved and genuinely loved them, even got tattoos of a cartoon character from a show she loved (that I have never seen btw)... I find myself eating foods that she used to eat, trying to be like her, and debating with people about things using arguments that she used towards me. I literally even smoke her bad cigarettes, and last night I watched a movie that I used to think was boring, but it was by her favorite director (whom I now love) until 4 in the AM. I want to be just like her because I thought she was cool and amazing, and it brings me closer to her. That is my mojo pin. Heroin is also my mojo pin.
I hope someone read all of this and found it meaningful! WoT warning ^
Love as Addiction | Reviewer: Anonymous | 7/1/11
Really you can see the meaning straight from the words of Jeff himself:
"Sometimes if somebody you feel you need... the whole universe tells you that you have to have her, you start watching her favorite TV shows all night, you start buying her the things she needs, you start drinking her drinks, you start smoking her bad cigarettes, you start picking up her nuances in her voice, you sleep in safe sometimes the most dangerous thing... this is called Mojo Pin." ~Jeff Buckley
Junkie Love | Reviewer: Duder McDuderton | 10/9/10
I always heard the song as distinctly drug related.
It's about trying to fill the void of a love that no longer exists with heroin. "Mojo Pin" is obviously a reference to the needle (often called a "pin" in drug culture). The guy's lying in bed, smacked out of his mind, trying to feel whole again without his woman.
"Horse" is also a slang term for Heroin, and "White Horse" usually means really pure, really good stuff.
So he's got some godsmack flowing through his bloodstream, lying in bed, letting the memories of his girl make him warmer. The first verse is about the woman and her absence; if she'd come back, he wouldn't need the junk.
The second verse is about finding an emulation of that love and is written to the drug itself.
Not really sure about the 3rd verse. "Welts of your scorn" could very well be referring to track marks. "Whips of opinion" seems to me like a reference to society's vehement condemnation of heroin users... "Give me more"... Well, from the perspective of a junkie, you don't have to wonder why he'd say it twice.
Finally, there's "Black Beauty"... You might think it's about the girl, a black woman, but a black women's hair isn't usually "ribbon" like. So I think the "Black Beauty" he's referring to is "Black Tar" heroin though. Most heroin from Latin America and in the western and southern U.S. is Black Tar heroin.
So yeah. It's a junk song. And what a beautiful piece of music.