Paper Bag Lyrics - Fiona Apple

Review The Song (18)



I was staring at the sky
Just looking for a star
To pray on, or wish on
Or something like that

I was having a sweet fix
Of a daydream of a boy
Whose reality I knew
Was a hopeless to be had

But then the dove of hope began its downward slope
And I believed for a moment that my chances were
Approaching to be grabbed
But as it came down near, so did a weary tear
I thought it was a bird, but it was just a paper bag

Hunger hurts, and I want him so bad, oh it kills
'Cause I know I'm a mess he don't wanna clean up
I got to fold 'cause these hands are too shaky to hold
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Hunger hurts, but starving works, when it costs too much to love

And I went crazy again today, looking for a strand to climb
Looking for a little hope
Baby said he couldn't stay, wouldn't put his lips to mine,
And a fail to kiss is a fail to cope

And I said, "Honey, I don't feel so good, don't feel justified
Come on put a little love here in my void"
He said, "It's all in your head"
And I said, "So's everything'" but he didn't get it
I thought he was a man but he was just a little boy

Hunger hurts, and I want him so bad, oh it kills
'Cause I know I'm a mess he don't wanna clean up
I got to fold 'cause these hands are too shaky to hold
Hunger hurts, but starving works, when it costs too much to love

Hunger hurts, but I want him so bad, oh it kills
'Cause I know I'm a mess he don't wanna clean up
I got to fold because these hands are just too shaky to hold
Hunger hurts, but starving works, when it costs too much to love

Oh hunger hurts, but I want him so bad, oh it kills
Because I know that I'm a mess that he don't wanna clean up
I got to fold because these hands are just too shaky to hold
Hunger hurts, but starving it works, when it costs too much to love



Click here to submit the Corrections of Paper Bag Lyrics
Thanks to Eric for submitting Paper Bag Lyrics.
Paperbag | Reviewer: Kkfstar | 8/19/13

"...A dove of hope...As it came down near, so did a wear tear. I thought it was a bird, but it was just a paper bag." (Hoping that there was a sign of hope, but no (damn it), it was just a mundane meaningless bag!)

"Hunger hurts (unrequited love is painful), and I wanted him so bad, oh it kills.
....Hunger hurts, but starving works when it costs too much to
Love." She must avoid him completely (starving, complete dissociation from him) because to be near him but not have him (hunger, I.e. temptation when seeing or being near him) hurts too much.

I nice realization is that she "thought he was a man, but he is just a little boy." ( he's emotionally immature). Lucky her, she's better off without him.

So this is my interpretation...granted this interpretation is why I sung my heart out to this song (and the entire Pawn album) from, let's see, probably ages 21-30. I'm now 34 years old and still feel the same emotions and passion with all her songs on this album without any weakening of its power, meaning to me, and its ability to pour out my heart and soul as I sing to the top of my lungs, along with a few strategically placed dance moves (shaking my hands, as 'my hands are too shaky to hold'.
Btw, an additional layer
Of the song, from my
Perspective, is that I'm a mess he don't want to clean up and my hands are too shaky to hold.- this is be ause
Of my background complicated issues (for ex. drug addiction, childhood abuse or what have you for others- just a way of expressing I, myself, am complicated or a 'mess' so you can't handle me anyway so why should we try (he's too immature to deal with, understand, or support me with these issues anyway). - As it costs too much to love.

Beautiful lyrics, beautiful voice, strong yet somehow vulnerable woman. Love your passion Fiona.

I adore her. | Reviewer: Stacey | 6/13/10

This has to be one of her best. I've loved her music ever since I was like 7 years old, and still do. I don't think there will ever be anyone like Fiona, and if they try it'll just be a sad attempt. No one can put the same touches on their songs that she does and I just love the pure emotion behind each song. She's amazing.

I adore her, and I adore her music.

starving | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/28/09

To me it's quite obvious that what she's saying here is that she wants the dude, can't or won't have him, so she just starves herself so the emotional and/or physical hunger (lust) will dissipate and be replaced by plain old hunger/preoccupation with food and finally the contented detachment of established anorexia.
"Starving works" certainly not to get him back, but to change the internal landscape and feel a sense of freedom or triumph over the desire, instead of slavedom and endless want.
At least, this is what I get from it.

God, this is annoying... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/26/09

Why can't you just enjoy the freakin' song without overanalyzing it to death. If you like it and it means something to you, great. If someone else likes it and it means something else to them, let them have their opinion. Either way, it's not helpful to pick at it, only annoying.

research | Reviewer: vm | 9/12/09

Fiona Apple is known to have anorexic tendencies. This song is about thinking she found that someone to love and he doesn't love her back. People with eating disorders usually use not eating as a solution to everything as a sign of control.

She can't make him love her, but she can starve, and starving gets results. "Hunger hurts but starving works."

Yes it is about wanting someone to love her SO BAD but it is also about love in the eyes of an anorexic.

oh, come on! | Reviewer: Jimena | 1/10/09

it's hunger for love, not for food, it's so obvious, it's about a boy she really really wants to have, but she goes away from him on porpouse (starves from love) and it hurts her, but she knows that's what's better for her because she can't handle love. and I think most of the songs of her album When the Pawn are about the same thing, just read the lyric of "the way things are", she dumped someone, and she says:

"I wouldnt know what to do with another chance
If you gave it to me
I couldnt take the embrace of a real romance
Itd race right through me
Im much better off the way things are
I wouldnt know what to say to a gentle voice
Itd roll right past me"


and if you read the lyric of love ridden:

"Nobody sees when you are lying in your bed
And I wanna crawl in with you
But I cry instead
I want your warm, but it will only make
Me colder when its over
So I cant tonight, baby"

or the lyric of "to your love":

"Please forgive me for my distance
The pain is evident in my existence
Please forgive for my distance
The shame is manifest in my resistance
To your love"

or "fast as you can":

"You say you don't spook easy
You won't go, but I know
And I pray that you will
Fast as you can, baby
Run-free yourself of me
Fast as you can"

I guess there're all about the same boy, and I can totally relate with her in those songs, I love someone, and he USED to love me (not anymore though, because I have left him so many times), And I always ran away from him because I freaked out each time he was anywhere near me, so now I'm "happier" without him, because I feel relieve, but it hurts me anyway being away from him, because he is the most amazing man I've ever known, and I miss him like hell.

and yes, she had an eating desorder, maybe like someone said in here, that's why she can relate the feeling of starve from love with the feeling of starve from food, she knows how it feels, but it's totally a metaphor.

eh | Reviewer: Nae | 12/26/08

i can understand why people with eating disorders can associate this song...
but personally, i just think about when i was so heartbroken love was just like this huge hunger
it was the first time i had felt so much pain my real hunger just went away. it wasn't on purpose, like i thought i was too fat or anything. just raw emotion

Is it just about love, or is it also about an eating disorder?? | Reviewer: SaraTF | 7/19/08

We know Fiona writes about what she knows and feels. But the reason why she is so good and special to us fans is because we relate to what she writes and sings.
I'm portuguese, and there's this poet who to me is the greates ever, - Fernando Pessoa. He has this poem:
"They say I pretend or lie
All I write. No such thing.
It simply is that I
Feel by imagining.
I don't use the heart-string.

All that I dream or lose,
That falls short or dies on me,
Is like a terrace which looks
On another thing beyond.
It's that thing leads me on.

And so I write in the middle
Of things not next one's feet,
Free from my own muddle,
Concerned for what is not.
Feel? Let the reader feel!"

He has a point, a good one! "Let the reader feel!", meaning, relate to the lyrics the way they mean more to you...

Kiss***

... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/11/08

"I think people aren't realizing that eating disorders aren't seperate for the hurt of love. When you have an ed, it's intermingled in everything. So I think the song means both. She is hungry and starving in so many ways. The physical hunger is only the surface of a deeper hunger for love, for someone to really take care of her. I don't think the song really can be one or the other because the only way it really rings true is if it's both muddled into one train of thought. It's alright if it's complicated and messy because that's what love and disease and fear and hunger and want are. Messy."

To me, this person is dead on. It almost made me cry. I'm struggling with an eating disorder and I've always known it was much more then being unhappy with my weight. And this short paragraph,
pretty much explained the reasoning behind my disorder..There's so much more to be figured out on my part. But I'm just glad to see that someone gets what i'm feeling.

i think... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/11/08

this song is about a relationship and she's relating the feeling of hunger to the feeling of desire and the feeling of starving to the feeling of NOT obtaining what she desires or, more acurately, not bothering to TRY to obtain what she desires. hunger hurts (wanting something so badly it hurt) but starving works (at least if i never try i'll never be disappointed) when it costs too much to love (id rather not love at all than love at the risk of being hurt). thats my interpretation-- she relates it to hunger and starving (perhaps because she can identify so well with those feelings) but i dont think the song is about eating disorders at all-- its about love and risks and being afraid of loss and pain

:| | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/15/08

I only found out about this song when I was researching anorexia and it came up os a thinsporation trigger song.I'm not trying to say that it is is definatley about eating disorders I'm just saying that people are too quick to judge which is why a lot of girls end up anorexic.

Beautiful song | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/15/08

I think she's using the hunger and starvin as metaphors because they're both feelings she can easily identify with, but that doesn't mean the song iz about eating disorders, so yeah, and it could mean she's talkin' about a relationship during her anorexic days! could be, but to say the song is about her eatin disorder is just rediculous!

papeerbagg | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/16/08

well, actually she did have anorexia as a teen because she was raped, and i believe this song is about eating disorders. just think of it "I thought he was man, but he was just a little boy".

milk money | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/9/07

it seems this song takes on a subjective meaning. It's meaning can be interpreted by the listener as they choose. I think thats the definition of a well written song, it takes many different people to separate places. And the debate of these meanings becomes a cultural phenomenon.

It doesn't have to be one or the other | Reviewer: Kaitlin Zora | 10/18/07

I think people aren't realizing that eating disorders aren't seperate for the hurt of love. When you have an ed, it's intermingled in everything. So I think the song means both. She is hungry and starving in so many ways. The physical hunger is only the surface of a deeper hunger for love, for someone to really take care of her. I don't think the song really can be one or the other because the only way it really rings true is if it's both muddled into one train of thought. It's alright if it's complicated and messy because that's what love and disease and fear and hunger and want are. Messy.


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------ Performed by Fiona Apple

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------ 10/25/2014

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