“Cigarettes out the Window” by TV Girl
“Cigarettes Out the Window” is a song produced by TV Girl and written by the band’s leader, Brad Petering. It came out on 26 February 2016, being part of the group’s sophomore LP “Who Really Cares”, and as it currently stands, this track is the second of only three charts in their discography which have managed to chart.
With that said, it should be pointed out that TV Girl, being an indie act, doesn’t have any official singles to speak of despite having dropped a number of albums – LPs, EPs and collaborative projects alike – throughout the 2010s. Instead they more recently managed to garner notoriety as a result of proving popular on TikTok, etc.
What’s Going on in “Cigarettes out the Window”?
In the few TV Girl tracks we have looked at thus far, it is clear that this band is one that prides itself on innuendos. Actually most of this song, as with their earlier hit “Lovers Rock“, seems pretty literal.
That is to say that in this case we are met with a subject, the girlfriend of the vocalist, who smokes a lot, especially ‘when she can’t sleep’ at nights, including when she and Brad are together. Under such circumstances, as implied she wouldn’t actually about solely throwing “cigarettes out the window”. Instead Liddy, as she is called, would “disappear for an hour and a half”, i.e. go outside, upon which she would do her thing.
What’s ultimately being implied is not only Liddy being an insomniac but more to the point suffering from some type of depression. In other words, even when she does go outside to smoke she doesn’t fully enjoy the experience as, this being Los Angeles and all, there’s too many lights in the area.
So it’s as if she not only desires a mild, albeit continuous high but also some form of seclusion.
“My girl Liddy used to always smoke
Cigarettes when she couldn’t sleep
She’d disappear for an hour and a half
And when she’d come back, she’d brush her teeth
But I could still smell it on her raggedy tee
And I could taste it on her lips when we kissed
Poor little Liddy used to always quit
But she never really quit
She’d just say she did”
Meanwhile the outro is obviously meant to bring the narrative home. But rather than being wholly original content, it is audio sampled from a 1944 radio program called Dangerously Yours. And the vocals repeat the phrase “you’ll find moonlit nights strangely empty because when you call my name through them, there’ll be no answer”, which sounds like a romantic threat, if you will.
So maybe what Brad is trying to say is that if Liddy doesn’t quit smoking, he will eventually lose interest in her, as some lines do indicate that he isn’t particularly pleased with the practice.
Or in any event, two firm conclusions we can come two as far as Liddy is concerned is number one, her being a chain smoker and number two, when she does get in her mood wishing to be someplace more private than roadside L.A.
Other Samples in “Cigarettes Out the Window”
The lyrics of “Cigarettes Out the Window” also sample a more recent track in Frankie Cosmos’ 2014 “Love Song to Jom’s Girlfriend”. Additionally, according to the site WhoSampled, it also utilizes a 1978 song called “Sing Sing” by an act known as Gaz.
Hits Close to Home
“‘But she never really quits, she just says she did’ hits close to home for me, as someone who has a brother with addiction and is struggling with addiction myself. It speaks to the cycle of denial and relapse that often characterizes our situation, and the frustration and pain that our loved ones, especially our mom and dad have to struggle with.”
“Listening to ‘Cigarettes out the Window’ is always emotional. Losing my dad to cancer before I even turned 3 was tough. I never got to know him, but my mom always shared stories about him. One thing that stood out was his addiction to cigarettes.
She would often tell me about their arguments, and how he would always say he quit smoking, but he never really did. It breaks my heart to think of families who have to deal with addiction, whether it’s a parent, a sibling, or themselves. It’s a constant battle that affects everyone around you. I just hope that those struggling with addiction can find the strength to overcome it and find peace.”
– Tina, the Wonderer