Werewolf – Unraveling the Lycanthropic Ballad of Love and Pain

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Cat Power's Werewolf at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Moonlit Metaphor for Turbulent Love
  5. Unleashing the Beast: Raw Emotion in Lyrics
  6. Symphony of the Night: Musical Landscape
  7. The Hidden Meaning: Empathy Among Outcasts
  8. The Immortal Lines: When the Werewolf Cries


Oh the werewolf, oh the werewolf
Comes stepping along
He don’t even break the branches where he’s gone
Once I saw him in the moonlight, when the bats were a flying
I saw the werewolf, and the werewolf was crying

Cryin’ nobody knows, nobody knows, body knows
How I loved the man, as I teared off his clothes
Cryin’ nobody know, nobody knows my pain
When I see that it’s risen, that fool moon again

For the werewolf, for the werewolf has sympathy
For the werewolf, somebody like you and me
And only he goes to me, man this little flute I play
All through the night, until the light of day, and we are doomed to play

For the werewolf, for the werewolf, has sympathy
For the werewolf, somebody like you and me

Full Lyrics

In the haunting tune of ‘Werewolf’ by Cat Power, a tale of sorrow and longing is woven against the haunting backdrop of the supernatural. With her ethereal voice and melancholic melody, Cat Power, the stage name of Chan Marshall, delves deep into the psyche of a tortured romance, wrapped in the metaphor of the werewolf – a creature at the crossroads of humanity and beast.

The song’s simplicity in structure belies the complexity of its emotional landscape. As we dissect the lyrics, an image of love, transformation, and acceptance emerges from the shadows. ‘Werewolf’ becomes not just a song, but a canvas painted with the visceral and poignant strokes of a love that transcends its own monstrous facade.

A Moonlit Metaphor for Turbulent Love

The werewolf in Cat Power’s ballad serves as a striking metaphor for the volatile nature of love. Like the lycanthrope that changes under the full moon’s influence, love can morph, revealing darker, uncontrollable facets. The werewolf—a symbol of the dual nature within all of us—navigates a world not so far from our reality, where passion can both create and destroy.

Marshall muses on the idea of the forbidden and the transformational aspects of love. ‘He don’t even break the branches where he’s gone,’ she sings, suggesting a stealthy, almost delicate approach to the chaos love can bring. The werewolf’s movement through life, silent but impactful, parallels how profound emotions tread through our being, often unnoticed until they’re undeniable.

Unleashing the Beast: Raw Emotion in Lyrics

The admissions of love and pain in ‘Werewolf’ are raw and unguarded. ‘Cryin’ nobody knows, nobody knows my pain’ speaks to the deeply personal suffering of love that finds no echo or relief. Each time the ‘fool moon’ rises, it represents a resurgence of emotion, inescapable and overwhelming, a cycle of feeling tied to the celestial.

In the act of tearing off the werewolf’s clothes, Marshall uncovers an inherent vulnerability and desire for closeness, regardless of the monstrous exterior. This gesture is a poignant metaphor for acceptance and the longing for connection beyond the surface, extending compassion to even the most feared and misunderstood aspects of a lover.

Symphony of the Night: Musical Landscape

Cat Power’s sparse arrangement on ‘Werewolf’ draws listeners into the nocturnal world of the narrative. The minimal instrumentation, often just a subdued piano or a lonely flute, creates a reverence for the night, providing a soundtrack to the intimate revelations of the lyrics. It makes the music a vessel for the universal comprehension of desolation and longing.

The result is an ambiance that feels introspective and solitary, replicating the isolation felt by the protagonist. The simplicity of the soundscape allows for a focus on the text, ensuring that every word carries weight, every silence is felt, and the subtext of each note is considered.

The Hidden Meaning: Empathy Among Outcasts

Beyond the surface of the supernatural, ‘Werewolf’ speaks to a deeper human connection and empathy for the outcast. ‘For the werewolf, somebody like you and me’—these lines challenge the listener to see themselves in the beast, to find commonality in the face of alienation. Marshall’s song becomes a plea for understanding and companionship, a reminder that even those who feel most monstrous still crave sympathy.

The true horror, the song suggests, is not the werewolf itself, but the loneliness it endures. The identification with the beast is a call for solidarity in the face of internal and external turmoil, a shared sense of being through all our transformations.

The Immortal Lines: When the Werewolf Cries

One cannot gloss over the song’s most gripping image: ‘I saw the werewolf, and the werewolf was crying.’ In this moment, the creature of nightmares is rendered down to a moment of pure vulnerability—a figure of fear turned to one of pathos. The werewolf’s tears become a powerful emblem of the pain love can inflict, an emotion potent enough to bring even the wild within us to its knees.

It’s through these immortal lines that Cat Power sets a mood of mournful introspection, compelling the listener to face their own beasts of heartbreak and desire. It’s a testament to Marshall’s songwriting that she can make us empathize with such a poignant, albeit fictional, moment of sorrow.

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