Interpol's frontman Paul Banks writes their lyrics, but rarely reveals their meanings. He did tell Flaunt in 2004 that this dreary tune was about "the art of nearly falling apart."
Who is the "Rosemary" Paul Banks is singing about? The song seems to be about losing one's self after a trauma, so it could be inspired by the final days of Fred and Rosemary West, a British serial killer couple. While awaiting trial, Fred committed suicide, leaving his wife to serve a life sentence in prison.
Suggestion credit: Cam - St. Catharines, Canada
The band doesn't appear in the video: the main character is a puppet who we follow into a hospital after he gets in a car accident; he sings the song throughout the clip.
The director, Charlie White, came up with the concept of the video. It took 17 hours to shoot on a soundstage and in a hospital operating room in Los Angeles. Paul Banks, told MTV in 2005 why he was so fond of the idea. "The treatment was so interesting," he said. "When we saw the images of the puppet early on, we were sold on the concept of this artificial thing interacting in a real-world environment."
Charlie White explained to MTV in 2005 how the puppet in the video represented a fusion of Interpol: "It fits the profile for both band and fan: It's pale, thin, with dark hair and a boyish-man quality about him."
The song has been featured in numerous television shows, including the first-season episode of the hospital-drama Grey's Anatomy, "Shake Your Groove Thang," and the Season 2 episode of the teen-drama, The O.C., "The Accomplice."
The eerie tune appears on NME's list of 100 Best Songs of the '00s at #59.
Karl from Ingatestone, United Kingdomthis song sounds like a mixing between 'Here I Stand Before Me' from God Shuffled His Feet and 'Not Even Jail' from Antics love it to bits
Chris from Los Angeles, CaI wonder about all this -- I've heard the lead singer mention how he often takes on characters and sings as them in a song. I wonder (given the title and the lyrics) if he's not singing the song AS Charles Manson, singing the song to Sharon Tate (called "Rosemary" in this because that was her husband's film and she was pregnant). Kind of a stretch, but still interesting to consider...
Alex from Mansfield, Ohyour all completely off this song is about someone named rosemary (a british cerial killer) convicted for a horrible crime having to do with masterbation and charles manson (of course this song clearly includes him)then on the way to prison they get in a car crash with a man who had a affair and kills his wife (and hes guilty about it)then she gets out of prison and trys to cope with living life outside of a prison, and interpol wrote it for a remake of rosmarys baby that was never realeased, u can thank me whenever for clearing this up for all of u
Patrick from Portland, MeI think it's about someone who did a horrible crime but was convicted for a much shorter time. They knw that they should've been in for life, but were in for so much shorter that they're having trouble fitting back into civilization.
Gen from Los Angeles, CaI'm also not sure what about the herb rosemary makes you think masturbation. It is traditional thought to symbolize remembrance (which makes a lot of sense in this song) and for improving memory. I have never heard anything about it representing or having to do with anything remotely sexual. It seems to me with this song eluding to death and loss, rosemary might just be a reference to the herb.
Gen from Los Angeles, CaCharles Manson????? Just because it says stuff about jail and eludes to death does not mean it's about Manson. That's seems totally random...maybe I missed something?
As For sex or masturbation...that also seems random to me. Nothing in the lyrics seems to suggest anything of the sort.
The story of Rosemary West seems much more likely, but if Paul says "Rosemary" was a random choice it could just be a coincidence.
Whatever the subject matter, it is a beautifully constructed, poetic song.
Viktoria from Alberta-Pays homage to the film Rosemary's Baby. (Not officially confirmed).
-Also references british serial killer housewife Rosemary West (Not officially confirmed. This may be a reference to Clacton-on-Sea, birthplace of Paul Banks).
Ash from Mooroopna, AustraliaI also think it is about masturbation, research the herb Rosemary...
Spencer from Los Angeles, Ca@Jessica, the band has stated that they picked the name "Rosemary" just because it sounded good with the song, and doesn't actually mean anything.
Jessica from S, WaI heard this song was actually about Rosemary West (like Will says)about her trial and life imprisonment.
"Rosemary..." "You took a life span with no cell mate..." "But, hey, who's on trial?"
I think its sung from her husband's perspective or something.
Oliver from Albury, Australia*Roll's Eyes* This song's about a man who has an affair, kills his wife, feels guilt and wishes he hadn't done it because he knows his new partner will most likely leave him.
Steve from Inane-isville, Pano, its about masturbation but its still not stupid. Ever here fake plastic trees by Radiohead. Its like that. The protagonist still hopes to have this violent sexual encounter with the woman in the song, but shes married with kids so all he can do is follow, watch, and wish. Interpol's just always had a darker feel to their songs, hence the rather disturbing tones and borer line neurotic vocals
Danny from Sydney, AustraliaOne of the scariest video clips ever.
Will from Seattle, WaAfter a little research, I found another presumption that this song is about a serial killer from Great Britian. Her name was Rosemary West and she is sentenced to life imprisonment. The link to the site with this theory is "http://www.interpolnyc.com/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t8530.html" and the site with information on Rosemary West is "http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/22/newsid_2549000/2549073.stm" if you're interested.
James from Victoria, CanadaThis could be what freddie says or Adam. It could be about a car crash. It could be anything that the lyrics say to you. Although this not about sex, masturbation, or felatio because I know Interpol aren't that stupid to write such a beautiful, lyrical song about masturbation.
Jonathan from Natchitoches, LaThis song sounds like a blend of Barenaked Ladies and the Cure. Very different, but I like it!
Less from New Castle, PaFirst of all its not about any of that , and Paul Banks didn't write this song. Interpol believes in band unity , and communal writing , as mentioned in interviews , but most lyrical influence comes from Daniel Kessler.
Freddie from Leeds, EnglandThis song is about Charles Manson
Adam from Liverpool, EnglandIts about a female childkiller and her new partner trying to adjust to life outside prison after she is released. Its hard as she is emotionally numb after a life of solitary confinement