The Black Crowes – “She Talks To Angels” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Brendan Briggs

Brendan is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. In 2022, he released his first album "Dive" under the name "Arctotherium".

“She Talks To Angels” is a biographical sketch of a woman dealing with heroin addiction. The lyrics focus on the dark grip the woman’s addiction has over her while also humanizing her as a unique individual with a past, emotions, and a grim future. A lot of tragic euphemisms are used to reference her fate, which the narrator believes is death.

According to Chris Robinson (who wrote this song alongside Rich Robinson), the lyrics are based on a woman he knew in Atlanta. She presented herself in a dark style and wore dark makeup, and was a heroin addict herself. Robinson “made up” a story about this woman’s life and her trajectory as the impetus for the lyrics.

In this article, we’ll perform an analysis of these morbid lyrics to discover their hidden meaning. We’ll also take a look at the songwriting story and universal themes that give this song its impact. Without further ado, let’s get started!

“She Talks To Angels” Lyrics Meaning

The lyrics begin by giving the listener the central piece of the puzzle. In a description of a woman who is the song’s subject, we’re told she “never mentions the word addiction in certain company.” This implies that the word has reason to be spoken but is ignored willfully. Basically, she’s choosing to hide and diminish her problem.

Like many addicts, she also lies in a blatant way. She’ll “tell you she’s an orphan after you meet her family.” In other words, she’ll say whatever is necessary to get what she wants. This is a common behavior associated with drug dependence.

Verse two describes her physically. Her eyes are painted “black,” and her shades are pulled “back down tight.” Her appearance is dark and moody – she doesn’t give off sunny vibes. The next line (in my opinion) is further evidence of her heroin use. She “smiles when the pain comes” because the pain will “make it alright.”

Heroin is an injected drug, and the marks of heroin use can often be seen all over the arms of addicts. She grins and bears the pain of the needle because it’s necessary to get her fix.

In the chorus, the narrator fills us in on another disturbing detail. The woman claims “she talks to angels” and that they “call her out by name.” Unfortunately, this probably doesn’t mean she’s turning to authentic religion. When the angels call you, it stands to reason that they might be calling you home. Simply put, she’s very close to death.

This interpretation has been confirmed by Chris Robinson. In one interview, Robinson plainly stated that the track is about a “goth girl” who was “into heroin.” The character in the song comes from a real person he was acquainted with. Robinson “made up” the parts of her life he didn’t know firsthand in order to create a “sincere relationship to a dark subject.”

Nonetheless, the third verse can provide even more evidence. It starts out by humanizing her – she carries a “lock of hair in her pocket” that comes from a child and wears a crucifix. These objects indicate something very important: a past. This is a living person with experiences and sentiments, not just a junkie.

“The cross,” we are told, is from “someone she has not met…yet.” When does a person meet Jesus? There are two possible answers. One is when you become a Christian, and the other is when you die. The lyrics reveal that if she doesn’t change her ways, she’s on her way to the end of her life.

The song’s bridge is interesting because it’s the only section that addresses the feelings of the narrator. According to him, the woman “knows no lover.” This means little to her but “everything” to him. This is a subtle confession of some kind of affection toward this troubled woman, which is the final step in fully humanizing her.

From that point on, the lyrics repeat previous lines. To sum up, “She Talks To Angels” is an impressionistic description of a real person dealing with addiction. By humanizing the woman and alluding to her fate all at once, the lyrics create a strong emotional impact for the track. This impact (combined with the musicianship) is what the song owes its success to.

The Story Behind “She Talks To Angels”

Chris Robinson has reflected on his mindset during the song’s creation in interviews. He once described his songwriting sentiments during The Black Crowes initial run from 1984-2002 as “angry” and “less subtle” than they were in 2013.

Furthermore, due to his age and inexperience in the darker corners of life, he had to rely on his imagination when considering dark subject matter, like the topic of “She Talks To Angels.” Although the woman who inspired the song character was a real acquaintance of his, he “had no idea” what that kind of life was like personally.

Despite this, he and Rich Robinson were able to strike something that many can understand. Chris Robinson remarked that he finds this “so funny” in light of the track’s dark subject. Even though it was only loosely based on real experience, they tapped into something very real.

Apparently, the world agrees. “She Talks To Angels” reached a #1 position on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart and has sold countless copies worldwide. It also inspired other artists, such as Mark Morton and Darius Rucker,to perform their own cover versions. Rucker has been particularly open about his admiration for the song, although he did not write it (contrary to a surprisingly common misconception).

In addition, the song was featured in Ray Donovan: The Movie, which only helped widen its reach.

The next time you listen to this catchy tune, let these pieces of musical history make it even more special!