White lips, pale face,
Breathing in the snowflakes,
Burnt lungs, sour taste.
Light’s gone, day’s end,
Struggling to pay rent,
Long nights, strange men.
And they say she’s in the Class A Team,
Stuck in her daydream,
Been this way since eighteen but lately,
Her face seems, slowly sinking, wasting,
Crumbling like pastries,
And they scream,
The worst things in life come free to us.
‘Cos we’re just under the upper hand,
And go mad for a couple grams,
And she don’t wanna go outside tonight.
And in a pipe she flies to the Motherland,
Or sells love to another man,
It’s too cold outside,
For angels to fly,
Angels to fly.
The ‘Class A Team’ refers to class A drugs, which are the most dangerous type and include drugs like Cocaine or Heroin. This woman is part of ‘The A Team’ as she is a regular user of Class A drugs. ‘Stuck in her daydream’ is in reference to the effects had when someone is a consistent user of Class A drugs, they’re in a fantasy world that can make them out of touch with reality. A lot of people take drugs as a way to escape everyday life, and as the opening lines of the song show, this girl is living a horrible life and is desperately trying to forget it and numb the nights with ‘strange men’.
The girls face is ‘slowly sinking, wasting’ from the effects of substance abuse, which has had physical effects on her appearance. This girl has taken Class A drugs since she was 18, ‘been this way since eighteen’, so the permanent effects are starting to show. Free choice is not always a good thing, ‘The worst things in life come free to us’, such as the choice to take the path she is now on and to take drugs. Addiction and suffering also come ‘free’ and can take hold of the most ‘angelic’ people. It is also believed that the reference to ‘free’ could be in relation to the girls pimp being violent towards her, violence ‘the worst thing’ is freely given. Ed also uses the words ‘angel’ to remember meeting a girl from the Crisis homeless shelter called Angel, who inspired this song.
‘Under the upper hand’ means being controlled, someone else has the ‘upper hand’, so this shows that this girl is controlled by her pimp but explains how ‘we’re just under the upper hand’ meaning we all have some kind of oppression even if it’s just societies laws controlling us. Society can’t even help this girl, she is ruled by her pimp who controls her every move, and whether she lives or dies.
The line ‘go mad for a couple grams’ shows the addiction this girl has and how she can also be aggressive, and can ‘go mad’ in order to get her drug fix. It’s clear the girl hates her job and ‘she don’t wanna go outside tonight’ explains how she doesn’t want to go out in the streets, in the cold doing the job she does but she has no choice. Her only escapism to get through her life is using ‘a pipe’ for drugs to ‘fly to the motherland’, aka a safe place, that could also be heaven- which also explains the angel reference. The ‘it’s too cold outside for angels to fly’ shows how she can’t spread her wings and fly away from her life as it’s ‘too cold’ to fly away, the coldness being the control her pimp and drug addiction has over her life. The angel reference may also be to show a certain innocence to this girl, who was caught up in a life she doesn’t deserve.
Ripped gloves, raincoat,
Tried to swim and stay afloat,
Dry house, wet clothes.
Loose change, bank notes,
Weary-eyed, dry throat,
Call girl, no phone.
The ‘ripped gloves’ and ‘raincoat’ show the poverty of the girl as well as that she has to walk the streets in the rain. The line ‘try to swim and stay afloat’ could be in relation to trying to keep going with her life to stay ‘afloat’ of bills in order to keep her ‘dry house’ although she still has ‘wet clothes’ and can’t afford new ones. ‘Loose change, bank notes’ is the new money earned from prostitution that will go on drugs, the ‘dry throat’ being relation to not having drink and ‘weary eyes’ probably from a long night of walking the streets in the cold, as well as not eating enough food. Another word for prostitute is ‘call girl’, which normally refers to a girl being hired for her services through a phone line. In this case the ‘Call girl’ has ‘no phone’ which shows that she has to walk the streets in order to get any clients as she can’t afford a phone.
An angel will die
Covered in white, closed eyed
And hoping for a better life
This time will fade out tonight
Straight down the line.
The angel dying shows the inevitability of this girls life, nothing good can come of the lifestyle she leads. ‘Covered in white’ may be in relation to her white cold skin either from walking the streets in the cold or the way her skin looks once she dies from a drug overdose. This part of the song is when the girl has taken her last drug intake that will kill her. As she takes the drugs she closes her eyes and dreams of a ‘better life’ or as was mentioned in the chorus she ‘flies to the motherland’. Tonight she will ‘fade out’ and her life will be over.
Final section of the chorus mentions the ‘angel will die’ as it was too cold outside for her to ‘fly’ and escape to a better life. The only thing left for her was to escape through death.