I Can’t Decide captures a psychotic killer’s confusion beautifully – whether the killer should kill the victim or set them free. Sonically, the song is upbeat with catchy hooks.
This song featured on the 2006 album titled Ta-Dah by American alternative Band Scissor Sisters. Band members and songwriters Jake Shears and Scott Hoffman wrote the song. I Can’t Decide was not released as an official single.
I Can’t Decide lyrics meaning explores the mental state of a (presumably) serial killer. The killer finds himself in a dilemma when he traps a new victim. In his mind he is “just a loner” and not “a bad guy”, yet he must decide the fate of his victim. The chorus hints at the killer finally choosing to murder the victim.
Meanwhile, the killer also contemplates various options for carrying out the brutal act. Amidst the bleak atmosphere of murder and torment, the songwriters also allude to some humanity left inside the killer. The killer confesses “My heart feels dead inside”, offering some redemption in his conscience.
For a more detailed line-by-line interpretation here is the I Can’t Decide lyrics meaning.
Verse 1 – What does it mean?
It’s not easy having yourself a good time
Greasing up those bets and betters
In the first line the killer has captured and tied up his victim. “…not easy having yourself a good time” could refer to the killer’s predicament. The killer wants to go ahead with the murder but he is also having second thoughts. This makes having “a good time” difficult for the killer because he doesn’t know if killing will bring him joy.
This line could also describe the victim’s struggle to escape. The killer then is mocking his victim. He is trying to understand why the victim is not enthusiastic for the sadistic pleasure they are about to have.
In the killer’s mind, by struggling and fretting the victim is “greasing up those bets and betters”. This means, the killer enjoys when his victims struggle to get away. Their suffering helps him decide. “bets and betters” refer to the odds of him killing the victim. The more they struggle, the more he wants to kill them.
Watching out they don’t four-letter
Fuck and kiss you both at the same time
“four letter” is a slang with sexual connotations. Many slang terms referring to genitalia are four letter words (like “D*ck”, “C*ck”, “B**b”). This also flows perfectly into the next line where the word “Fuck” is used. Interestingly, “four letter” could also mean “kike”, which is a derogatory slang used for Jews. Scissor Sisters is a Jewish Band.
“Watching out they don’t…” could imply sexual frustration on the killer’s part. It may also explain his need for killing people, as something which fills a void inside him. “Fuck and Kiss you…” refers to the act of love-making. The killer is cautious that he does not get sexually (or emotionally) involved with his victim.
Smells like something I’ve forgotten
Curled up, died and now it’s rotten
This continues with the theme of abstaining from any attachment. The writers simulate olfactory senses for the listeners. The “Smells” indicate the smells associated with the act of sex. But this intimacy is something that the killer admits “I’ve forgotten”. The killer’s capacity for love and attachment has “died and now it’s rotten”
The use of smell also describes the dark, dingy location where the killer has held his victim captive. Listeners can feel the desolation in the smell of stagnant air and (possibly) of the “rotten” remains of previous victims.
I’m not a gangster tonight
Don’t wanna be a bad guy
This can be interpreted quite literally. The killer alludes to two facts – First, he does not think he is doing anything wrong; and second, he admits lacking control over his actions. Like many psychopaths, he is possessed by an uncontrollable urge to commit murder.
I’m just a loner, baby
And now you’ve gotten in my way
The killer is justifying his murderous intention. As a psychopath, the killer’s mentality and morals are different from others in the society. In all likeliness, the killer is an outcast and leads a life of isolation. According to him, the victim is the one who happened to cross him at the wrong place and wrong time. The killer was simply minding his own business.
Chorus – What does it mean?
I can’t decide whether you should live or die
Oh, you’ll probably go to Heaven
It is typical of a mentally unstable person to be torn between two opposing courses of action. In this case, the killer is a psychopath and unsure if he should kill his victim. It is probably a struggle between his psychosis and whatever humanity remains within him. “…you’ll probably go to Heaven” sounds like a reassurance the killer is giving to his victim. Perhaps it would make the victim struggle less and accept their fate more willingly.
Please don’t hang your head and cry
No wonder why my heart feels dead inside
It’s cold and hard and petrified
The killer is trying to comfort his victim, who is breaking down and begging for mercy. But the victim’s plight does not affect the killer. So the killer ponders, perhaps his lack of conscience and empathy is why his heart feels “dead inside”. He is “cold and hard and petrified” like the bodies of his dead victims.
Lock the doors and close the blinds
We’re going for a ride
There is a shift in the killer’s tone. From a confused and morally-afflicted temperament the killer is finally relenting to his psychotic side. It is time for action. To commence the act of violence the killer needs privacy.
“We’re going for a ride” indicates the killer is getting into a devious, murderous mood. There is also a sense of playfulness attached to this line, like a crazy psycho finding humor in the suffering of their victim. This is also a mob term that basically means taking someone to an isolated area to be murdered.
Verse 2 – What does it mean?
It’s a bitch convincing people to like you
If I stop now call me a quitter
These lines further elaborate the dichotomy inside the killer’s mind. Usually, psychopaths are charming and charismatic. But it’s only a façade to lure their victims in. Inside they are dark and devoid of empathy and conscience. So, two voices or personalities inside the killer’s head are arguing. The façade voice is telling the killer it is impossible for anyone to like him if he goes around killing people. But the darker voice is challenging the notion, saying that he’d be a loser and a “quitter” if he does not commit the murder.
If lies were cats you’d be a litter
Pleasing everyone isn’t like you
The dark voice without empathy is cornering the façade voice in their argument. The dark voice accuses the façade for being worse than a lie because it pleases others, so they like the killer. But that is not the real nature of the killer.
Dancing jigs until I’m crippled
Slug ten drinks, I won’t get pickled
But the dark voice acknowledges the need for the façade. So, the killer will continue to fake merriment and charisma by dancing in the pubs and attracting attention. He would drink and enjoy with his victims. But the killer will never “get pickled”. He will never lose sight of the main objective, which is to kill.
I’ve got to hand it to you
You’ve played by all the same rules
Now the killer is speaking to the victim. It is possible that the victim is very similar to the killer himself. But “played by all the same rules” could also mean that the victim met the killer’s criteria. Most psycho killers have a “type” that they go for.
It takes the truth to fool me
And now you’ve made me angry
All the begging and struggling of the victim confounded the killer. It is the truth the killer does not want to acknowledge, that killing is not fun for the victim. But because the victim is refusing to accept their fate, the killer is triggered and angry.
Bridge – What does it mean?
Oh, I could throw you in the lake
Or feed you poisoned birthday cake
The killer is now deciding on a course of action. He could drown his victim or feed them poison.
I won’t deny I’m gonna miss you when you’re gone
Oh, I could bury you alive
The idea of missing his victim can imply two things. Either, this reflects some empathy buried deep within the killer, or, like a true psycho he will miss killing his victim as he can only do it once. So he thinks of burying the victim alive.
But you might crawl out with a knife
And kill me when I’m sleeping, that’s why
But the killer is apprehensive. The victim could dig their way out and seek revenge. So, the killer must finish them off.
I Can’t Decide offers a glimpse into the mind of a serial killer. The most interesting part about the song is how discordant the lyrics are to the sound of the song. While the song sounds peppy and comedic, the lyrics are truly dark and disturbing.