a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version

If I Were You (I'd Be Through With Me)

Lyrics & Music: Neil Hannon

Published by: Damaged Pop Music / BMG Music Publishing Ltd.

Originally interpreted by: The Divine Comedy


To see the lyrics, click on the name of the version you are interested in (on the left).




The song was played on a regular basis from 1996 to 2001, but it was actually dates back to 1994. Neil wrote it on his way back from a festival in Edinburgh [1]. It was played during a Black Session in Paris, France. This is probably the first and only performance of the song before 1996. Neil once explained that A Short Album About Love was actually made of songs he didn’t use on his previous albums [2].

It sounds that this song contains a few echoes to ‘Through A Long And Sleepless Night’. Indeed, here again Neil blurs the boundaries between a masculine I and a feminine you. The man steps into his girlfriend’s shoes. Moreover, in the chorus at the end, Neil says “I’d live real fast and die real young”, which echoes the last verse of ‘Through A Long And Sleepless Night’.

The image of the sheep plays on the paradox between the unadventurous behavior attributed to this animal - we think of the Psalm “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures” -, and the hedonism that he is urging his mate - which could be expressed as the equally sheepishly word: “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. Paradox just like the song’s one: as a man, he is faithful; but instead of his girlfriend, he wouldn’t be. He can’t get his ideas straight about this issue.

[1] Magic! No. 13, 03-04/1997
[2] Reference needed