Papillon (song)

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Papillon is an indie rock song by Rilo Kiley, composed by Blake Sennett and Jenny Lewis. It was first released as track 1 on the Sandbox Sessions 05/02/98 demo in 1998, but a more properly produced version was included on the Rilo Kiley demo album in 1999. It's track 4 on the first pressing and track 2 on the second and track 2 on The Initial Friend EP. Despite being on every one of their early albums, this song was rarely played live. The song, a duet between Jenny and Blake, is named after the 1973 Steve McQueen film Papillon, and the lyrics reference the movie, but the bulk of the song is about Blake's frustrating relationship with Morgan Nagler.

I've never been able to find a contribution breakdown for this song, but Jenny and Blake both sing vocals, Blake most likely plays guitar, Dave Rock most likely played drums, and Pierre de Reeder probably played bass. Keyboards were probably played by Jenny or Pierre.

I heard this song shortly after becoming a fan of the band in the early 2000s, either from finding it on Kazaa or given to me by a friend, and it quickly became a favorite. I like the song's lo-fi synthesizer intro with the muted giggling. Jenny's vocals have a wonderful childlike quality to them which is fitting for a youth relationship. I really relate to the lyrics having had a few girlfriends like how Morgan is described.


Papillon busted free
Though it took him 'til he was sixty-three
And nobody cared about the God-damned inquiry
And Daga stayed on the farm
Though he found no cause for alarm
It was a hell of a swim, but he still had two good arms

Gorillas are for eating
Don't you know it's true
I fell in love with you
And don't you think it's sad
'Cause here we both stand
'Midst the wreckage of our past

And I'll spend the day with you
We'll meet at your house after two
You're the most exhausting girl I ever knew
And when you let me leave I'll go
I'll let you get back to your phone
You mean well, Mel, but you're all talk and no show

Pick you lips 'til they're bleeding
Don't you know I fell
The lair of the queer devil
Is deeper than you thought
The computer's still on
And the Web page is

And I hope you'll come back soon
And I feel like a million buck today, a million bucks today
'Cause I know it can only go up from here
'Cause she says it's so much better after all

After all we been through
I can't get my mind off of you
It's a hell of a way to spend the whole day through
And you left your name on the bar
You hopped your little brown car
You moved in with Gramps and you got yourself a job

And the room is slowly sinking
But I can play guitar
And Morgan you're so far
Away from me tonight
And I'll try to make it right
By putting you in this here song

Oh yeah
Okay wait
Oh my God, Blake!
That's what she said
In bed

Papillon busted free
We watched him at 4:53
And I'm glad you chose to spend the night with me