Newsom, Joanna - Does Not Suffice Lyrics

I will pack up my pretty dresses.
I will box up my high-heeled shoes.
A sparkling ring, for every finger,
I'll put away, and hide from view.

Coats of boucle, jacquard and cashmere;
cartouche and tweed, all silver shot -
and everything that could remind you
of how easy I was not.

I'll tuck away my gilded buttons;
I'll bind my silks in shapeless bales;
I'll wrap it all on up, in reams of tissue,
and then I'll kiss you, sweet, farewell.

You saw me rise to our occasion,
and so deny the evidence.
You caused me to burn, and twist, and grimace against you,
like something caught on a barbed-wire fence.

Now, you can see me fall back here, redoubled,
full bewildered and amazed.
I have gotten into some terrible trouble,
beneath your blank and rinsing gaze.

It does not suffice for you to say I am a sweet girl,
or to say you hate to see me sad because of you.
It does not suffice to merely lie beside each other,
as those who love each other do.

I picture you, rising up in the morning:
stretching out on your boundless bed,
beating a clear path to the shower,
scouring yourself red.

The tap of hangers swaying in the closet -
unburdened hooks and empty drawers -
and everywhere I tried to love you
is yours again, and only yours.

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Newsom, Joanna Does Not Suffice Comments
  1. Tiny Marsh

    Does anyone know what she means by cartouche? I'm only familiar with the hieroglyphics sense

  2. awkward grl

    those lalas and discordant piano notes and violin somehow get me more than the lyrics and the lyrics are so emotional

  3. Bobby Bob

    Incredibly written, incredibly performed ... Brilliant

  4. voilaviolamh

    Lord, the strings at the end sound so fantastic and perfect for the song.

  5. voilaviolamh

    Johanna is where I go when I need inspiration for songwriting.

  6. Julie Winson

    Brilliant dansed

  7. Truth Hurts

    It's beautiful how she uses the melody from 'In California' for that final part of 'la la las', especially when you remember that the lyrics from the original melody are:

    I don't belong to anyone
    My heart is heavy, is an oil drum

    Really hits me hard x

  8. lizardpeoplepoetry

    tfw you have to bind your silks :'(

  9. Maenadia

    all your women things

  10. Andrew McDonnell

    I wonder if Bill Callahan ever listened to this.

    Samuel Kastin

    course he fuckin did

  11. Marlie Eamigh

    listened to this song LITERALLY over 90 times this week. hitting me especially hard.

  12. Chitina Armet

    julia holter

  13. animalloverabh

    listening to all your women things by callahan before this makes me want to curl up and cry for a few days

  14. Sapokanikan

    I cried so hard the first time I heard this

  15. Vinicius Azevedo

    everytime she goes on singing that last bit (which refers to some of "In California" melody) I breakdown


  16. S. Nero

    Too relevant in my life right now. I feel understood.

    Vinicius Azevedo

    +Lemony Chagall I feel it too

  17. Gabriel Kugs

    The last 1 minute, the part without words, says more about the feeling of the end of a relationship than any verse of any other music

  18. Amazon 0n Fruit


  19. PedrotheWombat

    I put this song on whenever I want to feel like I've been gutted.

  20. Andreas Landgren

    This song is a masterpiece. "And everywhere I tried to love you is yours again and only yours."


    +Andreas Landgren One of the greatest lines of the last decade.


    +esprit15d I love it, also "It does not suffice to merely lie beside each other, as those who love each other do". Just incredibly powerful lyrics. Incredibly powerful and upsetting song.

    Andreas Landgren

    Agreed. I love that line as well.

    Andrea Bussinger

    the whole album is... love this album :D

  21. Nancy Alexander-Carreira

    Makes me teary every time......

    Nancy Alexander-Carreira

    makes me cry every time....


    liek if u cry everytim

    Julián Lassa Ortiz

    you are an evil suol

  22. Vincent Van Gogurt

    ah so pretty i love her voice sigh

  23. FirionDarklight

    i will come off as stupid for asking this probably. what is the main theme of this song? seperation? wanting to be together but not being able for some reason? i am trying to understand but the meaning eludes me. any info appreciated.

    Juniper Cosmic

    @JR Logue They simply wondered what Joannas original inspiration behind the song was. Zero wrong with that. Don't be a dick.


    +FirionDarklight This is a couple that is living together. Even though the man probably has not said it outright, it has become CLEAR to the woman that he doesn't love her anymore, and so she decides to leave. As is often the case, however, she is still in love with him. As she packs her things to go, she first describes in detail all her personal items. They are expensive, high-quality, elegant materials that give insight into what type of person she is. As the song progresses, she acknowledges the fact that she is a very difficult person and that she understands how her personality contributed to their break-up, while making it clear that his passive aggressive way of treating her didn't help the situation any. It appears that he is still at it, saying nice things to her as she heads out of the door: that she is " a sweet girl," and that he hates to see her said because of him. It's not enough though; it doesn't suffice for them to just pretend they are a couple while they're actually miserable, so she's still leaving. In some kind of perverse, masochistic reverie, she imagines what this home will be without her, and how the space they once share will all go back to him.


    Oh. That makes sense. Thanks. :)

    ali mete

    this song is a reply to Bill Callahan's (Smog) song "All Your Women Things". Both of these songs are the same in the main theme. Their break-up.

    Maximilian Hildebrand

    @esprit15d having listened to this song many times over the last few years, i came to recommend your comment. the algorithm told me i already had. your precis of the narrative is perfect, and i would take this moment, maybe many years too late, to thank you for your wonderful synopsis. The song is wonderfully expressive, but as descriptions go, yours is terrific. . thank you.

  24. Cloud z

    really sounds like ''in California''

    John Bosworth

    she's using the melody from In California purposefully

    Roan du Feu

    +Cloud z I think in the lyric booklet it calls this song "In California (refrain)" as well as "Does Not Suffice"


    i think all the songs are very well thought variations of the same theme musically, i can hear easy also here.just like autumn and ribbon bows

    Dino Spumoni

    Also known as a _motif._

  25. Visitor

    Yes. In the record this is titled "Does Not Suffice (In California, refrain)".

    It's like the concluding paragraph of her essay, referencing both In California, and the first song, Easy, taking back to where it started. Such a beautiful statement.

  26. Skylark


  27. claudiamar69


  28. Michael Doorey

    i really like this comment. idk why it received negative votes....

  29. Chris Webb

    This sounds like California by her..?

  30. M view

    'How easy i was not' the way she sings that line just makes me so sad


    JN is a poet. I have always loved her sensitivity to the way she phrases things and this is such a good example: complicating the line by reordering the words - making them "not easy" to read.

  31. Nagy Ciprian Mihai Nagy

    this is like Blond on Blonde or Blue album of our times

  32. Lauren Maguire

    This makes me happy and sad at the same time... it's so beautiful <3

  33. decorumgun

    Crygasm. This gets me, so bad. I think I'm going ot be sick. Bravo.

  34. Calvin Bittner

    Listened to this at midnight New Years Eve.

  35. superman2500

    big fat clitoris

  36. Rose

    I could listen to this all day and night. I would try to feel sad, but it seems to soak up all my emotions.

  37. celty234

    obaby i listen to her when i want to cry

  38. Matheus Agostin

    The Cosmia part killed me.

  39. Alexander Pace

    It's great someone uploaded the song with lyrics because it just shows her choice of words are peerless. Just the joy of language, of phrases and double meanings, of imagery and even the musicality of the words themselves 'quiet as gondoliers' just delicious, listing those types of fabric, cartouche,cashmere, tweed and silver shot. sorry i'll stop evangelising.

  40. TheIskra127

    The echo on the "La la la's" just kill me

  41. Rangda Rangda

    i dont know what part of Joanna Newsom this song came from, and i never want to know. Like all the best songs it belongs to us from the minute we hear it.

  42. esprit15d

    @Vegeta187x that line feels awful. i barely survived it.

  43. m8cct

    Not only is it a sad song, but she captures a truly REAL feeling, and avoids every possible cliche on the topic, which is astounding considering the sheer amount of music written on the topic of breakup/heartbreak. Simply brilliant lyricism.

  44. slithygogs

    Does anyone else hear Cosmia in the piano at 5:23?

  45. Marino Habulan

    It hurts even more when you hear exact same thing you've done to one you love

  46. Higgo Braga

    That made me cry. Too damn touching. Beautiful.

  47. Artemis Martin

    @DenverMini I did...

  48. sammyenn

    she's amazing. same instrumental as in california.
    the line "...everything that could remind you of how easy i was not."
    woven this thread throughout all three discs.
    easy, in california, does not suffice.


    @LanIost Throughout the entire album she brings themes and motifs back all over the place. It's as if it's a libretto with composition, intensely planned out, act by act, not song by song.

  50. ghostofdayinperson

    Any man who couldn't love Joanna isn't worth it.....but I'm glad he inspired this song

  51. ricachic

    this has to be one of the most beautifully sad songs I've ever heard, I dont know what more to say except that it truly breaks my heart

  52. Justine Z

    @LanIost On the album (which I bought physically), the song is called 'Does Not Suffice (In California, Refrain)' ;)

  53. Andreas Landgren

    This might be her finest moment
    For some reason it also made me want to listen to elton johns song sacrifice

  54. youthdecay411

    @5:37 oh god, always gives me chills. This album is one of the best I have ever heard in my life.

  55. LanIost

    Ok, It's not jut a a coinsidence. The part before the easy riff is one of the other parts off In California "content to see my garden grow" - that part. Then the piano riff that has been used in In California and in Only Skin.

  56. LanIost

    It's beyond that acutally.. the most I listen to it.. it has the EXACT same melody. Same parts where she stresses her vocals.. high pitches. low pitches. It's the same.

    Am I crazy? I can't be the only one who has noticed this.

  57. LanIost

    My mp3 player screwed up the other day and started skipping through songs. I thought this was some secret version of In California. I've been listening to this album since it came out and I haven't got through every song in detail yet. Somehow I hadn't listened to this song at all. Has anyone noticed that this melody is EXACTLY the same as "In California"

    You can seen the lyrics right over it and it fits. Deja Vu. Wow, even the piano is exactly the same down to the tiniest touches.

  58. Andreas Landgren

    vegeta that is the best lyric i think so too it stood out so moving

  59. asteroid1717

    Sadder than the slow parts of Only Skin. Sadder than the arrangement of Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie off of Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band. Sadder than that Disney movie that made you cry when you were five.

  60. justforthesparks

    its suposed to have the same notes as california right?

  61. Teal Gardner

    I love Joanna Newsom fans. What a well-worded bunch!

  62. thenoah23

    my favourite song from the new album

  63. McManatee


  64. flavaflavs

    Yeah I've come to embrace it. Especially since I'm only really listening to the piano this very moment, the piano is constantly changing and hitting unpredictable notes while staying constant throughout the song, in a jazzy way almost. There's something interesting and lullaby-ish about the repetition in this one. It's not one of my favourites by any means but there's no denying it's beauty, especially considering its simplicity.

  65. esprit15d

    @flavaflavs I see where you are comng from, and I contemplate this fact as well, but the great contrast comes in the way she sings it, which is very unpredictable and teeters on the melody. Also, the relentlessness of the melody almost marches you to the inevitable end of this relationship (in mood), so i like the effect of it.

  66. esprit15d

    @spectrum99122 cuz it rox

  67. spectrum99122

    I try to avoid poetry at all costs, on every occasion. So why am I intrigued and bewitched by this?

  68. phil dill

    I don't find this story sad, it's ridiculously self-indulgent, but also ridiculously beautiful.

  69. yayben

    @TheGreatEcstasy I don't see how that's a man's perspective, I have a penis and that's not at all the meaning I got from it.

  70. lmaonaiselaol

    god i love how the melody is the same from that dramtaic part in "in california," kinda suggests the whole album has a theme, concept, or story

  71. Bill Williamson

    From a mans perspective this sounds like the lyrics of a woman admitting she made the guys life miserable accepting defeat and moving on. Interesting.

  72. 13strong

    Ah, this song is amazing in so many ways. The way it blends melodies from the other songs on the album (California is always the one that jumps out for me). The way it's so sad, but also incredibly empowering - she sounds so defiant but accepting. And the end, when her voice becomes echoed, like she's standing in the big, cavernous empty house removed of furniture and possessions. And then the last, wordless singing, as if there's nothing more to say.

    One of the best musicians of this century.

  73. angievigilante

    i think she lost a baby too....

  74. Michael Martin

    I think the repetition gives the album a thematic through line. I think I would like to cover this song, and I very well might.

  75. Ilana Spencer

    I agree with those pointing out the common bit this song has with Cosmia. Both songs are about profound losses (Cosmia about her friend who died, this one presumably about moving out of Bill Callahan's place..?) And that rhythmic structure captures the furious persistent pain of loss so beautifully...

  76. Steerpikey

    I can't yet grasp how beautiful this song is

  77. Steerpikey

    @jacobrayyy: exactly... she seems to be creating music in the ancient tradition of storytelling, like medieval bards repeating the patterns of their ballads... it helps to imprint her visions in our memories.

  78. Vegeta187x

    "...and everywhere I tried to love you,
    is yours again,
    and only yours."


  79. Flynn Barbary

    i love endings like this. especially the last minute and a half. beautiful.

  80. Tim Jolly

    Hearts and possessions divide... I think we've all been here.

  81. Jacob

    yeahh it's cosmia! i thought so, but i wasn't sure so i wasn't going to put it down and sound like i didn't know what i was talking about :p thanks!

  82. flavaflavs


    This song is subtitled 'In California, Refrain', meaning its somewhat of a reprise to In California. I love it when In California's melody kicks in. It's a good song but I don't like the fact that the melody stays the same for so long in the beginning. Until the In California melody, the entire song doesn't change much.

  83. Jacob

    i really like how she repeats some of her music in this album. the beginning of this song sounds almost exactly like a part of "in california". i know some people say that this is unoriginal or stupid, but in a way it makes me feel as if this entire album is an autobiography or some epic story. in another song, which i can't seem to remember which one it is now, there is an instrumental part that sounds alot like a part in "ys". i think her repetitiveness is genius and extremely creative.

  84. rene verduzco cortes

    Big Big song.