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The Meaning Behind The Song: Cut-Out Witch by Guided by Voices

The Meaning Behind The Song: Cut-Out Witch by Guided by Voices

“Cut-Out Witch” is a standout track from the influential indie rock band Guided by Voices’ 1996 album “Under the Bushes, Under the Stars.” Known for their lo-fi sound and cryptic lyrics, Guided by Voices have cultivated a dedicated fanbase who love to dissect and interpret their songs. “Cut-Out Witch” is no exception, with its enigmatic lyrics and infectious melody. In this article, we delve into the meaning behind the song, exploring its possible interpretations and discussing its significance in the band’s discography.

The Lyrics

Before we embark on analyzing the meaning behind “Cut-Out Witch,” let’s take a closer look at the lyrics:

You’re an important part of my life

I could never let you go

Things that you do are all in my head

And I’ll never let you know

You have no place

No time to roam

It’s not your home

This world is not for you

I can pick you up on a ultrasound

Or deliver you to the prom

Late in the sequel I’m speaking of

You’re cut-out witch and not real anymore

Can you hear me?

At first glance, the lyrics seem to allude to a complex relationship or perhaps a muse-like figure who holds great significance in the narrator’s life. However, as with many Guided by Voices songs, the true meaning lies within a web of ambiguous imagery and personal interpretation.


1. A metaphorical representation of a creative process: The lyrics could be seen as describing the imaginative world of an artist or songwriter. The “cut-out witch” could symbolize an idea or an inspiration that has lost its originality and becomes a mere copy.

2. An exploration of unrequited love: The lyrics suggest a yearning for an unattainable object of affection. The narrator’s reluctance to reveal their feelings and the reference to the person not being “real anymore” could indicate a sense of longing for a love that has faded or become unattainable.

3. A critique of societal norms: “This world is not for you” may allude to the idea of feeling alienated or marginalized within a conformist society. The “cut-out witch” could represent a nonconformist or unorthodox individual who struggles to fit into societal expectations and norms.

Significance in Guided by Voices’ Discography

“Cut-Out Witch” stands out in Guided by Voices’ discography for several reasons. Musically, the song exemplifies the band’s signature lo-fi sound, characterized by raw production and catchy melodies. Its infectious guitar riff and memorable hooks make it a fan favorite and a staple of the band’s live performances.

Lyrically, the song showcases frontman Robert Pollard’s ability to craft cryptic and thought-provoking lyrics. Throughout their career, Guided by Voices has been known for their enigmatic wordplay, inviting listeners to construct their own interpretations.

“Cut-Out Witch” represents a transitional period for Guided by Voices, as it was released amidst lineup changes and a shift towards a more polished sound. The song encapsulates the band’s ability to balance accessibility and experimentation, a trademark of their boundary-pushing music.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Who wrote “Cut-Out Witch”?

    “Cut-Out Witch” was written by Guided by Voices’ frontman, Robert Pollard. He is the primary songwriter for the band and has penned most of their songs throughout their extensive discography.

  2. What album is “Cut-Out Witch” from?

    “Cut-Out Witch” is featured on Guided by Voices’ 1996 album “Under the Bushes, Under the Stars.” This album is widely regarded by fans and critics as one of the band’s best, showcasing their unique blend of lo-fi aesthetics and pop sensibilities.

  3. What is the significance of the term “cut-out witch”?

    The term “cut-out witch” remains open to interpretation. It is often associated with a sense of loss or fading authenticity, depicting something that was once real but has now become a mere imitation or copy.

  4. Did the band provide any official explanation for the song?

    Guided by Voices is known for leaving much of their song meanings open to interpretation. While the band has not provided an official explanation or commentary on “Cut-Out Witch,” this ambiguity is part of their charm and allows fans to engage with the music on a personal level.

  5. What other songs are similar to “Cut-Out Witch” by Guided by Voices?

    Guided by Voices has a vast discography with several songs that share the lo-fi sound and eccentric lyricism showcased in “Cut-Out Witch.” Some tracks that share similarities include “Game of Pricks,” “Smothered in Hugs,” and “I Am a Scientist.”

  6. Has “Cut-Out Witch” been covered by other artists?

    While it is not one of Guided by Voices’ most covered songs, “Cut-Out Witch” has inspired various renditions by fans and other artists. Its infectious melody and memorable lyrics make it a suitable choice for reinterpretation.

  7. What impact did Guided by Voices have on the indie rock scene?

    Guided by Voices is widely regarded as a pioneer of lo-fi indie rock and has influenced countless bands and artists. Their unique blend of catchy melodies, cryptic lyrics, and DIY aesthetics paved the way for the resurgence of underground and independent music in the 1990s.

  8. Did “Cut-Out Witch” achieve commercial success?

    While “Cut-Out Witch” did not achieve mainstream commercial success, it remains a beloved track among Guided by Voices fans and continues to be a staple of their live shows. The band’s unique sound and cult following secured their place as indie rock icons despite not achieving mainstream chart success.

  9. Are there any interesting live performances of “Cut-Out Witch”?

    Over the years, Guided by Voices has performed “Cut-Out Witch” in various live settings. One notable performance is their appearance on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” in 1996, where they showcased their energetic stage presence and cemented their reputation as one of indie rock’s most captivating live acts.


“Cut-Out Witch” remains a compelling and intriguing song within Guided by Voices’ extensive catalog. Its enigmatic lyrics and infectious melody continue to captivate listeners and invite them to explore their own interpretations. Whether read as a metaphor for creativity, a commentary on love, or a critique of societal norms, the song showcases the band’s unique ability to balance accessibility and experimentation. As Guided by Voices continues to inspire and influence the indie rock scene, “Cut-Out Witch” remains a testament to their enduring impact in the world of music.

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