Interpretations:She Was A Hotel Detective

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I believe it's about a Hotel Detective, although I could be wrong. I don't want to put too much chutzpah into it, it seems that it's one of those songs someone could spend hours pouring theories in to, when in actuality, it could be about how the John's thought a femme fatale P.I. would be a good basis for a song. - Oldmanpanda


While Oldmanpanda definately has a point about taking it too seriously, I can't help but think it's about a single woman who ends up marrying for prestige and power. -Lie


Yeah, I agree with Lie, especially that "she didn't have to change anything, just the stencil on her window", implying a name change, and then the chorus where the narrator says he doesn't think her "motive" for what she did "was the money"...it seems like a marriage to me, into some rich family. -VC

I don't think a name change is implied. She has to change the stencil on her door because it probably still says "[Insert name here], Hotel Detective" on it instead of her new job title (whatever she got promoted to). Although she has this new job, she must have accepted it for reasons other than money. Like Miles, I wondered if she became a prostitute, but I think she may have just chosen a sinister career path that ended up giving her loads of power and prestige. She does run the world, after all! - Ms Fernandez

I figured the changing stencil on her window was referencing her change in occupation, as she's now been "promoted" from a mere Hotel Detective to a "billionaire" lady who's "running the world." Although I can't make much sense out of any of that. Maybe I should skip interpretations. :D -Q.gif 20:37, 31 Jan 2006 (EST)


Yeah I'm almost certain that she was a hotel detective, but now she's gotten promoted, and not married. I feel that the narrator likes her,"she didn't have to change anything, just the stencil on he window" comment says that, in my opinion of course. I also believe that she has changed because of "she used to be quite a lady" thing (with emphasis on "Used"). And I also think that she is very famous, if not intentionaly and the insanity of it has driven her crazy. "Will she shoot you, she wont have to, your already dead"might mean that she shot down the narrator of the song and he is trying to ask her out again, after seeing her in the landromat, even though he is already dead, on the inside of course. Not that I've given it alot of thought or anything. :P --Holdhurst 21:44, 8 Mar 2006 (CST)


The narrator, who had some kind of romantic relationship with the Hotel Detective prior to her "promotion," and is now the last remnant of her previous life. So, she shoots him, even though "he's already dead" in the sense that he lost her, which was the only important thing to him.


Hm...after looking at it, something leads me to believe that the song is connected not only to (She Was A) Hotel Detective, but possibly to another Back To Skull track--Ondine.

The woman starring in the songs--for the sake of convenience, we will call her Ondine--began as a lowly hotel detective, but she hits it big when she gets paid a large sum of money to assassinate a man. She's no longer a hotel detective--gone are the days of hitting on customers and tapping calls. She's changed the stencil on her window so that it no longer identifies her as such.

Eventually, though, she feels somewhat guilty. The guilt is only compounded by the fact the man she "killed" didn't actually die. For some reason--either the injuries he suffered ruined his life, or he's just taunting her--he tracks her down and starts telling her to "kill (him) again" and "finish what (she) started". Ondine thinks she's going crazy, that she just dreamed she killed him again. She believes that she wouldn't have to, because he's already dead--and that if he wasn't, she wouldn't kill him anyway, because she'd feel guilty.

It's a stretch, but who knows? In any case, it's a good theory--I just realized that someone else posted a similar analysis on the talk page for Ondine. ~Anna Ng hears your words.


I say she was promoted to being a spy. Think about it-money and prestige, not saying no when asked to be a "nighttime lady", and the part about being dead already-that means that if seen, you're "dead in the water", and she doesn't have to kill to turn a person in. And the FBI & CIA do have that much power.


Seems to me like the song may be saying she's become a prostitute. Finding an easier way up the ladder seems to be in reference to sleeping your way up the ladder, and a nighttime lady would also refer to a prostitute (a lady of the night). Also that she used to be quite a lady implies she's lost something, which seems consistent with becoming a prostitute. If she's sleeping her way up the ladder, she might be a prostitute in practice, if not in name, which would be why she says "maybe." And this is how she got promoted, etc. — Miles 02:40, 21 March 2007 (UTC)


Hey so what is a "stencil on a window" anyway? I've never heard the phrase. Reading these interps it seems like it's the title/name on in the square window on a door in an office hallway? If that's the case and it's not a guess, I'm kinda disappointed. My assumption was that, and this is related to her having been a hotel detective, it was the body-outline or contour of the person who used to be at the top on the window facing outside. Especially since the "easier way up the ladder" is left sort of vague. I tried looking it up online and just got stained glass decorations or something. Regardless, my thought on the song is that it's a continuation of the flamboyant sexism that was shouted out in (SWA) Hotel Detective. She's a woman and she's climbing up the ladder to higher power, not for money or diamond rings, but to be on top. And she's ruthless. And a woman. ~ magbatz 17:34, 25 October 2010 (UTC)



Not an Interp, Just an Observation[edit]

Except for the chorus, this song reminds me so much of The Residents that I have a hard time believing it wasn't intentional. It almost sounds like Linnell is trying to impersonate Randy. Flans has mentioned before that The Residents were an influence; I wonder if it is some kind of homage? CallMeMommyMarshmello (talk) 02:15, 21 November 2013 (EST)

Meet the new boss[edit]

I think the "easier way" that she climbed the ladder was murder. She probably offed her underworld boss. Changing the stencil on a window after someone has been killed is a film noir trope, part of the cool callousness of the genre. In The Maltese Falcon, hardened detective Sam Spade casually gets his agency's stencil changed after his partner is killed. --Nehushtan (talk) 09:26, 2 May 2020 (EDT)