Born In Flames
And sometimes you end up on songmeanings.net at 4.30am trying to figure out why Sweet Jane makes you feel like your heart is gonna burst, and somebody explains it so good

Lou wrote lots of songs about drugs…and transvestites for that matter…but Sweet Jane is not either. It’s about correcting the misplaced notion among the “protest kids” that prior generations were trapped in society’s shackles and that only the current generation knows how to live free of them. The singer realizes the falsehood in those premises for both generations — we all alternate between living honestly and dishonestly, following our heart and playing a part. The song is an appeal for inter-generational understanding, as clearly summed up in the final lines…which he screams to make sure you’re hearing them:

>But anyone who ever had a heart
>They wouldn’t turn around and break it
>And anyone who ever played a part
>They wouldn’t turn around and hate it

Narratively, Jack & Jane are an older couple the singer sees on the street. He immediately makes assumptions about them based on their dress. Jack is in a “corset”…a derisive metaphor for restrictive garb, likely a business suit. Jane is likewise dressed for work in a vest. But the singer catches himself in his derision by noting that he’s also wearing something “put on”…his rock & roll band…and laughes at his own hypocrisy. 

What follows is a reverie on what he imagines their life to have been…they were young once too and wild in their own right. Then they got older, settled into life, and made a trade-off (working for a living) in order to enjoy the comforts of love (settling down by the fire with their music). In particular, he wants the protest kids to hear that last part…those compromises they deride were all done for the love of Sweet Jane. 

In the final verse, the singer acknowledges that although people make different choices, we’re all basically the same…it’s only self-deception that makes us intolerant of the other camp. Isn’t he working at his band after all (“Just watch me now”)? And all of those people who hurl dirt at the other camp — call them dishonest and affected — well they’re just angry because they haven’t found life’s purpose yet. Maybe that’s art (rock & roll) and maybe that’s love (Jane), but without it there is no point. Along the way, we all put on dishonest garb in the morning and strip it off at the end of the day. So we all need to be a little more forgiving, because:

>But anyone who ever had a heart
>They wouldn’t turn around and break it
>And anyone who ever played a part
>They wouldn’t turn around and hate it