There are so many confusing and misunderstood lyrics in the works of music, that I have generally stopped bothering to try to figure them out. But in between the made-up “pompitous of love” or someone leaving a “cake out in the rain,” there is one that has always stood out to me as worth looking into.

Someone has to finally figure out the origin of the expression “fingers in the cake.” And so far no one has at least to my satisfaction. And the reason I am intrigued by that idea or metaphor (if it is one) is that it figures into the lyrics of two songs, one by each of my favorite artists; Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello. I’ve heard numerous explanations of what it means for Spirit In The Night’s "Janey’s fingers” to be “in the cake.” And no, none of them are supposed to be sexual.

And also for Elvis Costello‘s Allison to have “left her pretty fingers lying in the wedding cake.” But I still have not gotten a good explanation of what that means!

Some have said that in terms of the Elvis Costello song, the cutting of the cake at a wedding is a much more solemn ritual that it is here in America where we kind of had fun with it. Some surmise that Costello meant that after the wedding cake was cut, the party was over, that the marriage did not turn out to be what they expected.

But that doesn’t make sense as far as Janey’s fingers. Perhaps in the case of Spirit in the Night, it’s one of the mysteries of an artist, when things are left up for you to decide.

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