LIONEL TEO ' S
See this song as a dialogue:
Choke me, smoke the air
Every backbone and heart you break
Here he comes
I realize that a lot of you may scoff at this when you hear this, but I suggest that in my divisions, Speaker 1 is Jesus, and Speaker 2 is the Pharisees, the Romans, society, etc. For the sake of the interpretation, play along with me and consider the divisions.
Let’s begin with with the first verse. "Soak me to my skin" is an elaboration on the next line, "Will you drown me in your sea?" The Jewish High Councils and the Pharisees got Jesus killed. They drowned him so that he couldn’t breathe and that he couldn’t do anything (or so they thought) (Note: possible parallels to Mersey Paradise?).
Jesus let them kill him. I’m sure Jesus could have avoided his death had he wanted to. But he didn’t try to get out of it in front of Pontius Pilate when he could. He allowed the soldiers to arrest him. He took all the suffering on the cross. He "submitted" to them. As soon as he gave his last breath, he no longer submitted to them.
"Jesus again gave a loud cry and breathed his last" (Matthew.27:50)
Therefore the line, "Submission ends and I begin." With the death of Christ, everyone gets salvation. He begins his true life through us that way. He is now more powerful than he ever was before.
Before we go on, I think there is a note you should know about crucifixion: how it kills people. Many people don’t know. When you are crucified, you do not bleed to death; you suffocate. In order to breathe in the position you are in when you are crucified, you must push yourself up with your nailed feet to get air. That is why they break your legs if they want to speed up the process. With your legs broken, you can’t push up for air, and so you will suffocate sooner. Anyhow, this gets very tiring and usually people continue this tiresome process (without nourishment) for days. Jesus’ case was unusual, he died within a day:
"Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead." (Mark.15:44)
Anyway, after a while, you just don’t have the energy to push yourself up to breathe anymore and you suffocate. I’m not making this up, if that’s what you’re thinking.
That lends the merit to the line "Choke me smoke the air", because Jesus was literally choked to death. That line is put right next to the line "In this citrus sunken sunshine." According to the gospel of John, Jesus died right after he sucked the cheap wine from the sponge:
"A bowl was there, full of cheap wine; so a sponge was soaked in the wine, put on a stalk of hyssop, and lifted up to his lips. Jesus drank the wine and said, "It is finished!" then he gave bowed his head and gave his spirit." (John.19:29-30)
The next line is "I don’t care you’re not all there." This has two possible references in keeping with the interpretation. 1. It refers to that the Jews and the Romans "know not what they do". 2. It refers to the apostles not being there when he dies. In fact, only one of them is there to witness his death, James.
The next three lines should be easy to interpret if you’ve been following my interpretation thus far. "Every backbone and heart you break will still come back for more." The Jews cannot satisfy the people the way Jesus can, instead the Pharisees simply hurt the people:
"(The Pharisees) tie onto people’s backs loads that are heavy and hard to carry, yet they aren’t willing even to lift a finger to help them." (Matthew.23:4)
That verse may have inspired the reference to "backbone you break". It is followed by "Submission ends it all". By dying on the cross, Jesus has ended it all and started something new. Grace for everyone, and salvation for all.
Then the Pharisees and Jewish High council begin to speak (Speaker 2). "Here he comes" is self-explanatory. "He" is Jesus, their nemesis because he is a threat to them and their power. "Got no questions, got no love." They are heartless (as documented by Jesus’ opinion of them in Matthew.23:1-36), and they have no questions about what they want to do with him. They want to diminish his power, his reputation, his following, and ultimately harm, hurt, and kill him. Thus "I’m throwing stones at you man, I want you black and blue." They have wanted to stone Jesus many times:
"Then the people picked up stones to throw at him… they answered, "we do not want to stone you because of your good deeds, but because of your blasphemy!"" (John.10:31,33)
The next two lines talk of they are "gonna make you bleed, gonna bring you down to your knees." I present to you this quote from the gospel:
"So the soldiers went and broke the legs of the first man, and then of the other man who had been crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they did not break his legs. On of the soldiers, however, plunged his spear into Jesus’ side, and at once blood and water poured out."(John.19:32-34)>
They came, coming to break Jesus’ legs (although ultimately they didn’t, their intent was still there.), and they came and made Jesus bleed. The title of the song is pretty apparent. "Bye bye badman." Jesus was their badman.. they thought he was evil and wrong and a troublemaker. By killing him they thought they got rid of the problem.
The next three lines are repetitions of lines already said, so I won’t bother to go over them.
"You’ve been bought and paid," the Jews say. This can refer to the fact that Jesus was literally bought for arrest and death for thirty silver pieces from Judas, the betraying apostle. "You’re a whore and slave" is a reference to the fact that Jesus is a lowly person because he associates with the low. He associates with tax collectors, beggars, prostitutes and other outcasts of society.
The next line is the line in which the Jewish High Council, the Pharisees, Saducees, and other members of society denounce Jesus’ authority. "Your dock’s not a holy shrine." As we all know, Jesus liked to fish a lot and he did many things while fishing and at the docks. He called his first apostles from the docks. Crowds of followers and people gathered at the docks to await his arrival. The number of references in the gospel is innumerable. Jesus taught and preached many many times from the docks. The Pharisees didn’t like this, because they thought teaching should be done in the synagogue only. Jesus has no authority, and neither does the docks, they maintained. Therefore, "your dock’s not a holy shrine."
"Come taste the end, you’re mine" is a simple statement by the Jews saying that they’re going to kill them. "You’re mine," is a common enough threat.
Then the chorus by the Jews is repeated again, followed by a tangent which I present to you is Jesus speaking. He is being very sarcastic at their accusations of him being a "badman". He is sarcastic when he says "I’ve got bad intentions." Then he presents what his intentions are, as if to question why they are bad. He "intend(s) to knock you down." He wants to get rid of the Pharisees’ authority. They’re not right. Jesus is. Jesus is here to begin the revolution! The he questions why the Pharisees think he’s dangerous. "These stones I throw, oh these French kisses." He’s not preaching violence, he’s preaching love. Love of God, love of your neighbor. And that is "the only way I’ve found."
Bye bye badman was about french revolutionaries sometime in this century..(1968 or something? - i can't be bothered looking!) according to that john robb book - dunno if that's true, but it does work. If you are go along with this, it's supposedly a revolutionary singing the song at a police guy or something, hence i'm throwing stones at you man etc.
The Paris Situationist / Student riots, hence "these stones I'm throwing, these french kisses". see also - the lemon stuff (the rioters discovered, somehow, that if you suck lemons during an attack CS Gas has little or no effect on you) and "under the paving stones, the beach" : a situationist rallying cry from the riots, started when the students ripped up paving stones to throw at the police, and found sand underneath them.
"sous le pave, la plage" or something along those lines.
Bye Bye badman stems from John's fascination with the Paris Riots. It was either 1960's or 1690's. anyway, it was a load of students, and they wanted better education rights, but the police we rather heavy handed and there were a load of huge riots. the song is from the point of view of the students, against the ploice, hence "I'm throwing stones at you man, i want you black and blue and i'm gonna bring you down to your knees" in the idea that they will overcome "The System".
The bye bye badman stuff, as already mentioned, is all about the 1968 student riots in Paris. The tear gass/lemon thing is a well known roses thing, I think Ian Brown mentioned it at Blackpool 89 to the crowd, but also, the lyrics mention "smoke me, choke the air, In the citrus soaking sunshine I don't care", which is obviously about it. Also, the front cover of the first album is called Bye Bye badman, and is also about the riots. There is the french tricalore , and a lemon, both of which represent the uprising.
The uprising was far more complicated than students just wating a better education system, it was a fight against the system for everything, an attempt to destroy what they called the society of spectacle. For further reading, check out the society of spectacle by Guy Debord.
Bye Bye Badman (the painting on the front cover of the album) is connected to the song of the same name. The song's about the some riots in france which is why you have the blue, white and red stripes (the french flag) and the lemons were used by the rioters to prevent the effects of tear gas. I guess you could possibly say One Love has a small connection cos the words "one love" are in the painting!
Changing the title from the morbid "Corpses in their mouths" to a truncated "Corpses" was the record company's decision, Ian wanted to keep it as "..in their mouths". Possibly the record company thinks it might not get much play with that name; bit of a nasty image I suppose.
It's a saying from the French Situationist movement, same as "under the paving stones, the beach". It refers to people who have old, outdated views; what they say is effectively dead, so they have "corpses in their mouths".
"Don’t Stop" is without a doubt the most unfounded one of all the ones I’ve done so far. It is, however, at the least entertaining and thought provoking.Here are the lyrics which I used for Don’t Stop. Because of the song’s nature, there will be many discrepancies to what you think the lyrics are. The Roses’ lyrics are often hard to decipher, but this probably (because of its backwards rhythm nature) is the hardest and most nonsensical: Don’t stop,
Isn’t it funny how you shine?
Isn’t it funny how you shine?
Hear the sea spray give,
Won’t you just ask me?
I wake, I steal, look, I feel loose
These lyrics are extremely hard to make out a consistent theme of, and I had many ideas that didn’t carry through the entire song. The interpretation I will be discussing is based on a fleeting mentioning contained in Lee D’Onofrio’s "OneLoveStory", in which he associates parts of this song with Jesus’ calling of his disciples. I think that that correlation is an insightful one. (What he does with that insight is a whole other story.)
The first two lines of the first verse set the scene. "Hear the sea spray give, I was with her." The setting is at the docks it suggests, and the singer (one of the apostles) was with Jesus (her). The next few lines refer to Jesus calling to the disciples that he will teach them to be "fishers of men."
"Don’t be afraid, from now on you will be catching men."(Luke.5:10)
"Jesus said to them, "Come with me and I will teach you to catch men."(Mark.1:16)
And so the apostles he called were like the men they would fish later on. They were called to Jesus’ teaching. Jesus fished THEM. That is why "we’re under the ship". Because they were like fish. But after they have been caught by Jesus: "so get me over."
What is Jesus doing? He is choosing his disciples; he is fishing. "Now she fishes now"
Prior to Jesus coming, the story goes, peter and Andrew (the two fishermen brothers who Jesus would be calling) had caught nothing on their boat. They didn’t catch any fish and they didn’t know to catch men. The lines (as incoherent as they might be) "There was no one out there we used, there is the news for me useless" can correlated to the verses:
""Master," Simon answered, "we worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will let down the nets.""(Luke.5:5)
When they let down the nets their nets filled with fish immensely:
"They let down the nets and caught such a large number of fish that the nets were about to break. So they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats so full of fish that the boats were about to sink." (Luke.5:6-7)
Obviously not all of this fish could be used, therefore the next lines are self-explanatory in keeping with the theme. "Now so much waste, how we’ll be teased."
As for the second verse, the lyrics are very nonsensical (particularly the blue singer and guitar part). I can correlate parts of them to the interpretation though. The lines "Won’t you just ask me, you’re an imbecile. What’s the matter with everyone I feel?" can refer to Jesus wondering why people should be so amazed and in awe, and whisper questions behind his back about him. (which people, even his disciples, often did.)
"I wake, I steal, look, I feel loose. We’re all here, now who’s the first?" can refer to Jesus gathering his disciples and awakening them from wherever they were.
There was something striking about Jesus that the disciples could just FEEL, that’s why they dropped everything right where they were to follow him. Hence, "he’s into my heart, he must be one of us". It was almost as if Jesus stood out from the rest; that’s why he attracted his twelve disciples so easily. They didn’t hesitate to drop their nets and follow him simply after his call. James and John left their father on the boat to go follow Jesus, no questions asked. None of them hesitated. They didn’t stop. Hence, "Don’t stop. Isn’t it funny how you shine?" Jesus shone, and that’s why he stood out from the rest… because in their minds.. he shone like a beacon calling to them. (which they must have thought was odd. "Isn’t it funny?")
I think I mentioned this before. The Elephant Stone is the name of one of the largest pieces of Mars ever found. It is housed in a museum somewhere. Not sure whether this is right but it is the only other time I have heard the name.
I always thought Elephant Stone alluded to the fact that both an Elephant and a Stone would hit the floor at the same time if released in the air - hence the line 'I'm comin down...'. AND I read the phrase in the Times - so la de da.
"Elizabeth My Dear" is almost identical to one of the Simon and Garfunkel tracks called "Scarbrough Fair". Its the one that goes "rosemary, parsley, sage and thyme".
Full Fathom Five is a line from Shakespear from The Tempest (a great play for anyone who feels "out there") It's from a section called Ariel's Song and it goes...Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich, and strange:
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell
Hark! Now I hear them,
I bet a lot of you recognise it, thats because it was one of the "Poems on the Underground" from quite a few years back
Guernica was a small town that was bombed by Hitler's mob during the Spanish Civil War, the fascists were assisting General Franco.
I think Guernica is so important because it was one of the first cases of airbombing (I don't really know how to describe it) in warfare. It caught the world's attention because it was so shocking, the civilian town was just ravaged in moments by the Luftwaffe. The lyrics seem to be about war, not the painting although the painting may have led to the Roses finding out more about Guernica.
I don‘t have to sell my soul,
He‘s already in me.
I don‘t need to sell my soul,
He‘s already in me.
I wanna be adored.
I wanna be adored.
I wanna be adored.
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna be adored.
(I wanna, I wanna, I wanna.)
I wanna be adored.
I wanna be adored.
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna be adored.
(I wanna, I wanna, I wanna.)
I wanna be adored.
This is an extremely popular Stone Roses song, known for its laconic quality. I suppose you are wondering why I have divided the song up in three parts: it is for clarification purposes, which I will use later on in this discussion.
The line, "I don’t have(need) to sell my soul," is a surefire giveaway that this song involves the devil or Satan somehow. There are very few other options.
It is followed, however, by "He’s already in me." Are the Stone Roses actually saying that the devil is inside of them? I think not. The Roses are very pious in their lyrics, especially after reviewing their songs in the previous chapters. Then exactly WHO is already in me? When is there a time that if you sell your soul to the devil, then someone else will be in you?
The answer is in the bible, as usual, under Matthew:4.1-11 and Luke:4.1-13. These are the accounts of Jesus’ three temptations. For those of you not familiar with the story, after Jesus’ baptism, he went off into the desert to fast for 40 days and nights. The devil came to him and tried to tempt him. The first temptation was to tempt Jesus into turning rocks into bread. Jesus refused. The second (actually, the two accounts have the latter two reversed) temptation is to have Jesus jump off the Temple roof and see if angels would save him. Jesus refused again. The third was that the devil said, "If you worship me, I will give you all this land and power." Jesus refused and became very angry and cast Satan off.
Jesus didn’t want all that power and land. It was all his too begin with because the Father and the Spirit were already in him as he has said many times in the gospel. What he needed was for people to follow him and learn his ways. After all he was the Savior and Messiah. He needed to be adored.
I divided up the song into three parts for obvious reasons. The first two parts take on the standard verse structure and format. The third is very much like the first two but varied and filled with much more anger, which ends the song.
What I am suggesting is that the first two parts are the first two temptations and rejections. The third part is the last temptation when Jesus became filled with anger and cast Satan off.
I realize that this may seem like a LOT of reading into a song which for practical purposes, only has three lines. But there are very few other options, when you consider the line "I don’t have to sell my soul", and the fact that (Thank God) the Roses are not devil worshipers. My other explanation of the song, by the way, is that the Roses are saying that they’re beyond society’s standards and that they don’t need to sell themselves short to change with fads. They just wanna make music and have people buy their records and be adored. I hold that interpretation in equal esteem with this one.
I encourage you to read the excerpt from Matthew while listening to the song, and then read this interpretation while listening to the song. I think it will make more sense to you, because instead of having just the lyrics in front of you, you will have the source, the song and music in front of you too.
"Love Spreads around, it waits there for the nails..."
"I had a dream, I've seen the light
don't put it out, yeah she's alright
yeah she's my sister."
To a Gnostic, the Holy Spirit is female (Spohia in Greek and Hebrew mythos)."The Messiah is my sister, ain't no king man she's my queen."
The light, the holy spirit, is female in the Gnostic mythos. The real Messiah is female, like life and the earth. Look at the other Gnostic references in tunes like I am the Resurrection, Daybreak, Breaking Into Heaven, I Wanna Be Adored, etc. etc. One of the most famous Gnostics that lived in about the second century C.E. was named MANI. Gnosticism is a pretty cool mythos - a nice blend of eastern mysticism, pagan sensibility, and Xtian characters.
"The messiah is my sister ain't no king man she's my queen"
is about the patriarchal nature of society - it basically means "why couldn't Jesus have been a black woman?"...so in that case it's "sister" just cos she's a woman
Your knuckles whiten on the wheel
the last thing that your hands will feel
your final flight can't be delayed
no land just sky it's so serene
your pink fat lips let go a scream
you fry and melt I look the same.
A crash, we don't know until later that it's a car, but without a doubt someone died. The line 'I look the same', lets us know that it wasn't him (writer), that perished. But it's not just death, it's real with descriptive adjectives. Holding on for dear life to the wheel, screaming in terror and eventually burning to death.
Sometimes I fantasize
'Sometimes I fanatasize' he's thinking about it being him. Wondering what it would be like if he would have been the one that was dead. And in a dark way, being happy, glad that he still lives. At the end I think he's running the gruesome scene over and over-and he wonders what became of his love now that she's gone. Is she in heaven, is she in hell, is there a heaven and hell? He's scared, but glad to be alive.
I'm standing alone against
This part is where she or they, died in a crash, not of old age or cancer. No one ever reports that, it's not in the papers, it doesn't make the news. Car crashes, plane wrecks, blood sells-hence the style. Going out in a big way, not fading out.
In his head he see's the girls screaming for their lives, their car is ruined. Perhaps a brand new car, hence bad money. Money not spent wisely, or money that is gone forever. Money that took them away, this goes back to the biblical "The love of money is the root of all evil" theory. It took her away, and once again the author is still alive, the same, contemplating the death!
The chorus repeats here, with a slight lyrical difference for the end of the song:
Are you all alone,
Goes back to the is she in heaven, or does she just not exist at all. Did her sould die along with her body? Is she like a stone, no life, no soul. Nothing but a corpse-a rock.
This song isn't hiddent meaning, it's just descriptive. I didn't think it needed deciphering at all, but then again Ian does a wonderful job masking his lyrics so you don't know. The guitar and amplified bass at the intro, along with the way the chorus is so catchy makes this song stick in peoples head. I alway play this song for people who have never heard it, ever single person falls in love with it and I hope you do too!
A friend of mine has this theory about the Sally lyrics and reckons it's about a bloke worried about his girl seeing another man (you taste of cherryade) but then he realises she's actually a lesbian (hence: sent to *her* from heaven, Sally Cinnamon you're *her* world)
This would sort of tie in with what Ian said at the Anti-Clause 28 gig (Clause 28 being some sort of restriction of gay rights). He said something like "None of you understand what this song is about, but it is about one of the reasons we're doing this gig". I'm sure I'm being naive, but I always thought that the song was just relaying a story and the twist is that it isn't even his story. Ian also said later none of the saddos at the gig (including Liam & Noel G) didn't understand the Roses. the clause is again homosexual literature in British schools and is still standing. Later on Ian apparently went into full Lydon mode and sat on the drum staring at the crowd.
A guy gets on a train finds a letter that was written for (sally?) a female passenger. He's reading the letter imagining it was for him the song begins relaying what the letter says....yadda yadda yadda Then in the end he puts the letter back in the place where it was found in the pocket...of a jacket....on a traiaaain in town sent to "her" from heaven.......... That's when you find out---------"oh what's this !?" The letter's not even his......and the ending is sad. Ian sings the first two verses as if it were a love song then the third and final verse he explains that he was reading someone elses note hence:Then I put the letter back in the place where it was found
In the pocket of the jacket on the train in town
Sent to her from heven sally cinnamon your her world
I hear my needle hit the groove,
And spiral through another day,
I hear my song begin to say,
Kiss me where the sun don't shine,
The past was yours,
But the futures mine,
Youre all outta time.
I dont feel too steady on my feet,
Have you seen her, have you heard?
Have you seen her, have you heard?
Have you seen her, have you heard?
The first half of the first verse is talking about Ian (or John) putting on the record and hearing their music.. and It's telling htem that the band they're listening to (The Roses themselves) is the band of the future. Perhaps Ian's cockiness got put in there. However, I think ther'e s a religious sense that will be shown later in the song.
The second verse shows the listener (again either Ian or John.. or even Reni or Mani) feels unfulfilled (I don't feel too steady on my feet, I feel hollow I feel weak) but he takes the passion fruit and holy bread, which I would venture to say refers to communion in regard too the last supper (take this bread and eat it).
After that line he talks about how his pain is eased, and how he ses HER banging the drums in the song.
If listening to the music of the Roses (which is what the narrator of the poem is doing) somehow sancitfied him as if it were like receiving communion, then the Roses MUST think that the spirit is ont heir side somehow. The next lines show that Ian or John or the listener see HER through the EARLY morning sun.
I don't wanna get ahead of myself, but in Sugar Spun Sister, I've come to the idea that the sister is Christ.. mainly because the first verse's description of the sister comes almost straight out of the first chapter of the Book of Revelation under the section titled "Vision of Christ" ( I really don't know what other option there could be then). Well anyway.. later in Sugar Spun, the song says "she wakes up with the sun" (not "she wakes up with the sound" as a lot of people think). I made the correlation between THAT line and the line in "She Bangs the Drums" ---"In the early morning sun, I can see her"
After the second verse the chorus is repeated over 3 times. There's no significance in the 3, it's a song, and they had to make it longer. However, I think the lyrics of the chorus are significant. Ian/John then asks the listener (us) is WE see her in the music and if we're getting the message out of the music that they're getting out of the music. Then the final note is that "She'll be the first, she'll be the last..."
It could be just a phrase that Ian and John decided to use about some girl they like, but if the theory about SHE being Christ is to be maintained you have to look at it in a different sense. Numerous times in the gospel and especially in revelation, they talk of christ as the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega. Read Revelation:1:8 and revelation:1:17. Those, word for word, say the "I am the first and last" phrase.
That's the end of the song.. and after analyzing a lot more deeply, I think that there is a lot more underlying religous messages in the Roses music.
I think the Roses (if my theory on the meaning of this song is correct) purposely put the song in the number 2 slot on th CD. "I Wanna be Adored" is always their opener. and the next song is the song that tells the listener how to listen to the music, and what to look for.. kind of a "Foreword".
(Coming to shoot you down.)
You know it,
You know it,
I never wanted,
You know it,
I‘d love to do it,
I‘d love to do it,
I‘d love to do it,
This analysis will not be as long as the other two, because the lyrics are much simpler. The "coming" is consistently used in the song… even in the mumbling in the beginning (which by the way says, "‘Help!’ ‘Coming to Shoot You Down’"). "Coming" is also the word consistently used by the Bible to talk about the second arrival of Jesus, which would bring us to Judgment Day.
In each of the four gospels, there is a passage in which Jesus warns us of the day when the Son of Man will come a second time and separate the good from the evil. "Shoot You Down" can be interpreted as Judgment Day as directed toward the sinners.
"You know it, You show it, And the time has come to shoot you down." The sinners were warned, and they did not follow Jesus, and now their fate will be decided. They will be cast down into hell. (Shoot you down)
The biggest clue in metaphor is the constant use of the phrase "When the day is done". This refers to the end of time, the world. The day is time, much in the way that in the parable of the workers in the vineyard. (In case you don’t remember it, the vineyard owner hires workers at dawn, noon, afternoon, and evening, and at the END OF THE DAY they are all paid the same reward for working for him, even though some worked longer than others [Matthew 20:1-16]) The day is a metaphor for all time. The end of the day is the end of time.
"And it all works out" refers to the sorting out process, much like the parable where the farmer separates the good wheat and the weeds. It works out.
"I never wanted the love that you showed me" I suppose this is Jesus rejection of hypocrisy, heretics and other people who sin but try to appear like they’re good.
The final verse talks about how it is too late for mercy, forgiveness, for it is judgment day. "But I can’t pipe down, It’s far too late, I can’t wait."
The final note (before the 3 "chorus lines" talk about how the sinner will now regret his sins and fun ("So when you’ve had you’re fun, Will you all walk out?"), and that he will now realize, too late, his errors. ("And when this thing is done, It’ll leave no doubt.")
The general tone that the song is sung with also constitutes a sense of judgment and verdict as well.
It sounds like a recording of a part of tennis match - after someone's won a point. You can hear the tennis ball sound and the crowd clapping before it fades out into the drums intro. Don't know its significance, though.
Shoot You Down could be about judgement day, saying when the day comes none of us humans are good enough or clean enough to stay out of hell. Ian tales the role of god in this one I think. The "I never wanted..." bit sounds like he's critising those strongly religious people who are actually evil like those WASPS that were in the KKK.
Soft drifted snow
I'd like to know
Why she hates
All that she does
But she gives
it all that she's got
Until the sky turns green
Until the sky turns green
It takes all these things and all that time
She wakes up with the sun
It takes all these things and all that time
Yeah yeah yeah the candy floss girl
As I had mentioned before in my interpretation of "She Bangs the Drums" in chapter 1, it is clear that the sister is Jesus Christ. The first half of the first verse is a description of the sister: "Her hair, soft drifted snow, death white". This is taken almost word for word out of the book of Revelation:
"His hair was as white as wool, or as snow," (Revelation:1:14)
This clearly indicates that the sister is Christ. The next lines say "I’d like to know why she hates all that she does, but she gives it all that she’s got."
At this time I would like to propose to you that the speaker of this song is Thomas (the twin), the apostle who doubted Jesus’ ressurection. Just keep that in mind right now because that identity will become evident later in the lyrics.
The night of Holy Thursday, after the Last Supper, and in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus shows clear dissatisfaction with his duty. He plain just does not want to die on the cross:
"Take this cup of suffering away from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want." (Matthew 26:39)
The paradox of hating all that she does but giving all that she has is contained in the same chapter:
"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41)
In the final hours of Jesus’ life on the cross and the day and night after his death, a large number of unnatural occurrences happened to the earth and to the sky and the world. Roman authorities and soldiers even ceded that "Surely this was a good man." All this had to happen for God’s will to be done. And so "until the sky turns green, the grass is several shades of blue, every member of Parliament trips on glue".
There is significance in the fact that Jesus rose in 3 days, because he told everyone that he would destroy the temple and raise it again in 3 days. That specific amount of time is crucial for God’s will. Therefore "it takes all these things (the unnatural occurrences) all that time (the 3 days), until my sugar spun sister’s happy." The will is then done.
I said earlier that the speaker of the song is Thomas, the doubting apostle. The second verse begins some insight into this. Of all the 12 apostles, Thomas was noted for being the one who "doubted."
"I’ve paid for fifteen or more" refers to the fact that historically at the time of Jesus’ death, Thomas was probably his apostle for about 15 years. An alternate explanation of 15 could be that approximately 15 people reported to him that they saw Jesus resurrected.
In the line "But my guts can’t take many more," Thomas expresses his doubt that Jesus was all that he thought he was. After all, Jesus died and couldn’t save himself, he thought. He doesn’t think that he will be giving much more to following Jesus now. His "hands are stuck to (his) jeans", because he is passive.
Jesus knows that Thomas is doubting. When Jesus appears to Thomas, his first words to Thomas are that he accepts his challenge to have him touch and probe his wounds so that he may believe. Jesus knew Thomas doubted. Jesus also knows the meaning of the doubting and it’s significance, which will be explained later. Thus, "she knows, she knows what this must mean."
At this point comes the most correlative evidence between my interpretation and the lyrics of the song. The next line is the chorus, but the chorus now has different words. It is not "until the sky turns green", because the crucifixion and unnatural occurrences have already passed. Instead, "she wakes up with the sun." This is a CLEAR reference to Jesus’ rising form the dead, the ressurection, at dawn of Easter Sunday morning. As the sun rose, so did the son rise.
I did not realize what the sun and Christ’s correlation was when I wrote Chapter 1. I simply made the connection between "she wakes up with the sun" and "through the early morning sun, I can see her". It refers to the ressurection, and placing that in "She Bangs the Drums", it means that Christ is in the Roses’ music in resurrected form. This is one of his presences in our lives today, the music of the Stone Roses. If you did not follow that part about the interpretation of "She Bangs the Drums", I encourage you to read Chapter 1 again.
After the line "She wakes up with the sun", which is documented in each gospel:
"After the Sabbath, as Sunday morning was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake; an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled the stone away, and sat on it." (Matthew 28:1-2)
"Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, carrying the spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the entrance to the tomb," (Luke 24:1-2)
The next line in the song is "She asks me ‘what is all the fuss?’" In this line Jesus questions Thomas why he is so surprised to see Jesus alive again. After all, Jesus had predicted his death and ressurection several times during his life.
The following line "As she gave me more than she thought she should," is an incredibly significant line. After Thomas believes in Jesus’ ressurection only after touching his sides and wounds, Jesus asks him "Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me?" Jesus really shouldn’t have had to appear to Thomas physically. Thomas shouldn’t have needed that to believe. However Jesus GAVE MORE THAN HE THOUGHT HE SHOULD. Jesus believes that people should believe in him without even having to see Jesus.
The line about the ressurection is then repeated. It is followed by Thomas’ great remorse in doubting Jesus. "Ii think what have I done?" In the same way, when Thomas sees Jesus, he falls to his knees and cries, "My Lord and my God" with utter remorse for not believing. His faith is restored and he gives more to the following of Jesus than he thought he was going to when he doubted. Hence, "As I gave her more than I thought I would."
Notice that in that line, the roles are reversed and the word is "would" instead of "should". In the context of the explanations I have just given, I think it is well put.
Then the final stanza states that "It takes all these things and all that time until my sugar spun sister’s happy with this love of mine." It took Thomas actually seeing and touching Jesus’ wounds for his faith and love to be restored. I think the connection is clear.
The final lyrics (i.e. "candy floss girl", "the sticky fingered boy") are simply standard singing tangents at the end of songs.
If you are interested, and I hope you are, the story of Thomas and his doubt is documented in John:20:24-29. After getting this revelation and interpretation, I am in even greater awe of Ian and John’s genius.
I think there is some significance to the fact that the description of Jesus used in the beginning was the one from revelation, not one from the gospel. Jesus’ appearances after the ressurection, it can believed, were not always in the form of the body he lived in during his life. If it were, his followers would have recognized him immediately from his facial features. Instead, it takes his persona to convince his apostles that it is him. Some of the things that tip the disciples off are the way he breaks bread, the miracle he performs with fishing, and the way he calls Mary Magdalene’s name. The revelation description is used because it depicts not the Jesus of flesh form but the apparition that appears after the Ressurection.
Sugar Spun sister was someone who sniffed glue. You know..sticky fingered boy..hands are stuck to my jeans..glue.
We all know her desire
From the plans that she has made
I had her on a promise
Immerse me in your splendor
All the plans that I have made.
This is the one (5x)
I’d like to leave the country
And this is the one .. etc.
The first time I heard this song, I thought it was one of the most beautiful accounts of infatuation I had ever heard. But if you look at the lyrics, you begin to question if this is really a love song. In fact (and this is where it begins to be far fetched), I would propose to you that this is a Christmas song, detailing the Immaculate Conception, Nativity and surrounding events.
If you look at the ongoing religious themes that carry on through the Roses’ songs, you can’t but wonder if "This is the one" might be religious. If it WERE religious, that what other "ONE" in religion could there be? My guess was Jesus. After listening to the lyrics more closely, I picked up on the term "Bella Donna", a common name for Mary, much like "the Virgin" or "Ma Donna". This would indicate that it perhaps might be about the nativity.
Close inspection with the Infancy narratives of the Gospel and the lyrics of the song seem to make sense. "Immerse me in your splendor" may refer to the fact that Jesus is conceived within the womb of Mary. "I had her on a promise" could make reference to Joseph and Mary’s engagement:
"He had a message for a girl promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David. The girl’s name was Mary." --- (Luke 1:27)
I think "all the plans that I have made" is self-evident. A. The engagement plans… B. The will of God.
The second verse begins by saying that "I’d like to leave the country, for a month of Sundays, (Burn) the town where I was born." This could possibly make reference to that in Mary’s last month of pregnancy (a month of Sundays = Advent), Joseph had to go from the country of Galilee to the country of Judea where Bethlehem was. That was because Bethlehem was the hometown of his family, "the town where I was born".
It makes two references to "burning". When King Herod found out that Jesus was born he order a massacre on Bethlehem. Hence "Burn the town where I was born".
The last line of the second verse reads "Burn me out or bring me home." To escape Herod’s wrath, Joseph, Mary and Jesus fled to Egypt. The following verse from the Gospel of Matthew:
"and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and go back to the land of Israel, because those who tried to kill the child are dead." --- (Matthew:2:20)
The chorus is fairly self-explanatory. "This is the one." The Messiah who will save his people has been born. Therefore, THIS IS THE ONE.
I realize that there are still many who are skeptical of my interpretation of these lyrics. I would also like to present to you the original lyrics to the second verse, as taken from the 1985 demos on "The First Coming":
He’d like to leave the country
For a month of Sundays
For all the things that (he’s/she’s/we’ve) been told.
With only but a donkey,
I had her on a promise,
All the thoughts that I had laid.
Four of the lines are different and all significant. "For all the things that we’ve been told" makes reference to the fact that both Mary and Joseph were approached by the angel Gabriel in dreams and they were told that they would be the parents of the son of God. Actually I’m not really sure whether Ian say "we’ve", "he’s", or "she’s", but within context, it really doesn’t matter.
"With only but a donkey" is pretty straightforward. In the trip from Galilee to Judea, they had but just a donkey to bring them there.
"This is the One" is a Christmas song.
Chanted at the end of This Is The One should be Roses - but some people think it says Oasis - and that is where Noel got the name.
Today‘s the day she‘s sworn,
To steal what she never could own,
And race from this hole she calls home.
Now you‘re at the wheel,
As the miles they disappear,
She‘ll carry on through it all,
She‘ll carry on through it all,
See the steeple pine,
Stands on shifting stands,
She‘ll carry on through it all,
There is a very common theory that this song is about Nuclear disarmament. However, I think after looking into the vast amount of gospel references, it is worth taking a second look.
The first verse is probably the hardest to explain. Particular the last two lines "To steal what she never could own, and race from this hole she calls home." There are two theories I will hold to concerning this first verse.
The first is the one that most of you are familiar with because it was offered by Lee D’Onofrio in "One Love Story". As a note, I do not advocate "One Love Story", but I believe that within ONLS there are a lot of good insights, particularly in the first two chapters of "The Old Testament", in which he simply discusses excerpts of lyrics. I also like some of his art interpretations. It is simply that I do not condone the novel as a whole, because it is far too extreme and assuming.
Anyway, Lee’s idea was that "to steal what she never could own" refers to God "reaping where he did not sow", and "gathering where he did not scatter", which is mentioned several times in Jesus’ parables. This seems like a suitable explanation for "stealing what she never could own.", and it is a possibility.
Again, the first verse is the hardest to decipher. The second interpretation is that Jesus is the "she", just as Christ was the "she" in all the previous songs (excepting "This is the One"). Sunday morn is THE Sunday morning associated with Jesus and Christianity: Easter Sunday morning. (Correlations with Sugar Spun Sister’s "She wakes up with the sun" and She Bangs the Drums’ "Through the early morning sun, I can see her.") Easter Sunday is the moment and event that Jesus promised and foresaw to his apostles: his resurrection. Hence, "today’s the day she’s sworn." The Jews crucified Jesus in the hopes in taking his life, they would take away his following and his teaching. Humans aren’t supposed to live after death. Yet Jesus rose form the dead and did just that. He stole what he never could own: Life after death. He did this by emerging from the tomb. In essence, he "race(d) from this hole,".
I realize that these arguments aren’t as convincing, but keep in mind a third time that the first verse is the hardest to understand. From thereon, the religious references are clearer. The second verse tells the story of Jesus curing a man blind from birth by rubbing mud in his eyes and making him wash it out. The blind man used to not be able to fend for himself and lived by begging. With his new sight, he is self-independent: "Now you’re at the wheel." It is contained in the gospel of John:
"His neighbors, then, and the people who had seen him begging before this, asked, "Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?" (John:9.8)
The following lines are self-explanatory in going along with the theory that it correlates to that particular gospel story, particularly the line, "to lift up the lids of your eyes."
The third verse is simply a continuation of the second. "As the miles they disappear, see land begin to clear". I would suggest that "the miles" are figurative miles. The ones that distance the blind from the seeing in society. The social gap is no longer there. "See land begin to clear" simply refers to the reception of sight.
"Free from the filth and the scum,", in keeping with the theory, should be quite obvious. No longer is the beggar down with the outcasts for being blind, because he is no longer blind.
The last line of the third verse is the line that would lead most of us to believe that it IS about nuclear disarmament. I would still hold that it is about the life of Jesus and his works. It states, "This American Satellite’s won." In nuclear disarmament, nobody won. Actually, let me rephrase that. Everybody won. There was no winner. So how could "This American satellite" win? A satellite need not refer to the manmade satellite’s. It could very well refer to the earth. But there is always the adjective "American", and the best explanation I can offer to you is that it refers to the earth, and as of today, since America controls most of the economy and influences the rest of the world the most as the foremost superpower, it IS the American Satellite. That one line will always cause some controversy, leading many to believe that it IS about nuclear disarmament. However, the rest of the song besides that one line does to seem to support that. There are many more biblical references yet to come as well, especially in the last verse.
Anyway, then we come to the chorus, "She’ll carry on through it all. She’s a waterfall." The interpretation of this again comes in part from Lee D’Onofrio. There are a multitude of references to Christ as something of a waterfall in the New Testament:
"As the scriptures says, ‘Whoever believes in me, streams of live-giving water will pour out from his heart.’" (John:7.38)
"His feet shone like brass that has been refined and polished and his voice sounded like a roaring waterfall." (Revelation:1.15)
Christ, evidently, is the waterfall, the "she" that is being referred to in the song.
The fourth verse, I propose to you is about Jesus’ crucifixion. The first line says, "See the steeple pine,". Steeples in church all have one thing that makes it a steeple: a cross. The steeple pine clearly refers to Jesus’ cross. He was crucified at "The Place of the Skull", Golgotha. Golgotha is on top of an old hill. I assume they crucified there so that everyone could see Jesus in humiliation. Anyway, that is the reasoning behind "The hills as old as time."
"Soon to be put to the test" is fairly obvious. The death of Christ IS the ultimate test. For Christ, to see if he can go through with it. And for Christianity, for if he doesn’t die and rise, the whole foundation of Christianity is worthless. "To be whipped by the winds of the west," can be interpreted two ways. The first way is in correlation with the meaning of the last half of the very last verse which I will get to later. The second way is that Jesus is whipped and beaten by Roman Soldiers (at the same time he is mocked and given a crown of thorns). The Roman soldier’s whip lashing constitute the whipping by the winds of the west (Rome).
The final verse has some of the most beautiful imagery I have ever read, as is UNDENIABLY referring to Christ. The story of the second coming of Jesus is well known. At the end of time, we know not the day nor the hour, Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. He will judge who will be sent to eternal life, and who will be cast down to hell.
"Stands on shifting sands" is a very subtle image. Clearly it is SHE, Christ, who stands on the shifting sands. Where do sands shift? In an hourglass of course. Hourglasses represent time. When all the sands have shifted to the lower half of the hourglass, time is up. It is the end of time.
Jesus stands on top of those sands. So once the sands have all shifted, Jesus is next to fall through to reach us. It is his second coming. Picture it if you need help. An hourglass is running and on top of the sand on top is Jesus. Once all the sand (time) beneath Jesus is gone, Jesus falls through and COMES. You must admit, Ian and John came up with some strikingly amazing imagery there. But that is not the end of it.
When Jesus does come, "the scales held in her hand." Scales represent justice… judgment. It is judgment day and on Christ’s second coming, he will judge the quick and the dead.
The second half of the final verse can be put with the last line of the fourth verse (although I would lean to the second way of interpretation, simply because of positioning.) "The wind it just whips her and wails, and fills up the rickety sail," refers to the time when Jesus and his apostles were distraught by a great storm on sea, which Jesus calmed in a simple order:
"Suddenly, a strong wind blew down on the lake, and the boat began to fill with water, so that they were all in great danger… Jesus got up and gave an order to the wind and to the stormy water; they quieted down, and there was a great calm." (Luke:8.23-24)
And with Jesus’ action, "she’ll carry on through it all, she’s a waterfall."
On an endnote, I also came up with a third possibility for the meaning of the first verse. If the song talks about Jesus’ life and works, his death and second coming, it is possible that the first verse’s "she" is not Christ. It is another "she", Mary Magdalene, a prostitute and sinner who converted from her sinful life to follow Jesus.
The painting is a torn Union Jack with stars mixed into it. Way back Ian said the song is about British and American Imperialism.
He's recently said that the song is about a girl getting on a ship at Dover and taking a trip, so make of that what you will.
Interpretations by Lionel Teo.
Revised: May 24, 1999