"This Isn't What We Meant" as written by and John N./o'neill Oliva....
We dared to ask for more
But that was long before the nights began to burn
You would have thought we'd learned
You can't make promises all based upon tomorrow
Happiness, security are words we only borrowed
For is this the answer to our prayers, is this was God has sent?
Please understand this isn't what we meant

The future couldn't last, we nailed it to the past
With every word a trap that no one can take
Back from all the architects who find their towers leaning
And every prayer we pray at night has somehow lost its meaning
For is this the answer to our prayers, is this was God has sent?
Please understand this isn't what we meant

A long time ago when the world was pretty
Standing right here in a different city
They're not coming back any more
They're not coming back any...
Is this the answer to our prayers, is this was God has sent?
Please understand this isn't what we meant


Lyrics submitted by Seven

"This Isn't What We Meant" as written by John N. Oliva John Oliva

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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This Isn't What We Meant song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentNuclear apocalypse, the ending of everything because of man's desire to be 'strong' or 'important', to force others to bow to his will.
    kailkayon August 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot nuclear apocalypse - it's a continuation of the Bosnian theme of the Dead Winter Dead album.

    The aged cello player returns to Sarajevo to find it a bombed out mess.

    From the liner notes above the song:

    "The old man has toured the Earth
    Playing cello for the learned
    Of a thousand foreign cities
    Only now he had returned

    To the city he had left once
    To the place we he was raised
    In the house where he was born in
    At the fires he now gazed"
    Dogplatteron December 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this is having a dig at religion.

    'the future couldn't last
    we've nailed it to the past'

    saying how religion can stop us moving forwards by holding onto outdated tradition and false certainties.

    'is this the answer to our prayers?
    is this what god has sent'

    asking; if there is a god, why is there so much suffering?'
    iamafishon January 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think you've pretty much nailed it there.

    The Siege of Sarajevo ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… ) was pretty horrible, and certainly raised the problem of evil and suffering with regard to religion.

    Not sure if Jon and the band would reject religion outright though, if you look at songs like Believe, they do have strong spiritual and religious connotations.
    Dogplatteron March 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think its about how the people who fought in the war thought that what they do is right and that they're the "good guys". But then see what happened to the country, and that this isnt what they wanted.
    Salazaron January 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI'm thinking I go with Salazar on this one.
    this is not so much critique at Religion, but a song sung by the Christian Orthodox protagonist of the story. The bosnian conflict was partly a religious conflict between the Albanian/Bosnian Muslims and the Croatian/Serb Orthodox.
    What at first was a war that the protagonist thought justified, and prayed for, he nows sees the destruction, the death, but above all, the inexplicable and horrendous cruelty that his people has brought upon the Muslims. And that's what he says "This isn't what we prayed for" - They prayed for an independent glorious Serb country, instead the war had brought only pain, suffering, destruction and ethnic cleansing - the killing of thousands upon thousands innocent and defenceless Muslims - and that is something he hasn't prayed for.
    and then comes the meaning of the song. He didn't pray for it, this isn't what he meant. he Prayed for an independent Serbia, that's what he meant. instead he got so much death and misery and that he didn't pray for, that isn't what he had meant when he had set out for war.

    the opening of the song
    "We dared to ask for more
    But that was long before the nights began to burn"
    is aimed at asking for independence. "We dared to ask for more" (at that time Croatia and Slovania had gotten independence. Bosnia Hercegovina wanted that as well (Muslims), but Serbs didn't want to allow that, they wanted more then just Serbia - They dared to ask for more. But that was before everything went to hell. Now that everything went to hell, he wants to take back his words.
    but he can't, the future is nailed to the past - That which he wanted to be the future (an independent and big Serbia) is now only hollow words in the past - the future he got is one of endless destruction. and he won't get back what once was - he is standing in a different city.

    and that's the beauty of this piece, and reflects so well the feelings of some of the Serbians (Many of whom again got their crimes flared up once when that war criminal was caught). They began at the war feeling justified, but many of them - after the war - didn't know or didn't want it to get such out of proportions.
    Ravianon October 08, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI'm thinking I go with Salazar on this one.
    this is not so much critique at Religion, but a song sung by the Christian Orthodox protagonist of the story. The bosnian conflict was partly a religious conflict between the Albanian/Bosnian Muslims and the Croatian/Serb Orthodox.
    What at first was a war that the protagonist thought justified, and prayed for, he nows sees the destruction, the death, but above all, the inexplicable and horrendous cruelty that his people has brought upon the Muslims. And that's what he says "This isn't what we prayed for" - They prayed for an independent glorious Serb country, instead the war had brought only pain, suffering, destruction and ethnic cleansing - the killing of thousands upon thousands innocent and defenceless Muslims - and that is something he hasn't prayed for.
    and then comes the meaning of the song. He didn't pray for it, this isn't what he meant. he Prayed for an independent Serbia, that's what he meant. instead he got so much death and misery and that he didn't pray for, that isn't what he had meant when he had set out for war.

    the opening of the song
    "We dared to ask for more
    But that was long before the nights began to burn"
    is aimed at asking for independence. "We dared to ask for more" (at that time Croatia and Slovania had gotten independence. Bosnia Hercegovina wanted that as well (Muslims), but Serbs didn't want to allow that, they wanted more then just Serbia - They dared to ask for more. But that was before everything went to hell. Now that everything went to hell, he wants to take back his words.
    but he can't, the future is nailed to the past - That which he wanted to be the future (an independent and big Serbia) is now only hollow words in the past - the future he got is one of endless destruction. and he won't get back what once was - he is standing in a different city.

    and that's the beauty of this piece, and reflects so well the feelings of some of the Serbians (Many of whom again got their crimes flared up once when that war criminal was caught). They began at the war feeling justified, but many of them - after the war - didn't know or didn't want it to get such out of proportions.
    Ravianon October 08, 2011   Link

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