"Hyena" as written by and Bill Berry Michael Mills....
Night time fell at the opening
In the final act of the beginning of time
Hyena, take your role, the stage is set
The town is safe again tonight

Hyena (I see the day ahead)
Hyena (and all that I've cried through)
Hyena (God knows you're doing that, don't you)

Hyena, sister, look to your hand
Man, you serve communal interest
She'll tell you when and where and how and why you'd hurt
A beautiful young lady

Hyena (I see the day ahead)
Hyena (and all that I've cried through)
Hyena (God knows you're doing that, don't you)

The only thing to fear is fearlessness
The bigger the weapon, the greater the fear
Hyena is ambassador to here
Nighttime fell like the closing
Meager pay, but recognition
Hyena crawls on his belly out
The town is safe again tonight

Hyena (I see the changes, man)
Hyena (going on across the way)
Hyena (I see my road ahead)
Hyena (don't know if I should stay)
Hyena (I see you holding him)
Hyena (and all that I've cried through)
Hyena (God knows you're doing that, don't you)

Lyrics submitted by xpankfrisst

"Hyena" as written by Bill Berry Michael Mills

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Hyena song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThis is a criticism of the nuclear arms race and the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction ("the bigger the weapon, the greater the fear"). While those on one side (eg, the West) feared the arsenal of the other side (eg, the USSR), this song asks them to examine their own arsenal, identically deadly ("hyena's sister look to your hand"), and points out the immorality of a weapon that would kill civilians ("why you'd hurt a beautiful young lady").

    A hyena (an ugly, aggressive animal) is chosen as a metaphor for one side... and the other.
    rikdadon August 22, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentalso seems to be explicitly a representation of how the rules changed after WWII, specifically Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    "the only thing to fear is fearlessness" is a pretty good encapsulation of what we should learn from the M.A.D. doctrine. it's also a rewording of FDR's "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," which had been more relevant in a time when war was less technological (and huge numbers of soldiers were needed)
    foreverdroneon October 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIn addition to everyone else, I feel this song is written from the point of view of a diplomat desperately trying to stop a nuclear war. He has temporary successes ("the town is safe again tonight") but can't get something more long-term.
    Some have alluded to the FDR quote ("The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.") In that quote, he was talking about taking actions to end the great depression; it has nothing to do with war.
    The hyena itself is a formidable foe, but has curious behaviors that are indicitave of being a dog/cat cross breed. They usually kill what they eat (although they're reputed to scavenge what they eat) and have been known to drive other predators away from kills. Hyenas usually hunt in packs
    I'm also reminded of a 17th century French story about a wild animal terrorizing a town, killing the people, mostly young women. It was said to be a demon. A local hunter asked that silver bullets be blessed by the catholic church and then went and hunted the creature down. After killing it, the creature was taken to Paris. It turned out to be a hyena.
    quampon August 20, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree totally with previous post, after 3 listens it's pretty obvious. Good job!
    jdelaneyon January 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentin the chorus, the third line of the backing vocals is easier to understand, if you add a bit of emphasis:

    *God* knows you're doing that. Don't *you*?

    I'm not sure this is what was intended, but I can't think of any other meaningful interpretation.
    foreverdroneon October 04, 2010   Link

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