"Henchman" as written by and Greg Graffin....
Stranded
In a life in which your struggle for acceptance
Is a never-ending chore
Upbraided
For your actions past and present and rewarded for ideas
Of the future's bright open door
The henchman
Is the human analogue of the suffering multitudes
Who like good dogs sit and lick for their reward
So what good advice have I got for you
To insure against your likely metamorphosis into this reprobate?
Don't be a henchman!
Stand on your laurels
Do what no one else does
Praise the good of other men for good man's sake
And when everyone else in the world follows your lead
(although a cold day in hell it will surely be)
That's when the entire world shall live in harmony


Lyrics submitted by oofus, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Henchman" as written by Greg Graffin

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Henchman song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about how most people in the world are just acting as henchman for the elite of the world, and in order to make the world a better place people need to look beyond the boundries society sets and step away from the crowd in order to work towards a better world on a personal level, and when everyone else does this along with you, then the world will live in harmony, but unfortunately, it seems like there will always be people who are unwilling to take this step and they are holding the world back from achieving global harmony.
    Madcappunkon March 27, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti sort of agree, a henchman is a guy paid to hurt (like a bully who just attacks for no reason). so the song is about stopping the un-needed fighting, and if you do this others will surely follow. although, as the 2nd to last line says, this is very, very improbable. - Although a cold day in hell it will surely be...
    Mr. Bretton January 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"And when everyone else in the world follows your lead (Although a cold day in hell it will surely be)" is an interesting line. I still don't really get this song, but I agree with madcappunk.
    DJgifon May 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song seems to me to epitomize Bad Religion's main "message."
    DeeEl1on September 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDon't be a henchman! Be yourself, don't just fall in line like the rest of humanity does. This song is kind of like Against The Grain, same basic message of thinking for yourself.
    stayfluffyon April 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningStranded - you're in this on your own

    Upbraided - you're in a bad situation with no way out

    Henchmen - is a type of person who ignobly succumbs, bending to the will of this situation

    Rise above this, stand for what you believe in the face of the world, and lift up mankind. Why? because it's the right thing to do.
    leemodon January 31, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is - in some respects - my favourite Bad Religion song. It is a pithy expression of how best to approach life: don't be a lickspittle who pines for affirmation from others, a "good dog that sits and licks for its reward". Instead, be true to yourself, even if this disrupts your "struggle for acceptance". Ultimately, a life in which you can free yourself from the shackles of groupthink and the need for others' affirmation will lead you to greater achievements and self-satisfaction, and you will be able to "stand on your laurels" and set a positive example for others.
    ss3on February 03, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLike others have noted, the idea is to not follow others, make your own way. I was recently reminded of this when reading Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, when he suggests:
    "Flee into your solitude! You have lived too closely to the small and the pitiable. Flee from their invisible vengeance! Towards you they have nothing but vengeance. Do not raise an arm against them! They are innumerable and it is not your fate to be a fly-swatter"
    (On the Flies in the Marketplace)
    oddball707on September 22, 2014   Link

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