"Skyscraper" as written by and Brett Gurewitz....
Come let us make bricks
And burn them hard
We'll build a city
With a tower for the world

And climb so we can reach
Anything at all
Build me up, Tear me down
Like a skyscraper

Build me up, then tear down
These joining Walls
So they can't climb at all
I know why you tore it down that day

You thought, if you got caught
We'd all go away
Like a spoiled little baby
Who can't come out to play

You had your revenge
Build me up, tears me down
Like a skyscraper
Build me up, then tear down

These joining walls
So they can't climb at all


Lyrics submitted by oofus, edited by Adoniran

"Skyscraper" as written by Brett Gurewitz

Lyrics © MOTHERSHIP MUSIC PUBLISHING

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Skyscraper song meanings
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21 Comments

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  • +4
    Song MeaningIt is definitely talking about the tower of Babel.

    "Come let us make bricks
    and burn them hard"
    That's from Genesis 11:3 - the exact words of the traditional English version.

    "We'll build a city with a tower for the world"
    That's from Genesis 11:4, they build a tower to unite themselves and make a name for themself.

    "And climb so we can reach anything we may propose = Anything at all"
    Right here it is talking about their desire to reach heaven by building a tower, instead of by following Gods teachings.

    "Build me up, tear me down like a skyscraper
    Build me up, then tear down these joining walls
    So they can't climb at all"
    This is talking about how God destroyed the tower.

    "I know why you tore it down that day
    You thought, that if you got caught we'd all go away"
    It's saying that because if the tower of Babel really did lead to Heaven, and humans found out the true nature of God, then they would stop worshiping him, so he decided to destroy it.

    "Like a spoiled little baby who can't come out and play
    You had your revenge"
    This passage compares God to a baby who doesn't get what he wants, so he tears up the place, essentially.

    "Well, madness reigned, the paradise drowned
    When Babel's walls came crashing down"
    Madness reigned refers to the fact that God confused the languages of the people of Earth so they could not understand each other, thus creating madness. Due to this madness, the paradise that was a United earth was destroyed, drowned in a sea of confusion.

    "Now the echoes roar for a story read that was hardly understood
    And never any good"
    It's talking about the vast number of Christians who read the Bible and completely misinterpret the original meaning of the Jewish texts. Never any good refers to the fact that none of the interpretations that modern people have had over the scriptures in the Bible have been good natured.



    And that just about sums it up.

    And no, I'm not a religious person :P

    PiratePilateon December 24, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think the meaning can be transposed into a wider general statement, like the whole thing with the tower of Babel was that the people decided they couldn't be bothered approaching God through a lifetime of good and pious actions and hard study and thought. They just thought "fuck it, it'd be so much easier to build some stairs and just walk up to heaven", but what's the point of enlightenment etc if you didn't earn it? The work is part of the prize, right?
    This works as a way of pointing out how so many people in wealthy nations love to prance about the world stage reminding everyone else how brilliant they are and what a fine example the set for the rest of the world to aim for, but you can't really brag about something you were born into, something you were given.
    angelbrainon April 28, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think he's tlaking about the story of the tower of Babel. For those unfamiliar with the story, people came together and tried to build a tower that lead straight to heaven so that the people could be closer to God. God didnt want this, so while they were building he made everyone speak a different language so that they couldn't communicate with each other and finish the tower. What a great God, eh? That's what Greg is trying to say(in my opinion).
    wrinkledPholeon April 18, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentok first the story of bable in the old test is 5th gen version of an older story, in the 1st gen story they wanted to build a tower(probably symbolic) so that they could talk to the gods. im not going to tell the story but here goes parts that relate to the song.

    "Come let us make bricks and burn them hard
    We'll build a city with a tower for the world
    And climb so we can reach anything we may propose
    Anything at all"

    sumerian version tells of a god of the gods or a king of the gods that lived in the heavens and then his chiefs that lived on earth that we worshiped as gods in that version of the story the people were pissed about being used as slaves so they were build a way to reach the king of the gods to report the lesser gods for breaking the rules so to speak.

    "I know why you tore it down that day
    You thought, that if you got caught we'd all go away
    Like a spoiled little baby who can't come out and play
    You had your revenge"

    this is really easy to understand if you read it thinking there were gods but not divine gods just higher forms of intellect keeping us out of the loop


    first part is meaning if we found out the gods were not gods then we wouldnt obey the priests and find salvation.
    the part about revenge is basicly the fall of the tribes that came together and the birth of empires the instead of keep the records of the people they conquered they erased them also the constant tribulation of the semetic people.

    "Well, madness reigned, the paradise drowned
    When Babel's walls came crashing down
    Now the echoes roar for story read that was hardly understood
    And never any good"

    Bable was atlantis. and the loss of humanity as we knew it. there are atleast 4 version of the story before the one in the bible
    nerfon August 04, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have no doubt that part of this is from the bible because greg and brett both have significant knowlege of it. but I doudt that its meant for that intention. I think bretts saying that society builds a man to significance due to their acomplishments or fame but also has the ability to utterly destroy them.In return he gives examples saying people ruin each other out fear and jelousy for the fact of vengence or personal gain and its serverly hard to restore what you lost when you fall.
    sgv285on March 18, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationWell, it's obviously about the god of the old testament being "a spoiled little baby" that doesn't want to share wisdom and knowledge but it relates to modern society as well.

    Literal part:
    All the references to the first book of the old testament make it obvious that the literal story is the one of the Tower of Babel. As PiratePilate already pointed out, the first two lines are a literal quote from the Book of Genesis (Gen. 11:3 & Gen. 11:4). The story goes that people came together to build a tower for the people of the world to knock at heaven's door. If they could have finished it everything would have been possible. But the hypothetical god of the old testament is a jealous one and just "like a spoiled little baby" he or she rather destroyed the tower then to risk anyone gaining his or her wisdom and knowledge as it surely would have led to him or her not being worshipped anymore. The building process itself united people (-> "joining walls") - again, something that the "spoiled little baby" didn't want as it might have led to a similar project after all. So the tower was destroyed and chaos reigned, so the story goes, when people were divinely confused with different languages. The paradise of mankind that could have been drowned in babble of people.

    But what modern people don't get ("that was hardly understood") is that it was not mankind's mistake to try to reach higher levels of wisdom and knowledge. An all-knowing "god" must have known that people would sooner or later aim for higher goals. Just like he or she must have known about Adam and Eve eating from the apple. So rather than applauding his or her creation to aim higher and evolve from the divine potential (-> the old testament mentions god creating man after his [or her] own image) this "god" tries to keep mankind down. And this story everyone constantly misunderstands is not even any good because it delivers the wrong message.

    Relationship to modern society:
    Just like in that ancient story we still have the people up there with power and wealth and the people below them who have to follow. But would we really need those leaders in Utopia? Well, if everyone had everything they needed to lead a comfortable life then there'd be no need for weapon manufacturers anymore, warlords would cease to exist. Even the ever growing gap between rich and poor might not exist anymore but since wealth is power and some people are just greedy and not willing to share ("just like a spoiled little baby") so they rather destroy or sabotage projects that might actually lead to a better world. Does anyone really believe that all those investment companies actually want a fairer world? Because that'd mean that their share might shrink. A healthy planet for our children? Big corporations give a shit and rather make money in the here and now.

    The greed is not a problem of the masses, its problem of leaders - they just want everyone to believe its everyone else's problem. Just like a "god" that doesn't want to share wisdom, knowledge and enlightenment.
    sonofnyxon March 10, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIm sorry, Brett actually wrote this song. I actually have a more thorough meaning for this song. God didnt want humanity to finish because he felt that if we could accomplish this then we could do anything at all and that we wouldn't need his "guidance". Basically God was scared he lose his sense of authority of human kind, so he deliberately confused us "like a spolied little baby" and made us all speak different languages which eventually lead to discrimination and racism between people. So basically our "beautiful" God deliberately suppressed the advancement of the human race and then indirectly plagued the earth with racism and discrimination.
    wrinkledPholeon April 19, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGood interpretation wrinkledPhole, I think you might hit it there. Anyways, there's a bit missing between the first chorus and the line starting "I know why..."; however, I'm unable to find it anywhere on the web. Seems like everyone just copied what was already written down somewhere. Is there anybody who actually listened to the song playing and got ALL the lyrics right? I'd be pleased to read the FULL lyrics here sometime...
    Lepra Messiason March 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHere come correct lyrics:

    Come let us make bricks and burn them hard
    We'll build a city with a tower for the world
    And climb so we can reach anything we may propose
    Anything at all

    Build me up, tear me down like a skyscraper
    Build me up, then tear down these joining walls
    So they can't climb at all

    I know why you tore it down that day
    You thought, that if you got caught we'd all go away
    Like a spoiled little baby who can't come out and play
    You had your revenge

    Build me up, tear me down like a skyscraper
    Build me up, then tear down these joining walls
    So they can't climb at all

    Well, madness reigned, the paradise drowned
    When Babel's walls came crashing down
    Now the echoes roar for story read that was hardly understood
    And never any good

    Build me up, tear me down like a skyscraper
    Build me up, then tear down these joining walls
    So they can't climb at all

    Build me up
    Build me up
    Zealoton March 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDig the drums in this song.
    agnostic soldieron June 24, 2006   Link

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