"Cesspools In Eden" as written by Eric Reed Boucher, Raymond John Pepperelle, Geoffrey Lyall and Darren Henley....
Poison is bubbling
Beneath your dreamhome
Buried there years before

Kid runs in crying
From playing in the garden
"Mommy, I burned my hands!"

"What's making our eyes so itchy?"
"Don't rub 'em-they'll swell up."

Oh Oh Oh Oh
It's the big waste dump
Oh, yeah

We built your ticky-tacky houses
On landfill soil
To cover up a gift
We left you years before

Of toxic chemicals
And leaking gas
Just dig a little while,
You'll find our acid baths

Cesspools
In Eden
Oozing away:

Groundwater's poisoned
Air stings like hell
The lines for doctors grow long

Over martinis
The company laughs
"We don't owe you one damn thing."

But what about all these fainting spells?
How'd you like a lick
From my open sores

And Oh:.Oh Oh Oh -
Why are our babies stillborn?

A storage tank's leaking
It's about to explode
Why evacuate
When you can watch the fun

Nothing happens here
Get out the lawn chairs
We'll drink pink lemonade
And watch Martinez burn

Cesspools
In Eden
Oozing away
Cesspools in Eden
Leak by the day

The land we sold you
Is right atop our acid pits
We fill them by the truckload
In the dead of night

There's thousands more toxic
Tips of the iceberg
We pay a little bribe
Or we just don't report them

And see what you get-
Cesspools
In Eden
In Eden
No accident-
Just a little of our greed-fueled negligence

So you've found the proof why
Your cancer rate's shot up
But whatcha gonna do
When we've got all the cards

Times Beach, Rocky Flats,
Love Canal & Bhopal
Merry Christmas, hostages
From the folks who care

Cesspools in Eden
Oozing away
Cesspools in Eden
Leak by the day
Cesspools in Eden
Have a nice day


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"Cesspools in Eden" as written by Eric Reed Boucher Darren Henley

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Cesspools In Eden song meanings
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  • +1
    My OpinionI think this song is actually about a specific place and series of events, and it demonstrates the prescience of the paranoid.

    The place is the town of Benicia, CA, a once ambitious early California city, and one of the birthplaces of the late-century tract house wave (it's a whole area kind of tacked on to the old town). The Braito dump operated between Benicia and Vallejo from the mid 50s to the late 70s. The contents of the dump included "open pit burning of tires and other refuse, a mountainous scrap metal salvage heap, disposal of tannery wastes (saturated with hexavalent chromium, a Type 1 hazardous waste), refinery wastes sewage sludge, and bay dredging spoils. Claims also allege that Mare Island Naval Base deposited barrels and tanks containing unidentified materials.' .

    When the dump land was sold to the Southampton company, clean up operations were unregulated (and probably a few city official were paid off. And when the company built houses on the former dump site and began to sell them, they didn't disclose the history of the location to the homebuyers.

    According to this article,

    environs.law.ucdavis.edu/issues/21/1/articles/…

    the toxic waste wasn't discovered until 1991, but I can tell you that people were talking about it even when I was a kid. I think questions started coming up soon after the houses were built, and although I haven't found any article from the right time, I think Jello or whoever wrote the lyrics must have read something about it.

    The real "meaning" of the song is a common theme: We try hard to make our lawns, our lives, look perfect, but often, in the "dark, shattered underbelly of the American Dream", a toxic sludge oozes just below the surface. The brilliance of the Dead Kennedys is that they could see this theme play out in current events, as it still does 25 years later. But that was 15 years after John Waters made his first movies about the same thing.

    When I read the lyrics to this song, it all seem pretty familiar. And after all, where else can you sit on a lawn chair and watch Martinez burn?
    Benfishon April 05, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a huge contrast to the rest of the CD but I still think it fucking rocks, it's one of my favorites on Bedtime for Democracy. Dead Kennedys are brilliant.
    NeverBeSummeron June 15, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHere in Utah there's a big controversy over burying nuclear waste near some residential areas. Southern Utah could become the next Love Canal...
    freehat17on September 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo those of us who live here in the bay area, the song is about how no matter how little room we have left to expand onto, developers will have their way and put houses on a garbage dump in pursuit for the all mighty dollar. Who cares if it smells forever. They got paid. Theres a subdivision in union city that always smells like rotten garbage because it's a flattened dump. The people don't seem to care about the fumes or their lawns and plants that keep dying. The houses now are so close together that theres not much yard anyway.
    Kristype1on January 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis has gotta be the best on the album and one of the band's best
    camfon April 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is insane.
    Biafra's vocals are incredible, especially between "Why are our babies still born?" and "... watch Martinez burn."

    Its fairly obvious what the song is about, though.
    Dead Kennedys weren't really into subtlety, though, were they?
    the-granton February 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is quite easily the most hardcore environmentalist song I've ever heard.
    EpicVladon January 24, 2016   Link

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