"Don't Tell And We Won't Ask" as written by Edward Carrington Breckenridge, James Riley Breckenridge, Dustin Michael Kensrue and Teppei Teranishi....
Paint the target
We don't need no evidence
Flood the market
We do it all in self defense
You're a smart kid
Never work without your gloves
If you're a smart kid
You'll stay the hell away from love

And if it comes to murder
Don't tell and we won't ask you how
You sleep at night when the lights go out
And you're all alone
With all the ghosts of lesser humans
Whose lives you've spilt to suit your own

Sit and think of
All the dollars and the cents
And your blue blood
You'll see it all makes perfect sense
Drink from this cup
A better life awaits us all
You're one of us
Remember conscience comes before the fall

Your actions all are justified
Your actions all are justified

And if it comes to murder
Don't tell and we won't ask you how
You sleep at night when the lights go out
And you're all alone
With all the ghosts of lesser humans
Whose lives you've spilt to suit your own
But don't we all bleed red blood?
Don't we all bleed red blood?


Lyrics submitted by ruben, edited by bino_espino, darkeyelewj

"Don't Tell and We Won't Ask" as written by Edward Carrington Breckenridge Dustin Michael Kensrue

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Don't Tell And We Won't Ask song meanings
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61 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationI've been revisiting Thrice's music lately and wanted to read what people thought of this song's lyrics and share my thoughts.


    I definitely don't think this song is about abortion. I think this song is about exploiting and killing people through economic means and for economic purposes. I think the time it was written definitely relates to oil and the Iraq war, especially in the first two lines of the song. The rest of the song focuses more on economic exploitation.

    First some concepts to understand:

    Painting a target:military ; using a laser to guide missiles. focusing lasers on a target is called painting a target.

    Flooding a market is a reference to fixing prices by introducing too much of a particular product or service to a market.

    Blue Blood: from wiki: Blue blood is an expression from the Spanish phrase "sangre azul", indicating nobility or noble descent. a reference to the wealthy and powerful.

    The first verse is linking war and economics. it is comparing the Iraqi war, perceived as a war for oil to flooding the market and conquering people through financial means.

    the wear your gloves part means don't get caught and the stay the hell away from love means desensitize yourself. If you have love for fellow humans you wouldn't be able to exploit them.

    The chorus seems like it is again equating war to economic domination. If financial gain comes to murder it's something the perpetrators will have to deal with, but will try not to think about. They've exploited and ultimately killed people so they can enjoy a better life. I also think the don't ask, don't tell is another military reference that ties together economic and military warfare.

    The second verse definitely reinforces the economic exploitation ideas. It talks of Dollars and cents(making money) and thinking about one's blue blood (economic elite) status. These luxuries and opulent lifestyles are ways to justify one's self and shut out the feelings that come with exploiting others. This second verse also talks of how drinking form the cup (of this lifestyle) and ignoring one's conscience can allow become comfortable with this lifestyle, mindset, and ultimately; exploiting others for financial gain.


    In the end though everyone has to realize that they are all human. Being rich (blue blood) won't stop one from dying or bleeding red blood. It's condemning those who think their wealth and power allow them to exploit others.
    FinalBreathon May 30, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think most of the songs in this album relate to those behind the scenes (illuminati) or whatever you want to call it.
    whoknows7on March 26, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's more just about war in general, or, at least, pointless war.

    It sounds like something a drill instructor would say to a group of grunts early on. Well, it's a bit more poetic, but you get the idea.
    prayingmantis84on April 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about how we're living in luxury while someone else, somewhere in this world is paying for it and maybe even dying for it, and how we in the western world are totally desensitized to the pain we cause to those in the third world.
    DEADBOLT03on May 08, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmy first thought was abortion..... :-\.... the part where it says,"never work without your gloves..." i thought of a doctor perfoming an abortion... and the "ghosts of lesser humans" as unborn babies becuause many people don't consider them to be truly humans until they are born. "your actions all are justified"... they justify there actions by saying that you're not human until you are born. and the part where it says, "don't we all bleed the same red blood?..." i think he's trying to say that unborn babies are still human and it's still murder... i might be way off but that's what i got out of it. could be war too....
    ace T 14on June 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti believe it talks of peope in the mob and gangs who will do anything to get rich or hold socila staus and
    "never work without your gloves" is a reference that you could get cuaght by evidence but the part where it says "we dont need no evidence"is to show that you arent punished i dont think it was about pres. bush beacuase if we didnt go to war the same thing that happens in the song happens in the countries were fighting
    babykkitten91on October 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is following the trend of the CD, its about Corporate America.

    I didn't notice, but the theme of America's problems can be applied in many of the songs on this album.
    SirBizNatchon October 15, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have always tooken this song to have two meanings, like most of these songs do to me, a straight out obvious meaning, and the more hidden mediphorcial meaning.

    Obvious meaning i call it "murder for cash": A hitman, or a mob/mafia killer, or something similar. You see, they're highered to kill someone for money, and supposedly they do it for justice, but they don't need any evidence that the person they kill should die "paint the target, we dont need no evidence". And "never work without your gloves" is obviously to hide your fingerprints. And "think of all the dollars and the cents, and your blue blood say it makes perfect sense"
    sounds alot like the fact they they would kill people at the expense of others, and make money for doing so, "blue blood" refers to the sense of supperiarity.
    "your actions all were justified" must be sarcasm, or could be what the killer tells himself to make himself feel better about his crimes. This song sounds like its coming from the mouth of someone who is in such a buisness, nows its wrong but continues it anyway, and is talking to someone new to the buisness, a rookie. It reminds me almost of the way the "buisness" in the godfather was run.You know, the way they'd murder for someone in return for something, and heartlessly say "its only buisness".

    2nd meaning, the mediphorical one: This is pretty broad. it could apply to many things, including drug dealers, shady buisness men, factories that create exessive polution, or the tobacco/alchohol industries. All of these things seem easily symbolized by the "murder for cash" example.
    thrice880on October 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenttaken* sorry type... normally i dont worry about small typos, but that one made me look to stupid.
    thrice880on October 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think its one of those songs that has many meanings, depends on who the listener is. to me its about people who only look out for themselves, and would do anything to get themeselves ahead in life. and how they try to say that they are justified in the things they do, and saying that "if your a smart kid, you'll stay the hell away from love" meaning that the person thinks that you shouldnt love anything because it will drag you down. and "when the lights go out, your all alone" means that when these types of people go to bed, they probably start to think about all the people they have hurt to get where they are in life, and the fact that they are still alone, or if they are married they're spouse is probably only in it for the money. the last two lines are saying that we shouldent hurt one another because we are all family and no human is greater than the other.
    FreezeInTheFireon November 15, 2004   Link

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