"The Empire Strikes First" as written by and James Horner....
We strike first
And we're unrehearsed
Here we go again
To stage the greatest show on heaven and earth
Come on, get your money's worth

Don't want to live
(can't live)
Don't want to give
(can't give)
Don't want to be
(won't be)
E-M-P-I-R-E
Don't want to live
Don't want to be
E-M-P-I-R-E

We're comin' on fast
And we're built to last
We struggled once in 'Nam
Now we're glad to finally say
Those days have passed
Tell me how long can it last!

Don't want to live
(can't live)
Don't want to give
(can't give)
Don't want to be
(won't be)
E-M-P-I-R-E
Don't want to live
Don't want to be
E-M-P-I-R-E

We just started out
You don't need to be afraid
Yeah you deserve to be attained

And our breathing hearts burst
But even ten million souls
Marching in February couldn't stop the worst,
Couldn't reverse

Don't want to live
Don't want to give
Don't want to be
E-M-P-I-R-E
Don't want to live
Don't want to be
E-M-P-I-R-E

I can't live
If it isn't with you


Lyrics submitted by Aerion

"The Empire Strikes First" as written by Greg Graffin Brian Baker

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Peermusic Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., MOTHERSHIP MUSIC PUBLISHING

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The Empire Strikes First song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentmy name is great.
    TheEmpireStrikes1ston October 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's clear what this song is about: the US offensive against Iraq.
    And they're fucking right.
    cerphon June 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm gonna agree with you on that certain point, but I think this song has a more universal theme too. True, the "ten million souls" part refers to the Iraqi conflict, but I think the whole song touches upon how war will always be a part of human society, even though there will be lull times.
    Gepettoon June 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"yeah you deserve to be attained"
    It's actually 'you deserve two minutes hate'
    It's a quote from 1984.
    So the empire has another showdown. Even 10 million people can't stop them. Teh empire treats it's citizens like children (hence the phonetic spelling of empire)
    Latchkey Kidon October 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is definately one of their darkest albums.

    I love the "Two Minutes Hate" reference. The scary thing is that with the way the governments and media are presenting things it seems almost at times like such a policy has been implemented.
    Jae_Don October 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like the last two lines, as the song fades: "I can't live / If it isn't with you". It seems like that this song is partially lamenting the actions of the US, and how much the singer loves the old US - "with liberty and justice for all" - and how with recent events, that's becoming untrue.
    Mr_Don October 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe thing i really like about this song is it's numerous external reference. the 1984, orwell reference, like you guys already said. but while the song does has a more general application, i think it conveys a frustration and helplessness in the events leading to this war. in the 1st verse "greatest show on earth" i think is a direct reference to the iraq war: operation shock and awe. towards the end "but even ten million souls
    marching in February couldn't stop the worst" i think is a reference to the massive world wide protests that were held on february 15 before the war
    blankeyeswaitingon November 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"but even ten million souls marching in February couldn't stop the worst"--- that's a reference to the protests. I personally marched, and then heard Bush say he didn't care how many people marched. Democracy, huh?
    LV--Sloth--on December 09, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe lyrics above omitted one line (the one before "and our bleeding hearts burst,") but i personally don't know what that particular lyric is. any help?
    dlaw42on January 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe riff in this song reminds me of
    L7's 'Pretend Were Dead'
    JeffKaos71on March 08, 2005   Link

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