"So Says I" as written by and Kawah Via....
An address to the golden door
I was strumming on a stone again,
Pulling teeth from the pimps of gore
When hatched a tragic opera in my mind,
And it told of a new design in which every soul is duty bound
To uphold all the statutes of boredom
Therein lies the fatal flaw of the red age

Because it was nothing like we'd ever dreamt
Or lust for life had gone away with the rent we hated
And becase it made no money nobody saved no one's life this time

So we burned all our uniforms
And let nature take it's course again
And the big onese just eat all the little ones
That sends us back to the drawing board

In my darkest hours
We have all asked for some
Angel to come
Sprinkle his dust all around
But all our crying voices they can't turn it around
And you've had some crazy conversations of your own

We've got rules and maps and guns in our backs but we still can't just behave ourselves,
Even if to save our own lives
So says I:
We are a brutal kind

'Cause this is nothing like we'd ever dreamt
Tell Sir Thomas More we've got another failed attempt
'Cause if it makes them money they might just give you life this time


Lyrics submitted by doobeydoobeydude, edited by blayzur

"So Says I" as written by James Mercer

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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So Says I song meanings
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46 Comments

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  • +6
    General CommentIt's about the rise and fall of communism, a return to capitalism, and then more failed attempts at communism.

    "In which every soul is duty bound
    To uphold all the statutes of boredom
    Therein lies the fatal flaw of the red age"

    This verse is clearly talking about communism, especially when he mentions the "red age." But the red age "was nothing like they'd ever dreamt." It wasn't the perfect harmonious system that some people thought it would be because their "lust for life had gone away" when they had nothing to fight for--nothing to struggle for or against (the rent they hated).

    "So we burned all our uniforms
    And let nature take its course again
    And the big ones just eat all the little ones
    That sent us back to the drawing board "

    This verse refers the discarding of communism ("so we burned all out uniforms") in favor of capitalism, where "the big ones just eat all the little ones."

    "We've got rules and maps and guns in our backs but we still can't just behave ourselves
    Even if to save our own lives so, says I
    We are a brutal kind "

    This verse is outlining how people can't seem to make any system work (partly because of a perceived corrupt and brutal nature).

    "Cause this is nothing like we'd ever dreamt
    tell Sir Thomas More we've got another failed attempt
    Cause if it makes them money they might just give you life this time"

    This final verse refers to communism again, and more failed attempts that don't match up to Sir Thomas More's utopian version of communism (as illustrated in his book, Utopia). Finally suggesting that if communism were a prosperous system, maybe it would work (or "give life" to More's version).

    That's how I see it.
    EnidCaulfieldon May 25, 2004   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationQuite obviously it is a commentary about failing utopias and the ills of the societies that exist today.


    The inclusion of Sir Thomas More, being the coiner of the term utopia, blatantly states that that is a main focus of the piece, "Tell Sir Thomas More we've got another failed attempt"

    He says that people get bored and lazy in a utopian experiment, "Because it was nothing like we'd ever dreamt, our lust for life had gone away with the rent we hated"

    Everyone was shocked and horrified that people were still greedy and oppressive though people were theoretically equals in all regards, "And the big ones just eat all the little ones. That sends us back to the drawing board"

    Normal society is a failure as well, though, because people are rebellious and cruel, "We've got rules and maps and guns in our backs but we still can't just behave ourselves even if to save our own lives. So says I, we are a brutal kind"


    I would argue the main assertion is that ALL societies are doomed to failure due to the conflict and greed that is so prevalent in human nature and is completely unavoidable, no matter how many reforms or rules are implemented.
    connman73on February 17, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about the flaws of civilization, but also about how we can't really do anything about it because nature just points us in the same direction.

    "So we burned all our uniforms
    And let nature take its course again
    And the big ones just eat all the little ones
    That sends us back to the drawing board"

    This verse talks about going back to the natural order and shedding all signs of civilization, but then it doesn't work because it all comes down to survival of the fittest.
    doobeydoobeydudeon April 11, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAny band that name-drops Sir Thomas More in a song is okay by me.

    And I think EnidCaulfield was spot on in her/his assessment.
    Raymond Stereoon June 04, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDrunken rant. Beautiful verse. Pretty literal as to meaning. We are a brutal kind. Enough with the hand wringing. Enough with "American Dream" BS. Just be good to your neighbor. Utopian constructs just get us in trouble. Don't put your hope in a system.
    paulwolf76on April 01, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti like the socially conscience theme of this song... i also enjoyed the line about sir thomas more.. which i'm guessing is a reference to utopia.. not an incredible amount of bands go beyond their own lives in their songs, and i definitely appreciate the shins bringing us something that makes us think
    AncientMelodieson April 15, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgreat song. just from watching the video, which is very good, i figured it was about communism and/or civilization to a certain point.
    special 3lendon June 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthave you seen the video? its basically um a bunch of communist penguins
    PJ10on June 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is soo good. Probably my favorite shins song.
    camoflaugeon October 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is my favorite Shins song also.

    Enid Caulfield did enough explaing for us all, it's a very good analysis.

    I love the line about Sir Thomas Moore. This song is perfect.
    subterranean_summeron November 09, 2004   Link

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