The sun came up with no conclusions
Flowers sleeping in their beds
The city cemetery's humming
I'm wide awake, it's morning

I have my drugs, I have my women
They keep away my loneliness
My parents, they have their religion
But sleep in separate houses

I read the body count out of the paper
And now it's written all over my face
No one ever plans to sleep out in the gutter
Sometimes that's just the most comfortable place

So I'm drinking, breathing, writing, singing
Every day I'm on the clock
My mind races with all my longings
But can't keep up with what I got

And so I hope I don't sound too ungrateful
What history gave modern man
A telephone to talk to strangers
Machine guns and a camera lens

So when you're asked to fight a war that's over nothing
It's best to join the side that's gonna win
And no one's sure how all of this got started
But we're gonna make them goddamn certain how it's gonna end
(Oh yeah we will, oh yeah, we will!)

Well I could have been a famous singer
If I had someone else's voice
But failure's always sounded better
Let's fuck it up boys, make some noise!

The sun came up with no conclusions
Flowers sleeping in their beds
The city cemetery's humming
I'm wide awake, it's morning


Lyrics submitted by sandmann930, edited by tigers1535

Road to Joy song meanings
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76 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentThis song is meant to cite all that Oberst sees wrong with Americans in general. It's his take on the American dream and the road that most Americans take to receive "joy." We (Americans) avoid the things that we should be addressing like wars and our faulty leadership, yet we preoccupy ourselves with work, irrational spending, drugs, religion and failed relationships. He focuses in a lot on war specifically. We can do so much to avoid these wars but our current administration would rather just engage in a war even when history not only provides a way to get avoid war (communication/telephone) and pictures (camera lens) of the destruction (machine guns) war can cause to mankind. The last stanza is a synopsis of the typical American life. "I could've been..." He could have put anything there. He decided to put singer because he could relate to it more personally. But what he's trying to say is that we choose the road of apathy and indifference when it comes to things that matter most and raise hell (make some noise) about issues that are not even close to what we should be focusing in on.

    By the way, this is my favorite BE song. He couldn't be more right on and this is a perfect example of the Delillo influences in Oberst coming through.
    snortingmercuryon December 12, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentFor the record, jvenrick made the following grammatical errors in his post:
    -He missed a semicolon before however.
    -He missed a comma after Bright Eyes.
    -He missed a space between "at" and "least."
    -"whom of which" makes no sense at all. It should've been "who are capable."

    I don't mind people correcting others' grammar, as long as they do it well. It's still a bit aggravating, though.
    BobtheEvilHorseon July 03, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSuch a good song. He's only played it live but it has the great lines "I have my drugs I have my woman
    they keep away my loneliness
    My parents, they have their religions
    But sleep in seperate houses"
    Sooooo brilliant
    And at the end of the song they always rock out like crazy. I'ts fucking amazing!!
    sandmann930on October 11, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentRoad to Joy, thanks for your idiotic, anti-intellectual sentiments. With your guidance, American will run itself headfirst into a cesspool of "stupid" in no time at all.
    couldBanyoneon April 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy favourite part of this song is:
    "No one ever plans to sleep out in the gutter
    Sometimes that's just the most comfortable place" ... To me that reminds me of being drunk. Like, so drunk that you can't be bothered moving somewhere else, and you're perfectly happy staying there.
    And then take the human race - we could do so much better as people, but we just can't be bothered, so we're just staying where we are.
    [I really hope that makes sense, lol.]

    And for the rest of the song I totally agree with 'snortingmercury'.
    Silhouette_xon December 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFlowers sleeping in their beds; beautiful or well respected people living high, but true happiness is not found here, according to conor, and i believe him. What i got from this song is that true happiness is not found with money or having the best things. There is no point fighting over nothing, happiness can be found by the poorest or most 'failured' people. conor gets attacked for his voice quite alot, and this sneaks into this song. All in all, who cares what people think, just fuck it up! haha :)
    teabeanon January 08, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI recently saw Bright Eyes perform, and before playing this song, Connor said "This song is kind of a kumbayah, make love not war. It's also about bring smart and not joining senseless stupidity"

    This is one of my favorite songs.

    "I have my drugs, I have my women
    They keep away my loneliness
    My parents, they have their religions
    But sleep in seperate houses"

    To me, this is him saying that while his methods of self medication (drugs and women) may be frowned upon, they seem to be working for him better then the methods his parents, or anyone else for that matter, chose, which was religion.

    This song is so brilliant.
    Tashmajon March 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is definitely my favorite Bright Eyes song. I saw it played live at the Vote for Change concert and I was like "Wow." It's amazing because it REALLY showcases Conor's voice and feelings about politics and life in general. The end line scandalilzed my mother and I couldn't stop laughing!
    TreesAndConvulsionson November 07, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe first time I heard this song was in 2002. He played it in our little venue in Omaha during a protest show against the war.
    broken dove xon November 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love how the music is based on ode to joy, my favorite classical song. Its one of my many favorites.
    asongtopassthetimeon November 23, 2004   Link

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