We must talk on every telephone
Get eaten off the web
We must rip out all the epilogues
From the books that we have read
And to the face of every criminal
Strapped firmly to a chair
We must stare, we must stare, we must stare

We must take all of the medicine
Too expensive now to sell
Set fire to the preacher
Who is promising us hell
And in the ear of every anarchist
That sleeps but doesn't dream
We must sing, we must sing, we must sing

While my mother waters plants
My father loads his gun
He says death will give us back to god
Just like the setting sun
Its return to the lonesome ocean

And then they splashed into the deep blue sea
It was a wonderful splash

We must blend into the choir
Sing a static with the whole
We must memorize nine numbers
And deny we have a soul
And in this endless race for property
And privilege to be one
We must run, we must run, we must run

We must hang up in the belfry
Where the bats and moonlight laugh
We must stare into a crystal ball
And only see the past
And into the caverns of tomorrow
With just our flashlights and our love
We must plunge, we must plunge, we must plunge
And then we'll get down there
Way down to the very bottom of everything
And then we'll see it, we'll see it, we'll see it

Oh my mornings coming back
The whole world's waking up
This city bus is swimming past
I'm happy just because
I found out that I am really no one



Lyrics submitted by Hunter, edited by sarahbelum

"At the Bottom of Everything" as written by Oberst

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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At the Bottom of Everything song meanings
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191 Comments

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  • +6
    General Comment:Ok so here is my analysis.

    *Intro*
    I think that the intro is really imperative to the entire song, because this guy, whom of which this supposed woman has never talked to, is telling her that they're going to a birthday party. Birthday party is really just a term that screams they're begining a new life now, and that she shouldn't be sad, maybe because he really doesn't care about life, or maybe he sees some sort of light that she doesnt.
    *first stanza*
    It is saying "we must talk in every telephone, get eaten off the web" These are just things that people get caught up into. It's like everyone in society has to "live life for a purpose" rather than actually live life. They're always doing busy work, instead of making themselves feel better. Also, it is putting social implication into question. "Into the eye of every criminal, we must stare" Instead of treating them like normal humans who might have made a mistake or two, we shall ostricize them, and distance ourselves from them.
    *second Stanza*
    "We must take all of the medicines too expensive now to sell
    Set fire to the preacher who is promising us hell
    And in the ear of every anarchist who sleeps but doesn't dream"

    He seems to be making fun of society as a whole, rather than make ourselves better for us, we are attempting to make ourselves better for other people. The preacher may not even be a preacher, he may just be someone who is looking down on you, that you try to conform. He is also making fun of people without vision, people who just want to be a cliche. ie the anarchist.

    *third stanza*
    It seems insanely funny that his father and mother are doing this busy work, and talking about getting back to god. His father is loading his gun, and it doesn't seem as if he's really trying to do anything really, he's being a hypocrit in a sense. **IMO**

    "And then they splashed into the deep blue sea
    It was a wonderful splash "
    Death isn't something to be afraid of, to be afraid of the enevitable is to be ignorant. We all must prepare, we all must be okay with whom we are.

    *fifth stanza*
    We're blending into society, with this stanza. We memorize social security numbers, but we don't know who we are. We sing in the choir, but don't know the words. We're trying to be something we're not, for the "greater good" of our concious. He's saying we've gotta leave this idea that money has power over us. Even though it might, it shouldn't be the number one priority.
    *sixth stanza*
    We still put too much onto material goods. We look back as if we have failed society, just because we don't have things. We tend to look back rather than forward, on mistakes rather than opportunity.

    and finally

    "I'm happy just because
    I found out I am really no one"

    I find true solice in this line. In the greater picture of things, we as humans are simply a pixle in the huge picture that is the world and history. He's not really found out anything, but he's found the biggest thing. It may be sarcasm, i'm not exactly sure.

    Jim
    jvenrickon January 24, 2005   Link
  • +5
    General Comment:I think the most meaningful line is this wonderful excerpt right here:

    "We must take all of the medicine too expensive now to sell,
    Set fire to the preacher who is promising us Hell!
    And in the ear of every anarchist who sleeps but doesn't dream,
    We must sing, we must sing, we must sing!"

    What he, to me, is speaking about at this part is religion (or more specifically, religious beliefs). When he refers to the "Preacher," he's speaking of those who become to vehement with their religious beliefs, and want to impose them on everyone they meet. Metaphorically, he's telling those who do this to back off, and let others have their beliefs as they have their own.

    Then, he moves automatically to the "Anarchist," which, to me, symbolizes atheists and atheism. "Who sleeps but doesn't dream," is in reference to Oblivion, the state of eternal unconsciousness. Thus, the line is symbolic of an atheist pondering Oblivion. However, by "singing," he tells the atheist to wake up, and enjoy life as it comes to him.

    This line is very fascinating in the context of the beginning, which, well, is symbolic of life. We are all ultimately on a plane, headed towards our demise; death is inevitable, there's nothing we can do to stop it, and, calling back to the original parallel, there's no way we can get off the plane while it's in motion. However, those who worry should not, as it's best to just enjoy life while we still have it, and not to dwell on the petty details of what lies at the end. This is recurrent through the entire song, up through the middle to the very end...

    "And then they splashed into the deep blue sea! It was a wonderful splash!"

    Death has come, but in the end, who cares? "I'm happy just because: I've found out that I'm really no one!"

    Therefore, I love this song. I'd love to do a full analysis of every line, but I fear it would monopolize the page. Bright Eyes is truly a lyrical master. It is, in a way, art.
    Ryonneon February 29, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:this intro is soooo unbelievable beautiful, these cds are soooo amazing.
    anniinnaon November 29, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:conor has the sexiest voice ever.
    mrs-mojo-risinon December 08, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:this album is so amazing, i just got i'm wide awake its morning and digital ash in a digital urn the other day, even though they arent gonna be released until january, and they are amazing!!! if anyone else wants them you can e-mail me at pac0x2@hotmail.com and i'll give you a link to where you can get them or just listen if you want, but these two new albums are AMAZING! its like real people just dont make songs this good, he must be an alien or something, because its just too good to be real, i cant handle it!
    pac0x2on November 21, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:You are entitled to an opinion..
    As am I..
    stfu
    shimshibon March 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Jesus christ, Is it just me or when conor says "one, two, one, two, three, four" . . . Man, I just want to have sex with him.
    __Elleon April 03, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Wow, You people are rude. I was just saying his voice when he's counting in this particular song sounds really attractive. Jesus christ.

    Aw, Aren't you bright.
    __Elleon April 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:ok look couldbanyone suck my nuts and shut the fuck up! cuz no one wants u on this post and ur just makin fun of evryone plus ur evaluation of the song sux ass so umm leave?


    faggot
    ~the yellowricecake
    yellowricecakeon April 13, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:We must memorize nine numbers and deny we have a soul

    Is this maybe a reference to the fact the average human's short term working memory can hold a series of no more than 7 digits, so if you remember 9 you are in some way inhuman? aaah i've been studying too much (i'm a psychology student btw!)
    cherribl0ss0mon May 16, 2006   Link

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