"Jimmy Carter" as written by and Spencer....
Like Jimmy Carter like, electric underwear
Like any idea that never had a chance of going anywhere
This is who you are
Hey celebrity who drives off a bridge in a car
Your beautiful body filling up with water

Like Harry Truman dropping bombs out of the air
Like any self-respecting multi-billionaire
This is who you are
Five dancing teenage boys who sing their way into our hearts
Backstreets back alright

And there's a toxic cloud hanging over her
And there's white noise on the screen
And there's a man in a hotel room assaulting the maid who just came to clean
Up the mess
Backstreets back alright

Like Ronald Reagan falling asleep for ever more
Dreaming of horses and dreaming of nuclear war
This is where we are tonight
Everybody under surveillance from a satellite
You could be the first one on your block to die

And there's a plague of locusts upon us
And there's a nightmare in the swarm
And there's a lion out in the desert slouching towards Bethlehem to be born, again
Backstreets back alright, alright.


Lyrics submitted by iagoAdmirer, edited by gandalfe

"Jimmy Carter" as written by

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Jimmy Carter song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThe whole song seems pretty inspired by Yeats' "Second Coming". Especially the last verse, which borrows a couple lines even.
    BelialCaron March 16, 2008   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI really dig this song's lyrics. Call me crass, but I think it's very poetic and has lots of layered meaning.

    When you hear things like "electric underwear" the first time, you are tempted to think it's silly nonsense, but then you realize it's a commentary on the ineffectual administration of Carter -- who was elected as a sort of honest do-gooder in reaction to the corruption of Nixon, but then wasn't able to accomplish much. Beyond that, I sort of see the line about the idea never having had a chance as an indictment of the very idea of electing a do-gooder. But that indictment, while practical, is probably made with regret, and the real criticism is of our whole system that wouldn't allow an honest man to do well as president.

    The song goes on to alternate between presidential history references and pop culture.

    Then we get to the first "chorus" section, with its fantastic ambiguity. Is the toxic cloud and the white noise talking about the results of the atomic bomb we dropped, or is it talking about the shit pop culture of celebrities and boy bands? I love the image of pop culture as a toxic cloud floating over the land, putting static on our screens.

    The Reagan lines are probably my favorite imagery, with dead Reagan dreaming forever of horses and nuclear war.. and then sneaking in some paranoia! Shit, talk about nailing it.

    Then he brings it all home with the Yeats reference. ZAM! Look that one up yourself if you're interested in how it relates.

    Electric Six has a lot of great songs, but this one's a real thinker.

    riceon March 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDefinately my favourite song off their new album. I think it's all obscure referances to the presidents and what they did with their time in the office. But I haven't heard it enough to know for sure...
    Philemon_Crowleyon July 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsuch an awesome song..
    emerson511on December 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti like the way he pronounces 'beth-ul-hem'...Dick Valentine's vocals are faaantastic.
    I think perhaps he is comparing presidents to backstreet boys
    deadeyeduckon February 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that when Dick Valentine say "you", he is referring to USA as a nation.
    the anaphors with "Like" could then have an alternate meaning. Not just what America is like. But also what America likes.
    louisba333on February 24, 2012   Link

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