"We Are What You Say" as written by and Sufjan Stevens....
We are a servant,
We have a song,
The side of a beehive,
A tabernacle choir.

We are the sound
Working in wars,
The bishop is gone
To the acolyte shores.

We save our bibles,
We pull our sleeves.
The word is a guard
And the guard is a cleave.

We are the right,
We are the stay,
The accolade's gone,
We are what you say.

We have no language,
We have no chore,
The side of a beehive,
The bride is a whore.

We are a spite,
We are at bay,
The spirit is life,
We are what you say.

We have a sermon,
We have a song,
The bishop is easy,
The bishop is wrong.

The spirit is right,
The spirit will say:
We are a light,
We are what you say.


Lyrics submitted by Periodix

"We Are What You Say" as written by Sufjan Stevens

Lyrics © NEW JERUSALEM MUSIC

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We Are What You Say song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentWow, nobody's commented on this!
    First of all, I love the celtic and middle eastern influences.
    Sufjan seems to be denouncing the bishop by saying he's easy and wrong, and that The Spirit is right and will say.
    I'm guessing he means that the Holy Spirit has more religious authority than the easily-swayed bishop, and will truly decide people's fates in the end. The Servant line could refer to being a servant to God. Okay, that's about all I can think of. Anyways, I like the almost passively rebellious feeling in the "we are what you say" lines.
    cutie_carnivoreon January 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with the above poster except i think that the "we are what you say" are directed at god, i guess to let him know that they will not be swayed in spite of all the worldly forces.
    gheltonon February 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song sounds great.
    It has Mormon allusions, no? The Mormon "tabernacle choir", Utah, the center of the Mormon world, is known as the Beehive state...
    Suscipe725on February 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. It makes me want to dance!
    PemberleyTeaon April 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe seems to be quietly refering to the religion of Mormanism, maybe a little critique. Mormanism had changed over and over since Joseph Smith created back in the day. Sufjan seems to be telling the story.
    Soundboyon May 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMany of Stevens' songs have religious or spiritual allusions, but he has stated that even though he is Christian, he does not want to overtly advertise this in his music. He did, however, do some work with the Seven Swans, a Christian folk group.
    fhuasgladhon June 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy, my. I agree with what most here have said about what this song means, so I won't talk about that. Just love this song.
    And dance away, PemberleyTea!
    Crystal Disheson October 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSeven Swans was his album. The Christian folk group he did lots of work with is the Danielson Familie. He works alot with Bro. Danielson (the mastermind behind the Danielson Familie). You can sense some of the influence of the Danielson Familie on some of his work.

    I like the idea that this may be about mormonism. It makes sense.
    Yalegirl03on December 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSeven Swans was his album. The Christian folk group he did lots of work with is the Danielson Familie. He works alot with Bro. Danielson (the mastermind behind the Danielson Familie). You can sense some of the influence of the Danielson Familie on some of his work.

    I like the idea that this may be about mormonism. It makes sense.
    Yalegirl03on December 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat is the acolyte shore?
    noclueon January 17, 2007   Link

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