Magistrates dream of plague
Tongues loll in anticipation
You are awake in their darker visions
Drool slips from grinning mouths

The plague is forced on us all
Is it there? Are they there?
Shouts of fact abound
But whispers of truth burn through

Is it there? Are they there?


Lyrics submitted by Viscus

Grinning Mouths song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentI heard A Turner talk about in an interview around ISIS' Panopticon era of how during the black plague, rulers would actually wish for the plague to come to the village because it was an easy way of controlling people and keeping them inside of their houses. I believe that's what they're referencing, even if it's in metaphor. The magistrates sort of represents authority in general to me, and the fact that they in particular are dreaming it, they want to create as much fear as possible so that they can have more and more power.

    The "drool slipping from grinning mouths", to me, puts an image in my head a sick pleasure these rulers get in controlling people.

    The fact the "plague is forced on us all" sort of says the fear in general is the true ruler, that fear has it's way on us every day. "Is it there? Are they there?" reinforces the original uncertainty of if your being watched, but I also think it asks the question of if the plague really exists. If there really is something to be afraid of and if the rulers truly have their hand on us. The fact that it is a question fuels uncertainty in general. The uncertainty is the greatest fear. Not knowing whether or not the plague is out there controls us more than knowing what we're afraid of (because once we know what it is, it is less frightening to us)

    I love the line "whispers of truth burn through" and this is a reoccuring theme to me in a lot of ISIS. Oceanic had that enlightenment through suicide element, and I think that enlightenment is mentioned here as well. That no matter how much you control us, the truth can still be accessed within us if we wish to access it.

    That's what I gain from it.
    JofaGuhton June 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is what i think...

    JofaGuht's explanation is correct but I believe that the idea is much bigger. The choice of using the word plague has two meaning in this line. The first explanation that JofaGuht explained was that the leaders in the Panopticon era wished for the plague as it was easier to rule with the constant threat of the plague. But if we look at the definition the dictionary states the word plagues as to "cause continual trouble or distress". So in the line "Magistrates dream of plague" what is meant is that the authority figure wants a continual cause of trouble or distress in society in order to rule with ease. The whole idea is that fear enables the government to increase authority (and human rights violations) over its citizens, or subjects. Take the attacks on the world trade centres for instance, after the atrocities every power structure in the world increased their authority over its citizens especially the United States with the creation of the Patriot Act and various wire tappings. "The plague if forced upon us all".

    Now if we also look up the word loll we see it states that to loll is to "sit, lie, or stand is a lazy, relaxed way". What I think is meant when Aaron says "Tongues loll in anticipation" is that the people (tongues) are reluctant to dissent, or in other words, lazy to speak out against the government because of an increased anticipation caused by the people in power.

    The line "You are awake in their darker visions" means the dreams that magistrate wishes come true and we are forced to live in them and that "drool slips from [their] grinning mouths". This is where Aaron suggests that this fear is brought on by the people who want it; that this plague is manufactured. Take the "Gulf of Tonkin incident" that brought the United States into the Vietnam war. The "Gulf of Tonkin incident" was purely made up and never happened but was claimed to have happened and used as a justification to go to war with the North Vietnamese.

    The lines "Shouts of fact about / But whispers of truth burn through" are fairly self-explanatory. "Shouts of fact about" means that there are many facts given (maybe to justify this incessant surveillance) but just a few whispers of truth shine through them all.

    The last line reiterates the question: is it actually there? are they really there? because of the lack of transparency in this country-wide panopticon system.
    Heyguyon November 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, first off I just wanted to point out that I love Aaron's lyrics they are so profound with an aspect of simplicity, and they can be deciphered in various ways.

    This song to me is about a prisoner who has just died or is about to him/herself and asking God for redemption. Well, it could truly mean anything, but that is my two cents.
    walruspancakeson April 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like your interpretations but i didn't really see that when i saw the lyrics. I was thinking that the grinning mouths represented the meaningless grins of fake happiness we all show to pretend it's all alright when it isn't and we all hide with it and think oh well the government will take care of us. And our tongues loll in our mouths trying to get words oout but we still live in this dream state, while they have a darker vision with us in it. The plague is then forced on us through or schooling systems or whatever. And the questioning lines refer back to the lyrics of backlit. And The Shouts abound means that the truth is so powerful it deserves shouts but because we are so diluted into false hoods of existence only whispers can burn through.
    SlugEmperoron September 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just wanted to say this song is an amazing final track to an amazing album.

    Mind blowing, powerful stuff.
    segapropheton March 29, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKind of makes me think of the pharmaceutical industry. I like the idea of the walls of our prison being the chemicals that dumb us down or make us dependent on perpetual treatment instead of cures. In the song Wills Dissolve, Turner sings "These eyes and tower have seeped into our open veins". I think this is related to the lyrics of this song.
    Nosferobtuon March 12, 2014   Link

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