"All Systems Red" as written by and Joey Burns John Convertino....
Felt a tremor stir beneath my breath
That forecasts storms on the gallup poll
Waking up from the nightmare news
Hoping to read a sign in the morning air

Nothing changes here and nothing improves
All say my friends who just want out
And leave these troubles behind
Scatter like paper in the eye of the storm
Documented with a silenced note
That's only heard from far away

More cards in play, following suit
Everywhere you look, you only see red
Wonder when to call off the race
Watching a horse running down its last legs
When you think it couldn't get much worse
The numbers rise on the death toll
And the chimes of freedom flash and fade
Only heard from far, far away

I hear you can't trust in your own
Now the grey is broken in the early morn
And the words forming barely have a voice
It's just your heart that's breaking without choice

Everything you hear is distorted in your head
Bouncing off the walls, unraveling the thread
Staying up with the blue screen glow
Forgetting everything you ever dreamed years ago

When the dread is flowing down my veins
I want to tear it all down and build it up again
Hear your heart that's breaking without choice
I want to hear those chimes ring again
Ring again


Lyrics submitted by sidewalk91

"All Systems Red" as written by Joseph Burns John Convertino

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

All Systems Red song meanings
Add your thoughts

5 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General CommentThe first half of the song fills me with tears as the chimes of freedom fade away. The second half sends a chill up my spine as the chimes of freedom are only a memory.
    I see parallels between this song's lyrics and various contemporary events, e.g., 9/11, the war on terrorism, the Iraqi war, wiretapping Americans, etc. Personally, the song takes me to J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings saga with Frodo's mission to stop the encroachment of the Shadow of Mordor on Middle Earth.
    wraton May 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe whole album to me is tinged with a lot of pointers towards the whole crappy war. I think this song is quite mixed between sadness and frustration, especially when it totally just takes off at the end.
    Possibly one of the best songs Calexico have done, definitely the most moody, direct and emotional.
    xdvron October 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is my favorite by Calexico for sure. I never thought about the war, but I see that it could relate for sure. I always looked at it from the point of view from a shitty town like my own. Like the singer is talking about his town....
    "Nothing changes here and nothing improves
    All say my friends who just want out
    And leave these troubles behind" - Don't have to explain these lines..
    "Scatter like paper in the eye of the storm
    Documented with a silenced note That's only heard from far away" - This to me would be those who left by suicide. The silenced note would be the gun shot.
    "More cards in play, following suit
    Everywhere you look, you only see red" - More people doing the same thing... red = blood?
    Ok... probably about the war, but this is the way I looked at it for a while.. pretty sad.
    CcPunk82on February 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst, I want to apologize for the long thread.

    At first I would have to agree with CcPunk with just frustration. It too is one of my all-time favorites. I travel a lot for work and it's one that stays in my cd player.
    But today I realized while listening that it may have a lot to do with 9/11 and its aftermath. Of course it is just an opinion, but here are quotes broken down:

    "Felt a tremor stir beneath my breath
    That forecasts storms on the gallup poll
    Waking up from the nightmare news
    Hoping to read a sign in the morning air"

    I remember waking up to the same news and the utter despair i felt. It was disbelief. The polls months after that morning were high. People were scared and it is a common idea in this country that if people are afraid or something is wrong with a country the polls jump (ie gallup) and more people participate (suchs as the recent presidential voting for 2008 and the high support for the war on terror ( I will go on record as not having supported the war in Iraq)).

    "All say my friends who just want out
    And leave these troubles behind
    Scatter like paper in the eye of the storm
    Documented with a silenced note
    That's only heard from far away"

    This one is tough, but after a while nothing changed in america for the better. It appeared in some way that we became more at risk and fearful. People were tired. There have been quite a few people who stopped believing in america. They either left the country (ex-patriates) or in mind stop caring and become complacent with the times. They realized they have no power at the outcome and it is as if they are far away.

    "More cards in play, following suit
    Everywhere you look, you only see red
    Wonder when to call off the race
    Watching a horse running down its last legs
    When you think it couldn't get much worse
    The numbers rise on the death toll
    And the chimes of freedom flash and fade
    Only heard from far, far away"

    You only see red line reminds me of the US alert system that was constantly red.Wonder when they will call of the race, find a solution, give us hope again. You wonder when it will end. Our security is at gamble. The rise of the death toll is perhaps the Iraq war and the deeper we go into the war, the less we feel this country represents true freedom and that our image elsewhere in the world is only looking worse. Only heard from far away is that we hear the words of freedom that our country tries to persuade us but our hearts have stopped believing those words. They have become faint echoes from our past, our childhood.

    "I hear you can't trust in your own
    Now the grey is broken in the early morn
    And the words forming barely have a voice
    It's just your heart that's breaking without choice"

    This quote shows his frustration and lack of ability to do anything about it. What he might say or think has no place anymore. He is losing hope.

    "Everything you learned is distorted in your head
    Bouncing off the walls, unraveling the thread
    Staying up with the blue screen glow
    Forgetting everything you ever dreamed years ago"

    This quote reminds me that after 9/11, people started to not care so much about what was going on and wanted to forget, hence the high ratings in reality tv (blue screen glow), excess greed (wanted to be celebrities and high numbers of plastic surgery). Your true self and dreams are gone. Just drown yourself into nothing to forget.

    "When the dread is flowing down my veins
    I want to tear it all down and build it up again
    Hear your heart that's breaking without choice
    I want to hear those chimes ring again
    Ring again"

    Just want to start again. Fix it. That's all. Which I feel is now why the 2008 elections are so heated as never before. People have been tired and frustration. They want to feel real again. They feel they finally can be heard.

    Sorry for such a long thread. This song just inspired me.
    clzbearon February 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGallup is the name of a Poll Surveying company.
    They used to do the music charts as well.

    The bit about "I hear you can't trust in your own" is probably aimed at that idiot Bush. I still can't believe idiots voted him in the first time, let alone a second time. Idiots.

    But then it's the same in the UK - consistently voting in self interested idiots for a second term time and time again - and do we learn? No.

    "Nothing changes here and nothing improves
    All say my friends who just want out
    And leave these troubles behind"
    xdvron May 28, 2008   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain