"Millstone" as written by and Jesse Lacey....
I used to be such a burning example
I used to be so original
I used to care, I was being careful
Made sure I showed it to those that I love

I used to sleep without a single stir
'Cause I was about my father's work

Well Take me out tonight,
The ship of fools I'm on will sink
My own stone around my neck,
Be my breath, there's nothing I wouldn't give

I used to pray a God was listening
I used to make my parents proud
I was the glue that kept my friends together
Now they don't talk and we don't go out

I used to know the name of every person I kissed
Now I made this bed and I can't fall asleep in it

Take me out tonight,
The ship of fools I'm on will sink
My own stone around my neck,
Be my breath, there's nothing I wouldn't give

Throw me that lifeline,
The ship of fools I'm on will sink
My own stone around my neck
Be my breath, there's nothing I wouldn't give

Never hit the brakes
There's no time to save him
He's run out in the street
Anybody know his name?
I think I recognize him
Sure it's him?
Running from that mistake

Whoa

So take me out tonight
The ship of fools I'm on will sink
My own stone around my neck
Be my breath, there's nothing I wouldn't give

To save my life tonight
The ship of fools I'm on will sink
My own stone around my neck
Be my breath, there's nothing I wouldn't give


Lyrics submitted by prayingmantis84, edited by mstepanian, ForgingClarity, zach100004, contraddiction

"Millstone" as written by Jesse Lacey

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Millstone song meanings
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  • +9
    General CommentI was skimming the list of the songs by Brand New, beecause in many of thier songs they have chiristian meanings/morals embedded deep in the lyrics. so i was looking through the songs to see if i could find anymore songs that delt with christianity, or what appears to be. Anyways i saw the title "millstone" and i new right away that was going to have deep because the term millstone is used three times in the bible, with the same story, first in Matthew 18:6 and in Mark 9:42, and then in Luke 17:2. All three verses basicly say "If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." People are saying that Jesse still struggles with sin, and he has gone far from the person he was. i think that Jesse is talking about the beginning of his relationship with God,
    I used to be such a burning example~ a great example of a Christian
    'Cause I was about my father's work.~ his father being God
    But then, like many people do, he fell away from God. And now he realized that he made many mistakes in his life, and he's crying out for forgiveness. He knows he deserves to be drown for his sins, but he's asking God for help
    Be my breath, there's nothing I wouldn't give.
    Throw me that lifeline
    Yeah...thats what i think
    coloradochik24on December 02, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentTuwy...no offense but even tho you're not a christian preacher as you say, with your post you're still trying to hammer this song into our heads as being religiously rooted(as if to reinforce Jesse's supposed belief in god) and i'm just not buying it.
    Here's Why:
    This song is simply about Jesse having lost his faith in God. Now that he thinks he knows (and being pretty much an atheist I would have to agree with him 100%) that there is no heaven and God he feels lost. I recall myself that I slept a lot easier when I was a child because hey...you're going to heaven when you die and everything is going to be alright. Well, studying philosophy, going to college, thinking for myself, doing my own research and recognizing that Christianity was actually invented by a king hundreds of years ago is enough for me to form my own conclusion about life after death...no one really "knows" what is going to happen. They may believe they do and feel very strongly and this may ease or totally rid them of their own "millstones" they may experience without their beliefs, but anyone who reads this should realize that their ease is only due to a "belief"...not a fact. Anyone who is heavily religious...really think about that and let it sink in for a moment. If you disagree with my standpoint please feel free to post back in reference to me...but at least put up a valid arguement and not a rash, angry rant as this will only make you look silly.
    The burden of knowing that he isn't going to heaven(or merely the fact that he just doesn't believe he will anymore now that he's renounced his religious beliefs) is FREAKING HIM OUT (he can't sleep anymore and so forth. This burden is the metaphorical "millstone" around his neck.
    When he says "Take me out Tonight" he is begging for someone or something to give him new faith to replace that which he has lost(again he has pretty much totally lost faith in God) in order ease his mind and conscience so he can "sleep without a single stir" as he did when he was a child...When everything was simpler because he just didn't really think or question things as much. When you're young, everything is pretty much cut and dry. You're going to heaven...everything is gonna be ok. Again beliefs can make you feel powerful emotions...but in the end they are just beliefs and not the ultimate truth. You only find that out after you die...if you are even capable of processing a logical thought at that point. (Ok, i'm getting too heady for myself so that's enough with the religious analysis).
    And again, when he asks for someone to be his "breath" he is looking for something( be it a person or a new way of life) to put the wind back in his sails. His loss of religious faith has really devestated him as I'm assuming he was very faithful to Christianity or whatever it was throughout his childhood and teen years. He could be asking for a person to share some new views with him...perhaps a new religion or just another way of life that helps people get by and be a little less insane knowing that one day they are going to die. Live just may not end the way the Catholic Church or other religions/institutions want you to believe. Stop letting religious dogmas rule your life and thoughts. As Timothy Leary said: "Think for yourself, question authority."
    I almost kinda miss the days when I used to go to church and believe in "their" God. It was really easy. I mean, for me to admit I don't believe in Christianity or any religion is really tough. Imagine believing so very strongly in something that BILLIONS of other people take part in worldwide, every day. Then imagine through your own conquest of thought and questioning that the reasoning you accepted wasn't yours at all, real, right or the truth. Imagine stepping outside of that box and feeling like you just got hit by a Mack Truck, you're on the same road and you know the way home but nothing feels right. On the walk home it just isn't the same and never will be again, ever because of this realization you have come to. You don't have to agree with me, but i believe this is what Jesse Lacey is trying to express with these lyrics.
    One thing i enjoyed was the metaphor terrorhawk suggested about the millstone being alcohol and the ship of fools being the bar scene. One thing my explanation didn't resolve was the ship of fools reference....but that metaphor works out quite nicely. Another way of looking at the song that makes sense. But thinking real quickly now I will tie that into my interpretation as well.
    When he says "The ship of fools I'm on will sink" I think he is merely referring to his current sinful and destructive path( he's not trying to impress his parents anymore, he's lost touch with his friends, doesn't pray anymore), and he doesn't really care. Yet in the back of his head there is still a part of him that would accept somebody removing him from this path, relieving the burden of his millstone and being his breath now that he is "drowning" for being a sinner in his new ways, but again : Now that he has lost his faith in God he doesn't go about things the way he used to and he can't (because he just doesn't believe anymore, it's just simply no longer in him).
    Also at the end of the song, two people are discussing if who they see is who they really think it is. They recognize the person but something is different that makes them question his identity :"I think I recognize him. Sure it's him?" This is Jesse explaining in a clever way how different he feels now that he has lost his faith. He feels so different that he doesn't think anyone will even recognize him anymore.
    I could really write about this all night but a few things that left me hanging in this song and they were
    1."Never hit the brakes there's no time to save him,
    he's run out in the street"
    Perhaps this is referring to his loss of faith being as unexpected and tragic as being hit by a car...hmmm that ties really well into my "getting hit by a truck thing I mentioned before, so I am going to use this explanation.*sorry everyone I am writing this thing on the fly trying to do the best I can.
    2. When he says "running from that mistake" he is either referring to his faith all those years as a waste of time or well, a mistake. Or perhaps he is referring to the fact that since other people have discovered he lost interest in religion, they view his new frame of mind as a mistake, but he doesn't believe it as so...hmm yeah I think i'm gonna have to go with that one . So in other words Jesse was using the people talking about him as a way of describing his own thoughts on what happened. His loss of faith happened so suddenly, it was like being hit by a car and it's sad that it happened but that's just the way things worked out. The way that things have panned out in his mind, he can't change the way he feels.
    I really feel like I could have organized this better but I think I got my interpretation of this across decently enough. If you agree/disagree...please let me hear it. Goodnight
    Atemporalon November 30, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentOk so he's definitely saying "I'm my own stone around my neck". Jesse is referring to HIMSELF as the millstone, as in he is weighing himself down. Just because the song's name is Millstone doesn't mean the word is in the song.

    Any true Brand New fan that has been with the guys from the beginning and have not just jumped on the band wagon and caught up with the albums knows that Jesse will always refer to HIMSELF as his own worst enemy and his hardest obstacle.

    People are getting a little too far into scripture and referring it back to this song. Yes, Jesse talks about God but he also mocks Christians as well. No songs are singly praising/bashing Jesus, it's a mixture of both (obviously).

    Point of the song is that he's changed, things have made him into a different person whether it be fame, losing religion, or whatever.

    p.s. the suicidal posts are insane. If anyone needs to explain to you as to why this song was never about suicide or any of their other songs then you need to do yourself a big favor and never listen to Brand New again. Jesse loves himself a little too much for that ;)
    barbie_glitterson August 23, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is deeply personal and everytime I hear it, It reminds me of the days i was ignorant of everything outside of christianity.
    benvlieton November 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAnother amazing self reflection of life. I'm really digging the burning/light metaphors in this and Jesus Christ and Untitled 1. And of course more seafaring metaphors. Defiantly the best song on the new album.
    otoman14on November 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI know millstone makes the most sense there, but...
    Couldn't it be 'my own stone'?
    And I am rather sure that it is 'Bate my breath', not 'Be my breath'. (Means to anxiously anticipate. 'be my breath' is kind of eh)
    overovermeon November 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentfrom Matthew, chapter 18, verse 4 and 5:

    "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. "

    when you make that connection the religious undertones of this song really jump out. it makes the "father's work" into gods work, and given the context of the biblical reference, into (leading others towards) a childlike humility and religious piety. Jesse places this in contrast to new sin (and not just sin, but leading others to sin as well…does jesse see himself as a false idol, leading others in some unholy way? I don’t know if I believe this, but its interesting to think about). i think this song, as well as much of this album, is about understanding the complicated balance of one's own morality. Its about understanding oneself in terms of this morality as well as that of religious morality. He’s caught in limbo, both wanting death (take me out tonight) and life (throw me that lifeline, to save my life…), wanting to give himself over to good but feeling unable or unworthy of repentance.

    Complicated song, and a complicated album. But in a really amazing way.
    wrinklybillon November 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSo he's a sinner whose eventually going to drown in the depths of the sea(if he continues on his current path)as Matthew said in the bible. He's on a new path acting without faith(in God) and he doesn't see himself changing unless someone or something gives him "breath" to save him while he is drowning. We do not know if he ever gets new "breath" because at the end of the song he is still merely just asking for someone to be his breath..."there's nothing that he wouldn't give" but unfortunately we don't know what happens to him because there's one thing he didn't get: an answer to his demand for someone or something to be his breath.
    I guess you could call this one the abridged version, or me simply reciting my collective thoughts of the whole thing back to myself again.
    Anyway, have a nice day.
    Atemporalon November 30, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe word millstone is not in this song at all...the title is millstone, which is a burden, and also it is a stone that is used to grind and crush, but in the lyrics, in the chorus he says "milestone". it is a play on words.

    the beginning of the song is about how people used to look up to him, and how he was like, an all around great guy. also he showed those he loved that he loved them. there was never any doubt. he also says how he used to be a faithful man when he says "i was about my father's work". his father is god. he slept well because he knew that he had something to believe in. then in the chorus he is asking god to take him and fix him up because the "ship of fools" are all the nonbelievers, and non believers go to hell. he wants to be saved from that fate. he says he has a milestone around his neck which is symbolic of a turning point in his life. he would do anything for god to save him, and to put the breath of life back into his faith. the next verse is again showing how he used to be this great guy. he also mentions how his friends fell apart after he began to change. the lines about knowing the people he kissed is saying how he used to be true in relationships and stuff but now hes just hooking up with random girls and not even really caring about them at all, not even enough to remember their names. the line about making a bed and not being able to sleep in it refers to how he made this life for himself, he made his own mistakes but now he cant really live with himself, he is very troubled by his past. then he goes into the chorus again asking to be saved and how hes at a turning point in his life (which by the way came about from his friends dying in a car crash which is mentioned in sowing season). the next part:
    Never hit the brakes
    there's no time to save him,
    he's run out in the street
    anybody know his name?
    I think I recognize him
    sure it's him?
    running from that mistake

    that is two guys, or two angels talking to each other. they are saying how they shouldnt save this guy because it will take too long. he left them in his past. he seems familiar to them, like maybe he could genuinely be coming back to his faith, but they are doubting it. they say he is running from his mistakes. jesse wrote that part because people doubt he is really looking for his faith again.then he goes back into the chorus. he truly does want his faith back

    this is my interpretation, but i believe it is pretty close to jesse's actual intention when he wrote this song because it goes very well with the song before and the song after on the album.
    somesay...on December 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentUsing the Matthew biblical reference, does anyone else see this song to be about feeling guilt because hes been having sex with multiple people? I see that because of the

    I used to care, I was being careful.
    Made sure I showed it to those that I love.

    I used to sleep without a single stir,
    'Cause I was about my father's work.

    part. As in, he used to care and not be so loose, and he slept well because he didnt have to worry about things involved with sex (pregnancy, disease, jealousy and or drama involved with multiple partners finding out about each other). next up


    I used to know the name of every person I kissed.
    Now I made this bed and I can't fall asleep in it.

    shows that he is forgetting who he shares intimacy with, and its all his fault and he must own up to it.

    Finally, he asks someone close to him to help him by going out with him, knowing full well he already has killed his innocence and thus he knows he has no integrity in the other persons eyes in this text

    Throw me that lifeline,
    The ship of fools I'm on will sink.
    A millstone around my neck
    Be my breath, there's nothing I wouldn't give.

    Never hit the brakes
    there's no time to save him,
    he's run out in the street
    anybody know his name?
    I think I recognize him
    sure it's him?
    running from that mistake
    alphaelementon December 14, 2006   Link

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