"Zeros & Ones" as written by Derek W. Webb on his album "Mockingbird"...
This was real
Oh this was what you’ve all come to see and feel
But I'm starting to doubt my reality
‘Cause it does not last long
Once the cash is gone

Cause eventually all of this must become
Zeros and ones
Everything, everywhere, everyone
Zeros and ones

I’m in love
Oh I love what I can convince you of
‘Cause I’m a prophet by trade
And a salesman by blood
Now I’m dying just to be
A filtered, sub-cultural version of me

Cause eventually all of this must become
Zeros and ones
Everything, everywhere, everyone
Zeros and ones

My blood is red
Dripping on a page
If I’m brave enough to cut myself
But the more it sells
It thins my blood

Cause eventually all of this must become
Zeros and ones
Everything, everywhere, everyone
Zeros and ones


Lyrics submitted by New Year's Project

Zeros & Ones song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentWhat on earth is this song about??? I really like it though. I guess there are hints in the second and third verses, but those don't seem to add up with the chorus (which is probably referring to computers?) and the overall meaning of the song.
    reytimon April 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentso here's kinda the just me and some friends got from this song...zeros and ones is referring to the binary system.....eventually (eternally) this world will be no more and there will be two things - people that accepted Christ as their Saviour and are now in Heaven with Him, and people that did not.
    but of course i could be way off and haven't actually heard Derek explain this song before.
    Hephzibahon June 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFrom what I've read of the lyrics and heard, I'm fairly sure that the song is about money. He sounds like he's talking about how there are great ideas and emotions that people give ("oh this was real. oh this is what you all came to see and feel")

    But then he talks about how difficult life is to get around without money ("doubt my reality cause it doesn't last too long when the cash is gone")

    Essentially he's talking about people selling out. They start out with some kind of feeling, but after a while they are simply doing it for the money, cause it all comes down to "Zeros and Ones." (it's usually a business kind of term. How many zeros are gonna come after the one?)
    meccilon July 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it is money. I heard, more specifically, it is about how Derek Webb feels passionately about all of this, but he knows, that what he writes, is eventually going to be something he gets money from.
    bobwileyon October 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOk yeah this makes so much more sense. If you think about it he's talking about him being a salesman by blood. He doesn't like selling.. he's cutting himself trying to get rid of the "blood" that makes him a salsemen. I'm still confused about the connection with zeros and ones. I assume it has something to do with CD's or MP3's which are sold... maybe he'd prefer to just play live music to people.. cause thats what it's supposed to be about? Connections with people and him and his music. There's no zero's and ones there. And i suppose that might be valitated by the first verse where he says "Oh this was what you’ve all come to see and feel". Anyways this is just my random thoughts.
    reytimon November 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti've never thought that the zeros and ones were in reference to literal numbers, be it computers, album sales, whatever. but the song has always served to remind me that everything, eventually, will either last (1) or come to nothing (0). money is part of it, but i think he may be talking about something bigger.
    lura04on January 09, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think that money is only a very small idea of this song. Zeros and Ones reference binary states, which apply to many things beyond computers. Black and white is another binary state; nothing is in grays or colors, it's either black or white.

    Much of the song seems to be about the irony of his fame (and money) for certain types of music, but desiring to break out of those molds and follow his heart into those colors and shades of gray. But he knows that, in the end, if he doesn't write certain sorts of songs, he will face rejection and criticism for it.

    Much of this album (like most of his solo work) is critical of the conservative/protestant/Republican/American circles that he came out of, and much of it has been criticized as "un-Christian" because of that. That goes back to the binary state referred to in this song: the belief (among some) that one must be a hyper conservative version of all of those things, or else a pagan.

    He's dying to break out of that mold, to live among the outcast subcultures, to bleed red instead of the blood-thinning black and white that he has to live in to sell.

    And, as a side note, it appears that with Stockholm Syndrome, he's decided to forgo the old way and try to live in color... and it doesn't seem to be hurting him monetarily.
    sysiphuson March 03, 2010   Link

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