Don't wanna work in a building downtown
No, I don't wanna work in a building downtown
I don't know what I'm gonna do
Because the planes keep crashing always two by two
Don't wanna work in a building downtown
No, I don't wanna see when the planes hit the ground

Don't wanna work in a building downtown
Don't wanna work in a building downtown
Parking the cars in the underground
The voices when they scream, well, they make no sound
Wanna see the cities rust
And the troublemakers riding on the back of the bus

Dear God, I'm a good Christian man.
In your glory, I know you understand
That you got to work hard, and you got to get paid
The girl's thirteen, but she don't act her age
She can sing like a bird in a cage
Oh Lord, if you could see her when she's up on that stage

You know that I'm a God-fearing man
You know that I'm a God-fearing man
Well, I just got to know if it's part of your plan
To see my daughter stand by your right hand
I know that you'll do what's right, Lord
For they are the lanterns and you are the light

Now I'm overcome
By the light of day
My lips are near
But my heart is far away
Tell me what to say
I'll be your mouthpiece

Into the light of a bridge that burns
As I drive from the city with the money that I earned
To the dark of a starless sky
Well I'm staring into nothing, and I'm asking you why
Lord, let me make her a star
So the world can see who you really are

Little girl, you're old enough to understand
You'll always be a stranger in a strange, strange land
Men are gonna come while you're fast asleep
So you better just stay close and hold onto me
If Mama's mockingbird don't sing
Well then Daddy won't buy her no diamond ring

Dear God, would you send me a child?
Oh God, would you send me a child?
Because I wanna put it up on the TV screen
So the world can see what your true word means
Lord, would you send me a sign?
Because I just got to know if I'm wasting my time

Now I'm overcome
By the light of day
My lips are near
But my heart is far away
Now the war is won
How come nothing tastes good?

Oh, you're such a sensitive child
You know you're such a sensitive child
Know you're tired, but it's all right
Just need you to sing for me tonight
You're gonna have your day in the sun
You know God loves the sensitive ones

Oh, my little bird in a cage
Oh, my little bird in a cage
I need you to get up for me, up on that stage
Show all the men that you're old for your age
Now ain't the time for fear,
But if you don't take it, it'll disappear

Oh, my little mockingbird, sing
Oh, my little mockingbird, sing
I need you to get up on that stage for me, honey
Show the men it's not about the money
Wanna hold a mirror up to the world
So that they can see themselves inside my little girl

Do you know where I was at your age?
Any idea where I was at your age?
I was working downtown for the minimum wage!
I'm not gonna let you just throw it all away
Through being cute now, through being nice
Oh tell me Lord, am I the Antichrist?


Lyrics submitted by thiagozero, edited by Woot100, Mellow_Harsher

(Antichrist Television Blues) song meanings
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84 Comments

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  • +7
    General CommentThis song is from the perspective of Joe Simpson, who started off as a preacher of the worst kind and moved on to marketing his children to america as sex symbols. The song is really sarcastic and has a lot of word play, "show the men it's not about the money" "so they can see themselves inside my little girl" etc.. This fits in with what I think the album's overall theme of criticizing pop culture, and mentions a black mirror which presumably shows no reflection, which I think is a metaphor for soullessness.
    emueyeson February 08, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think perhaps that the first verse is the father’s justification for his actions in regards to pimping his daughter on the stage of America. He does not want to work in the so-called corporate world because of all the dangers including but not limited to terrorism and the selling of the corporate culture. The crux is that the father fails to see the hypocrisy of his avoidance of the corporate world and its dangers and the selling of his daughter, which ultimately occurs through the corporate world of television.
    Rule11on March 15, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWell, I supose I am a little late to the party, here. :) Oh well. I think this is a criticism of a man who lives vicariously through his daughter, and tries to justify this (perhaps to God) with his "faith".

    Don't want to work in a building downtown
    No, I don't want to work in a building downtown
    I don't know what I'm going to do
    Because the planes keep crashing always two by two
    Don't want to work in a building downtown
    No, I don't want to see it when the planes hit the ground

    Don't want to work in a building downtown
    Don't want to work in a building downtown
    Parking the cars in the underground
    The voices when they scream, well, they make no sound
    Want to see the cities rust
    And the troublemakers riding on the back of the bus

    I think the interpretations everyone else had are correct about the whole religion/faith/9-11 thing. But I also think that how this relates to the main theme of the song (a father living vicariously through his daughter) is that this is one of his reasons for making his daughter perform. He doesn't want to work in an office, or anything like that, he wants nothing to do with an unglamourous life in the city, he wants to be rich and famous.

    Dear God, I'm a good Christian man
    I'm your boy, I know you understand
    That you got to work hard and you got to get paid
    The girl's thirteen, but she don't act her age
    She can sing like a bird in cage
    Oh Lord, if you could see her when she's up on that stage

    You know that I'm a God-fearing man
    You know that I'm a God-fearing man
    I just got to know if it's part of your plan
    To see my darling stand by your right hand
    I know that you'll do what's right, Lord
    For they are the lanterns and you are the light

    Here he's asking God to not judge him, that because his daughter is mature and is a good performer and singer, and also because he's a "God-fearing man", there's nothing wrong. Obviously, "she can sing like a bird in a cage" is irony, because the girl is (I'm assuming) forced to sing on stage, which is almost like a metaphorical cage.

    Now I'm overcome
    By the light of day
    My lips are near
    But my heart is far away
    Tell me what to say
    I'll be your mouthpiece

    I'm not entirely sure about this part. Does it mean that he is removing his emotions & consience when he is making his daughter do this? I'm not sure.

    Into the light of a bridge that burns
    As I drive through the city with the money that I earn
    To the dark of a starless sky
    I won't stare into nothing and I'm asking you why
    Lord, let me make her a star
    So the world can see who you really are

    Here he asks God to make his daughter famous, and says that he will use her fame to tell people about God, I'm guessing.

    Little girl, you're old enough to understand
    You'll always be a stranger in a strange, strange land
    Men are going to come while you're fast asleep
    So you better just stay close and hold onto me
    If mama's mockingbird don't sing well,
    Then daddy won't buy her no diamond ring

    This is a very messed up verse. He's making his daughter afraid so that she'll always depend on him, earning him money and fame, and telling her that if she doesn't, there will be no good things for her.

    Dear God, would you send me a child?
    Oh God, would you send me a child?
    Because I want to put it up on the TV screen
    So the world can see what your true word means
    Lord, won't you send me a sign?
    Because I just got to know if I'm wasting my time

    He again says he will spread the word of God through his child's fame. But I'm not entirely sure why he asks to be sent a child now, because before the child was already there, as evidenced by the previous verse.

    Now I'm overcome
    By the light of day
    My lips are near
    But my heart is far away
    But now the war is won
    How come nothing tastes good?

    Here his conciense is coming back to bite him. I'm guessing "the war is won" means that his daughter is famous, but he can't enjoy it because of what he's done to her.

    Oh you're such a sensitive child
    You know you're such a sensitive child
    I know you're tired, but it's all right
    I just needed you to sing for me tonight
    You're going to have your day in the sun
    You know God loves the sensitive ones

    Here he's telling his daughter to keep going, even though she is tired and does not want to sing. He's telling her it'll work out well for them because God loves her, that's how he's justifying making her do this when she doesn't want to, I think.

    Oh, my little bird in a cage
    Oh, my little bird in a cage
    I need you to get up for me up on that stage
    Show all the men that you're old for your age
    Now in the times of fear
    But if you don't take it, it'll disappear

    This is very similar to the previous verse. He's trying to convince her to go up and perform. "Show all the men that you're old for your age".........I get a feeling that this is sort of a euphimism. Nasty line.

    Oh, my little mockingbird, sing
    Oh, my little mockingbird, sing
    I need you to get up on the stage for me, honey
    Show the men it's not about the money
    Want to hold a mirror up to the world
    So that they can see themselves inside my little girl

    "Show the men it's not about the money", show the world that you're not performing simply for money. Irony again.

    Do you know where I was at your age?
    Any idea where I was at your age?
    I was working downtown for the minimum wage!
    And I couldn't let you just throw it all away

    Here he's trying to make her feel guilty, because she has this opportunity that he has never had to be famous.

    Throw me a kid, God, throw me a knife
    So tell me Lord, am I the Antichrist?

    I think this part's pretty self-explanitory.


    And I've been wondering if the title of "Antichrist Television Blues" is a sort of prolouge to the events of the song. When the man was younger (the age of the daughter during the song, perhaps?), he was watching television and saw people performing, and decided that he wanted to be like them, but he did not succeed, hence the "blues". I don't know. But that's how it seems to me.
    waittilyouseemysmileon November 24, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentA father is exploiting his daughter for his own personal gain. Deep down he probably knows it's wrong, but because he's a "good christian god-fearing man", he can sleep at night.
    nursejenon February 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it is from the perspective of Jessica Simpson's father. He questions whether if selling his daughter's soul makes him the antichrist.
    Gus428on February 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti believe emueyes has got it.
    cloud7on February 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love the part at the end

    Do you know where I was at your age?
    Any idea where I was at your age?
    I was working downtown for the minimum wage!

    the dude is an awesome vocalist and he sings those lines so desperately and then it ends all abrupt like with the next few lines.
    wonderful

    and joe simpson? weird
    but, yeah, bout time someone did it....that guy's a douche


    peace
    deadeyeduckon March 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNo!! It isn't innocent for the following reasons:

    1. Religious hypocrisy seems to be a motif on this album (e.g. Intervention). It doesn't make sense for them to be inconsistent and suddenly make one that is earnestly religious.

    2. The irony of lines like "She can sing like a bird in cage" and "So that they can see themselves inside my little girl". Many poets/lyricists from Robert Frost to Kurt Cobain have written lines that could be interpreted as earnest to the casual reader, but are actually filled with sarcasm. Win Butler and his bandmates are too smart to write lines like that and not be sarcastic.

    3. The alternate title and alternate lyrics mention Joe Simpson by name:

    fluxblog.org/2007/02/…
    thetorturegarden.blogspot.com/…
    elcapitanlocoon March 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentInteresting idea. However, I doubt it. The original title was Joe Simpson (see links above). I think the song is pretty clear.

    "Stranger in a strange land" is a biblical reference. There are many others on the album(e.g. "the lion and the lamb" "golden calf"). The character in the song seems to think that this is a strange (and immoral) land- (e.g. "planes keep crashing", "The voices when they scream, well, they make no sound/Want to see the cities rust/And the troublemakers riding on the back of the bus"). He sees himself and his daughter as being in the minority of the righteous. Of course, this is just his rationalization for exploiting his daughter.
    elcapitanlocoon March 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentgreat song. sounds just like

    Bruce Springsteen's - Johnny 99
    skyfallingon June 11, 2007   Link

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