Old, lonely, and endless light. Cold morning rises from the night.
No smile smiles back through the glare. No Voice calls back from the stairs.
Oh, those wounds on your blistered feet? That march you on along that dusted street
Oh, that dust gathers 'round your head as, clean, I rise form my lonely bed
All the talking - this and that none taking me to where you're at
Oh, as fine as the day is long
Oh, my fineness, where have you gone?
And I know I'm not to sing of fights I've missed
But, alone, I've got to sing just to exist
And to resist
So you're gone now, and who's to blame?
Left down here among the sons of Cain
Have you gone on to their heavenly fame
Leaving me here among the sons of Cain?
So, you're gone now, and who's to blame?
Left down here among the sons of Cain
Oh, you're gone now, and who's to blame?
All alone among the sons of Cain


Lyrics submitted by pinkeyswear

The Sons of Cain song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentHow has no one commented on this? Such a great song. I love Ted Leo. My favorite line here is "I've got to sing just to exist". So do I.

    I'm not sure about an overall meaning, but it sounds like some one left him alone with the "sons of Cain", or people inferior to the one who left. Or something.
    MrDeliriouson June 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it is about death & losing your spouse.

    "Old, lonely, and endless light. Cold morning rises from the night. No smile smiles back through the glare. No Voice calls back from the stairs."

    Sleeping, (or not sleeping "endless") in bed alone, "the glare" would be morning and "No smile smiles back" would imply that he was used to having someone in bed with him in the morning. "No voice calls back" would imply being alone in an empty house.

    "Oh, those wounds on your blistered feet? That march you on along that dusted street" -- not sure on this.

    "Oh, that dust gathers 'round your head as, clean, I rise form my lonely bed"

    This speaks to me of turning to dust in your coffin and again, waking up alone in a bed you used to share.

    "All the talking - this and that none taking me to where you're at
    Oh, as fine as the day is long Oh, my fineness, where have you gone?"

    I think this is either Grief Counseling or just the talking that happens after a death in the family. Everyone coming together to remember a loved one. But all the talking doesn't "take me to where you're at" (heaven or hell ?!?) And oh my "fineness" would be like honey or sweetie, I think it's an endearment. "Where have you gone?" -- to heaven or hell or where ever.

    "And I know I'm not to sing of fights I've missed
    But, alone, I've got to sing just to exist"

    I think this can be taken two ways... 1) missing just having someone around to bicker with -- fighting over where to eat dinner etc... or 2) the memory (thus missing) of past fights that maybe he regretted??
    And singing just to exist I think because he has to do something or he'll just die of grief.

    Now this is where I get more divided about my opinion on this... Sons of Cain. Cain & Abel were brothers in the Bible. Cain killed Abel before he had any kids... so I would take it to mean the Sons of Cain as being all the rest of the people alive. BUT you could also take this not a genetic representation of humanity but a category of people - the Sons of Cain being murderers.

    "So you're gone now, and who's to blame?
    Left down here among the sons of Cain "

    The "who's to blame" lyric makes me wonder if this is about spousal abuse & maybe murder? Who's to blame for your death? Left with the Sons of Cain... in prison with other murderers?
    rhiannoncabaliston July 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWHOOOPS the rest of my theory got cut off before I posted it.


    OR could you take it that a spouse died, was murdered, but the singer doesn't know by whom and is looking at everyone else (all humanity) as the Sons of Cain... murderers.

    "Have you gone on to their heavenly fame"

    and that line is what really makes me think it's about the death of the singers' spouse.
    rhiannoncabaliston July 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCain was Adam and Eve's first son. He killed his brother, Abel, and was banished by God to Nod, east of Eden, to be a wanderer. All of his descendants (the Cainites, or the "sons of Cain") were doomed to be sinners and were eventually exterminated by God. If you couple this with the obvious personal side of this song (Ted Leo's wife had cancer recently, so I assume this is about her and if she were to die), perhaps he feels like the Cainites, wandering the earth alone, with no hope of salvation.

    I'm not a religious man, but that seems fairly likely to me .
    atariwhizkidon November 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty sure the line is.

    "Have you gone on to their heavenly fane?"

    Ted Leo does have an English degree from Notre Dame, he uses words like fane and apostasy in songs.
    BelialCaron December 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo, I just checked the lyric book, and it's "Fame."

    Although, that would have been an amazingly wicked pun if did happen to be "fane."
    Blackbird_1565on June 12, 2008   Link

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