"Grains of Wrath" as written by and Greg/gurewitz Graffin....
Back in '83 a man came to men and he told me
"Son, our way of life is done." But I was only young
With an eye to the fields, speculators and yields rotten to the core
Mono-culture whores entered the bidding wars from distant shores

I don't wanna be in the land known as destitute and free
With the grains of wrath blazing a path from sea to shining sea

Oh, the sinuous trails of concrete rails and exhausted roars
Population wars setting our future course
Yeah, is profit and greed the only conceit on a scale between
Mere prosperity and inhumanity? It may well be, but...

I don't wanna be in the land known as destitute and free
With the grains of wrath blazing a path from sea to shining sea

Shout out: I don't wanna be in the land known as destitute and free
With the grains of wrath blazing a path from sea to shining sea, oh, whoa, oh, shout out


Lyrics submitted by subhumans

"Grains of Wrath" as written by Greg Graffin Brett W. Gurewitz

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., MOTHERSHIP MUSIC PUBLISHING

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Grains of Wrath song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis is one of my favorite songs on the new album. It's about biofuels and how greedy industrialists want to transform food crops into fuel in their quest for profit.
    mournsanityon July 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmournsanity is right. The song is about biofuels and how powerful and greedy people turn food crops into fuel.
    In effect the food prices rise high, making it even more difficult for third-world countries to buy food.
    It's about 800 million people starving, and countries like USA and Brazil are making fuel out of food....
    Cormegaon March 18, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGreg himself has acknowledged that this one is about bio-fuels. It's not about American foreign policy, except insofar as it is affected by our relationship with energy and its production.

    "Back in '83 a man came to me and he told me
    "son, our way of life is done"
    But I was only young"

    '83 doesn't seem to have a specific connotation in this case, although it may. It's probably a reference to the increasing scholarship on Global Climate Change in that period (although, again, most of that starts in 1970, so it could be an arbitrary "past date"). The overall point, however, is that as climate change became more publicized, scientists told us: look, our way of life is done. We can't sustain it. But we covered our ears and refused to hear them.

    "With an eye to the fields speculators and yields
    rotten to the core
    Monoculture whores entered the bidding wars
    from distant shores"

    So first, we should place a comma in here to offer some context: "With an eye to the fields speculators and yields, rotten to the core", which is to say that this group of monoculture (a planting technique which leads to soil erosion and and unhealthy crop yield) whores turns their eyes to the ways that money could be made. This is the "Green Revolution" in which pesticide, hormone, and GMO use increase exponentially in American farming. It's also the period in which American grain exports become critical throughout the world, thanks to a nasty little solution we put in almost all of our food, known as corn syrup.

    The chorus is pretty straightforward: Greg, Brett, et al don't want to find themselves in a nation that has freed itself from one hydrocarbon source (oil) only to render itself impoverished on another source (bio-fuels). These are the "Grains of Wrath", although the source is largely corn.

    "Oh the sinuous trails of concrete and rails and
    exhausted roars
    Population wars setting our future course"

    Here, we see the confluence of transportation imagery and a future ruled by international conflict over resources for a growing population. The primary effect of the bio-fuel scam has been to drive up food prices and cause famine in developing nations. This is causing population pressure and conflict already, and as it worsens, we will see inter-group conflict in both the developing and developed world increase, as resources become scarcer.

    "Is profit and greed the only conceit on a scale
    between
    Mere prosperity and inhumanity? It may well be"

    Effectively: is making money the only reason we will turn our heads from a path to mere prosperity, which, although inefficient, won't bankrupt us (electrical cars, alternative energy), and to a world ruled by resource war and monoculture agricultural disaster?
    Smertioson December 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell, to be correct, Grapes of Wrath is a work by John Steinbeck, not Twain.It describes the lives of the white emigrants from the Midwest during the Dust Bowl period of the 1920s/30s, and is considered an American classic in literature.

    '83 doesnt have any particular year connotation.However, one might interpret the line as an American farmer speaking to his son about how their way of life- farming food on individual farm lots with crop diversity and a local market system for a farmer to sell at his own prices. Today's version of modern farming, with few exceptions, is dominated by industrial efforts based on large scale machinery and monoculture crops, in which the farmer is constantly in debt in order to pay off the loaning corporations for the equipment they help provide.

    Remember biofuels and monoculture is not an American entity alone...it is happening globally. Palm oil in Indonesia, soybeans in Brazil, rice in India and China, coffee in South America.....monoculture has taken firm root worldwide.

    That being said, "destitute and free" may represent the future of America if we fail to recognize our errings....broke from resource wars, our soils eroded from our foolish ways of production, but still touting our freedom....
    crpb1on November 13, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about the relentless march of agriculture across our nation. The reference at the beginning of the song I believe reflects an older person reflecting on the changes that took place agriculturally in his lifetime, spanning from organic farming necessarily to the green revolution of the 70s. Now, we live in a world polluted by genetically modified crops and monoculture which is both bad for the environment, and human health. The primary crops in the United States, corn (maize) and soybeans are both principally genetically modified and are practically useless for human necessities. The only thing they are good for is a cheap way to fatten up animals before we slaughter them, and they are only grown because they are highly subsidized. Another fact about these "grains of wrath" is that the great plains are now mainly corn and soybeans and much habitat has been replaced with these useless grains. How often do you see a farmer growing broccoli or other vegetables like watermelon or carrots? Not often compared to corn and soybeans. Profit and greed dominates in the modern world, as this song exemplifies.
    alonelylifeon May 09, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGod bless you. I couldn't transcribe this song for the life of me. This album sure brought Bad Religion back for me.
    TinyVoiceson June 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a little depressing to the point were I want to go out and cause a protest. I mean this song is basically showing what our future holds for us, overpopulation, the rich winning, and people being drove further apart.
    ihoodzon July 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI consider "Grains of Wrath" as the wars that USA has being doing to foreign countries and the "monoculture whores" as many within the government who uses propaganda, produces and sell weapons, encourages imperialistic ambitions and provoke people to fear so they can have their war.
    TheSamePersonon August 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI consider "Grains of Wrath" as the wars that USA has being doing to foreign countries and the "monoculture whores" as many within the US government use propaganda, produces and sell weapons, encourages imperialistic ambitions and provoke people to fear so they can have their war, and so the USA economy is based mostly on oil prices and the weaponry industry, so in order for these people to obtain gain, they press government to have wars and so on.

    PS.: Sorry for the Double-Post.
    TheSamePersonon August 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song seems to be about the music biz to me. not everything makes sense, but its plausible. didnt bad religion start in about 83?

    Monoculture whores entered the bidding wars?
    impulse374on August 29, 2007   Link

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