"Empty Walls" as written by and Serj Tankian....
Your empty walls
Your empty walls
Pretentious attention
Dismissive apprehension
Don't waste your time, on coffins today
When we decline, from the confines of our mind
Don't waste your time, on coffins today

Don't you see their bodies burning?
Desolate and full of yearning
Dying of anticipation
Choking from intoxication

Don't you see their bodies burning?
Desolate and full of yearning
Dying of anticipation
Choking from intoxication

I want you
To be
Left behind those empty walls
Don't
You see
From behind those empty walls

Those empty walls
When we decline, from the confines of our mind
Don't waste your time, on coffins today

Don't you see their bodies burning?
Desolate and full of yearning
Dying of anticipation
Choking from intoxication

Don't you see their bodies burning?
Desolate and full of yearning
Dying of anticipation
Choking from intoxication

I want you
To be
Left behind those empty walls


Don't
You see
From behind those empty walls
Want you to be
Left behind those empty walls
Don't
You see
From behind those empty walls
From behind those empty walls
From behind those empty walls
The walls
From behind those empty walls

I left you
yesterday before
you killed my family

Don't you see their bodies burning?
Desolate and full of yearning
Dying of anticipation
Choking from intoxication

Don't you see their bodies burning?
Desolate and full of yearning
Dying of anticipation
Choking from intoxication

I want you
To be
Left behind those empty walls
Told you
To see
From behind those empty walls
Want you to be, left behind those empty walls
Told you
To see
From behind those empty walls
From behind those empty walls
From behind those fucking walls
From behind those goddamn walls
Those walls
Those walls


Lyrics submitted by naeem9, edited by earthlybird

"Empty Walls" as written by Serj Tankian

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Empty Walls song meanings
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189 Comments

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  • +8
    General CommentThere is no question the song is directly about the Bush administration's censorship of the Iraq war and specifically the choice to ban the media from showing caskets of American soldiers.

    "Your empty walls,
    Pretentious adventures,
    Dismissive apprehension,
    Don't waste your time,
    On coffins today,"

    About how we are just being forced to ignore reality whether or not we even conciously acknowledge so.

    "
    Don't you see their bodies burning?
    Desolate and full of yearning,
    Dying of anticipation,
    Choking from intoxication,"

    About both American and Iraqi casualties that the public is ignorant to.

    The video which depicts the twin towers being destroyed, the statue of Hussein being toppled, and even prisoners being taken ends with the children staring at the casket outside. The children who played the war willing and enjoyed it are being seperated from the casket only by a window, an empty wall. There is nothing really there and they choose to see reality but censoring their vision would mean they still think of war as a type of game and run around enjoying it.

    In summary, the song is about the government's false protections and how censoring the viewing of caskets decreases critcism of the war and helps Americans avoid the reality that people are constantly dieing from war because they are unable to view the atrocities. While I'm sure these themes can be taken into a broader scope there is no doubt Serj is directly speaking to the casket censorship. An incredible song and maybe the best video I have seen this year.
    elite89on September 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy interpretation of the song is one that requires background information, as most people would be confused with my interpretation unless they were well educated in history, or unless they were of Armenian descent. The Armenian Genocide, sometimes appropriately called “The Forgotten Genocide,” has never received the national attention it deserves. One reason is because of the Turkish government’s succesful campaign to erase history with threats and political pressure on countries like the USA (It works because of Turkey’s strategic location on the map). Thus, Serj Tankian’s masterful song, “Empty Walls” is an obvious allusion to the unjustified and brutal persecution that the Armenian people had been subjected to under the Ottoman Empire, espescially during the 20th Century.

    “Your Empty Walls” is not referring to your empty walls, or my empty walls, but indirectly referring to the lives lost during one of the bleakest moments in history. If we dig down deeper, in a philosophical sense, Serj wants us to look past the real or concrete aspects of the world we live in, and reach out to the abstract, the spiritual world. By speaking to the dead, specifically to those who died in the unbearable heat of the desert, Serj is reaching out to the souls that still suffer and linger under the sand, their “Empty Walls.” These souls will continue suffering until they receive justification, until their wounds are healed and only then can they rest. Until then, they shouldn’t “waste their times on coffins today.”
    sonic911on September 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmy interpretation is short.

    empty walls could mean the whole terror levels and all that crap, notice the little rating system thing that came out at the begining?

    as the levels rise or fall the we create ways to protect ourselves from this "threat"

    what do walls do? protect. hence the term empty walls, the walls are empty because theres nothing to protect yourself from.

    The video is beautiful by the way, if anyone hasnt seen it you can find it on you tube
    reaper846on September 12, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's about the war in iraq

    The empty walls=the lack of weapons of mass destruction

    "I loved you yesterday before you killed my family"
    That's from the view of an iraqi child. Sure they're liberating my country, but they also killed my family.

    "Pretentious adventures,
    Dismissive apprehension,"
    Sums the war up.
    KingOfHeartson September 21, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentim pretty sure this song is about war.
    but not the one in iraq.
    i think its about world war 2.

    Don't waste your time
    On coffins today
    --the mass of jews that were killed and just thrown into a pile

    Don't you see their bodies burning?
    Desolate and full of yearning,
    Dying of anticipation,
    Choking from intoxication,
    --millions of people were burned,
    anticipating death killed many,
    do you remember gas chambers?
    choking from intoxication.

    and of course, empty walls.
    concentration camps had walls around them.
    empty as in hope?
    or because mostly everyone was dead inside?

    does anyone else see it???
    lake079on October 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI liked reading through others interpretations of this song, there are some things that make a lot of sense that I had never even thought of.

    I've never even knew about "The Forgotten Genocide" probably because that wasn't something I learned in school, thanks sonic911 for bringing that into the light for me. I enjoyed reading both yours and elite89's comments.

    I don't think my interpretation is the best or the worst but here it is.

    When Serj uses the term "empty walls" it made me think of the boundaries that divide people today. Boundaries like the borders to countries, something that splits up human beings. It also make me think of not-so-literal boundaries like religion and how it separates people and how in a lot of cases it drives people to kill one another. Another thing I sense to be a "wall" is ignorance and how it keeps people from coming together. I don't mean ignorance in the sense of stupidity, I mean in the sense of what we learn after the government filters out all the "undesirable" information. A good example of this would be what I stated early, how I didn't know anything about The Armenian Genocide, mainly because I never learned about it in school.

    Hope my comment gives you another angle of thought.

    Think for yourself, don't let your government think for you. Unless you want to give up your individuality and join the "unthinking majority".
    CFisher714on May 21, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation"From behind those empty walls"

    Empty walls could be the televisions that the public sits behind to watch the war.
    Soldiers who are there, know how many people are dying and suffering,
    but the people at home can't see everything since they are sitting behind a TV and stations basically pick out what we get to see on TV and what we skip.


    "Don't you see their bodies burning?"
    No, we are never/rarely shown the bodies of soldiers being tortured/burned/killed.

    "I loved you yesterday,
    (From behind those empty walls...)
    Before you killed my family,
    (From behind those empty walls, the walls...)"

    What the TV had told us (or didn't) had made us either like or just not mind the countries that we are in war with. Then the TV told us that they killed our families, making us hate them. But we killed their families in return, also. TV doesn't choose to tell us how cruel we are to others.
    This song isn't leaning towards any side, its showing that both of the sides have the same problems. The media takes over what we see which takes over what we feel.

    "(Fuck your empty walls, fuck your empty walls)"
    Basically, don't listen to everything you are told. Have a little common sense and question whether what the government is showing you is the complete truth or just a half truth.
    wear0your0real0eyeson July 28, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIf you watch the video it ties in to the war with iraq.

    0:22 it's the Twin towers
    1:04 its the start of the war in the middle east
    2:00 it's pulling down Saddam's Husseins statue
    2:10 it's kinda self explanatory
    2:26 it's unfair inprisonment of unfortunates
    2:33 a Muslim who got tortures by the U.S, even though there was no edvidence linking him to Al Qaeda
    3:05 is a car bomb.
    To sum up his overall agenda of this video he is saying that the US handled the war like "kids"
    Nate531on December 22, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it might not as deep as some people go with song meanings. If you really think about the song lyrics and this event is sort of fits. This sounds like it's about the Holocaust.
    Before you deny me, think about it. Bodies burning, chocking from intoxication, no coffins, I (Jew) loved you (Germany) before you killed my family. It fits.
    zyxw10on April 27, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor me the empty walls are narrowness of a mind-the first part is like you dream and never look at the present, at the crap that happens today. The chorus is asking you to open your eyes and leave behind the narrow mind. Maybe how we all operate in some part behind the closed walls of our minds. The last part with the chanting feels like he's cursing the walls and how we trust our minds but we all need to look back to fix the present before we can think about the future.
    Sabi420on September 10, 2007   Link

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