"The Righteous Path" as written by and Patterson Hood....
I got a brand new car that drinks a bunch of gas
I got a house in a neighborhood that's fading fast
I got a dog and a cat that don't fight too much
I got a few hundred channels to keep me in touch
I got a beautiful wife and three tow-headed kids
I got a couple of big secrets I'd kill to keep hid
I don't know God but I fear his wrath
I'm trying to keep focused on the righteous path

I got a couple of opinions that I hold dear
Got a whole lot of debt and a whole lot of fear
I got an itch that needs scratching but it feels alright
I got the need to blow it out on Saturday night
I got a grill in the backyard and a case of beers
Got a boat that ain't seen the water in years
More bills than money, I can do the math
I'm trying to keep focused on the righteous path

I'm trying to keep focused as I drive down the road
On the ditches and the curves and the heavy load
Ain't bitching 'bout things that aren't in my grasp
Just trying to hold steady on the righteous path

This friend of mine I've known all my life
Who can't get it right no matter how hard he tries
He's got kids he don't see and several ex-wives
And a list of bad decisions 'bout eight miles wide
Trouble with the law and the IRS
And where he'll get the money's anybody's guess
He's a long way off but if you was to ask
He'd say he's trying to stay focused on the righteous path

Trying to keep focused as we drive down the road
Like we did back in High School before the world turned cold
Now the brakes are thin and the curves are fast
We're trying to hold steady on the righteous path

We're hanging out and we're hanging on
We're trying the best we can to keep keeping on
We got messed up minds for these messed up times
And it's a thin thin line separating his from mine

Trying to hold steady on the righteous path
Eighy miles and hour with a worn out map
No time for self-pity or a load of crap
Trying to stay focused on the righteous path

Lyrics submitted by knels21

"The Righteous Path" as written by Patterson Hood


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The Righteous Path song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThis song reminds me of two of my friends, Rob and Mike. Both were wild in high school and college (drunk every weekend, smoking pot, lots of sex, road trips to Mardis Gras, etc.). Rob found a girl, got married, had kids, got a good job, built a house in the suburbs, quit smoking, cut way back on drinking. He goes to church with the family every Sunday, but will confide in his close friends that he doesn't really get anything out of it. Mike kept doing drugs, can't hold down a job, never got married. If you ask him, he'd tell you he's trying to get his life together ("trying to stay focused on the righteous path"), but he keeps relapsing into his old habits.

    They have very similar personalities, but Rob found a way to control his impulses, while Mike didn't. Occasionally, Rob will have too much to drink and the old Rob will show up. I think that is the "thin, thin line" separating their two minds.
    Zepfreakon May 31, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentInteresting little song.

    At first blush, it seems like "American Beauty," illustrating suburban ennui by telling a story of the inevitable dissatisfaction that comes from a life spent vigorously keeping up with the Joneses. But there's a major departure between those stories and these: rather than getting so fed up with this modern excuse of the American Dream and doing something drastic, our narrator simply holds steady to it. He's perfectly aware that it's screwed up ("these messed up times,") and that not everyone can deal with it (references to his friend), but for whatever reason he thinks it's beyond his role in society to challenge them ("Ain't bitching bout things that aren't in my grasp").

    Unlike the other comments on here, I don't see anything to indicate that Hood is passing any kind of moral judgment on the character, all I see is a great character illustration. Nor do I see any developed class struggle or, God forbid, fascist theocracy (where did that come from?). I think it's a simple character story.
    OldSouthon April 30, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song reminds me of two of my friends. They went to high school together and did a lot of partying and were generally irresponsible throughout their 20s. However, a few years ago, one found a good woman, got a steady job, sobered up, and started a family. The other continued to party, wrecked his car, lost his job, and had his house foreclosed on. Both would tell you they are trying to stay on the righteous path, but only one has been successful in doing so. Each could easily have ended up going down the path that the other took. The one who became successful need only to make one of his old mistakes (a night of heavy drinking/drug use or having an affair) to throw it all away. Thus, it is a "thin, thin line" separating their lives.
    Zepfreakon February 14, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about the two opposite ends of the class system in the same town. One's about a guy who has good kids, a beautiful wife, a new car, a nice house, and money but doesn't know God but still wants to stay on the righteous path. The other end of the spectrum is about a blue collar worker who just lives from paycheck to paycheck and likes to get drunk on the weekends but still wants to stay on the right way with God. The friend I think is the blue collar worker's real identity that he tries to conceal but he knows he has trouble.
    broomekbon February 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTwo friends, same upbringing, and one isn't doing so well as the other. I imagine they spent some time in jail (or juvie) when they were young, and the guy who is singing has bettered his life. His friend "can't get it right, no matter how he tries".
    Tomeron January 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel it's about two guys who grew up in similar backgrounds and are both trying to stay on a "rightous path." But for whatever reasons one of 'em has the good life and the other has a tough life.
    cdk87on April 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think it is one man, speaking about his own life and how he has everything that an American man in his 30's is supposed to want and yet he feels like he struggles everyday to keep it all together. He is comparing himself to his friend from back in high school who made all of the wrong decisions, is viewed as failure at life by society in general, and basically has nothing. The lyrics detail the differences in their lives and lifestyles and similarities in the internal struggles that they face each day regardless of their respective lots in life.

    What appears to be a character story on the surface is actually a commentary on the life of typical American men in their 30's.
    bjohns7778on August 11, 2015   Link
  • -2
    General CommentIt's not about a single person, it's about all people in general. We have an economy going down the shitter, we are running out of gas, we are becomming dumber every year, we have all these mindless activities, and we are slowly moving toward this faschist theocrary in America. This song is basically making fun of the Average American.
    shootermcgavinon June 25, 2008   Link

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