"Call it a Ritual" as written by and Hadji Bakara Arlen Thompson....
Well into the desert you must go
So into the desert we go
Call it a ritual
Call it whatever you will

And you will grow out of me
As naturally
As branches from a tree
Call it a ritual
Call it whatever you will

And you know
They will swing swing their swords for show
While you turn your flower petals so slow

You said the desert will eat us alive
I said I'll make the decisions you just drive
You just drive

And I saw the windmill wings were gone
And I heard the wind come creepin' around
Call it an act of easy mercy
To tear the structure down

Call it whatever you will
Call it whatever you will

Cause you know
They will swing swing their swords for show
While you turn your flower petals so slow

But I am amazed at how they go
I am amazed at how they go
But I am amazed at how they go
I am amazed at how they go
But I am amazed at how they go
I am amazed at how they go
But I am amazed at how they go
I am amazed at how they go
But I am amazed at how they go
I am amazed at how they go

So call it whatever you will
Call it a ritual
Call it whatever you will

You know
They will swing swing their swords for show


Lyrics submitted by Sunset Rubdown

"Call It a Ritual" as written by Dan Boeckner Arlen Thompson

Lyrics © THIRD SIDE MUSIC INC.

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Call It a Ritual song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentIt's a song about the tail wagging the dog.

    It's about going off to a war in the desert

    A war without reason, where the wheels of promised peace (the flower) turn slow.

    The windmill can represent industry, the american economy (Think George Orwell's using the same metaphor in animal farm) it is the collapsing of america at home while the soldiers go in to the desert for show.

    It is about a war that is only for show, like a thoughtless ritual and an entertainment, a distraction from bigger problems and failures at home (the windmill).

    The shape and stripping of the windmill also echos the shape of the spinning flower of peace.

    all the while we are amazed at how they go (off to war just for show)
    we are amazed at how they go (so quickly eaten alive by the desert)
    we are amazed at how they go (the decline of America)
    thomas.purveson September 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFollowing the opening song "Soldier's Grin," the album continues its war theme with "Call it a Ritual"

    The desert is the Middle East. The soldiers of the modern armies tour through this antiquated underdeveloped land on their undefined mission.

    "Well into the desert we must go
    So into the desert we go"

    Notice how the why of this operation is never discussed. We're just going. There is a whole list of excuses for this war that have all been debunked. Yet Neo-conservatives maintain the action was justified.

    "you said the desert will eat us alive
    I said I'll make the decisions you just drive"

    President Bush is noted of calling himself "The decider."

    "and i saw the windmill wings were gone
    and i heard the wind come creepin around
    call it an act of easy mercy
    to tear the structure down"

    A very pragmatic modernist view. Tearing down the useless, outdated windmill is equivalent to demolishing the old world system of tyrant and oppressed people. Clear the way for democracy and a system that works.

    "they will swing swing their swords for show
    while you turn your flower petals so slow"

    The sword is a symbol for war and the flower a symbol of peace. The "swing their swords for show" illustrates how this war is not true, total war. It is a very delicate and conplex situation that is beyond the conventional armies marching into a field to do battle. Much can be accomplished with a show of force.
    SadXuHuangon May 12, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthat interpretation is definitely correct, however your missing a point. the idea of the "sword swinging for show" contrasts with the flower because he uses "they" to describe the men with the swords, the pres, army, and others, and contrasts it by saying "you turn your petals so slow." by saying you he makes it sound like an ordinary citizen, like you or i, but "they" is a more distant word. it goes intact with the idea that 70% of Americans don't agree with the war--the average citizen doesn't agree with it so we are the peaceful, but the establishment "they""continues it.
    jjc886on June 11, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with Sad Xu's interpretation.
    following the same arguement, I believe that the line,
    "you said the desert will eat us alive
    i said i'll make the decisions you just drive
    you just drive"
    refers the government's disregard for the opinions of it's citizens. The government makes the decisions, but it's people have to sacrifice the trip. Sometimes they don't come back.
    Blueb1rd.on June 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAgree 100% with the war interpretation, I actually think it is fairly obvious. Also the title being "Call it a Ritual" alludes to the fact that The Middle East has been an area which has had a large number of military excursions in my opinion. The British, French, Soviets, Americans, you name it.
    OutdoorMineron March 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment1st post. w00t

    anyway, good song - don't know if i'd say great, although my opinion could easily change upon a few more listens. I wish the song as a whole just had more of a crescendo effect.

    I feel like the song has an emphasis on nature again, like a lot of their other songs and a futility of modernity. The whole swinging of swords for show is only literally taking place in contests of fencing and i dont really thing thats where the song is going. I feel like once again they're just stressing the importance of simplicity.

    The song also seems to referrence some frustration with another person. "you will grow mad at me..." and "you just drive." I feel like the second line places emphasis on just which to me sounds like theirs a sort of impatience involved, but this is far too long for an initial analysis of the song so i'll leave it for now.
    13chadon April 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe line is actually,

    "You will grow out of me
    As naturally
    As branches from a tree"
    omegadaxeron May 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentat first listen i feel like this "ritual" is gambling, and going to the desert is Las Vegas.

    "i said i'll make the decisions you just drive
    you just drive"

    sounds like someones addiction to gambling even though they were told of the consequences.

    my parents and aunts do this all the time, (but not to vegas) they save to or plan to go gambling, they do it somewhat often, and they love it; it's their own little ritual.

    but this is just my two-cents from my first look at the lyrics, i may be way off.
    IceCuban06on May 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love that war interpretation. I never thought of it like that. Taking it that way, it's also interesting that a windmill is a source of alternate energy and people call Iraq a "war for oil."
    positive_tensionon May 21, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love that war interpretation. I never thought of it like that. Taking it that way, it's also interesting that a windmill is a source of alternate energy and people call Iraq a "war for oil."
    positive_tensionon May 21, 2008   Link

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