"Handshake The Gangster" as written by and Timothy John Baker....
Are you a wolf,
Warm in your pinstripes?
Is your pen a boot knife,
Drawing red and dollar green?
(Two colors for everything)

Look how the teeth gnash
Look how they smile
It's some kind of witchcraft
That keeps us laughing all the time

We did our jobs
So quick and calm
Wasted no love

Have I been drinking? My feet are kicking
Like someone's pushing this institution down my throat
(and I'm going to choke!)
Is this a living, this steady gunning?
It's got a rhythm, sure, a hemiola to my pulse
(A messy rush!)

We did our jobs
So quick and calm
Wasted no blood

Ambition, give me wings
Ambition, break my legs
She swims inside my head
Was planted in my skin
(And I can't forgive!)

Have I been driving? I see the lines bend
But I've not been steering and I keep on veering to the right
(To those blissful lies!)
When did they reach me, while I was sleeping?
When did they rein me? interrogate my better sense
(With their fucking rent!)
And all my teachers, those dusty pilgrims
Those plucky speakers are all just victims of a lie
(That they can't deny!)

We did our jobs
So quick and calm
Wasted our lungs


Lyrics submitted by sassmaster

"Handshake the Gangster" as written by Timothy John Baker

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Handshake The Gangster song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is a very political message. Here's a verse for verse what I take away from it.

    A politician is a ganster that shakes your hand, a wolf in a pinstripe suit who uses a pen to create law and policies that draw blood and create wealth for himself. They see everything in terms of "red (blood) and dollar green"

    They're two faced. They write policies against our best insterests and fight those that support. All the while smiling and pretending to be serving us. How are they able to pacify us when we recognize it?

    "We did our jobs so quick and calm" speaks to the ease which we've settled into our role as cattle in the herd.
    "Wasted no love", we accept the lie that their interests are our own (maybe?). "Wasted no blood", we gave ourselves freely without bloodshed or violence. "Wasted our lungs", our complaints and protests go unaddressed/wasted our breath.

    Fourth stanza is mostly self explanitory. He doesn't feel quite right, feels resistant as if someone is forcing "this institution down my throat" He (rightfully) questions the existance of freedom in the rat race although he sees a twisted sort of logic to it at times.

    I think the verse on ambition talks about the feeling of making a difference but then realizing that you don't have the power to change anything substancial or lasting. The idea that you have power (democracy) was "planted in my skin" and that deception can never be forgiven.

    Has he been in control? The rules are being bent but he's not the one bending them. "I keep on veering to the (political) right" and their lies. It all happened so fast, how did they overcome "my better sense" by increasing individual debt and the need for money? "Their fucking rent" being a metaphor to the price you pay for safety and shelter. Perhaps they overcame his better sense through the education and the skewed version of history we're given ("teachers" and "dusty pilgrims"). Or through the convincing politicians "plucky speakers" who believe the lie themselves?

    I could be dead wrong about a lot of it but I think I nailed the central thesis.
    ManifestDensityon July 12, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation[Are you a wolf, warm in your pinstripes] I think this is a self asked question- the angel on your shoulder is asking you, hey, are you happy? are you warm in your suit, as the stanza goes, is made of selfishness?

    [Look how they smile] is some kind of message towards the general public or media.

    [We did our jobs] I should probably say here that I think this song is centred around a story- a politician, or other high-up person, who realizes they are not where they want to be, they've left behind who they wanted to be and what they wanted to do. this is the alternate voice, saying, we did it, yes we may have been wrong but we got it done.

    [Ambition break my legs] these lines mean that the same thing that gives us our wants, also cripples us. I imagine beginning to want to be great, and then giving up parts of oneself to get there. 'great'.

    [My feet are kicking] this, I think, is about waking up and seeing this.

    [Is this a living] more self questioning. answer- no it's not. they decide, I'm going to change.

    [Have I been driving?] more about questioning. I love this part. it is about coming to terms that you want control over your own life, which someone else had been driving.

    The rest is really much of the same. <3
    Powerful.

    sippola21on December 12, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is beautiful, beautiful music. No one's commented yet!?
    The title of the song tells it all, "Handshake the Gangster."
    The last lines of the song are "It was planted in my skin/ And I can't forgive 'em!!" Wonderful.
    Tsuppion August 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is an incredible song. I especially love the 'ambition give me wings...' section. Beautiful lyrically and musically. I'm not entirely sure of the meaning though.
    JMenzon January 12, 2010   Link

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