"Lenders in the Temple" as written by and Conor Oberst....
A short delay,
The parrot blues
Little voices mimic you
It's not so hard to make that sound

So watch your back,
The Ides of March
Cut your hair like Joan of Arc
Disguise your will
They'll find you out

And when they do,
Look out

There's money lenders inside the temple
That circus tiger's gonna break your heart
Something so wild turned into paper
If I loved you, well that's my fault

A bitch in heat,
The alpha male
Not something she'd ever tell
Except when she got deathly high

And out it came,
Like summer rain
Washed the cars and everything
Felt clean for just a little while

A telethon,
We drove down

The starving children they ain't got no mother
There's pink flamingos living in the mall
I'd give a fortune to your infomercial
If somebody would just take my call
Take my call
Take my call

Hello,
Patterns in my mind now moving slow
Sorrow all across the surface roads
Smoothing out the edges of the stone
The lights are out, where'd everybody go?
Alone

Erase yourself and you'll be free
Mendula destroyed by the sea
All we are is colored sand

So pay to ride the ferris wheel
Smile, all that you can feel
Is gratitude for what has been

Cause it did not,
Happen

There's money lenders inside the temple
That circus tiger's gonna break my heart
Something so wild turned into paper
If you loved me, then that's your fault

There's money lenders inside the temple
This crystal city's gonna fall apart
When all their power turns into vapor
If I miss you well that's my fault
That's my fault
That's my fault


Lyrics submitted by jethrothekid

"Lenders in the Temple" as written by Conor Oberst

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Lenders in the Temple song meanings
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67 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment:) you are all very silly. it's: Mandala
    learn all about it right here:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    ----------
    dear Conor is talking about a moment where a whole complex entity is destroyed. Like the practice of making a Mandala from tiny rocks, which is magnificently rich and detailed, for a whole year by Buddhist monks - which then destroy it in a second, only to begin a new one the next day.
    locksmithon August 14, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI guess this song is about betrayals and things going badly... and it's definitely on the obscurantist side. Money lenders obviously refers to that famous scene in the Bible when JC overturns the money lenders' tables because it's so immoral and corrupt and has no place in a space of worship, but CO is also drawing a parallel to our time, saying that all that we hold sacred is being corrupted and destroyed by money/power/empire.

    I think there are also underlying themes of revolution and the need for rapid change. (the starving children, flamingos in mall=decadence?, and obviously Jeanne d'Arc - but watch out if you're openly critical because they will burn you at the stake if they find out)

    I think that () word is mandala because it's a sacred image that is often drawn with colored sand. Tibetan Buddhists spend months drawing elaborate mandalas and at the end, they just blow it away because the mandala represents the universe and the erasure of it demonstrates impermanence. (And that's a theme we've seen before in CO's writing)
    williambleakon July 08, 2008   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThis song may be about prostitution.

    Temple = Love
    "Something so wild turned into paper." - Sex becoming a business transaction.
    "If I/you loved you/me, well that's your/my fault." - Love is not a part of this transaction (and you cannot expect reciprocation if you feel anything).

    Just listen and read through with that interpretation and it all makes a lot of sense.
    MGPXLon September 09, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe pink flamingos in the mall reference is directed at west edmonton mall in edmonton, alberta. conor has played a few times at a venue inside the mall and always talks about the flamingos.
    sidelineson April 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA short delay
    The parrot blues
    Little voices mimic you
    It’s not so hard to make that sound
    So watch your back
    The ides of March
    Cut your hair like Joan of Arc
    Disguise your will
    They’ll find you out
    And when they do
    Look out
    There’s money lenders inside the temple
    That circus tiger's going to break your heart
    Something so wild turned into paper
    If I loved you, well, that’s my fault
    A bitch in heat
    The alpha male
    Not something she’d ever tell
    Except when she got deafly high
    Then out it came like summer rain
    Washed the cars and everything
    Felt clean for just a little while
    A telethon we drunk dialed
    Those starving children
    They ain’t got no mother
    Theres pink flamingos living in the mall
    I’d give a fortune to your infomercial
    If somebody would just take my call
    Take my call
    Hello?
    Patterns in my mind now moving slow
    Sorrow all across the surface roads
    Smoothing out the edges of the stone
    The lights are out where’d everybody go alone
    Erase yourself and you’ll be free
    Men dull are destroyed by the sea
    All we are is colored sand
    So pay to ride the Ferris wheel
    Smile
    All that you can feel is gratitude for what has been
    Because it did not happen
    There’s money lenders inside the temple
    That circus tiger's going to break my heart
    Something so wild turned into paper
    If you love me, well, that’s your fault
    There’s money lenders inside the temple
    This crystal city’s going to fall apart
    When all their power turns into vapor
    If I miss you, well, that’s my fault
    That’s my fault
    splitintwoon June 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's about trusting only oneself and being alone
    supernukeon August 05, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think this is my favorite song ever.
    LizzieBearon August 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne more thing. = )

    I'm quite sure he says "The bitch in heat, the alpha male." Not "pitchin heat." In addition, I think he says "telethon" not telephone and "vapor" not paper.
    Scifi Sainton January 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe title of the song is officially money lenders, atleast that's what he said at the concert, and i think you're write about the lyrics
    jeff_cassadagaon January 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is my favorite of the new set. it has a really haunting melody and the song seems timeless. quite refreshing after the prada suits and cassadaga...
    williambleakon June 02, 2008   Link

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