"Orphans" as written by and Beck Hansen....
Think I'm stranded but I don't know where
I got this diamond I don't know how to shine
In the sun where the dark winds wail
And the children leave their rumors behind
As you cross that ?
The matchsticks for my bones
If we can learn how to freeze ourselves alive
We can learn to leave these burdens to burn

Cast out these creatures of woe
Shatter themselves
Fighting the fire with your bare hands

Now my journey takes me further south
I want to hear what the blind men sing
With the fossils and the gypsy bones
I stand beside myself so I'm not alone
How can I make new again?
Or rust every time it rains?
And the rain, it comes
Floods are low
But you stop until the tidal waves wake

If I wake up and see my maker coming
With all of his crimson and his iron desire
We'll drive the streets with baggage alone
To be lost, I strive from a void
To a grain of sand in your hand

Ah
Ah oh oh
Ah oh oh
Ah oh oh


Lyrics submitted by chickenflicker, edited by blackapache

"Orphans" as written by Beck Hansen

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Orphans song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI think this song kinda describes the current state of the world's faith or maybe his own faith as barely hanging on by a thread.. the narrator or the world or whatever is struggling to hold on to his faith, but it is constantly under attack with the technology and science that is widely accepted, such as evolution....

    he refers to us as being "orphans in a tidal wave's wake" which probably is alluding to us as orphans of "our Father", god, who, in this day and age, has seemed to abandon us in the wake of disaster. It's kinda an age of faithlessness and I think thats what the song centers on... he seems skeptical of the whole idea of faith but still wishes he or the world could believe maybe... he says hes stranded "in the sun where these dark winds wail" which is kinda paradoxical.. i think that is somewhat a critisism of god: supposeofly we are his chosen children whom he loves and watches over and all that, yet there is so much suffering on earth with disease and starvation plaguing the world.. so although we are supposeofly his pride and joy or whatever and although he can do whatever he wants, we are subjected to these "dark winds" which causes many to question their faith and to feel abandoned or "stranded"

    while hes critical of faith, however, he still "want[s] to hear what the blind men sing / With their fossils and their gypsy bones": he still wants to believe the ancient scriptures and wants to be able to believe all the things that these figurativly "blind" men sing of... he still yearns to be able to believe all the optomistic, outdated things in the bible, but in this age of science, it is against ones better judgement to believe the stories of miraces that are told in the bible and in fact the "fossils and gypsy bones" are kinda for those who are outdated and unperceptive and "blind" to the truth in the world, he feels ... he still wishes he could renew his faith, but he asks, "how can I make new again what rusts every time it rains?" -as much as he tries to regain faith in some sort of higher power, with every disaster or perhaps with every new scientific advancement, his faith rusts.. and he cant help but get weary of buffing it up and trying to fight off his agnositc feelings...

    in the allusion to the rubicon, it seems that he is ill equipt in the modern era for faithfulness... to "cross the rubicon" is to say that one has "crossed the point of no return".. so to say youre "ten leagues from a rubicon" is to say that there is definitely no turning back... I'm not really sure what he cannot go back on... if i were to take a stab at it i would have to guess that he feels he or the world is so deeply invested into the whole religion/faith thing that one cannot go back... but to keep going with "matchsticks for bones" would be pretty difficult as well. people invest so much time and so much emotion into the idea of god, and to say now that there is no god or that the bible is full of lies would be nearly impossible... and yet at the same time he cannot see how people go onward with their "matchstick bones" inwhich there is no real argument to support their beliefs besides all those old stories in the bible that the blind men sing about or the idea of 'faith' perhaps
    he says "if we could learn how to freeze ourselves alive / We could learn to leave these burdens to burn" which may be referring the the scientific advancements that have been made in cyronics (the freezing of humans alive)... if we could just learn to preserve a human being then in a way one could, in theory, live forever, which would mean that one wouldnt have to worry about death and one could forget about the burden of the ten commandments or the like..

    the last stanza, he describes god "with all of his crimson and his iron desire" - probably a reference to the god in the old testament, who commands his followers to go to war and to kill people.. he's described as a jealous and somewhat violent god... and yet people today still chose to believe in him as a loving and caring god, as in the new testament... but as described in the last stanza, "we'll drag the streets with baggage of longing / To be loved or destroyed;" whether god is a loving or violent god, the narrator sees people as worshipping god just because they long to be loved (or destroyed i guess?).. people are fighting off existential feelings of loneliness by dragging around the burden of the commandments and all the silly rituals that god commands be done; rather than take up the belief that everyone is alone in the universe, people choose to worship god, and have, in a sense, an imaginary friend, as god was once described. -people are willing to overlook the reasons against faith and reasons to believe that god is somewhat selfish or mean or whatever because they'd rather be a "grain of sand" controlled by god than have to face the "void" that science suggests waits for one at death

    well thats my interpretation.. did that make sense?
    c4r4me1on July 22, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmoyno85:

    i'll give you an 'F' for your research. practising scientology can be combined with virtually any other religion.

    furthermore, it's not known to what extent Beck is an active scientologist. he might just be a supporter/member simply because he was raised by scientologists. he's just clever enough not to piss the church off and thus he won't comment negatively or leave. they're crazy, you know.

    anyway, great song. i'm not music-clever enough to write anything about it, but hey, i can still love it.
    Novacaneon July 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning'Think I'm stranded but I don't know where
    I got this diamond that don't know how to shine'

    Wonderful ideas, or intentions, but no actions to back them up or flesh them out.

    'In the sun where these dark winds wail
    And these children leave their rulers behind
    As we cross ten leagues from a Rubicon
    With matchsticks for my bones'

    Rubicon is a river in Italy, and was illegal to cross. Having done so, it would be foolish, but 'necessary'.

    If we could learn how to freeze ourselves alive
    We could learn to leave these burdens to burn

    Easy solution, but impossible none the less.

    'Cast out these creatures of woe
    Who shattered themselves
    Fighting a fire with your bare hands'

    Get rid of the old, self-destructive nature of things, instead of just waiting for it to go away(i.e fighting a fire with your bare hands)

    'Now my journey takes me further south
    I want to hear what the blind men sing
    With their fossils and their gypsy bones'

    Government. Blind men believing in blind faith. I'm not positive, but I'm quite sure gypsy bones where used to tell fortunes.

    I'll stand beside myself so I'm not alone

    Anyone else feel like they're the only one that thinks their right? No?

    'And how can I new again
    What rusts every time it rains?'

    You do something, but it was really for nothing, because the figurative rain messes it up constantly.

    'And the rain it comes and floods our lungs
    We're just orphans in a tidal wave's wake'

    Little orphans, big fuckin' waves. Getting mauled over by something bigger than yourself, something that doesn't give a crap about you.

    'If I wake up and see my maker coming
    With all of his crimson and his iron desire'

    Possibly taxes? Lol. The world always wants SOMETHING from ya.

    'We'll drag the streets with the baggage of longing'

    wanting is a heavy weight, and drags you down when you least want it to.

    'To be loved or destroyed
    From a void to a grain of sand in your hand'

    People can do you good, or great evil. A void, nothing, and a grain of sand, something, no matter how small.

    Well, that's about it. Beautiful song, wonderful lyrics, just my opinion~
    itakeyoursoulson September 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentreally awesome song to open up the c.d. Modern Guilt. the lyrics are so hard to describe (as is 90% of Beck's lyrics) ;p
    i think it has something to do with how you feel when you're by yourself and how it's the opposite of how it's supposed to be - like you're an orphan, but that shouldn't have happened.
    i also think it's about someone who wants to be even slightly loved (ex: "to be loved or destroyed, from a void to a grain of sand in your hand) - from nothing to a little bit of something.
    and it seems like it deals a lot with confusion.

    these are just my guesses.
    great song!!
    ACEofLONELYHEARTSon July 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentshit that was a mouth full.
    c4r4me1on July 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentc4r4me1:

    feck mammie, I give you an 'A' for your enthusiasm but Beck's a Scientologist.
    moyno85on July 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Think I'm stranded but I don't know where
    I got this diamond that don't know how to shine
    In the sun where these dark winds wail
    And these children leave their rulers behind
    As we cross ten leagues from a rubicon
    With matchsticks for my bones
    If we could learn how to freeze ourselves alive
    We could learn to leave these burdens to burn"

    Holy &#@*!

    I guess there's no more "Gettin' crazy with da cheez wiz!" or "Giant dildos crushing the sun".
    fourameuphoriaon August 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat lyrics, really awesome. This whole album has me in awe. I'm always interested in what Beck will come up with next.
    sonic_leaveson August 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat lyrics, really awesome. This whole album has me in awe. I'm always interested in what Beck will come up with next.
    sonic_leaveson August 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love how over Beck lyrics there always seems to be an argument in the end. And also: how you can see what everybody's mind is occupied with at the moment. Cause that is what we interpret into the lyrics. Beck said himself that he loved the Tora (yes, the Tora. He was raised jewish) because there was a million different intepretations for every sentence. And that is what he tries to recreate, something that everybody can fit to their momentary situation to make sense.
    So my guess: I think it's about being lost. The longing for things that you can't have but you don't know what it is. Whether it's a person (after a break-up) or your home (feeling like one has no parents anymore because they seem so distanced after leaving home) or a religion, i think it's about needing to be guided for a while.
    mumbleson September 22, 2008   Link

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