Your world was blown right apart
On a night of sickening death.
You went running for your life,
And never went home again.

I spend sleepless nights as my head
Swims worrying about you.

You work the night shift
So you won't be alone.

I am adept at cold.
You have travelled so far from home,
And sorrow has followed every step of the way.
You're caught between this life and the one left behind.

I see it's burning you inside,
Like some exploding sun.
Your mind constantly returns
To a place that's not so fucking cold...

But on fire with war.

You're starting over from scratch,
Sending your money home.
You're working as hard as you can
While life hangs in the air.

I see distant lights up ahead,
But I'm worrying about you.

It's all taking its toll
And you can't concentrate.

You are being crushed by the world.
I have got lucky so far.
And we sit, at the end of this night, dialing
An answer finally reached through a long-distance line.

News of threatening night letters,
Stones tossed over the fence.
Your loved ones taunted by murderers.
Tell them it's three years that they'll have to wait...

As their whole world implodes.


Lyrics submitted by machu505, edited by sokorny

Night Letters song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentThis song is about Todd the Rod (the bassist who wrote the song) and an Afghani refugees relationship. I have read that Tod volunteers at a center that works with refugees and such, which would explain him worrying about this person ("I spend sleepless nights as my head swims worrying about you."), since this person is fleeing this war-torn region. ("You have traveled so far from home. Sorrow has followed every step of the way. You're caught between this life and the one left behind. I see it's burning you inside like some exploding sun. Your mind constantly returns to a place that's not so fucking cold, but on fire with war."). Todd talks about himself being "adept at cold", which I believe is referring to the bitterly cold winters on the prairie in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where Todd lives. The person he is talking about is far from home, which I believe is Afghanistan..

    When he sings, "You're starting over from scratch, sending your money home. You're working as hard as you can while life hangs in the air. I see distant lights up ahead but I'm worrying about you. It's all taking it's toll and you can't concentrate.", I think he is explaining that this person is waiting to hear from the INS (or whatever the Canadian version is) about his/her amnesty status, which may send him/her back to war-torn Afghanistan, while also working many, many hours to support themselves, and their family back home. This stage in the government's amnesty processing could go either away, so he is "seeing distant lights up ahead", but still worried.

    "You are being crushed by the world. I have gotten lucky so far." Todd, like many people living in Western society, is privileged that he hasn't had to face the same hardships (at least not yet) as this person by just living in Canada where there hasn't been a war for a long, long time, which explains him being "lucky so far".

    "We sit at the end of this night-dialing. An answer finally reached through a long distance line. News of threatening night letters. Stones tossed over the fence. Your loved ones taunted by murderers. Tell them it's three years they'll have to wait as their whole world implodes." I think when Todd sings about "night-dialing" it is because Afghanistan, being on the other side of the world from Winnipeg, would mean that Todd and this Afghani refugee would have to call at night in Winnipeg for it to be daytime in Aghanistan, where they could reach this refugees family. The wikipedia article of a "night letter" is below, which explains why I believe this song is about an Afghani refugee. The murderers are the Taliban, and this refugee and their family and friends are probably supporters of secular government and eduction in Afghanistan, which is why they are "taunted by murderers". The part about having to wait three years while their world implodes may be in reference to the time it would take for this refugees family to be able to come to Canada for amnesty, but I am unsure about that part.. Brilliant and heart-wrenching song for sure though! The instrumentation matches the emotions of this song very well.. An awesome song that is very common with Propagandhi.

    "A night letter is an unsigned leaflet distributed clandestinely.

    More recently, night letters have been a tactic employed by the Taliban and other extremist groups in Afghanistan to intimidate supporters of secular government and education."

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    charlesflemingandsunon April 22, 2009   Link
  • +5
    General CommentJust thought I'd point out that a Night Letter is a letter that is delivered at night threatening harm or death to someone (particularly women) if they do not quit their jobs.

    Reference:
    hrw.org/node/…
    ryazbeckon July 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is the best song the not-john sampson guy ever wrote.

    I was just going to write that, but i think i just figured it out:
    its a guy who leaves his country to feed his family and send money home. He "goes running for his life" and never goes home again, traveling far away, dreaming of where he used to live "where it wasnt so fucking cold(united states), but on fire with war."
    So basically the guy is separated from his family, trying to help them, but things are getting worse over there, "with his loved ones taunted by murderers." In the end, he tells them they still will have to wait 3 more years before he can go back for them, which i guess is a long time when all these terrible things are happening.

    I think the guy might also be an illegal immigrant with "stones tossed over the fence" but i dont know if the war stuff makes sense then. Still, this is the same guy who wrote "fuck the border."



    MLarghion February 20, 2009   Link
  • -2
    General CommentTo me, this song is about the choices you make in life - for better or for worse.

    Very technical instrumentally, I love it a lot.
    brunoisradon February 17, 2009   Link

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