"All Is Vanity" as written by James Bradfield, Richard Edwards, Nicholas Jones and Sean Moore....
Haven't shaved for days
Keeps the appearance of delay
The luxury of one more dye
Pretend humility, the ugly lie
I would prefer no choice
One bread, one milk, one food, that's all
I'm confused, I only want one truth
I really don't mind being lied to

It's not "What's wrong?"
It's "What's right?"
Makes you feel like I'm talking a foreign language sometimes
It's not "What's wrong?"
It's "What's right?"
It's the facts of life sunshine
It's the facts of life sunshine
It's the facts of life my sunshine


Lyrics submitted by ecureuil

"All Is Vanity" as written by Nicholas Jones James Bradfield

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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All Is Vanity song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentEcclesiastes. Makes perfect sense. Word play with "sunshine" maybe. Life is basically empty and meaningless and we're trying to make sense of the world "Chasing after the ephemeral and insubstantial ways of this world leads only to vexation, confusion, and disappointment, while realizing the truth of our worldly situation and living a life of joyful loving-kindness brings eternal peace."

    Richey was dabbling with God post Priory. I think that like some other songs written around this period he was looking for a truth (Jude Yrself, for example). Maybe he went off to find it.
    VinegarTomon May 07, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis to me means that we get all these different choices thrown at us, it's not right, why can't there be one easy option? Then all the different parties giving us different "facts", but hang on... there's only one truth surely? How can all these different things all be truth.

    May be a bit out with that, but that's how I read it.
    Owen999on May 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favorite song on the album so far.

    The way he says "one bread, one milk, one food that's all" is the way doctors talk about food on eating disorders units.
    like pizza is an entree (one bread, one protein)
    i wonder if maybe he is referencing that?

    "Makes me feel like I'm talking a foreign language sometimes"
    i can't help but think maybe he is talking about the human condition and they way that no one listens to the people around them. so many people are screaming out for help but no one listens.

    "Pretend humility, the ugly lie"
    reminds me of celebrities and politicians that fake humbleness and humility to further themselves.

    "It's not 'What's wrong?'
    It's 'What's right?'"
    It's like everything, the state of the world , humanity, anything, is so far gone that it would be easier to say what is right. it would be a shorter list in any case.

    That's my two cents worth anyway.
    DiExmY_dArLinGxxon May 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPretty sure the "one bread one food one milk that's all" is about communism rather than eating disorders.
    ShakerMaker1994on May 31, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment@ ShakerMaker1994
    I didn't think about it that way, but after you said it, it sounds pretty good. :P
    DiExmY_dArLinGxxon June 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHm.

    I think it's someone who ultimately rejects vanity and all that comes with it..."Haven't shaved for days, keeps the appearance of delay", and one who has so rejected vanity that he rejects choice as well. People wonder what is wrong with him for not choosing to enhance his appearance artificially, but he states that it's just the facts of life.
    musicizmylifeon June 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, I think this is about wondering if Communism is an easier life than western democracy. Both systems rule you with an ironfist regardless, and arguably only offer the illusion of a choice, so would life be easier if those illusions of choice were gone? All western democracy really brings to the table to make it different these days is its obsession with public perception (All Is Vanity) so maybe those living under communist rule are happier than us with supposed freedom? I don’t personally agree with that, but I think that’s what Richey was getting at.
    MBlackon June 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn my eyes, this song speaks of one breaking through into epiphany, finally reaching that sublime moment when all is understood and viewed in its proper light. It's about one's perception making that final evolution beyond which seemingly all others are capable of. The narrator hasn't shaved for days; to many, this would be a sign of slovenliness caused possibly by depression, hence "What's wrong?" But the narrator is so far beyond such paltry tasks as shaving. One should not be asking him "What's wrong?" but "What's (finally) right?" or, "What have you recognized that we cannot yet see?"
    DollarShorton June 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI know it's quite unrelated to the lyrics, but the title is a quote from Evelyn Waugh's 'Brideshead Revisited'
    sonnyjdon August 07, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationFor me, this one's is somewhat an observation of a modern industrial society gone corrupt and morally bankrupt, and how it corrupts individuals by designing them to think in certain ways and live a life in which the ideas of having a choice and clinging to what society feeds you as valid truths are made out of pure vanity.
    You usually ask "what's wrong?" in a utopian world in which some elements need to be and can easily be fixed... but the grim reality is that you really need to ask "what's right?" instead.
    LotEdwardson November 08, 2015   Link

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