"About to Break" as written by and Stephan Jenkins Ari Ingber....
I was walking alone on the ocean
I felt a fever burning up all I am
'Cause if there's one thing that I can't stand
It's standing next to my fellow man, ah

It's about to break, oh

For the social worker at the needle exchange
For the soft medicated and the hard deranged
For the lesbians at the bakery
Saying, "Do you really hate me?"

It's about to break

Break like a fever
It's about to break
Break like a fever

People looking for themselves without mirrors
Well, not knowing why you're here
Public appearance is the verge of tears
When you're out, you get off on weed and beer

Stand up now, let me look at you
Can we all take a part of you?
Stand up now, let me look at you
Can we all take a part of you?

You're dangerous with a stinger, missile
Weapons hot, thinking this will
We won't make them follow orders
Doctors without borders

It's about to break
It's about to break
Break like a fever

When I see your face, I wanna be in the human race
(Break like a fever)
You're beautiful, it's true, I wanna be beautiful life you
When I see your face, I wanna be in the human race

For the teenage mother with the baby asleep
For apricot when life is cheap
For losing faith
America fades into myth


Lyrics submitted by koumika

"About to Break" as written by Stephan Jenkins Ari Ingber

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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About to Break song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentPossibly the best song on UM, after a few listens my personal take on this song is about SJ's frustration at narrow minded people not being accepting of other peoples social backgrounds-

    "Still if there's one thing I can't stand
    It's standing next to my fellow man"

    The song positively points out minority groups be it drugs, sexuality or race/origin-

    "For the social worker at the needle exchange
    For the soft medicated and the hard deranged
    For the lesbians at the bakery..

    For the teenage mother with the baby asleep
    For Africa where life is cheap
    For losing faith in who you're going with"

    SJ is calling out for people to accept people as they are and being aware of their inner beauty-

    "When I see your face
    I want to be in the human race
    Stand up and let me get a look at you
    Can we all take a wider view..

    You're beautiful it's true, I want to be beautiful like you"

    but then again i could be totally wrong!
    zedzedBadnustyon August 23, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentStephan said this in an AP.net chat today in response to "what's the inspiration for 'About to Break'?":

    "this one of those more sign of the time songs. i feel very provoked by the times we're in and i feel like we are on the cusp of major change, that this delerium that we all in our own ways have been living under is going to lift.

    i only write from an emotional perspective but in this case the emotion comes from outer things. i can't wait for everything to completely change i do not fear it."
    koumikaon September 10, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAh, It's:
    "Weapons hot, sinking this world" I think...
    insidemusicon September 17, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm a fan of all of their music. Although their music is a bit different than their older stuff, so are they. I think Steven's writing is amazing! I love this song and UM!
    benruns90on October 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one my favorites of the album! This song hits the soul pretty deep, the feeling changes a few times. But I seem to be partial to laid back, slower tempo songs, Along with Why Can't You Be. His voice is amazing in these songs.

    At the start the feeling is definitely tense. Think about talking one of those walks when your just sick of everything. And the fever is about to break, which I think is a great analogy. The obvious people we think of as being stressed, the social worker, drug addicts, poverty... these people are having a hard time with life. And I think generally as a whole we all are feeling a little worn out.
    But I love the bittersweet that comes when these lyrics are mixed with the music. And thats where this hope feeling comes in that the fever is about to break.
    "Break like a fever" when he sings that the supporting music is awesome!

    But also on the inside, I would assume most people have feeling of insecurity about life itself.
    "People looking for themselves inside of mirrors
    For not knowing why you're here"
    And him personally having to live in public spotlight. Which isn't always easy. But I wouldn't know :)

    It should go right to,
    "Stand up and let me get a look at you
    Can we all take a wider view"
    I think it makes a big difference that he dosen't say: ""When I see your face
    I want to be in the human race" hes does later but thats when the fever breaks...all about the building of tension.

    More bad, the evangelist with bad intentions, weapons that want to explode.

    But heres where it all changes!! The lyrics should be "we won't make them follow orders", and the drums come in, slowly getting louder.
    " We won't make them follow orders
    For doctors without borders"
    And it turns around with a little bit of hope. Let the people be free, the example being doctors that just really wan't to help people and aren't going to subscribe to some country's selfish bullshit. Traveling the globe helping people, a beautiful image.
    The music is building still and he shouts "its about to break"! Ohhh it's coming!! ;)
    AND IT BREAKS!!
    "break like a fever" Listen to the chorus singing behind him! It's beautiful! And simultaneously he says:
    "When i see your face, I wanna be in the human race"
    Think about going about day to day life...mundane. And then you see that one persons face, and your whole outlook changes. The feeling of love comes over "I wanna be with the human race". Such a change from the beginning when he hated his fellow man. The fever broke and hope has taken over! oh yay! :) He's seeing how beautiful life can be!
    So this great feeling must be spread, to the "teenage mother with the baby asleep", and "africa where life is cheap". These two situations I would imagine being hard, and he wan'ts the fever to break for them. But then he drops the bomb....
    "for losing faith in who your going with". And the music quiets down. So basically his universal love is only accesed in partnership with a new love. Which I think we can understand. And like that the whole hope feeling drops out. But it was there, and all things must come to an end. After awhile sometimes you just get tired of hoping and give up. So the next line, "America fades into myth," I think thats pretty powerful. He basically saying the hopeful dreams of our forefathers is turing into a myth, a story of what was long ago. But things change and now we have 300 million people to look after everyday in this country, and more adding to it everyday. Stress.
    insidemusicon September 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is powerful... and sad. What kuomika quoted is exactly what I'm feeling. It's an ominous feeling of an impending global war or something. A breakdown in the liberal vs. conservative tension.

    And yes I feel it everywhere. It's like almost everything everyone is feeling nowadays is how to hate everyone else. From homophobia (the increasingly violent), to tea-partyers (the increasingly violent calls to action against 'socialists'), to conservatives (the anti-immigration law, thinly veiled latent racism, the hysterical Obama-blaming centered primarily on his being black), to religion (Fred Phelps, Islamic Terrorism, the slow mutation of Christianity into a religion of pointing fingers), to thought (anti-intellectualism, the growing resentment against scientists for 'taking away tax dollars'), To politics (the 'politics of fear', us against them platforms), to the environment (the apathy on global warming, the oil spill, and the decline of environmentalist mentality).

    People's views are getting narrower and narrower, and some are already refusing to accept common humanity as a good enough reason to try and bridge the gaps. No one empathizes anymore. No one sees just how much suffering they are inflicting on other people. No one wants to see the long-term impacts of what they are demanding for.

    If you don't know what I mean try reading comments in news stories sometime, the way people laugh at global disasters half the world away, the way people try to find out the race of a criminal and then blame it all on race if he turns out to be not white, the encouragement on shooting illegal border crossers on sight, the holier-than-thou arguments of the bible thumpers calling for the killing of homosexuals as if they were animals, the blanket blaming on terrorism where americans make it worse by provoking the peaceful muslim majority, the comparison of socialism to soviet communism as if they are even the same thing (they're not), the calls for war, greed (the refusal of people to have their tax dollars used in saving lives, the support of big companies for conservatives in exchange for tax breaks, the refusal to take responsibility of the fact that 1% of the population of America owns 35% of the nation's wealth, while the people who actually do the work, the bottom %40 divide 0.2% of the wealth among themselves. And you wonder why the economy collapsed).

    History always repeats itself doesn't it? WW2 seems so far away now, 50 years is all it takes to forget the real horrors of war. No one seems to realize what they are asking for. Especially now that the threat of war doesn't anymore mean merely street fighting and tanks and airplanes. No.

    If war broke out today it'd be nuclear.

    It's scary because sometimes I feel like I'm the only one aware of it. The most powerful line in the song for me is this:

    "Stand up and let me get a look at you
    Can we all take a wider view"
    S14on July 23, 2010   Link
  • -2
    General Commentthere are a few good one-liners in this, but all in all, this is so 'new age' 3EB. like, SJ is trying to be really deep/political, but i think it fucking sucks.
    codieeon September 26, 2009   Link

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