Anxious Mo-Fo, my twin, my friend
Election time again, I wish that I was dead
Some conversation, if you're well read
To calm the storm of shit that's raging in my head
While languishing in basements: 10,000,000 corpses lashed to beds
Atrophied to archetypes by all the able artists overhead
Mixed light of evening, sky of the sea
You take the Old North Road 'cause that's where you feel free
Your hidden backroads, your hidden dreams
A hidden cigarette that actually helps you breathe
Play an ancient mixtape, attempt a break from the routine
But dark on the horizon: form that's never fully come to being
Still need a reason for your unease -
You think the government, it wants you on your knees
But I'll tell you something, and here it is:
They want you driving to the supermarket, buying milk and cheese
And generating taxes to fuel their corn subsidies
You're either nibbling at the carrot, or you get beat with the fasces


Lyrics submitted by batrainbow

The Stick song meanings
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    Song MeaningMan, this song has some great lyrics, as usual for Ted. I'll admit I'm having trouble unpacking the first verse, but let's take a stab at the rest.

    To some degree, this song seems to be about getting older and losing that youthful sense of rebellion – "You take the Old North Road 'cause that's where you feel free ... Play an ancient mixtape, attempt a break from the routine"

    The Old North Road is an ancient throughway linking London and Lincoln in the UK, built by the Roman empire. The final line connects to Rome as well: "fasces" refers to the strong bundle of wooden rods (or sticks!) that symbolized power and strength through unity. Not coincidentally, this is the root of the word "fascism."

    "You think the government, it wants you on your knees
    But I'll tell you something, and here it is:
    They want you driving to the supermarket, buying milk and cheese
    And generating taxes to fuel their corn subsidies"

    This is the heart of the song to me. When you're young and angry, it's easy to imagine a shadowy cabal of Big Brother-types – "The Man," if you will – who wants to control every aspect of your life. Imagining such an enemy is actually sort of comforting. It's direct, it's black-and-white, and it allows for an easy dichotomy of oppressors vs. oppressed. A lot of punk songs are about fighting right-wingers and fascists.

    However, Ted's interpretation in this song is both more generous and more troubling. The government isn't looking for Big Brother-esque domination. They don't really care if you listen to rock music or even organize politically – in the end, as long as society as a whole is functioning smoothly, as long as the economy chugs along and all the various interest groups get their cut, then your personal life is really of no concern.

    That's "the carrot" – cheap milk, cheap factory-farmed meat, cheap gasoline, etc. Unlike fascist governments that want to control everything outright, in America it's subtle and insidious social cues that box people in, often without any overt government intervention needed. "The Stick" is real, too, just harder to define or fight.
    benjam326on September 19, 2013   Link

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