"Call Them Brothers" as written by Regina Spektor and Jack Dishel....
Anything we should know about your change?
That's it, it's split it won't recover
Just frame the halves and call them brothers
Find their fathers and their mothers
If you remember who they are

Over and over they call us their friends
Can't we find something else to pretend?
Like nobody's won and we're safe at the end

In the darkness the film machine's spinning
So let's leave it on
We'll be out in the street
before anyone knows that we're gone

That's it, it's split, it can't recover
Just frame the halves and call them a whole
And chip at the bricks and fill up your pockets
With the pieces of the wall that you stole

The hunt is on, everyone's chasing
Everyone's chasing a shot
A shot rings out, nobody wants it
Nobody wants it to stop

That's it, it's split, it won't recover
Just frame the halves and call them brothers
Find your fathers and your mothers
If you remember who they are
If you remember, if you remember,
if you remember who they are


Lyrics submitted by orit, edited by Mellow_Harsher, AudreyN

"Call Them Brothers [Non-Album Track]" as written by Regina Spektor Jack Dishel

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Call Them Brothers song meanings
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  • +2
    My InterpretationThe song, the way I hear it, is in honor of the fall of communism in the Soviet Union. There are feelings of loss (all the time they spent controlled), sadness, anger, but ultimately hope.

    "That is it it's split, it won't recover." Communism is dead.
    "Just frame the halves and call them brothers." This country is broken, divided between those invested in the old institutions and those desperate for something new. Communism wreaked havoc on the country... but with all that brokenness, we must go on and see our country as a whole.
    "Find your fathers and your mothers, if you remember, who they are." Ideology tore at he basic fabric of what it means to be human. It confused people so horribly, overtaking basic human relationships as the foundation orienting oneself in the world. It's time to recalibrate ourselves and get back in tune with our core humanity.

    "Over and over, they called us their friends, can't they find something else to pretend." In the Soviet Union everyone was a "comrade", a friend. How horrible to abuse such a meaningful relationship. Ideology is a fantasy; it's pretend. Couldn't the fantasy at least have been about something good, like a world in which, "nobody wins and we are safe in the end."
    "In the darkness the film machine's spinning
    So let's leave it on
    We'll be out in the street
    before anyone knows that we're gone"
    This is a memory back to the period just prior to the end of Communism. The film machine represents the ideology of the state and those that taught and disseminated that ideology. But in the end, the teachers were all on autopilot, themselves victims. They had no conviction. Students could "check out" and begin to live a true life of the mind and explore real ideas. As the structures began to fall apart kids began to find freedom, even while the film machine (the apparatuses of the State) were still running.

    "And chip at the bricks and fill up your pockets
    With the pieces of the wall that you stole." The people played a real part in bringing about the end of Communism. The wall represents the opposite of thinking. The more that you think, you can use those thoughts to think some more and the wall begins to tumble down.

    "The hunt is on", the exciting chaos post liberation. "Everyone wants a shot," a chance to succeed, to think, to live. But it is also scary and dangerous, like what gun shots can do, but everyone excepted the danger and "nobody wants it (freedom) to stop."
    ShaiGon March 05, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, it's two friends watching a movie about a search party looking behind a brick wall and finding severed remains of a body.
    orbital151on August 18, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningIt's about war. How conflicts between countries cause so much harm leaving people trying to find "their fathers and their mothers". How authorities try so hard to patch things up between the countries. How it would better if the countries were just left to be and you could call them "brothers". That way "nobody's won and we're safe at the end". But of course thats not what happens
    inmyplaceon June 26, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI'm a writer, so I saw this song as a relationship between my characters Luca and Lucas.

    "Just frame the halves and call them brothers."
    They took one person, who has two sides, and said "Why not just make them brothers?"

    "Find their fathers and their mothers, if you remember who they are."
    The man with the two sides can't remember his family, so he can't tell his "brother" about his parents.

    "Over and over they call us their friends. Can't we find something else to pretend?"
    The "brothers" are called a friend by a woman they love, but she doesn't want to be anymore than that.

    "We'll be out in the street before anyone knows that we're gone."
    They're going to leave because they feel no one loves them because of the man having two sides.

    "Just frame the halves and call them a whole, and chip at the bricks and fill up your pockets with the pieces of the wall that you stole."
    The brothers want to be one person, not wanting to become a "wall" for the other's happiness. They try to chip away at the "wall", which is the bad times each "brother" went through, but they don't want to let that go, so they keep it with them.

    "The hunt is on, everyone's chasing. Everyone's chasing a shot. A shot rings out, nobody wants it. Nobody wants it to stop!"
    The people around the two-sided man finally get fed up with the "brothers", and try to kill him. They run, but somebody shoots him fatally. The brothers realize that they're going to die, and don't want the moment of shock to end.

    The last verse sounds a little sentimental. I see it as the "brother" sharing their last moments with each other, finally remembering their parents, then passing away.
    MalloryHemlockon May 27, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about the Berlin Wall, perhaps?
    "And chip at the bricks and fill up your pockets
    With the pieces of the wall you stole"

    And it's about splitting things... maybe the city is split and can't ever really be whole again?
    flamingo304on October 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about the Berlin Wall, perhaps?
    "And chip at the bricks and fill up your pockets
    With the pieces of the wall you stole"

    And it's about splitting things... maybe the city is split and can't ever really be whole again?
    flamingo304on October 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI think it's about the relationship between Jews and Muslims. There's is an endless horrifying conflict between "brothers." Islam and Judaism are brother religions and literally thought to be born of a rift between brothers.
    JonieAuthor2bon February 22, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it might be about the Berlin wall. But it can be refered to something that it's not that obvious as well...
    "The hunt is on, everyone's chasing" When the wall falls
    "That's it, it's split - it won't recover
    Just frame the halves and call them brothers" The two parts of Berlin, which are separeted..
    "Can't we find something else to pretend?
    Like nobody's won and we're safe at the end" The capitalist and communist ideologies...
    Lupinetteon May 11, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis is no Berlin Wall, but it is a bit easier to relate to : )

    I feel like this song is being told from the point of view of the child in a divorced family. They were left alone with their parent, either the mother or father, who was left without enough money to support the family. They resort to stealing and theft to support themselves, not having the support from their ex-spouse. Said parent commits suicide, and leaves the child on their own at a young age. The child is then left at an orphanage, where they are left to contemplate who their real parents are.

    Erm, so it's not exactly correct. But it works for me heheh
    badhesiveon May 27, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love that Regina Spektor doesn't tell people what her songs are about, because she doesn't want to ruin the magic.

    But, in 1961, families were separated completely by an arbitrary line drawn against communists: The Berlin Wall.

    I think the shot may refer to Reagan's assassination attempt in 1981, years prior to his "Tear Down This Wall" speech in 1987. I'm not saying that the two events are necessarily related, as I am not a conspiracy theorist.

    But the wall came down in 1989-90, and with it- the symbolic end of Communism.

    Almost serendipitous is the correlation between the fall of the wall and Regina's family's arrival in the States.
    Also her husband Jack Dishel cowrote it, so who knows how much of the awesome he brought to the table. <3
    libertin0on June 28, 2012   Link

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