"Tell 'Em" as written by and Derek Miller Alexis Krauss....
All the kids, all the kids these days
All the kids, all the kids these days
Do you really wanna be that way?
Do you really wanna be that way?

Let me say, let me say, let me say
Let me say, let me say, let me say
Does it really have to be that way?
Does it really have to be that way?

And, did you know you could make me scream?
And, did you know you could make me scream?

Like the kids in the neighborhood
Like the kids in the neighborhood

Tell me what to say, tell me what to say
Tell me what to say, tell me what to say

Did you do your best today?
Did you do your best today?

All the girls, all the girls these days
All the girls, all the girls these days
Did you do your best today?
Did you do your best today?

All the boys, all the boys these days
All the boys, all the boys these days
Look away, look away, look away
Look away, look away, look away

???
Cocaine, champagne, cocaine, champagne, cocaine, champagne
???

Let me say, let me say, let me say
Let me say, let me say, let me say
You could do your best today
You could do your best today


Lyrics submitted by AndrewIndie

"Tell 'Em" as written by Derek Miller Alexis Krauss

Lyrics © SONGS MUSIC PUBLISHING

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8 Comments

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  • +2
    My OpinionI'm surprised at these interpretations saying Alexis is pointing fingers at the younger generation...
    I personally think it's more of Alexis embodying society's views towards youth and just rehashing all the cliche and demeaning phrases used towards kids.

    The older generation (and even the media if we wanna go a bit further) generally believe that all kids are about now a days are things like "cocaine, champagne, cocaine, champagne" and they're constantly saying "do you really want to be that way?" urging kids to change their ways and conform.

    I feel like the title "Tell 'Em" really hints at the irony of it, because it's like she's telling the kids to rebel and resist against what the greater society is telling them to do, and basically "Tell 'em off."

    ---

    I could be completely off base but that's what I'm thinking. Maybe Sleigh Bells aren't a band that uses irony in this way, but I really can't think of it as looking down on young people when a lot of their other songs seem to be centered around youth culture in a non-demeaning way. And after all they're a rock band, not some angry group of old geezers.
    dustybreezeon February 22, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me it feels as if Alexis is criticizing her own generation and how melancholy they act. Example:

    Did you do your best today?
    ...
    You could do your best today.

    It seems as if she is upset with how people act in contemporary times.
    AndrewIndieon August 29, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's like saying what the hell are we to do with these kids now?
    They don't even bother to think about their actions.
    ("Do you really wanna be that way?")
    There is room for positive change.

    She is urging them to listen, but struggles to get their attention (let me say, let me say, let me say...).
    She is asking twice. (Like adults say, do I have to ask you twice?!)
    The kids don't listen, so what's left to say... "Did you do your best today?"

    Girls, did you do your best today? (girls are often SEEN as angelic and innocently in need of direction, so she'll ask them still. hopefully.)
    Boys? Oh, god. I won't ask, and I don't want to know what you've been doing. (cause boys tend to be SEEN as mischievous and naughty. young boys? immature. etc. so she looks away.)

    Then she asks,"Can we (indeed look away)?" When all this is happening:
    cocaine, champagne, cocaine, champagne...
    Expensive narcotics. The word "narcotic" points to numbing substances and painkillers, so like numbing your life. The two substances are very indulgent.

    "You better just measure it, you better just measure him."
    Well, if I can't stop you, at least be safe about it. Don't take too much(measure it). Measure him- consider him carefully, like judging character, make sure he isn't a horrible person. I guess, that might refer to avoiding sleazy boyfriends or bad friends.

    "Let me say, let me say..."
    Oh, and one last thing, you COULD do your best. It can start today.

    I made the song sound a little PSA, but it's really just the narrator stepping forward and being real about it all.
    owlhowlscowlon March 05, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlexis used to be a teacher, so this feels like another song about how disappointed the singer is with today's generation and the future generation -- they just want to be trash and not realize their full potential.
    IWasWrongon March 26, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLYRICS FROM THE NEW VINYL INSERT | Band Official:

    all the kids all the kids these days
    all the kids all the kids these days

    do you really wanna be that way?
    do you really wanna be that way?

    lemme say lemme say lemme say
    lemme say lemme say lemme say

    doesn't really have to be that way
    doesn't really have to be that way

    and you know and you know what's good
    and you know and you know what's good

    like the kids in your neighborhood
    like the kids in your neighborhood

    tell me what to say tell me what to say
    tell me what to say tell me what to say

    did you do your best today
    did you do your best today

    all the girls all the girls these days 2x
    did you do your best today 2x
    all the boys all the boys these days 2x
    look away look away look away 2x

    keep thinking cocaine champage
    cocaine champagne, cocaine champagne
    i'm thinking, just manage your heat
    you better just manage your heat
    lemme say lemme say lemme say 2x
    you can do your best today
    you can do your best today
    wornwhiteon April 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Lyric CorrectionI think it's "You better just manage your weight."
    cudambercam13on January 01, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentseems like this is coming from a mom's perspective.

    telling her kid not to be like all the other kids.
    "did you do your best today" seems very mom-ish to me. but it could still be a friend or something.
    BringBackShakkaon August 04, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"All the boys these days look away, look away, look away," seems IMO to be a pretty obvious statement about how ingrained anti-feminism is in this world ATM.

    I don't think it has to be interpreted that way though, no need to bring feminism into every single thing. It just resonated for me.
    Aquarius121on March 12, 2015   Link

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