"Pride and the Pallor" as written by Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz....
Papa had a wife and kids he kept them on a leash
And he bid them all to do his every deed
When he was a kid he was treated just the same
So he hid his feelings from his family
Lost as an island out at sea,
Resistant to the gentle waves of empathy

Papa and his family always on parade
Tearing through the turnstiles, a weekenders charade
But time will tell, as their world crumbles to hell

What they created was a family story no one will tell
It's a photo album too terrible
But the pride and the pallor
Continue to swell as the matron silently prays

Junior resented the tradition they upheld
And it ate him up inside most every day
Silence was golden and they kept him to his word
So bewildered when he finally ran away
Oh, obligations never cease
Oblivious of the ways to give his soul some peace

Yeah, papa and his family always on parade
Passing through the turnstiles, a weekenders charade
But time will tell, as their world crumbles to hell

What they created was a family story no one will tell
It's a photo album too terrible
But the pride and the pallor continue
To swell as the matron silently prays

"Get me out of here, someone's got to save the day."
The children are reminded to do it for the daddy's sake
And happiness is ever so far, far away.

Yeah, lost as an island out at sea,
Resistant to the gentle waves of empathy
Papa and his family always on parade
Tearing through the turnstiles, a weekenders charade
It's just a sick calamity that fatherhood made,
But time will tell, as their world crumbles to hell

What they created was a family story no one will tell
It's a photo album too terrible
But the pride and the pallor
Continue to swell as the matron silently prays


Lyrics submitted by BatteryLegion

"Pride and the Pallor" as written by Greg Graffin Brett W. Gurewitz

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., MOTHERSHIP MUSIC PUBLISHING

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Pride and the Pallor song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +2
    My InterpretationThis is the first song on Dissent of Man that really jumped out at me.

    There is no question in my mind that this song is about alcoholism. People who have grown up in homes affected by alcoholism will agree.

    Several lines speak to me as an adult child of an alcoholic, who was himself and adult child. Alcoholism is a family disease and this song speaks to that.

    When he was a kid he was treated just the same so he hid his feelings from the family.
    Lost as an island out at sea, resistant to the gentle waves of empathy.


    One of the hallmarks of growing up around alcoholism is the inability to express emotion, generally because displaying true emotion uncovers the lie that's told to make the family seem normal from the outside. My dad was, and still is, an "island out at sea, resistant to the gentle waves of empathy."

    Papa and the family always on parade

    Telling the story is important from the early on. You must maintain the veneer of normalcy, a parade for friends, family, coworkers and schoolmates.

    What they created was a family story no one will tell. It's a photo album too terrible.

    Many people will not talk about the distress they were put through growing up. It's difficult to come to terms with a childhood where the needs of the family always superseded those of the child. It is just not something one wants to relive, it's the story nobody's telling and memories too traumatic to re-experience.

    "Get me out of here, someone's got to save the day." The children are reminded to do it for the
    daddy's sake. And happiness is ever so far, far away.


    This line brings tears to my eyes. A kid looks to be protected and that's not an option in a family dealing (or worse, not dealing) with addiction. Happiness is something for other people, not you. You have to keep the lie going because you dad would be embarrassed.

    The family image should never be an issue the child has to deal with, but in many cases, they are forced to.
    benlonghairon October 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHey benlonghair , what a great explanation!
    Ive used this site for years but i just signed up cuz i needed to respond, thats a great analysis of the lyrics and i had no idea.. Like you the song really grabbed me from the start and i did wonder, so well done! Awesome song, i really like the middle of this album, a few of the later tracks are, not "bad" but..a little off, maybe its a grower :)
    coxsparraon October 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat?? Only 2 comments?! This is the greatest song on the album! No wait, in the whole world!!

    Don't ya hate it when people comment like that? haha. But anyways, about the song, although benlonghair has a good interpretation, that could be correct, I think it's something different.

    The song no doubt tells a story of a family that has the father being in charge, and the child is pushed into up-keeping family traditions. The child wants to break away from the fathers traditions and move on to new things.

    Soo in a a broad sense, I think this song is about straying away from tradition, since traditions are usually fundamental and outdated, but something possibly oppressed (like the father) so it is difficult to break away. Just read the lyrics with this in mind it it mostly makes sense, but still kinda difficult so I could be wrong, eh?
    stayfluffyon November 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe this song is about Greg Graffin's childhood experience. I could, of course, be totally wrong. But, trying to piece together what I remember reading from interviews and other lyrics, the song seems to be describing a family life with a strict and traditional if not overbearing father; where all other members of the family feel obligated to follow the tradition or risk some kind of family estrangement. Some other Bad Religion lyrics seem to point to a similar family situation. I would say "Sorrow" touches on the same subject. There are multiple possible readings (one being that 'father' in the song is God) but I think the lyrics could be about his literal father:

    Father can you hear me?
    How have I let you down?
    I curse the day that I was born
    and all the sorrow in this world

    Let me take you to the herding ground
    where all good men are trampled down
    Just to settle a bet that could not be won
    between a prideful father and his son
    richardoaks5on September 06, 2011   Link

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