Come the war
Come the avarice
Come the war
Come hell

Come attrition
Come the reek of bones
Come attrition
Come hell

This is why
Why we fight
Why we lie awake
And this is why
This is why we fight

When we die
We will die
With our arms unbound

And this is why
This is why
Why we fight
Come hell

Bride of quiet
Bride of all unquiet things
Bride of quiet
Bride of hell

Come the archers
Come the infantry
Come the archers
Of hell

This is why
Why we fight
Why we lie awake
This is why
This is why we fight
And when we die
We will die
With our arms unbound
And this is why
This is why we fight
Come hell
Come hell

This is why
Why we fight
Why we lie awake
This is why
This is why we fight
When we die
We will die with our arms unbound
And this is why
This is why we fight

So come to me
Come to me now
Lay your arms around me
And this is why
This is why
We fight

Come hell
Come hell
Come hell
Come hell



Lyrics submitted by GoochyLittlePig

"This Is Why We Fight" as written by Colin Meloy

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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This Is Why We Fight song meanings
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27 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment:"In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved."
    chewthegumon January 30, 2011   Link
  • +3
    Song Meaning:I interpret these lyrics as having a political overtone.

    War and avarice describe today's government pretty well. The lust for war and control, as well as greed. The reason we fight and lie awake at night is because of the political unrest that goes on. Come attrition. We need a smaller hand governing us. The bride is quiet because of all the secrecy behind the closed doors of congress. The bride is also of unquiet things such as wars and oppression. We will fight the archers and the infantry to defend our rights to live and be human beings. When we die, we will die free with our arms unbound because we are free once again.

    So bring it on big government. Push us too far and come hell, we will take our freedoms back from you.

    Dunno. That's how I see it :)
    mrshotglasson February 21, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:In the live intro to this song Meloy said it was about miners. So I imagine it's about labor disputes (i.e., the kind they used to have, fighting for basic things like limited work weeks, no child labor, the right to go on strike and not get arrested, etc.). Not quite as dramatic as a war to make the world safe for democracy, perhaps, but it rather fits with the Decemberists' style to tell a story from the perspective of the people in it--to them, this would've been important enough to justify the dramatic imagery.
    MarkPhilon May 27, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Awesome Song Love The King is Dead :) What is the meaning of this song? War, love , hell all about the life ¿? I really don´t know but i think is about face the life everyday, or maybe about a war or maybe a love song wathever is a great song
    LuckyLighton January 19, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I think it's about fighting for a love that can't be denied as amyengel stated, "Come hell or high water." The archers, meaning Cupid's arrow? "When we die, we will die with our arms unbound." I take this to mean that we all die alone, so while we're living fight for the love here on this Earth, so therefore "This is why we fight."
    Rayderetteon January 22, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:A simple, yet powerful song that everyone seems to be insistently reading into about love and shadowy government politics(though the former does make an appearance). At ground level, it's about sacrifice in the face of adversity and the driving force behind those that make the ultimate sacrifice. Its about standing up in the face of oppression and certain death and fighting back. Better to die with your arms unbound, rather than living a slave.

    At it's heart, it's a patriotic song. It's about maintaining the freedoms that all too many Americans have come to take for granted. Only until it's gone do we realize what we've lost.

    Awesome song.
    donbon March 04, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation:"When we die
    We will die with our arms unbound"

    Created an account just to note that, though people are suggesting that this line is about love, it's clearly about the willingness to sacrifice in order to attain freedom. And commitment to one's freedom even in the face of danger and the likelihood of sustaining personal harm. And yearning for freedom.

    To me, it seems a little overwrought in the context of the US, though I suspect this is what he had in mind as well. Not that I'm unconcerned about the loss of some civil liberties in the US, but it doesn't resonate very much. But I can see this in the context of social movements--social movements happening now as well as historical social movements. Civil rights, LGBTQ rights, all of the liberation movements seen in US history... And people committed to living and dying as free and emancipated subjects.

    In another context, it was a very timely song given recent events in Egypt and Tunisia--and given other uprisings in the Middle East and Maghreb. It makes me think of the martyrs who died in those countries fighting to live and die with their "arms unbound."
    christinaleeon March 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:My take on this song was that it was about the endless fight against oppression and tyranny. In the video the older kids were oppressing the younger kids, rationing food, dehumanizing them; and the breaking point was when they punished that girl, the kid with the glasses sweetheart. In my mind the lyrics were saying come the war, come the avarice, come the reek of bones, come hell, in the fight for freedom against a tyrannical and oppressive power, hence the "when we die we will die with our arms unbound" meaning that they will die free peoples and not slaves. Also, did anyone notice the parallel to the American Revolution? The main grown up kid was wearing what looked to me a British military red coat uniform as worn during the time period, while the kid with the glasses who snapped and rose up with the flag was wearing a sort of blue American continental army uniform worn during the time.
    flyinglambchopson April 18, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I have an interpretation that is very similar to the one by pt8218, and it hit me like a bolt out of the blue when they were playing the song at the gym the other day.

    pt8218 mentioned the "Why We Fight" films from the WWII era. Well, there was a mini-series on HBO about ten years ago called "Band of Brothers", about the 101st Airborne E Company that parachuted into France as part of the Allied invasion at Normandy. It's a good show and I have to admit that if I flip past the reruns on cable I am stuck on the couch all afternoon. Anyway, there was one episode actually titled "Why We Fight". By this time in the series, the Germans were pretty much whipped and the war was starting to wind down. As the pace of the action slowed the soldiers had time to start thinking about what is the point of war and was it all worth it. They were tired and burned out.

    Then one of the soldiers, out on patrol, stumbles across a concentration camp set up outside of the village. When they go to investigate they are met face to face with the horror, "the reek of bones". As they try to process what they are seeing, the incomprehensible evil that they have exposed, they realize why they are there and why their sacrifice was not in vain.

    There is one scene where the commanding officer walks into the camp and this ragged skeleton of a man walks up to him and hugs him. That was the first thing I thought of when I heard the lyric "Come to me now, come lay your arms around me". What a heartwrenching thing to see.

    In summary, the lyrics in the song start by describing war with terms of "avarice" or greed and "attrition" or loss. As it progresses, lyrics like "die with our arms unbound" demonstrate that sometimes there are reasons "why we fight", above and beyond the political machinations of this world.
    JohnnyAppleseed2on November 15, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:This is one of my favorite songs on this album, but I have a point of annoyance to share: Colin's enunciation. Each time he sings "Come hell," it does it a little differently. When I first heard this song, I thought he was saying "compel" at the beginning because he pulls the words together. In the final repetitions, he inexplicably adds what feels like an "m" and an "f" to the "hell"s. It's most obvious when I listen through headphones.

    I don't think it's intentional and I still love this song.
    Eruwenolorienon March 22, 2012   Link

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