Dead lungs command it
You pour your life down the rifle's spiral
And show us you've earned it
The Cleric's fog will recede right before your eyes

So long to this wretched form
Them gray eyes on the subway
Long before you were born
You were always to be a dagger floating
Straight to their heart

"Listen now, we won't tell anyone
But you're gonna tell the world
This whole life ain't been any fun
Now your viscera unfurls

As you rise, rise from your burning fiat
Go, go get my suitcase. Would ya?
You've thoroughly blown their minds
And now I must have passage; only life's
Two veins from your heart"

You're not invisible, now
You just don't exist
Your mother must be so proud
You sublimate yourself, granting us a wish

Primitive mirror on the wall
To fortify your grim resolve
Amid the glitz of a shopping mall
Another grain of indigent salt for the sea

Good night to these wretched forms
All them gray eyes on the subway
So long before you were born
You were always to be a dagger floating
Straight to their heart


Lyrics submitted by abstractatmosphere, edited by NexusA, Wolfaholic, Raven95

The Rifle's Spiral song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +7
    General Comment“The song is written from the perspective of somebody funding and paying for suicide bombers to engage in that horrible activity. Just the perverse and grotesque thing that that is, and you know, living in the age we live in and my disrespect and fear of religion in general just fueling that intense hatred and appalling violence.”

    magnetmagazine.com/2012/03/26/magnet-web-exclusive-the-shins-james-mercer-on-the-new-port-of-morrow/
    llscienceon April 24, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIs anyone else reminded of Shannon McFarland in Chuck Palahniuk's Invisible Monsters? That is the first thing that popped into my head after hearing the track.
    Belle201on March 27, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLove this song and basically the entire album already. Can't wait until i can get it.
    MrAwesomeIXon March 18, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentShould be:
    "This whole life ain't been any fun
    Now your viscera unfurls"

    "And now I must have passage home
    Your life's two veins from your heart"

    "You sublimate yourself,
    Granting us a wish"

    "Good night to these wretched forms"
    llscienceon March 20, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningSuch an awesome song! Then you listen to the lyrics through... this is about a suicide bomber right? An upbeat song but such a grim story. It's the cherry on top... "oh that was fun... wait... oh i see what you did there... nice!" I love how Mercer does this with grim thoughts.

    unsure on the meaning but...

    I don't know if it's a suicide bomber for a religious purpose or not...(clerics fog recedes, so long to this wretched form...) sounds like a character didn't understand religion but now does. He now has a purpose he didn't before(You were always to be a dagger floating
    Straight to their heart.) as in he was predetermined tell people they're living wrong(later in the song... the primitive mural on the wall) by blowing them up.

    (You sublimate yourself, granting us a wish.) This line makes me think the character thinks he's doing them a favor or his God a favor... again I'm still unsure.
    vinyardon March 21, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuicide bomber fits but I thought the lyrics were about a prostitute's daily life at first.
    mbrock14on April 16, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Lyric Correction"Them grey eyes on the subway"

    "And now I must have passage on your lives
    To veins from your heart."

    "Amid the glitz of a shopping mall"
    Ar0onon June 15, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThe suicide bomber thing does make sense!

    The dead lungs could refer to the long dead people who invented our religions (although the forms of islam that motivate suicide bombings aren't as ancient as they'd like to think).

    Not sure about the cleric's fog, but the wretched form should just be the physical body. So long to that, hello to heaven!

    It's a pretty gory song from this point of view. "you sublimate yourself" is talking about literal sublimation (solid matter turning in to a gas without passing through a liquid state), there is actual viscera unfurling, the minds (or rather brains) are literally blown, and the primitive mural on the wall is a bloody splat! Maybe the burning fiat is a burning Fiat? Nah :)

    I'm thinking the "gray eyes on the subway" has to do with a religious nut's view of the poor un-enlightened people around them, but I'm not sure. It may make more sense with something like a school shooter or a spree killer -- along with "you're not invisible, now". I think it's pretty common for spree killers to be lonely and unsuccessful, motivated by a wish to step out of anonymity and feel meaningful. Maybe for suicide bombers too?

    I'm also not sure what to make of the two veins from the heart.
    ChristerMLon September 02, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis is definitely about suicide bombers/terrorists. Mercer is a true genius the way he writes his songs, he takes a song that could be easily taken as happy (ish?) by the tune but is truly a dark song. I think the part about the cleric is talking about religon having a role in this. Its funny how Mercer mocks them when he says "You're not invisible, now.
    You just don't exist.
    Your mother must be so proud". the part about the fiat, no its not a Fiat, although that makes sense a fiat is an authorization or order (as in the leader tells the bomber to go on a suicide mission).
    thehigroadon September 12, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningHonestly I'd have never thought of these meanings (mostly because I don't know what he's saying half the time and I've never looked up the lyrics until now), but this suicide bomber theory sounds sound enough...but I still don't understand the "go get my suitcase" part, or if and how the video (which is awesome) relates to the song: youtube.com/…

    any ideas?
    Rebecca321on April 04, 2014   Link

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