"Non-State Actor" as written by and Chris J Cornell Hunter Benedict Shepherd....
Coin in every pocket
More mouths to fill
So weak in the land
Strong in the will (need)
I’ll be your beast of burden
I’ll be the seed

I bring you the healer
Feel your disease
I bring dirty water
And make it clean (young)
And you are the cure
I am the drug

And we settle for
A little bit more than everything
We’re not elected, but we will speak
We’re not the chosen, but we believe
And we settle for a little bit more than everything

Bullets, guns and missiles
A stone and a sling
A motherless country
Of thee I sing (song)
You are the tank and rockets
I am the bomb
I teach you a lesson
Sword for a pen
Reading turn the pages
A history of man (look)
You are tabula rasa
I am the book

And we settle for a little bit more than everything
We’re not elected, but we will speak
We’re not the chosen, but we believe
And we settle for
A little bit more than everything

I’m a non-state actor
I’m a non-state actor
I’m a non-state
I’m a non-state actor

And we settle for a little bit more than everything
We’re not elected but we will speak
We’re not the chosen but we believe
And we settle for a little bit more than everything
A little bit more
A little bit more
A little bit more


Lyrics submitted by SongMeanings, edited by scorpiona

"Non-State Actor" as written by Chris Cornell Benedict Shepherd Hunter

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Non-State Actor song meanings
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  • +2
    Song MeaningThe video (bit.ly/…) leaves no doubt that it's about America. The non-state actor is the unelected, money backed power broker who uses his influence to rain destruction on the rest of the world. He pushes the American Juggernaut on to war to further his interests and line his coffers on the backs of the poor souls on the receiving end of the bombs.
    Naataqon December 04, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNot really sure but, to me, it sounds like he's talking about America. Not clear to me but the song is awesome!
    kanoe13on November 28, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song may be political...and ominous. According to most definitions, Non-State Actors (NSA) are entities that participate or act in international relations; organizations with sufficient power to influence and cause politics change that do not belong to an established institution of a state. One way to interpret the song (just food for thought) is as if it's being sung from the viewpoint of someone in the Middle East with a gripe against the US - who is issuing us a stern warning. The major non-state actors the US and the western world faces right now are Islamist terrorist groups. I know this may seem like a stretch but here are some of the lyrics and a possible way to look at them.

    Coin in every pocket, more mouths to fill (this may be a disparaging view of us...super rich and still can't/won't feed our own people or a statement about them...after years of struggle they've finally made a little economic headway, but not enough for their growing populations)

    So weak in the land, strong in the will (this may be about them...their region may be underdeveloped, but their strength is their extreme determination for their cause)

    I’ll be your beast of burden (acknowledgement of traditional western exploitation)
    I’ll be the seed (of our destruction?)

    We’re not elected (no democracy), but we will speak (by our actions)
    We’re not the chosen (Israel?), But we believe (Allah?)

    Bullets, guns and missiles (us)
    A stone and a sling (them)
    A motherless country, of thee I sing (us)

    You are the tank and rockets (us)
    I am the bomb (them)

    I teach you a lesson (them)
    Sword for a pen (the lesson may be that the pen is actually NOT mightier than the sword...no more words, just action)

    A history of man (look) - (them - they're saying take a good long look through history, they can outlast us as they've outlasted other oppressers. Their history is long, ours is not.)

    You are tabula rasa (this means "blank slate"-we navigate the world/our lives as we go)
    I am the book (their righteous[?] path has already been prescribed for them through the power of the Quran)

    I’m a non-state actor
    I’m a non-state actor
    I’m a non-state
    I’m a non-state actor (emphasis, speaking in the 1st person)

    And we settle for a little bit more than everything (mission statement [?], ultimate claim to the world [?])

    A little bit more
    A little bit more
    A little bit more (slowly but surely working to their goal)

    This interpretation may be 180 degrees from what Chris Cornell is really trying to get across in the song, and I'm certainly not trying to offend any segment of the population, but you never know. He's been the deepest, most intelligent lyric writer in rock since Soundgarden's inception and I wouldn't put anything past him...especially given the spirit of our times. Speaking of 180 degrees, the American flag in the video is displayed in the non-traditional "backward" direction. The last time I saw that was when Rage Against the Machine got kicked of Satureday Night Live. Does it mean anything? Who knows?! Regardless, the song and the album kick total ass! Peace to all.
    WIll2013on February 02, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'll be honest, I didn't know what a Non-State Actor meant untill I heard this song and then went and looked it up. But I agree its about America. I also want to point out these guys are all in their early 50's and they still kick ass! Rock on Soundgarden.
    Genesisfanon December 15, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with Naataq. Though the song can be applied to all NSAs from terrorist groups to evangelical organizations, I think it's mostly about the multinational megacorporation who hold control over a frighteningly large segment of the American government (and other governments besides). The ones who keep paying politicians to lobby for lower taxes for multibillion-dollar companies. Kinda like the crackpot Illuminati conspiracies, but real.

    "Coin in every pocket, more mouths to feed"
    - (Capitalism)

    "So weak in the land . . . I'll be the seed"
    - (Development aid and economic progress in general to third world nations, but with the ultimate goal of control)

    "I bring you the healer . . . and you are the cure, I am the drug"
    - (First world comforts, at the expense of monopoly)

    "A motherless country, of thee I sing"
    - (Extreme right politics, patriarchal values)

    "I teach you a lesson, sword for a pen . . . You are tabula rasa, I am the book"
    - (Control of the masses through propaganda, including steering countries to war)

    "We're not elected . . . and we settle for a little bit more than everything"
    - (They hold no allegiance to any country or people, but are motivated solely by profit)
    S14on June 19, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionWhile an upside down flag is a symbol of extreme distress used by US ships at sea, the backwards flag has traditionally represented the image of a flag bearer moving forward in battle, that’s why it’s worn that way on US military uniforms (right shoulder patch). In the video, however, the stars are replaced by King Animal icons/logos. Not sure what they’re trying to say there except for perhaps that the Soundgarden army should keep fighting the good fight! Truth to power! Rock on!
    WIll2013on February 23, 2017   Link

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