"True North" as written by Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz....
Unrepentant vagabond
Plot the new coordinates and cast the map aside
Now I gotta ramble on
Navigate the pitfalls and cross the great divide

The mapmaker's legend gave direction and a key
He set the declination but what good is it to me?

I can't see the rationality
The world's not my responsibility
And happiness isn't there for me
But maybe I'll inch closer to the source
When I find true north
(With or without a friend. keep searching 'til the end)

Tempting fate and cheating death
No one ever told me it was going to be like this
Contemplate the randomness
When the mind is willing it gets downright perilous

Overburdened, underwhelmed, their ethical decree
That's your moral compass but what good is it to me?

I can't see the rationality
The world's not my responsibility
And happiness isn't there for me
But maybe I'll inch closer to the source
When I find true north
(With or without a friend. keep searching 'til the end)
When I find true north

Lyrics submitted by MIKERUPTION

"True North" as written by Greg Graffin Brett W. Gurewitz

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

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True North song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentFirst and foremost, this is easily the best song off of the new album and embodies everything Bad Religion is and has been through the years. The album, overall, is quite good, but I agree with Stayfluffy when he says that there aren't a whole lot of instant classics from it. Anyway, Bill George has a book called, 'True North.' In it, he states:

    "True North is the internal compass that guides you successfully through life. It represents who you are as a human being at your deepest level. It is your orienting point - your fixed point in a spinning world - that helps you stay on track as a leader. Your True North is based on what is most important to you, your most cherished values, your passions and motivations, the sources of satisfaction in your life."

    With so many distractions, expectations, and powerful opinions from others, one has to work that much harder to find their 'true' direction in life. Thank you Greg for this song. It really sets the tone for the whole album.
    brgraffinon March 02, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSince this song is also the title of the album, I'll say my opinions about the album on here. I think it's much better than Dissent of Man. A majority of the songs have that real punk-y feel and sound to them, which is all I could ask for. I think Brett said in an interview it was meant to be kind of like a part 2 of No Control. But the thing about having more punk-y sounding songs, is that none of the songs are really going to be instant classics. Most of BR's classic songs deviate from the punk sound, like with LA is Burning and 21st Century Digital Boy. Not that I really care, this album has been the only thing playing in my truck for the past week. Also, I like that Greg actually stretches his voice in this album, in a lot of previous ones he would do little in that sense.

    Anyways, about the song. What it's about is finding your moral compass; brushing things aside and doing what it takes to create your own morality, find your own beliefs, and holding to what you believe is right and true. It's about as simple as that. I like that he tells it as a ship setting sail towards true north, as in you living your life to find your moral compass. There are several references in the album to ships setting sail, anyone notice that?
    stayfluffyon February 01, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI won't go line by line on this one, but it seems like the person in the song is on a quest to find himself, or to understand his beliefs for himself.

    The mapmaker is anyone. It's the expectation. You're supposed to believe this. you're supposed to feel this. And the protagonist does, or doesn't. He takes it case by case and builds his own moral structure. There was a map, but he threw it away... "what good is that to me?" it's not his map.

    It's a slow process. He's been doing it for a long time (and probably wont figure it out any time soon). But his quest will be over when he understands it. True north is the universal understanding as it applies to him (or her).
    leemodon February 08, 2013   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningGreg said he wrote the song for his son. I think the whole part about finding true north and mapping et cetera is a metaphor for growing up, trying to find its goal in life. The song is about a kid trying to find it's true north, it's direction, dealing with questions like 'where do I want to go in life'. Everyone's having suggestions and expectations, but he doesn't know what he wants himself. He's trying to deal with daily life expectations, frustrations and temptations, but maybe (probably) making some bad decisions along the way, fucking things up and/or running into depression. It's as if he's realized life is much less fun as he hoped/thought/was said it would be and doubt's whether he wants to be part of society. Simply put: the song is about a kid trying to find its direction in life.

    The video tells a similar story. The kid in the video is obviously inspired by a young Mike Ness (Social Distortion) as portrayed in the Another State of Mind documentary. The setting is so similar to the bedroom scenes when Mike writes the song Another State of Mind, it hardly can be a coincidence. At the time the documentary was shot, Ness was completely fucked up, addicted etc. Ness got out of it eventually, he found it's true north.

    I think Greg is trying to tell his kid to keep searching for it's true north. Not in a parenting 'I tell you to' way, but as a loving father. Being a worried dad, he wishes nothing but the best for his son, but knowing that the kid has to go through this phase by himself.

    For Bad Religion - True North: youtube.com/…
    For the 'Another State of Mind' clip watch: youtube.com/…
    guinness_on December 28, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI didn't realize the meaning of the song until I looked at the album cover art. True North is the name of the album. It has a candid picture of a young man without his shirt on, then with a overlay over the lower half of his body of him wearing a button-down shirt and slacks. There is a giant hand with a finger pointing to the young man's brain with the words TRUE NORTH written above it. His True North does not lie in his clothes, job, or material items; it is who he truly is in his mind. I appreciate the album cover, BR!
    listen4kristenon November 29, 2016   Link

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