"Joy" as written by Edward Theodore Riley, Michael Kurt Jackson and Tammy Lucas....
Have I no control, is my soul not mine?
Am I not just man, destiny defined?
Never to be ruled nor held to heel
Not heaven or hell just the land between
Am I not man, does my heart not bleed?
No lord, no God, no hate, no pity, no pain, just me
Comprehend and countermand
Synchronous guidance. I choose my way
Never to be ruled nor held to heel
No heaven or hell, just the land between

And am I not man?

So why do I love when I still feel pain?
When does it end, when is my work done?
Why am I lone and why do I feel that
I carry a sword through a battlefield?
So why do I love when I still feel pain?
When does it end, when is my work done?
Why do I fight and why do I feel that
I carry a sword, that I carry a sword?

Like the path to heaven or the road to hell
Our choice is our own consequences bind
We are the kings of wisdom, the fools as well
We are the gods to many, we are humble men
We who build great works just to break them down
We who make our rules so we never fail

So why do I love when I still feel pain?
When does it end, when is my work done?
Why am I lone and why do I feel that
I carry a sword through a battlefield?
So why do I love when I still feel pain?
When does it end, when is my work done?
Why do I fight and why do I feel that
I carry a sword, that I carry a sword through a battlefield?


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

"Joy" as written by William Bootsy Collins George Clinton Jr.

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., A SIDE MUSIC LLC D/B/A MODERN WORKS MUSIC PUBLISHING

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Joy song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI'm surprised nobody has said this so far: I think this song is about anger, and that the name is intentionally ironic. imho, what the chorus is saying is that the narrator has lost all joy in what he does (which doesn't have to be anything specific, just his life in general whever it may be), but is forcing himself onward regardless. Picture a burly man, chained to some great weight, straining forward, fighting it with the same determination and passion as if it was an opponent on a battlefield. To me, the narrator is the same, except what he's straining against is emotional and psychological burdens instead of physical ones.
    sonofzealon June 03, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThough none of you have mentioned it, alot of people just see in this song the idea that there is no God, due to the phrases "is my soul not mine", "am I not man", "I choose my way", "not Heaven or Hell", and "no Lord no God".

    I see alot of VNV songs as arguments for both sides of whether or not to believe in God, which is what adds the strong impression of spirituality to their music.

    If this is indeed what the song pertains to, I think everything beyond the "there is no God" message is totally ignored.

    You will notice, most of those above ideas (from the beginning of the song) are in the form of a question, not a statement. That means the narrator is unsure of them. He then goes on to question them with the chorus.

    Both the questions, "when is my work done?" and
    Why do I feel... that I carry a sword through a battlefield?" seem to represent to me, that if there truly is no higher power and it's just him, here on earth, then WHY does he feel this sense of higher purpose? If he truly believes that the path that he chooses is all that matters because this life is all there is, then WHY does he feel a need to fight for something else, something bigger--the metaphorical battlefield? And also... a person in pain only has reason to hate. So what creates the love that he feels even when he's hurting?

    I also think the same general idea could apply without concerning God. That rather than questioning whether there is a God, the song may just be about where the depth of the human soul and capacity for love comes from.


    Just about all VNV songs can have a myriad of interpretations, because of their level of spirituality... this is just the one that I have adopted as a result of the opinions of it that I have seen.

    *Ayverie*
    AyverieAeternaon September 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, this is a question of ones own being.
    The person is questioning his life, his ability to do what he wishes with his life. and what his concequences would lead him.

    The chorus defines this and goes one further to ask why is he still prepared for a war on a battlefield. Even though he doesn't feel ready for it.
    Cylipsoon October 15, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is all about adversity and failures in life.
    Even if a lover hurt us, betrayed us, we somehow still love him/her. We are conscious that every single person we meet can bring us down if we are not careful (the sword through the battlefield being the knowledge of this. ).
    Its not about being ready for what is to come, because it IS coming anyway. It just seems that in the song, he realized in what kind of world he was and is asking why it has to be that way.
    Frankishon April 10, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always felt this song was just about the human nature to love. And the human need for love. Regardless of pain that we endure for the sake of love....eventually that need will surface again and again.
    senzafineon May 05, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou have to look at the context of the song in the entire album Praise the Fallen 2012. It's about the final war, I can't remember who or where it says this, but 2012 is supposed to be the end of the world. I think it's more about what Joy is. It's being happy, feeling love, while also being in pain. Leading up to the end of the world, there's expected to be a lot of pain and suffering and yet, we are able to still love and find happiness in all of this crap. It's having all these questions, it's about the choices that are made for us that are beyond are control and our questioning why this is so. The first verses are about this. Synchronous Guidance is being forced to follow the same paths as everyone else. But this is no longer to be. Our choice IS our own. I think the rest of the song is about Philosopher Kings, the Kings of Wisdom. We are fools, because we have not stood up to the oppression. We have lived in hypocrisy. Making our rules so we cannot fail. And carrying a sword through a battlefield, is like the sword of truth and you are against everyone else. Very socratic and plato like. That's why I love this song.
    mgazbeston June 25, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment*rereads the previous posts*

    Huh... on hindsight, I guess Frankish was sorta saying the same thing... although I don't agree with the confusion thing that he and the previous people seemed to think was the point. I would read the questions he asks as being purely rhetorical, and simply an attempt to voice the violence latent in him. Sorta a "raging at the universe" motif.
    sonofzealon June 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe idea that comes to me is, "am i not man, aren't i all this great stuff, in command of my life? if so, then why do i have these problems (the chorus)? am i missing something?"
    *shrugs* otherwise, i agree with the other opinions here.
    ryuutenshion June 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPersonally, I think the song is about lonliness/discrimination.
    People are treating him like he's subhuman or something.He feels alone, betrayed and etc. which is why he's questioning whether or not he should continue to love others and even questioning whether or not all these people who discriminate against him are right and that he's perhaps a freak of some sort and shouldn't be treated as an equal in society.
    Slash-Methodon December 26, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe that this song is about our emotions and how they affect our total being. As mentioned before the song is about reaching the end of existence and looking back. It gives us Joy that we can look back at everything, but it also brings up questions that cannot be answered as life is taken away so you may ponder for eternity
    Driadonon January 02, 2006   Link

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