"Slaves & Bulldozers" as written by and Cornell/shepherd....
Every word I said is what I mean
Every word I said is what I mean
Everything I gave is what I need
Virgin eyes and dirty looks
On what I have and why I took
Counting all the hands I shook

Now I know why you've been shaking
Now I know why you've been shaking
Now I know why you've been shaking
Now I know why you've been shaking

So bleed your heart out
There's no more rides for free
Bleed your heart out
I said what's in it for me, what's in it for me

Everything I've held is what I've freed
Everything I've held is what I've freed
Everything I've shown is what I feel
Buying lies and stealing jokes
And laughing every time I choke
Biding all the time you took

Now I know why you've been taken
Now I know why you've been taken
Now I know why you've been taken
Now I know why you've been taken

So bleed your heart out
There's no more rides for free, yeah
Bleed your heart out
I said what's in it for me, what's in it for me
What's in it for, what's in it for

Every word I said is what I mean
Everything I gave is what I need
Everything I've held is what I've freed
Everything I've shown is what I feel

Virgin eyes and dirty looks
On what I have and why I took
Counting all the hands I shook
Now I know why you've been shaking

Buying lies and stealing jokes
And laughing every time I choke
Biding all the time you took
Now I know why you've been taken

(Now I know why you've been taken)


Lyrics submitted by jt

"Slaves & Bulldozers" as written by Hunter Shepherd Chris Cornell

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Slaves & Bulldozers song meanings
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42 Comments

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  • +3
    General Commentits not about a relationship, which is wha a lot of people think soundgarden songs, or just grunge songs in general are about

    I think this song attacks the music industry (think Cherub rock, just angrier)

    put it together from there
    RedIce08on May 24, 2007   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThis song is about SOundgarden getting ripped off by their record company and being naive when they signed their first big deal.
    Clearly Cornell is pissed as you can tell by the vocal performance.

    There's no more rides for free.
    Now I know why you've been taking.
    Rockinrollnsighton September 23, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationIt's about hanging around with junkies, and then realising you're one.
    "Now I know why you've been shaking " I understand withdrawal.
    " Now I know why you've been taking " I understand stealing to support my habit, because withdrawal is so bad.
    Everything else in the song is basically about being around jerks (other addicts) who don't understand him....
    D_Psi4oron September 11, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHow can I be the first to comment on this amazing song? One of the best off BMF. I'm not sure what the song is about, but it is amazing.
    12Monkeyson March 24, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is the first time I've actually looked the lyrics up. I always misunderstood a few spots, so I took it differently (though my theory had some holes). By whatever logic, I turned it into being from the perspective of a drug dealer who later started using. A few lines that aided this:

    "Everything I gave is what I need" - The drugs he sold are what he now craves
    "Now I know why you've been shakin'" - "Shaking", as in having withdrawals from heroin or something
    "Now I know why you've been takin'" - "Taking" said drugs
    "Counting all the hands I shook" - All the previous deals he made
    "And laughing every time I [toke]" - Misheard lyric on my part, but like laughing when you take a hit of weed

    Those were my favorites to point out. Most of the other lines fit this in my head, but there are a few that never made perfect sense in this context. The above definitions are probably more accurate as to what SG intended, but I thought it was a neat little story that made for a cool song.
    BurntGerbilon July 01, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationNah - not about drugs kids. this song is about the being takin in a transaction of some kind when they were naive and trusting...prob record deal that they realized too late...
    "Now I know why you've been shakin'" = think of a salesman shaking your hand smiling and being your best friend so he can get you to sign the contract

    "So bleed your heart out" - speaking to himself here
    "There's no more rides for free" - he wants to get paid what he is worth
    "Bleed your heart out"
    "I said what's in it for me, what's in it for me" - whats in it for me? meaning if there is a deal in the future they arent gonna do it until they make sure they get theirs first.

    Not every song by a rock band is about drugs - although now that thislegendary grunge artist is dead from drug induced suicide I guess it is a weak argument to allot of people...but rememebr this song was written in 1990 when they were just beginning to break out.
    mo_chitlinson May 22, 2017   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI believe this song has to do with Chris Cornell's short attempt at stand up comedy in the early 80s.

    Around the same time he was a member of the Shemps, he was also a pretty regular contributor to the local Comedy scene. A lot of the venues he played with the Shemps were small venues that hosted comedy/ music nights. He initially got into comedy by watching performers prior to his band going on stage. It wouldn't be strange to see Chris perform stand up comedy and then follow up p[laying with the band.

    At one of the larger venues they played there was a unnamed comedian that performed that evening. The unnamed comedian was a "rising star" in the comedy scene but was very insecure. He was very friendly at first but would regularly heckle other comedians as part of his "shtick". When Chris was heckled that evening he really took it hard and dropped out of comedy to focus on his music instead. Chris also found out that the comedian had stole some of his material. In 1989 the comedian dies of a drug overdose and Chris wrote this song as an "obituary" for the comedian.
    gothcockon July 10, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of the best vocal performances ever.
    aldeayeahon March 31, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is a great soundgarden tune.my take on this song is that its about a girl? :) pretty much self-explanatory.
    Get Born Againon June 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about a bad relationship where the person has given and given and been taken advantage of and has finally drawn a line and said no more.
    Trashazonon January 08, 2005   Link

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