I hear the music, daylight disc
Three men in black said, "Don't report this"
"Ascension," and that's all they said
Sickness now, the hour's dread

All praise
He's found the awful truth, Balthazar
He's found the saucer news

I'm in fairy rings and tower beds
"Don't report this," three men said
Books by the blameless and by the dead
King in yellow, queen in red

All praise
He's found the awful truth, Balthazar
He's found the saucer news

Dead leaves always give up motion
I no longer feel emotion
Where prophecy fails, the fallen notion
"Don't report this, agents of fortune"

All praise
He's found the awful truth, Balthazar
He's found the saucer news


Lyrics submitted by shut, edited by billthesurly


E.T.I. song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThe line, "when prophecy fails, the falling notion" in the song, "E.T.I." may have been inspired by the classic psychology text, "When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World", by Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken and Stanley Schacter (3 men - possibly to which the lyrics refer?).

    Presumably when this book came out, it was published under aliases, but the science world soon discovered the identities of the authors. The men were then criticized as frauds, and accused of writing the book only for financial reward. On report about them dubbed them "Agents of Fortune".

    The line "three men in black said, 'Don't report this . . .", also in "E.T.I." may have been inspired by the "The Men In Black Report" by Kurt Glemser (Galaxy Press).

    The book discusses UFO sightings and Men in Black (usually 3), that would visit UFO witnesses, warning them not to divulge what they had seen. The name "Balthazar", mentioned in "E.T.I." is the name of one of the three kings/wise-men/astrologers in the Bible who visited Jesus Christ soon after his birth -- the other two were named Melchor and Kaspar.

    Perhaps "E.T.I." is suggesting that Jesus Christ was brought to earth, or at least visited by, aliens. On the other side of the life of Christ, the Bible discusses Jesus' "ascension", where he is taken up to heaven in front of some of his disciples. The use of the word "ascension" in "E.T.I." may suggest that the ascension was some sort of alien abduction (Jesus rising into the sky, surrounded by a beam of light).

    "Balthazar" may also refer to the character in "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare. Balthazar is the name of the servant who tells Romeo that Juliet has died ("the awful truth"?).

    While this doesn't fit with the UFO/Jesus interpretation, it is interesting since on *Agents of Fortune*, the song "E.T.I." follows "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", where we are told "Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity".

    Other UFO references to UFO lore in the song "E.T.I." are provided by Dan Clore. "Daylight disk" comes from the classification system proposed by J. Allen Hynek in his 1974 work, *The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry*. It refers to a flying saucer seen during the day. "Fairy rings" refers to rings of underground fungus that make the grass very green above them.

    It also refers to a large circular fungus that kills the grass above it, leaving a big white circle. These are often identified as traces of UFO landings. "Tower beds" are a reference to UFO landing apparatus (Stonehenge is theorized by some to be a tower bed). Finally, "Dead leaves always give up motion" may refer to the term "dead leaf motion" or "falling leaf motion" of UFOs -- a pattern of descent, going back and forth and pausing.

    There is a real book titled, *The King in Yellow* (referred to in the song, "Extra Terrestrial Intelligence"), written by Robert W. Chambers, published in 1895. The book is believed to be out of print, with its last known publication being possibly in the late 1970's.

    It is a collection of short stories, several of which mention an imaginary book (play) titled "The King in Yellow". Like various tomes mentioned in Lovecraft, this (non-existent) play has detrimental effects on the sanity of readers. From *The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction* (by John Clute and Peter Nicholls):

    "The eponymous 'King in Yellow' is not a person, but a verse play in book form, which... drives its readers to despair, madness and even suicide. Of the four *King in Yellow* tales in the book, 'The Repairer of Reputations' is of particular interest, being set in 1920, after a war, in a USA that has legalized suicide."

    The book, *The King in Yellow* also contains a story titled, "The Street of The Four Winds". It is not clear whether or not this inspired the reference to the four winds bar in the song, "Astronomy". However, the song does not appear connected with the story in any other way.

    As for "The Queen in Red" (the other half of that line from "ETI"), this may refer to "The Red Queen" from Lewis Carroll's "Alice Through The Looking Glass" (a sequel to "Alice In Wonderland").

    In the story, the Red Queen is a chess piece and is forced to run continuously but never actually moves because everything else in the landscape is also running, and so keeps pace with her. Based on this story, evolutionary biologist L. Van Valen proposed "The Red Queen Principle", which states that for an evolutionalry system, continuing development is needed just in order to maintain it's relative fitness.
    Cumarison February 20, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFor some reason I doubt B.O.C. had any specific meaning in mind, but I wondered if it had to do with Jesus Christ being an Extra-Terrestrial? The song mentions how Balthazaar has learned the awful truth and how he's found the saucer news. Balthazar is a traditional name for one of the wise men mentioned in the New Testament. Maybe Balthazaar came to the realization that Jesus was from another planet or something.
    giordano1000on March 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMore research on the book of daniel: The book has two distinct parts: a series of six narratives (chapters one to six) and four apocalyptic visions (chapters seven to twelve). In the second part of the book, Daniel recounts his reception of dreams, visions and angelic interpretations in the first person.
    internalnoiseon October 22, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationLast verse should probably read:

    Dead leaves always give up motion
    I no longer feel emotion
    Where prophecy fails, the foreign notion
    "Don't report this, Agents of Fortune"

    "King In Yellow" probably refers to the collection of gothic horror stories by Robert Chambers featuring the malevolent and supernatural King In Yellow. Then I'd guess "Queen in Red" is a reference to Alice's Adventures Through The Looking Glass.

    "Books by the blameless and by the dead"...Seems like they were tying fictional stories and mythological beings together with the story of Jesus and the Ascension, to make a point about myth and religion. Which is to say, one man's myth is another's religion.

    Further, if there are ETs out there, maybe Jesus really did rise from the dead, because he was an alien. This story of Balthazar also seems like his discovery of the truth about Jesus.
    sire316on July 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, I'm a somewhat big BOC fan, and this is one of my favorites. Strange how nobody's posted a meaning here yet.

    Anyway, I'm not entirely sure what it means, but it's simple enough to make assumptions bordering Roswell and other related "mysteries" and "conspiracies."

    And of course, Balthazar is one of the Magi. Where that comes in, I'm not sure.

    Anyone got a meaning for this song?
    excalibur2on February 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentone of the great overlooked songs by a great band.

    Great song. One of their best. Fuck me, I couldn't tell you what the hell it meant, but I don't really care.

    It's the music.
    T_D_Phoenixon June 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think "Balthazar" sounds like a government project name, like "Blue Book" or "Grudge". As in "Project Balthazar discovered the awful truth" and an article in the Saucer News (an actual ufo newsletter) leaked info about the project.
    That fits better with the Romeo & Juliet character than the wise man from the bible.
    "Ascension" (besides referring to a saucer taking off) could also be a reference to species ascension- mentioned in SF books like Clarke's "Childhood's End" and others, in which the human species is given an evolutionary push and changes into something much more advanced and incomprehensible. IMO this has a lot more "punch" than the "Jesus was an alien" idea.
    The song is chock-full of ufo-ology references, which makes it a lot of fun.
    coupedefleuron January 21, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBalthazar was also the prince of babylonia in the book of Daniel.
    Belshazzar (or Balthazar; Akkadian Bel-sarra-usur) was a prince of Babylon, the son of Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon according to the Book of Daniel.
    internalnoiseon October 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWho knows if any of this actually means anything to the song! :)
    It could be BOC was tying together religion and UfOlogy. Let's ask them! :)
    internalnoiseon October 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningUPDATE: I just read (in a book about BOC) that this song is about jesus being a UFO. Also Boc has said that this song is about how religion and ufology have a lot in common. The above poster was correct.
    internalnoiseon November 12, 2008   Link

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