"Sell Sell Sell" as written by and Steven/robertson Page....
The credits roll, the camera pans,
And in the mist our hero stands,
He starts to speak then folds his hands in prayer.
An awkward pause, then "What's my line?
There's nothing left to say this time -
And what do you say to a bad guy who's not there?"
In terms of Roman numerals he's IV league with Roman Polanski,
He'd win an Oscar every time if he was only given a chance.
He started on the Broadway stage,
The product of another age,
An offer and a pilot drew him west.
The series bombed, commercials came,
And though nobody knew his name,
They all recognized the potential he possessed.
Deodorants and dental floss,
And how much does that new car cost?
His acting was methodical in
"You Don't Need A Medical".
He's branded like a racing car,
He's like a movie star without movies.
The week of Independence Day,
The casting agent called to say -
"Your smile could save the movie and the world."

Buy, buy, buy, buy,
Sell, sell, sell.
How well you learn to
Not discern who's
Foe and who is friend,
We'll own them all in the end.

It goes like this, we have no choice.
The minarets, the wailing voice,
And vaguely Celtic music fills the air.
We choose a foreigner to hate,
The new Iraq gets more irate,
We really know nothing about them
And no one cares.
Aladdin and the forty thieves
Enhanced by brand new special effects.
Saddam and his cow disease
Spiced up with some gratuitous sex.
A movie's made, a war is won,
A low speed chase, a smoking gun,
Distract us while the actor takes the stand.

Buy, buy, buy, buy,
Sell, sell, sell.
How well you learn to
Not discern who's
Foe and who is friend,
We'll own them all in the end.


Lyrics submitted by ojms, edited by cocksucker

"Sell Sell Sell" as written by Steven Page Ed Robertson

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Sell Sell Sell song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentBill Pullman was first on Broadway in 2002, two years after the album came out, so no, it was not him.

    Jeff Goldblum, however, was on Broadway in the 1970s and 1980s, but was not in many commercials.

    Other likely candidates include Judd Hirsch, James Rebhorn, Randy Quaid, or Robert Loggia.
    I have not seen the "You don't need a medical" commercials, though.
    andrewxcon August 31, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentbattaryacid...the album was released in 2000... something tells me, though the barenaked ladies have some good thoughts and lyrics, they didnt have so much insight that they could comment on a war which their album preceded by 3 years... unless by 'this whole war' you were referencing Bush Sr and previous conflicts?
    sadson December 25, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentInteresting.

    My politically-minded sister is convinced it's about Ronald Reagan, and his legacy in the White House.

    "His casting agent called to say
    "your smile could save our movie and the world".

    As he reached success in Hollywood and then in Washington....


    or

    "An awkward pause, then "what's my line?"
    there's nothing left to say this time
    And what do you say to a bad guy who's not there? "

    A direct reference to his Alzheimers.

    "Buy buy buy
    sell sell sell....
    How well you learn to not discern who's foe and who is friend

    We'll own them all in the end."

    Of course, the song goes on to incorporate the Middle East and the things that went on immediately following Reagan's presidency with the Bush dynasty.

    BNL songs from E2E and Barenaked Ladies Are Me have a definite political bent to them, being almost exclusively against America's war-making actions during that time.
    42 stepson July 28, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthey haven't been that silent. Read the interpretation for Second Best
    wrionon April 20, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentare you sure it isnt Bill Pullman they are talking about, he was the president in Independence Day and is like the most forgetable actor ever.
    guyutie86on September 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's about an actor that thins he is a big star but he's really just a little person in the company
    1967Impalaon April 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentso this song is pretty self-explanatory...just thought i'd add that it's pretty damn amazing =]
    florachick223on March 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the 'war' they're singing about is IN the movie he's playing...
    neryson March 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhile the initial listen of this song leads to the believe it's about movies or possibly politics, I believe this is also a major shot at the bow of the music industry.

    Basically, the takeaway from this is that substance means nothing in the arts anymore. Instead, it's about the person selling the product (actor, or ostensibly singer), no matter how inferior that product is. Who knows? Maybe it's semi-autobiographical...their most successful period in the industry's terms was a period when it seemed like their music went furthest from it's beginnings.
    Guitarearlon February 18, 2013   Link
  • -1
    General Commentthis song foresees Bush's war on Iraq. odd how the barenaked ladies have been silent during this whole war.
    battaryacidon May 09, 2003   Link

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