"Bastards Of Young" as written by and Paul Westerberg....
God, what a mess, on the ladder of success
Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung
Dreams unfulfilled, graduate unskilled
It beats pickin' cotton and waitin' to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the sons

Clean your baby womb, trash that baby boom
Elvis in the ground, there'll ain't no beer tonight
Income tax deduction, what a hell of a function
It beats pickin' cotton and waitin' to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the sons

Unwillingness to claim us, ya got no word (war?) to name us

The ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please
If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the sons

Young...take it, it's yours...


Lyrics submitted by punkynoisething, edited by lhooq27, oski2005, Xeinix, paul839025

"Bastards of Young" as written by Paul Westerberg

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Bastards Of Young song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentAt first I thought this was about orphaned children, but on further consideration, it seems more a post-punk anthem about orphans of a generation. "It beats pickin' cotton and waitin' to be forgotten" really parallels to the Replacements attitude of almost boasting about being semi-dropouts and fuck-ups. The sing-a-long beer-in-hand chorus really reenforces that impression that it's okay to be a generation without a future or purpose.
    Written before the term "Generation X" caught on, I always thought the line was "ya got no wars to name us", as there were no wars from Vietnam to Desert Storm.

    "Young...take it, it's yours..." is a sort of punk reiterance, updated for 1985, "it" being the future, whereas, in 1977, the cry was "no future". Or maybe Westerberg was saying "we're not using it, you can have it".

    Under pressure from their label, they reluctantly made a video for Bastards of Young - an unedited shot of a speaker playing the song. Perfect negation for the new video age they so despised.

    This song is also one of the many examples of Westerberg's songwriting techniques of making sure the intro and outros of his songs were jarring or at least interesting from the rest of the song, in order for the listener to take notice. I'm constantly amazed how this is done time and again without sounding tacked on in the slightest.
    Chinupon May 13, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI have always thought the line was "Got no war to name us"

    It seems like generations are often defined, or at least strongly associated, by the wars they have fought, which is a pretty interesting concept if you ask me.

    And yes, I do agree with the previous posts. This song seems to be about generational displacement and/or generational existentialism (what am I doing here? sort of thing). Being a college student myself, the lyrics are more than just a little ominous, especially the first stanza.
    RobotRockon February 15, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Commenttrivia:
    he slips in a "sons of norway" for a "sons of no one" one time
    sons-of-norway is kinda-sorta big in mpls. it's a group along the lines of shriners and elks and what-not that were so popular to the generation of the 50's.
    in the 80's they degenerated to the point that they mainly sold insurance (and like the shriners and the elks gained no new members while watching all of their current members die off). The had a huge building in the twin cities and they allowed local bands to rent their space on friday and saturday nights for concerts.
    i'm sure the mats played at least once at the sons of norway during '81.
    thunderbatson August 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Income tax deduction, what a hell of a function"

    ...having custody of a child allows the guardian to claim a deduction on their income taxes. Maybe this is obvious to everyone else, but that line never made any sense to me until a friend explained it.
    Quonseton March 30, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always thought it was "got no war to maim us" for the longest time (what can I say, I am a veteran). a song meant for shouting along with until hoarseness sets in.
    bafflewiton June 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPossibly one of the greatest bands to ever be. This song rocks along with the rest of the album (Tim).
    planetearthon March 04, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest
    And visit their graves on holidays at best
    The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please
    If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them

    ^^^^^^^^^

    That line used to annoy the SHIT outve some girl I used to be friends with. Love this song.
    AudiLuvaon April 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was real big into this band in high school, they are truely great. Yet, when I went off to school their cds just sort-of got mixed up in my collection and forgotten about. I heard this song out at the bar the other night - God, how good it is.
    barfolimewon April 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThat line AudiLuva mentioned... that was very much their agenda at the time. Screw up these huge shows opening up for REM by playing sloppy covers all night. But play their best and most heartfelt in front of the skinheads.
    mr.mr.onbrokenwingson June 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti thought the line was "they've got no war to maim us" but my friend bernard thought it was "they've got no warrant to name us."

    i'm not sure, both could work..

    love this song. very sentimental for me and bernard
    royalewithcheeseon July 27, 2006   Link

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