"The Handshake" as written by and Greg Graffin....
Every time you shake someone's hand and it feels like your best friend,
Could it be that it's only superficiality?,
Without regard to well-being, without an inkling of compromise,
Handshakes are nothing but a subtle "fuck you",
Contracts determine the best friendships

This is the way of the modern world, everyone's vying for patronage,
This is the way of the modern world, and something has gotta give

Every time you shake someone's hand,
And you share neither color or creed,
You gotta overcome the obstacles of history,
There is restrained passion, mistrust, and bigotry

And these have created the new foundations of society,
There's no harmony just class and race

This is the way of the modern world,
Everyone's fighting for dominance,
This is the way of the modern world,
And something has gotta give

Now I believe in unity, and I am willing to compromise,
But I'm not gonna lie or sell my soul

Every time you shake someone's hand,
It determines where you stand,
And if you won't uphold your side then it's better to
Fend for yourself, and shun the handshake,
Someone's gotta give

Lyrics submitted by punk_in_drublic99

"The Handshake" as written by Greg Graffin

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Handshake song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI think it's about false friendships and niceties built upon a contract (handshake) that can't and should't govern such things.
    Jae_Don October 22, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBrothers don't shake hands, brothers gotta hug!
    BobbyBoucheon November 30, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentno. its about the adult world of cynical patronage and everyones just looking for thier own way up. get to who they need to know, for their own ascent.

    the part about not lying and selling your soul is great. b/c.. its basically portraying the general working class christian buiseness man or what not.

    just like yea... Ima be selfish and reckless and ignorant.. but then again... Im morally centered..
    and have christian values... and... its basically just portraying the stereotypical morally centered christian man of the status quo. contributing to all these horrible things but when scrutinized, maintains constant stubborn conservative or christian moral values...

    its not difficult to see

    its irony or sarcasm. and the fend for your self part.. people get all vivacious and supportive when that part plays, but its irony or sarcasm. cuz thats just the general outlook of everybody. everyman for himself out here in the jungle. justified... nobody's willing to help anybody else because their scrounging for themselves.. and yea... someones gotta give..
    pinkfadeon April 17, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHahahaha @ BobbyBouche

    To me this song means watch out for youself, don't sell your soul, watch out for shady motherfuckers.
    clamumon February 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is one of my favorites, it's about how false and full of mendacity the handshake is. Fuck handshakes, give someone a hug...
    Madcappunkon March 29, 2003   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningIf you accept a handshake, you are supporting, accepting, or allowing a shallow, purely capitalistic relationship with someone. The handshake does not symbolize anything other than a deal being made.

    A song about a handshake may seem trivial, but Bad Religion is a punk band. Don't ignore things. Pay attention to what's going on around you so you can fight things like this. This is why I love punk rock. These artists think like me, so I get more things for my free mind to question.
    Skuitar21on July 03, 2009   Link
  • -1
    General CommentNice Tommy Boy reference, Bobby Bouche. I really always thought this song was dumb. I just don't really think that the lyrics are very strong.
    kururusocho966on August 19, 2007   Link
  • -1
    General Commentthis song is great musically, i think - it has good moments. the lyrics, arent as good as some other BR songs, but they are alright.
    wexenhexon August 11, 2008   Link
  • -1
    General CommentI disagree, really, that the lyrics are sub pair. There is a lot of truth in these lyrics, I like them a lot. But there is not much to say about interpretation, it is pretty clear what it is about.
    JASGripenon September 30, 2008   Link
  • -1
    General Comment"without regard to well-being, without an inkling of compromise" - I think those lyrics run pretty true. It's a good song, and about time a band wrote about something like this. Shun the handshake!!
    DJgifon March 01, 2009   Link

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