"Jesus, Etc." as written by and Jeffrey Scott/bennett Tweedy....
Jesus, don't cry
You can rely on me honey
You can combine anything you want

I'll be around
You were right about the stars
Each one is a setting sun

Tall buildings shake
Voices escape singing sad sad songs
Tuned to chords strung down your cheeks
Bitter melodies turning your orbit around

Don't cry
You can rely on me honey
You can come by any time you want

I'll be around
You were right about the stars
Each one is a setting sun

Tall buildings shake
Voices escape singing sad sad songs
Tuned to chords strung down your cheeks
Bitter melodies turning your orbit around

Voices whine
Skyscrapers are scraping together
Your voice is smoking
Last cigarettes are all you can get
Turning your orbit around

Our love
Our love
Our love is all we have

Our love
Our love is all of God's money
Everyone is a burning sun

Tall buildings shake
Voices escape singing sad sad songs
Tuned to chords strung down your cheeks
Bitter melodies turning your orbit around

Voices whine
Skyscrapers are scraping together
Your voice is smoking
Last cigarettes are all you can get
Turning your orbit around

Last cigarettes are all you can get
Turning your orbit around
Last cigarettes are all you can get
Turning your orbit around


Lyrics submitted by jonesth

"Jesus, etc." as written by Jay Bennett Jeff Tweedy

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG Rights Management

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Jesus, Etc. song meanings
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  • +7
    General CommentWhen I first heard this song in late September 2001, I was stunned by how much its lyrics evoked the WTC attack. Obviously Tweedy had written it beforehand, but I wonder what he meant by this song. I'm inclined to understand it, like "Ashes of American Flags," as a lament for a materialistic, decadent, and unholy society. Amid collapsed skyscrapers (perhaps metaphorical for economic markets) and human sorrow, the "bitter melodies" have a notable effect: "turning your orbit around." This, I think, turns out to be much more than "throwing you for a loop." The key is the image of "God's money," which scorns the fallen monuments to human money. "All of God's money" is not in the tall buildings which house investment banks and law firms, but in "our love," which is really "all we have" anyway. The images of sun and stars convey the ephemeral and precious nature of life. There are the lines, "You were right about the stars, each one is a setting sun," depicting each of us -- "everyone is a burning sun" -- in imminent demise. I understand this part in a positive way: while our existence is brief, it is also passionate and glorious.
    jonesthon January 20, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General Comment"Jesus, don't cry."
    Sounds to me like an exasperated plea from someone at the limit of their patience with a their depressive muse. In other words: Oh, for Christ's sake would you stop? You know I won't leave you. This because it's followed by:
    "You can rely on me honey" as if the reliability of the speaker has come into question and needs to be proven.
    "You can combine anything you want." Which is to say: It's easy to put together any two different ideas to support your point (kind of like song interpretations).
    "I'll be around", reassuring loved one that speaker is not going to abandon them.
    "You were right about the stars" you know, what you said that night while we gazed at the heavens? that I disagreed with? Well, it was quite profound and it stuck with me. I appreciate and remember the things you say.
    "each one is a setting sun" everything is relative based on point of view.
    "tall buildings shake" bad things happen in this world, great plans crumble;
    "voices escape singing sad, sad songs" producing the pained voices in our world
    "tuned to chords strung down your cheek/ bitter melodies turning your orbit around." even though I don't want you to cry, when you do you not only give me local inspiration for my music, by letting your feelings out, you change your own attitude.
    Jeff Tweedy seems to have an on-going relationship with this depressive muse: "Cheer-up, honey I hope you can." and seems to need her for his gifts as poet/ and bed-side cheerer-upper in order to reach their potential. I hope my flippancy is not mistaken as disrespect; I am a huge Tweedy fan.
    "Our love is all we have", simply true.
    "each one is a burning sun." expresses an appreciation for the luminous brilliance of every living thing.
    dionflyon March 22, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song is amazing. Nothing in the world puts me in a more peaceful mood than listening to this. I don't interepret it as a commentary on society, although it very well could be. The sense I get from it is...an...opening up to someone with whom Jeff shares an extremely close connection. I'm not sure about the nature of the connection (a romantic love, a relative, whatever), but it just seems to be the...thing you'd say to someone you love when something happens to make you realize how much they mean to you. Which is a fascinating idea to me: what would you say to the people who mean the most of you, if you thought you had just a flicker of a moment left with them? Well, Jeff has captured it here, to me. "Don't cry/you can rely on me, honey/You can come by anytime you want." Gosh...this song just rocks my socks. Jeff Tweedy is awesome.
    VegasJameson August 05, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song seems to be tweedy's idea of the apocalypse, the the world crumbling around him and he is saying the only thing that will be worth anything anymore wil be love. an he is also playing the most serene music over this as it happens showing that he simply could care less about it.
    fatboyinawagonon June 17, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI believe it is about comforting someone who is feeling spirtually lost.
    "you can combine anything you want"
    you can take whatever you want from what any religion preaches.

    I think Jeff is an athiest, look at "I Can't Stand It",
    "Your prayers will never be answered again" and
    "No loves as random As God's love I can't stand it"

    The song is saying believe what you want to believe, I don't believe in god and that makes the world a better place, no love is as randon as God's love. You don't need to have an understanding and a definition for life and the universe, I'm here for you and the beauty of people caring for each other is wonderful enough.
    alltogetheron January 10, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIf you go by 'I Can't Stand It', you could say that Tweedy is an atheist or an anti-theist. This song boggles my mind, though. I would think that he's saying that in the face of extraordinary events that are well beyond our grasping, we rely on things, not people.
    a town like parison August 01, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song isn't about 9/11 -- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was originally meant to be released on September 11th, 2001.
    mjknlron February 22, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAw man, what a song. The first song ever to make me cry. It has one of the most astonishing set of lyrics I've ever seen. "Skyscrapers are scraping together" and "you were right about the stars, each one is a setting sun" stand out as two particularly amazing phrases, but really the whole thing is unbelievable. All this coupled with a beautiful melody and that heart-tugging violin. This will always remind me of warm summer nights. The sequence on YHF of Jesus Etc - Ashes Of American Flags - Heavy Metal Drummer is arguably the best three-song sequence I've heard.
    walking_barefooton November 27, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think that it hints on the evitable that all things good or bad must past. "each star is a setting sun"

    "our love is all we have" --enjoy life while got it

    "each one is burning sun" we too our burning stars and we have our moment and then we are gone.

    or it could very well be about drugs
    whistlersmammyon April 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmikeyg,

    I agree with your interpretation. I believe that the writer recognizes that we are small and insignificant in an infinitely large universe but that we can seek comfort in eachother's love and companionship.
    thebot108on March 16, 2006   Link

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