I got two strong arms
Blessings of babylon
With time to carry on and try
For sins and false alarms
So to america the brave
Wise men save

Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of Aran
Walks around and around
And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
but he'll never, ever fight over you

I got plans for us
Nights in the scullery
And days instead of me
I only know what to discuss
Oh, for anything but light
Wise men fighting over you

It's not me you see
Pieces of valentine
With just a song of mine
To keep from burning history
Seasons of gasoline and gold
Wise men fold

Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of Aran
Walks around and around
And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
But he'll never, ever fight over you

I got time to kill
Sly looks in corridors
Without a plan of yours
A blackbird sings on bluebird hill
Thanks to the calling of the wild
Wise man's child


Lyrics submitted by Idan, edited by jiku

The Riddle song meanings
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21 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis is what it means, in Nik's own words (from his website)

    What's the answer to "The Riddle"?

    It amazes me that people are still asking me this question. I spilled the beans a few years ago now so this isn't exactly news.

    My producer (Peter Collins) came over to my house just before we commenced recording on the second album to hear how I was getting on with the writing. He went away saying he thought it sounded great but didn't think I had the first single. Incensed by this, I went straight up to the spare room and got the chords and melody together for the Riddle. This must've taken all of twenty minutes. Knowing time was short before we started recording I jotted down some jibberish with the intention of writing the real lyric as we were recording it.

    About a week later we started recording and I threw a rough guide vocal down using the jibberish lyrics. As the album progressed, I tried various different lyric ideas but nothing seemed to fit as well as the guide lyric. So we decided to stick with what we had. "Let's call it the Riddle", I thought. Then people would think it was actually about something.

    I had completely underestimated the fuss this would cause and, to make matters worse, the marketing and promotions people at MCA decided to make a competition out of it (without telling me). The response was unbelievable. We got sack loads of mail with elaborate and detailed analysis of the song. Line by line, word by word. Some were the size of small novels. Some even made sense!! People stopped me in the street to give me their thoughts and theories. On one occasion I arrived to do a live Radio 1 interview with a certain DJ only to find he'd told the great British public that I would be "revealing all" on his show. He was most put out when I wouldn't (couldn't) co-operate.

    It all got a bit out of hand and, very quickly, passed the point at which I could come clean without pissing off a lot of people.

    In short, "The Riddle" is nonsense, rubbish, bollocks, the confused ramblings of an 80's popstar.

    Please forgive me. I knew not what I did.

    Marelleon September 14, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI thought it was "an old man of IRON". Anyone know?
    Marelleon June 15, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentor you go to.... songmeanings.net/…
    Coffie&cigaretson July 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning>I got two strong arms
    >Blessings of Babylon

    I know excellent sorcery (Alpha and Omega which uses twin pillars).
    It builds a prosperous world like Babylon.

    >With time to carry on and try
    >For sins and false alarms

    While in the end-time, Jewish-plutocracies do dark deeds and spread evil information for misleading to destruction.
    America rises up against Armageddon and falls.

    >So to America the brave
    >Wise men save

    Because Jewish-plutocracies coordinate the war with America along the schedule of Revelation.
    Jewish-plutocracies will save America.
    It is a drama written and enacted by Jewish-plutocracies.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    I imagine that the Riddle is Nik's scenes of his dream or his precognition images. Normally a precognition comes to a man, as only visual images without interpretation. Then, I imagine, perhaps, he could not interpret information contained in them completely.
    Usually, most of predictions are nonsense, till the time is ripe.
    Then Nik is not lying.
    I am trying to interpret "the Riddle" in my way.
    malhiaon March 13, 2016   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaninga tree=law symbol=a tree of fruit of knowledge=sephirot=WorldTree
    Genesis needs a tree(=law).
    This law is like a system of Gaia hypothesis.
    The law gives good accidents to living beings.

    a river: the Milky Way galaxy

    a hole in the ground:gravity
    Life can only exist in enough power of dark matter.
    Gravity is very important in ESP.

    Goes around and around: When using ESP, an ESPER kneads Life energy in counter-clockwise direction.
    Qi=Life energy=Cosmic energy

    an old man of Aran=the oldest soul=Enoch=Jesus has a soul of Enoch.
    Only Enoch can change a planet to the planet to live.

    >Near a tree by a river
    >There's a hole in the ground
    >Where an old man of Aran
    >Goes around and around

    For humans, Enoch changes a planet to the planet to live, in the the Milky Way galaxy, near the darkmatters with sephirot.
    It's Genesis.

    >And his mind is a beacon
    >In the veil of the night

    He is Savior

    >For a strange kind of fashion
    >There's a wrong and a right

    God's Book(, such as Revelation) includes truth and interpolation.
    (Jesus's word is simple. He said only how to get Blessing.
    "Use Alpha&Omega and the true vine")

    >But he'll never, never fight over you

    Savior(Enoch) will never fight over all the human beings, inluding Jewish-plutocracies.
    Judgement day makes a man select planets to live.
    The judgment standard is only using Alpha&Omega or not.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Two strong arms=Alpha&Omega=sorcery: twin pillars marked "u" and "n". The left is "u". The right is "n". This is the Star Gate., getting cosmic energy(=Blessing)

    the true vine=sorcery(a kind of Alpha&Omega):counter-clockwise:This is written in John15:1-6.

    Alpha & Omega is the most important sorcery.
    It is a tool to get real Blessing.
    When one has it, an accident supports to him.
    A man needs it to be happy.
    Alpha & Omega controls one's consciousness or one's flash to make him lucky.
    This is the real Blessing from the Creator.
    Being a good man is not enough in order to get Blessing.
    Every one needs "Real Sorcery" to live.
    Every one needs to save much good luck.
    The lack of luck causes unhappiness.
    This is a reason the case of a cruel death of a baby or a good man.
    And then, Alpha & Omega works to change evil mind to good.
    Building a good society needs Alpha & Omega.

    Satan definition: opposing

    Therefore, opposite-Alpha&Omega provides evil energy. The evil energy works to stack people's bad luck. It makes it easier for people to be illness, to commit a crime and to encounter troubles or accidents. It gets people to choose the way which worsens human relations, or the way in which they fail. It makes people enjoy other man's pain. It leads people evil.

    opposite-Alpha&Omega=evil sorcery: twin pillars marked "u" and "n". The right is "u". The left is "n".
    Worst vine=the wine of the wrath(in Bible)=clockwise
    malhiaon March 13, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlso, it should be NIK Kershaw, not Nick!
    Marelleon June 15, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Nik was lying. This song is obviously about war that's why their are war whistles and war like drums in the song production.

    "for sins and false alarms
    so to america the brave"

    "false alarms" could be that America thought they heard the bomb.

    "near a tree by a river
    there's a hole in the ground"

    the hole being the trenches that the men hide in from the attacking country.

    "for a strange kind of fashion
    there's a wrong and a right"

    The "fashion" being that the men are following orders to kill but for every action there's a wrong and right. In this case killing is wrong, war or not.

    "i got plans for us"

    The president of America's plans and ideas for the country he will conquer (Irak?)

    "wise men fighting over you"

    oh come on! This is the most crucial line in the song. The "you" is the country that the two armies are fighting over and dying for.

    "with just a song of mine
    to keep from burning history
    seasons of gasoline and gold"

    He has written the song so that the war is always remembered. "gasoline" is set alight to kill their openents and "gold" is what the president will get if they take over the country.

    "a blackbird sings on bluebird hill
    thanks to the calling of the wild wise mens child. "

    a black woman sighing with relief that her husband is still alive after the war. She is informed by one of the soilders children.
    HungryLikeTheWolfon May 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"where an old man of Aran
    goes around and around
    and his mind is a beacon
    in the veil of the night"

    I always thought this referred to the lighthouse on the Isle of Arran (yes, the actual name contains two r's) off the SW coast of Scotland.
    Matt Evanson June 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI also believe Kershaw is lying, for the same reason he gave up being a public performer; he is, by his own admission, an extremely shy and private person. The Riddle is about war, specifically, war fought over oil.

    I think the problem with The Riddle arose from people assuming that the song itself is a riddle (partly the fault of record promoters). I think the title was meant to describe the overall theme of the original album: Why fight over oil? (The Riddle) Why have a Cold War? (Don Quixote) Why destroy the planet? (Coming up Roses) Why not find a better way? (Wild Horses) etc. etc.

    As for the "nonsense" lyrics of The Riddle, they are not nonsense at all. Aran is an ancient region in what is now Azerbaijan, between the Kura and Araks rivers. Like Babylon (Iraq), it has been fought over for thousands of years, and also like Babylon, Aran has some of the world's richest oil fields. Aran was, at the time the song was written, one of the most important oil refining centers in the Soviet Union.

    Aran was also the stronghold of the ancient Zoroastrian religion, where many famed fire temples burned beacons to symbolize the wisdom of God ( Azerbaijan means "Land of the eternal flame") It is possible that "old man of Aran" refers to Zoroaster (Zarathushtra). The core precepts of Zoroastrianism are human equality, fairness, environmental responsibility and the ethical treatment of animals (pretty much the same as Kershaw's songs). It is therefore very ironic that Aran has become a center for oil refining, the ultimate fuel for war, empire-building and environmental devastation.
    AilourosMyson January 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLAWL. I thought this site was about what songs meant to US rather than what they were actually meant for.

    But then, I could be wrong.

    In any case, this song is awesome. I first heard it on AMV Hell 3 and it's one of my favorites now. :D
    Kuyukly78on November 04, 2006   Link

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