"Ahead By A Century" as written by Robert Baker, Gordon Downie, Johnny Fay, Joseph Paul Langlois and Robert Gordon Sinclair....
First thing we'd climb a tree
And maybe then we'd talk
Or sit silently
And listen to our thoughts
With illusions of someday
Cast in a golden light
No dress rehearsal,
This is our life

And that's where the hornet stung me
And I had a feverish dream
With revenge and doubt
Tonight, we smoke them out

You are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a century

Stare in the morning shroud
And then the day began
I tilted your cloud
You tilted my hand
Rain falls in real time
And rain fell through the night
No dress rehearsal, this is our life

But that's when the hornet stung me
And I had a serious dream
With revenge and doubt
Tonight, we smoked them out

You are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a century

You are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a century
And disappointing you is gettin' me down

Lyrics submitted by black_cow_of_death

"Ahead by a Century" as written by Johnny Fay Gordon Downie

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing

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Ahead By A Century song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentFor me, this song is about a man being nostalgic about the early part of his relationship. Now, however, he is no longer happy. His wife is consistently disappointed with him. The hornets represent the realities of life in the paradise dream of sitting in a tree. Reality produces regret and doubt and a want to get out.

    Not really sure what smoking the out is about. Not sure if he wants to clear the air (smoking out revenge and doubt), or he is realizing that they're headed for another fight (smoking the hornets out of the nest so they can be stung again).
    Redhawk30on December 24, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti always saw this as being about a guy and a girl being in love, the guy is remebering when they were kids while the chick is all in the present.....meaning she is ahead by a century......
    Millioon April 24, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti can relate to this song alot. my view would be that it is infact a story of love between this young boy and girl. their lives are chaotic and hard to deal with,most likely because of their parents as seen in the video.("no dress rehersal, this is our lives"). as in what they are experiencing is no act, it's harsh and real. their escape is to be with eachother, they can talk about anything..a way of healing and getting through. ("with illusions of someday casting a golden light")..this to me means that they one day dream to be someone, something successful and important..unlike all the shit they are witnessing in the present. and to be "ahead by a century" is they have learned from what they have seen, they are wise and ahead of there time. although, as they get older they slip unable to deal with the pain... turning to pot, with a sense of gulit.("with revenge and doubt tonight we smoke them out")..but i dont think it takes them under, only a temporary relief because talking just didnt do enough anymore.
    penny.laneon July 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationMaybe a bit of a different interpretation but...I believe this song is about the AVRO Arrow, an advanced fighter jet built in Canada. It was, really, ahead of it's time, and almost shifted the balance of air superiority to Canada in the Cold-War.

    "First we climb a tree" - Kind of the childish dreams we have, exploring trees and reaching new highs - The AVRO Arrow was a project that showed that Canada could accomplish ANYTHING we tried. It was our childhood dreams come to life.

    "That's when the hornet stung me." The United States threatened to place missiles in Canada if we didn't abandon the AVRO Arrow project (also, the US has a fighter jet nicknamed The Hornet).

    "With revenge and doubt" The Americans had doubted the Arrow project from day one, believing Canada could not build such a huge project without their aid.
    Skizemon September 19, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe protagonist is a junkie (that's when the hornet stung me - needle). It's hard to maintain a life when you're a junkie. And you tend to disappoint people when you're on the fix. He's a f*&k up and there's nothing he can do about it.
    falangon September 18, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always thought of this as a father's voice to his son or daughter. He's singing about the simplicity of their life, and the largely uncomplicated existence that they've lead, "First thing we'd climb a tree, and maybe then we'd talk, or sit silently, and listen to our thoughts". But then as the kids grow older, they over complicate their existence, "you are ahead by a century, you are ahead by a century, and disappointing you is getting me down", and he's keeping them on level ground, by reminding them that they arrived where they are, in doing simple tasks [like tree climbing], and they aren't above the basic tasks, or from the future, as much as they may want to believe.
    CLHon February 11, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis may seem far-fetched, but I think this song has a connection to the native genocide that has happened within North America, specifically within in Canada, from the arrival of the Europeans until now. The first nations people (the hornets) were viewed as less than human and a barrier to the idealistic view of the future and, therefore, "stung" or interfered with the goals and current situation of the newcomers. As a result, they would be smoked out (slaughtered, controlled, etc.). It sounds like a romantic relationship with a woman, but I see it was an overly-romanticized connection with a new land that is willing to eliminate any potential barriers. However, music is like art, and any interpretation is valued.
    tristan119on August 31, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSaw them perform this song in Winnipeg years back. Before beginning to sing Gord said the song was about young love. Particularly being the more infatuated person in the relationship and ultimately being dumped by the other person. The other (a girl) being more mature than the boy and expecting more from him. Ultimately, the disparity leads her to seek someone else.
    Hip_hipster_with_broken_hipon September 05, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat the hell, no comments??? sick ass song!
    Jinxon September 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song kicks serious ass. I'm not quite sure of the meaning, though. Something about childhood nostalgia, I'm sure.
    MadShangi2003on March 13, 2003   Link

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