He's the latest super hero with powers so profound
He can leap a dotted line in just a single bound
I know you must have seen him in books and magazines
He's the quintessential, mindless, modern epicene
His life is meaningful because he get things done
(bang bang) he's dead
Chalk up another triumph for our hero
The automatic man

It's true you must have met him
He's your best friend and your foe
His opinions are determined by the status quo
A true creature of habit
He smokes three packs a day
When he has an original thought
He forgets it right away

He's a paradigm of carefree living
He's our mentor disturb him if you can
He's the answer if your peace of mind is lacking
He's our savior
He is the common man

So if you are troubled by the daily bump and grind
Then take a careful look around
And brother you will find
The automatic man

Lyrics submitted by oofus

Automatic Man Lyrics as written by Brett Gurewitz

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Automatic Man song meanings
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  • +2
    My Interpretation

    I've always thought this song was about a soldier, and how mindless some of they can be.

    "He can leap a dotted line in just a single bound" Makes me think of soldiers that are sent into countries to cross the 'dotted line' (border) at a whim. Just do your job and you'll be conforming to people's expectations of soldiers.

    "He's your best friend and your foe" He can either be on your side or against you - if the government is against you.

    And the rest of the song is describing someone who is mindless and has no original opinions, just does what the government tells him to. Coupled with the fact that "automatic" is used, perhaps signifying automatic weapons, along with "bang bang, he's dead" I've always took this on a literal level to be about a soldier, which the public proclaim to be a hero.

    I don't know, but it always sounded like that to me.

    Kelsperon April 27, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Not exactly :) but thats not the point as this is not American Jesus.

    BR song usually float around the same concepts per se, butt that is because they are punk rock. I mean, it's not like they will suddenly start talking about how big a girl's ass is or how much money they have or something. What makes BR unique is the ability to truly bring images and ideas into similar concept that are different in each song. Hence the complicated vocabulary and the need to take a while to truly understand every hidden meaning and reference.

    Similarly, this song is just such a song. I've been listening to the song over and over again and the best explanation I can give for it is that it refers to the kind of person we could become if we stopped thinking for ourselves. When all our actions become "automatic" do to things like the status quo. That is my understanding so far.

    maxbenon April 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I think it's about the archetype of the muschle-only man archetype who wants to use agresive metods [bang bang his enemy is dead] an not ideas [when he has an original tought he forgets it away] through life.It's a creature of habit.JelloBiafra sauid before "Nazi punks fuck off" in a concert that the Rambo type,macho-man is what's bad in America.

    HIGHONFIREon January 06, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Its a great song. Rocks :) And its pretty obvious yeah

    weaselfierceon August 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    no they are not. most bad religion take days to decipher and understand completely. "self-explanatory" is an insult to bad religion.

    if they are then whats the meaning behind American Jesus?

    wrinkledPholeon March 14, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    yeah I was using American Jesus as an example because it is so lyrically rich and the theme not-so-obvious. it takes time to fully decipher most BR songs. you have to take the song apart and then analyze every part you've broken up. Then once you've come up with a potential answer for each part, that runs parallel with all the other parts you've taken apart can you put the song back together again. If it doesnt follow a logical path of thinking, then begin the whole procedure again. Its sounds more complicated than it is.

    wrinkledPholeon April 18, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    "He's our saviour, he is the common man" - that line always stuck out to me. Honestly, I'm not quite sure what BR means by it, but I always took it as a statement on how the common everyday man is the person that can bring change in the world, not the simple belief in someone you don't even physically know (possibly Jesus).

    sacrifice_for_life1on February 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    isnt american jesus about authority?

    ryan6stringson June 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    im think this is mostly about the ego of modern society

    wexenhexon July 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    this is what The Answer(bad religion encyclopedia) has to say about it...

    "It is about the danger of not thinking before acting or more concisely, complacency in general"

    wexenhexon July 17, 2007   Link

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