Nothing more, nothing less,
An icon on the wall, decoration and duress,
That which many strive to be,
It's the marble statue staring over me,
And nobody has the will to tear it down,
it determines wrong and right,
but to me it's just a stereotype
and it makes us lose our sight.

The portrait of authority (portrait of authority),
You tell me that's what I'm supposed to be (portrait of authority),
You tell me that's what I'm supposed to be.

Another time, another man,
An oppressive intrusion
And a plague across his land,
And it haunts him every day,
It tells him that he has no chance
His hope just fades away,
And he lives his life prepared to tear it down,
But he can't muster the support,
And to him it's just a stereotype
Of his life-long fight.

The portrait of authority (portrait of authority),
It embodies what he cannot be (portrait of authority),
It's what he cannot be.
The portrait of authority (portrait of authority),
Portrait of authority.

Lyrics submitted by oofus

Portrait of Authority Lyrics as written by Greg Graffin

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Portrait of Authority song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentNo, Requltion. This son was written long before the war. This song is about Jesus and how all it manages to do is create an image of the way people should be that is unfeasable.
    Jae_Don June 13, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't really see the point this song. Even if Jesus is a fictional character he was a good man, whether you are religious or not. The fact is that the stuff that jesus supposedly said was revolutionary at the time. If he existed nowadays he'd be a punk. I'm not a christian, in fact i'm an atheist, but i'd rather my kids had jesus as a role model than some of the rich douchebag celebrities that the kids look up to nowadays.
    alktrioon July 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is describing Hussein Statue in Iraq that just fell a few weeks ago IMO. Kinda make you think dosent it?
    Regultionon May 08, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI didn't really like this song too much when i first got this album, but now it's one of my favorites. It's about Jesus and how Society relies on the bible and hanging crosses everywhere (church, homes, etc.) because he keeps society in line and not out of order. basically stating, Jesus is the authority figure watching over us and making sure we aren't doing anything wrong, otherwise there are consequences.
    captainclay01on October 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI first thought this song was about "the man" basically or the government's old portrait hanging on the
    wall watching over us and judging <3Washington.

    reading more closely it makes better sense to be jesus. especially in the second verse. very vivid explanation

    pinkfadeon March 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe "Portrait of Authority" is Jesus. We are supposed to be trying to live our lives the way Jesus lived his life, but that is impossible for us. I believe that is what the song is saying.
    cbinghamon January 09, 2020   Link

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