"God's Away on Business" as written by and Tom Waits Kathleen Brennan....
I'd sell your heart to the junkman
Baby, for a buck, for a buck
If you're looking for someone to pull you uut of that ditch
You're out of luck, you're out of luck

Ship is sinking
The ship is sinking
The ship is sinking

There's leak, there's a leak, in the boiler room
The poor, the lame, the blind
Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves, and lawyers

God's away, God's away
God's away on business
Business
God's away, God's away
God's away on business
Business

Digging up the dead with a shovel and a pick
It's a job, it's a job
Bloody moon rising with a plague and a flood
Join the mob, join the mob

It's all over, it's all over, it's all over

And there's a leak, there's a leak, in the boiler room
The poor, the lame, the blind
Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves, and lawyers
God's away, God's away, God's away
On Business
Business
God's away, God's away
On Business
Business, ha

Goddamn there's always such a big temptation
To be good, to be good
There's always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby
It's a deal, it's a deal
God's away, God's away, God's away
On business
Business

God's away, God's away, God's away
On business
Business

I narrow my eyes like a coin slot baby
Let her ring, let her ring

God's away, God's away
God's away on business
God's away, God's away
God's away on business, business


Lyrics submitted by daffy

"God's Away on Business" as written by Thomas Alan Waits Kathleen Brennan

Lyrics © AUDIAM, INC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

God's Away on Business song meanings
Add your thoughts

11 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +3
    General CommentEnron.
    bkat004on May 09, 2009   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningThe initial verse makes it very clear that there will be no romance in this song, and to not even bother looking for them. It's smacks of inflicted disillusionment.

    I believe the ship is not just a metaphor for the world, but for human society afloat in the world. When the society starts to "sink" or everyone doesn't have to pay equally. Tom says the ones who pay are "the poor, the lame, the blind" which is quite obviously the lower classes (I don't think Tom means the Blind to be the religious, as is the common translation. That seems a bit out of line with the rest of Blood Money), while the upper classes are left in charge.

    If you apply the song to Wall Street's near total destruction of the world economy, then it really takes shape. That's why "lawyers" are equal with "killers and thieves" (warmongers, investment bankers etc).

    Into 2011 we're looking at hard economic times, but it's the lower classes in the "boiler room" that get drowned in the seawater, while the upper echelons have life boats and a vague idea that something bad may be going on below decks.

    "God's away on business" anthropomorphizes God as a paternal figure. It could be read to say "Dad's away on business, so he can't set things right for you."
    In the context of Tom's other songs relating to paternal figures (especially when he's taking the role) it's pretty easy to assume that the God/Dad isn't coming home at all. So the children are left at the mercy of an unfair, indifferent universe.

    A masterpiece of bitterness is an understatement.
    Raven113on March 30, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyoutube.com/…

    xdvron September 07, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis one is a masterpiece of bitterness. "Who are the ones that they left in charge? / Killers, thieves and lawyers". I love it. He's at his most incisive here, this is one of the best tracks on Blood Money.
    thitheron July 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree completely.also think his voice sounds really sinister and rather scary
    emilieeon April 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think i saw the video for this, but i dont remember, but i think of a clown when this song plays. Was there one in the clip?

    Agreed, very siniste and bitter. Love this song.
    big timmyon May 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I'd sell your heart to the junkman baby
    For a buck, for a buck
    If you're looking for someone to pull you out of that ditch
    You're out of luck, you're out of luck"

    Shows are people are becoming more and more heartless.

    "Ship is sinking
    The ship is sinking
    The ship is sinking"

    The ship is a metaphor for the world, and it's going down hill, or in this case, it's "sinking."

    "God's away, God's away
    God's away on business, business
    God's away, God's away
    God's away on business, business"

    God has deserted us.


    "Digging up the dead with a shovel and a pick
    It's a job, it's a job"

    Dead rising in the end times.

    "Bloody moon rising with a plague and a flood
    Join the mob, join the mob."

    The people are angry that God has deserted them and let the world die.

    "It's all over, it's all over
    It's all over"

    Self explanatory..

    "There's a leak, there's a leak in the boiler room
    The poor, the lame, the blind"

    About the ship (world) starting to "sink" not sure about the "poor, the lame, the blind."

    "Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
    Killers, thieves and lawyers"

    We put corupt people in power to tell us what to do.

    "God's away, God's away
    God's away on business, business
    God's away, God's away on business, business"

    Again, God has left us...

    "Godddamn there's always such a big temptation
    To be good, to be good"

    Being "good" is looked at as weak, while being "bad" is looked at as being strong, therefore it's the norm..

    "There's always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby
    It's a deal, it's a deal"

    For every action there is a consequence.

    "God's away, God's away
    God's away on business, business
    God's away, God's away
    God's away on business, business"

    Do I need to say it again?!!?!?!?!?!? lol

    "I narrow my eyes like a coin slot baby
    Let her ring, let her ring"

    He's keeping an eye on someone waiting for them to slip up.

    "God's away, God's away
    God's away on business, business
    God's away, God's away
    God's away on business, business "

    Umm... yea, you know what what it means.

    Good song..
    jpr227on May 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI find it funny that he mentions lawyers together with killers and thieves.
    TheEmilon August 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with bkat and Raven...

    On a more specific scale this deals with the Enron crisis, and on a more poetic scale, all crises. Waits is definitely trying to emphasize that we are ALONE in trying to solve these huge profit-motivated disasters.

    Tom Waits is a fucking genius.
    justletgoandbeLIFTEDon May 28, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song was probably written before Enron went under.
    I think it's just a general song about shitty humans being shitty to each other.
    xdvron July 20, 2011   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain