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Lyrics submitted by AbFab, edited by stone529

Third World Man song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about a little kid playing...pretending he's a soldier. He'll throw down his disguise when he finishes, 'when the sidewalks are safe for the little guys'.
    He may have started a real fire.
    killzon January 23, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNo, "E' l'era del Terzo Mondo" is Italian and means "It's the Age of The Third World", but I don't know if it's a quote from a writer or a journalist and I've always wondered what the inspiration for that line was.
    sbandoon May 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's about a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. Such a tragic song, really it is...
    RyAquaon August 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOK - let me clear up a few things. This song, written in 79/80 during the "Guerro Sucio" or Dirty War in Argentina. This was the age of Gen Galteri, one of the most lethal dictators in their history. Bored with killing his own population, he was famous for starting a war with the UK over The Falkland Islands. But I digress. Argentina has a very sizeable Italian community, and Buenos Aries street slang incorporates a lot of Italian words, if not whole sentences. Basically this is a song from the perspective of someone who's seeing all this for the first time. The children soldiers ("Johnny's playroom Is a bunker filled with sand" which Argentina was using at this time, the bombs going off, no one sure whether they were planted by the government as a false flag, or by the communists.
    taverneron August 27, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think everyone who thinks this is a song about a vet with post-traumatic stress disorder is right on the button. In fact, I compile a short video which you can find here along those lines. The line is Italian and was added because I think it sounded good. As for the shift in perspective, well, not every song, or even many of them have to hang together perfectly. After all it's just a song.
    pfgpowellon April 15, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is about Italian communist Giangiacomo Feltrinelli
    brad103977on January 21, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's clearly a song about a war veteran who has not escaped his former life in his mind. In flahbacks or some PTSS, he views his current suburban world as a third world war zone. His or possibly his son's playroom suddenly becomes a bunker. "Moblized since dawn...lawn" shows that he has very real flashbacks that he participates in his home and front yard. The fireworks he sees could be from a 4th of July celebration which sends him into his other mindset, in which he thinks he is dreaming, but is infact participating. His neighbors come out screaming because he's going nuts outside. "E'lera del terzo mondo" doesn't have a direct translation to my knowledge, but it is at least losely based on several romantic languages, like Italian, Spanish and Portugese.
    "Lera" - read - Spanish root
    "del" - of the - Spanish root
    "terzo" - third - Italian direct translation
    "mondo" - world - Spanish root

    It vaguely translates to "He reads of the Third World"

    I have no idea what "Ghana Rondo" is.
    samstudlyguyon March 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe lyrics are "El era del terzo mondo" translated from spanish (since this is from the Guacho album) "He was of the third world."
    Akimboon January 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou're wrong, "e l'era del terzo mondo" is completely Italian and means "and he was from the third world".
    "era" is past tense, not a noun. But why do the put in an Italian phrase...?
    Ihlenamon March 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDefinitely PTSD and definitely "He's a third world man". What is difficult about this song is how it switches from character to character. Anytime you see "he's a third world man" you know it is not the afflicted person speaking. The other lines are either thoughts or vocalizations from the main character.

    "Johnny's playroom is a bunker filled with sand." Is probably an internal thought.

    Smokey Sunday could be either the main character's nickname from wartime or, and more likely, it is the setting for the following lines in the song.

    "Soon you'll throw down your disguise
    We'll see behind those bright eyes
    By and by
    When the sidewalks are safe
    For the little guy"

    These lines are from observers who probably care about this person and are ready to see their loved one again, but they know they must wait for the illusions to pass first.

    The last lines are from the man with PTSD who remembers his experience while he was flashing back. He recalls his experience.

    "I saw the fireworks
    I believed that I was dreaming
    'Til the neighbors came out screaming
    He's a third world man"

    The song is most unfortunate because the main character is aware of his condition.
    rplaughlon March 25, 2010   Link

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