There's a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl
And he's always at home with his back to the wall.
He's proud of the scars and the battles he's lost
He struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

Give a moment or two to the angry young man
With his foot in his mouth and his heart in his hand
He's been stabbed in the back, he's been misunderstood
It's a comfort to know his intentions are good
He sits in a room with a lock on the door
With his maps and his medals laid out of the floor
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

I believe I've passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage,
I've found that just surviving was a noble fight
I once believed in causes too, had my pointless point of view
Life went on no matter who was right or wrong.

And there's always a place for the angry young man
With his fist in the air and his head in the sand
He's never been able to learn from mistakes
He can't understand why his heart always breaks
His honor is pure, and his courage as well
He's fair and he's true, and he's boring as hell
And he'll go to his grave as an angry old man.

There's a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl
And he's always at home with his back to the wall.
He's proud of the scars and the battles he's lost
He struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Angry Young Man" as written by Billy Joel

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Angry Young Man song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThis is a catchy song, but I'm not a particularly big fan of the message.

    Basically, it's portraying this "angry young man" as being foolish and naive for being angry, fighting for what he thinks is right, even if it's a losing battle, and having radical points of view. Because everyone who's like that should just mellow out and accept things are fine the way they are? That's crappy.

    There's *a lot* of people who think mainstream values suck. And they're going to fight against them, because it's who they are and it's the right thing to do. Yes, life goes on regardless of who's wrong or right, but nothing will ever change for the better if everyone is just complacent. There's legitimate reasons to feel angry. Don't go dismissing how people feel. It makes you look like an asshole, and it makes people feel like crap.

    So Billy Joel, though you can sure write a catchy song and play a piano, you can still go to hell. You and your mainstream values can suck it.
    guygizmoon February 21, 2014   Link
  • +2
    General CommentEveryone has missed the point: Joel isn't deriding anger, he's deriding SELF ABSORBED anger, where the young man is merely self-pitying and whiny instead of motivated to change what he cannot accept.
    AlexanderDumbasson May 20, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is absolutely great. If anyone doubt's Mr. Joel's talent, one should see him perform this song live. There's nothing more intimidating.
    nikki2141on August 27, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think everyone has an internal "angry young man." The issue is getting over your problems and yourself.
    ...
    I'm working on it.
    Anyway, at his concert, this was the first song he played and I sang along... way too loud.
    ThaneOfNothingnesson May 15, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI dunno, isn't this song celebrating Apathy?


    "I believe I've passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage
    I found that just surviving was a noble fight
    I once believed in causes too
    I had my pointless point of view
    And life went on no matter who was wrong or right "

    Just surviving is a noble fight :/ Get on with my life, don't try to change things, don't have "pointless views". Reinforcing mainstream values, talking about the rebellious in a patronising manner... not very rock'n'roll I must say.
    Roseweaveon November 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    MemoryThis song reminds me of how I used to be. I used to be pretty damned wrapped up in myself, and I would see my philosophical and political debates as the be-all-end-all and harangue those I disagreed with. And I have no doubt that I was "fair and true and boring as hell."

    Then I had to start fending for myself. I grew resentful listening to people lecture me on this and that, and then I realized how obnoxious I must have been when I did that. So I tried not to harass others so much with my politics and philosophies and just get on with living my life; indeed, now more than ever it seems like "just surviving is a noble fight."

    I don't think it's mocking the rebellious per se, but I do think it's telling the dorm-room pundits that they'll be whistling a different tune about not working for "The Man" when their parents aren't paying their way through life anymore.
    ProfessorKnowItAllon February 12, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this is more about the idea that we need those people who will fight for their causes, fight for things to be better. But it might be better to be the guy who figures out that somethings can't be fought and are better left to someone with a more noble fight for it.

    Sure, the angry young man ends up bitter, but I think he's fighting for every cause under the sun rather than those that he can actually affect.
    kathy10154on December 12, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is showing examples of two extremes. The angry young man who always picks a side and fights for every cause he has an opinion on, and on the flip side, a jaded and cynical older man who grew tired of fighting and doesn't care much any more.

    To me, it shows how one shouldn't fall too far to either end of the spectrum, and also how important both of these viewpoints are. The young man suffers because he won't pick and choose his battles, but he's doing things to change the world and hopefully make it better; the older man let the world and his suffering get the better of him and won't fight those battles anymore, but he understands that it's okay to step back and let things ride, as some battles just aren't worth fighting.

    Both viewpoints have their pros and cons, and both characters are simultaneously wrong and right. To sum it up, what I took away from this song is that one should pick and choose their battles, but stand up and fight when necessary.
    kjerstenon May 06, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti had my pointless point of view too. i love this song. it's so great, you can feel the emotion in the lyrics.
    weezerific:cutleryon March 22, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIs there anyone out there you DOESN'T know someone like this?!?!?
    leaneyson March 27, 2003   Link

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