Well all the Apostles-they're sitting in swings
Saying "I'd sell off my Savior for a set of new rings,
And some sandles with the style of straps that cling best to the era"
So all of the businessers in their unlimited
Hell where they buy and they sell and they sell all their
Trash to each other but they're sick of it all
And they're bankrupt on selling
And all of the angel

They'd sell off your soul for a set of new wings and anything gold
They remember
The people they loved their old friends
And I've seen through'em all seen through 'em all and seen through most everything
All the people you knew were the actors
All the people you knew were the actors
Well, I'll go to college and I'll learn some big words

And I'll talk real loud
Goddamn right I'll be heard
You'll remember all the guys that said all those big words he must've

Learned in college
And it took a long time
I came clean with myself
I come clean out of love with my lover
I still love her
Loved her more when she used to be sober and I was kinder

Lyrics submitted by numb, edited by steve-o-, alylange, sheionizes, fuchsi3010, Eragon20

Bankrupt on Selling Lyrics as written by Isaac Brock Eric Judy

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Bankrupt on Selling song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentI love this song!

    Apostles are supposed to be the messengers of their gospel yet they'd sell their savior.

    Business people represent greed in its purest form. They do transactions with each other to earn a living.

    Angels represent purity and they would sell your soul to evil.

    Then he begins to talk about how he's seen through all the charades that people try to cover up their life with and he's been jaded by this truth:

    A human's instinct is to fill their needs and be happy. The realization has settled that for people to respect him he needs to matriculate at an institution of higher learning and sound educated. He's found the person he loved and couldn't make her happy because she couldn't respect him. He's tired of selling himself for what he really was, being genuine (and i was kinder), to conforming with the rest of society.

    The sad part about this song is nobody in it is happy. They all want something they don't have.
    gradxon February 22, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI think this song is about deception; deceiving yourself and others, and about how deception is universal. The thing each verse has in common, is that people are giving up what's really important (Apostles - saviour for anything gold; angels - your soul; businessmen - their own soul for money; using a college education to seem important rather than actually learning), and deceiving themselves in the process- Believing what they are getting is better than what they gave in exchange.

    The business men, selling their trash. In order to sell something, you need to highlight it's good aspects and brush over (if not completely ignore) it's bad aspects. To be emotionally bankrupt, is to have nothing left to give, yet they are still selling. They're selling useless things, and making money yet their soul is in shambles and they're left feeling empty.

    Angels, something that everyone looks up to as holy, sacred and all-good yet they are just as corrupted as everyone else and would give something truly important yet intangible in exchange for something material

    All the people you knew were the actors is pretty self explanatory - Everyone you knew, and everything you thought you knew about them was just an act they put up.

    College is somewhere you go to learn, yet it is being used in a shallow self-serving way to make people believe you are more than you are, and more important.

    Some people have mentioned that the last line doesn't really fit, but I think it fits perfectly. It becomes more personal, instead Isaac pointing fingers at others, he admits that he too is guilty of deception.

    I think this is one of Modest Mouse's most emotionally in depth song - I absolutely love it
    GoodbyeBlueon January 04, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe first stanza has a biblical reference...the apostles were Jesus' followers and it is saying even they would sell what they hold most dear(jesus) for some cash and to have the fads of the time

    The second stanza is saying how people keep buying and selling stuff so they keep getting more money and useless shit but as they get more, they still want more and because of that will never truly be happy

    The third stanza has pretty much the same message as the first only with angels and Isaac is saying "I've seen through them all" means he knows they are just being fake-"All the people you knew were the actors"

    The fourth is a satire on college and saying people think they are so much better and smarter just because they went to college and everyone else better listen to them

    The last is how he realizes he had a lover but she was just like everyone else...the thing that he hates and i dunno this one is sorta hard to understand...is he sorry that the relationship ended or is he happy?

    Overall its about people being to concerned about materialistic things and that they won't grant you true happiness. Such an incredible song
    ColdCreatureon June 11, 2009   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationThis song is what jaded sounds like.
    Not necessarily depressing, but that kind of numb acceptance you assume once the reality of something has sunken in and there's not denying it anymore.
    SpankySnailon March 23, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti like how he calls this cd the lonesome crowded west, it totally sounds like deranged cowboy music.
    de4dwe1ghton April 11, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"And it took a long time
    but I came clean with myself,
    I'd come clean out of love with my lover.
    I still love her,
    loved her more when she used to be sober and I was kinder"

    This song is less depressing than just real, and sometimes life can kick you in the balls. I think that this song is about just knowing that.
    But the last verse means a lot to me. It's almost like my ex would think this. He kinda had a really dark view of the world, so the whole song really fits him, but this last verse happened between us. And I think it's amazing that this song vocalizes that feeling.
    tiggerwampuson December 08, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the song is about human beings as a species acting in self interest no matter what.

    The apostles part is quite obvious, saying that, despite the morals of love and compassion that those historical figures stressed, they still want material things like the rest of us.

    The 'businessers' part expresses how this urge to buy and sell and get more money will never ever lead to satisfaction. It's an eternal hell, just make more money, make more money, but in the end 'you're sick of it all, and bankrupt on selling.'

    I'm not completely sure about the angels part, but I've always thought that it's saying that humans have corrupted the pure. At one time they cared about eachother, but now they want the same things that we do.

    The last two parts don't seem to fit in with the rest of the song, because I think it's more about the writer reflecting on himself through witnessing how corrupt the human condition really is. The 'college' part explains that he wants others to hear his opinions on them, but the only way is to improve himself by their standards, the standards that he hates.

    And, finally, the last part has something to do with compassion, it seems as if he's trying to leave this point of love for the stiff materalistic world, but in the end, he can't do it, and he might just be as blind as everyone else.
    blurppion June 14, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentblurppi had a good interpretation.
    "i'd sell off my savior for a set of new rings
    and some sandals with the style of straps that cling best to the era"
    love that line, he’s just saying that this desire is a part of humanity, in any “era.” We sell our souls to do what’s fashionable at the time (making money or going to college are both trends like that). in the end we're never really satisfied. Success is relative and so are our desires; the more you get the more you want.

    At the end when he says he came clean with himself, he’s being honest with himself that no amount of success or education will make him a better person.

    with the comment about loving his girlfriend more when she was sober. I think all these behaviors, drinking included, are just ways of trying to fill voids in our lives through outside means but we really have to face and accept ourselves. akfjl;dadfk fkfl I don’t know good song though
    fuzzybluesockon May 10, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe last part is directed to his mom...

    the rest of it is straight forward and thought provoking
    dayv41on November 28, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is one of my favorite songs not just by MM but just in general

    its great to play and to listen to and is all too true...unfortunatly
    EricSmon February 16, 2008   Link

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