Look in my eyes, what do you see?
The cult of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I've been everything you want to be
I'm the cult of personality
Like Mussolini and Kennedy
I'm the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality

Neon lights, a Nobel Prize
Then a mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You don't have to follow me
Only you can set me free
I sell the things you need to be
I'm the smiling face on your T.V.
I'm the cult of personality
I exploit you still you love me

I tell you one and one makes three
I'm the cult of personality
Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi
I'm the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality

Neon lights a Nobel Prize
A leader speaks, that leader dies
You don't have to follow me
Only you can set you free

You gave me fortune
You gave me fame
You gave me power in your own god's name
I'm every person you need to be
Oh, I'm the cult of personality
I'm the cult of, I'm the cult of, I'm the cult of, I'm the cult of
I'm the cult of, I'm the cult of, I'm the cult of, I'm the cult of personality


Lyrics submitted by numb

Cult of Personality Lyrics as written by Corey Glover William Calhoun

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Cult of Personality song meanings
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  • +12
    General Comment"Look in my eyes, what do you see?
    Cult of personality"

    This seems to say that the potential for a cult of personality lies within all of us. We're all susceptible to both becoming part of such a cult as well as becoming a cult.

    "I know your anger, I know your dreams
    I've been everything you want to be
    I'm the cult of personality"

    People tend to reflect what they see in themselves in the leaders that they worship. There is a perversely personal relationship between a devotee and the person they worship in this way. This is what makes the followers of any cult so prone to manipulation. They become appendages of the leader they follow.
    "
    Like Mussolini and Kennedy
    I'm the cult of personality"

    I love this line a lot. Here two different cults of personality are thrown violently together. One we view very favorably, and the other as a complete villain. Yet, at the fundamental level, both served the exact same function.

    "Neon lights, Nobel Prize
    When a mirror speaks, the reflection lies"

    While we ultimately do reflect parts of ourselves in the leaders we love, this lyric here shows us the awful truth. We are deceiving ourselves into thinking that rulers have anything in common with the people they rule, or that they view their followers as anything more than objects to be exploited.

    "You won't have to follow me
    Only you can set me free"

    It's ultimately our choice to follow. Leaders are only powerful because they have followers who are willing to do what the leader wants. Only we can set their egos free upon the world. Without a mass of followers, Hitler would not even be a footnote in history.

    "I sell the things you need to be
    I'm the smiling face on your TV
    I'm the cult of personality"

    These lyrics here are particularly interesting, IMO. They show us the curious duality in our leaders. Most often, they are in control of not just our spiritual needs of being connected of a greater whole, but also quite often in control of the material things we need to live. We make ourselves dependent to them in more than one way.

    "I exploit you, still you love me
    I told you one and one make three
    I'm the cult of personality"

    With dependency comes exploitation, both on the material and spiritual level. And with this dependency any objective meaning of truth is destroyed. 1 plus 1 literally becomes three if we are not willing to question those who would presume to lead us. This is a clear homage to George Orwell's book 1984.

    "Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi
    I'm the cult of personality"

    It's hard to find a saint more revered than Gandhi or a villain more evil that Josef Stalin. Yet, just like before, both had equal potential for good or evil. Gandhi could have just as easily become the greatest villain in the history of humanity.

    "Neon lights, a Nobel Prize
    A leader speaks, that leader dies"

    We follow leaders because of the ideas they preach. Yet, in the act of leading, the corruption of power can very easily undo all of the greatness that they had in innocence. The leader we once knew as a great person truly has died. What remains has far too often been twisted into very thing that leader had once opposed. Those who truly do prove incorruptible more often than not meet with physical death from an assassin's bullet.

    "You won't have to follow me
    Only you can set you free"

    We don't have to follow. The only person who can guarantee the collective freedom of the people is the people themselves.

    "You gave me fortune
    You gave me fame
    You gave me power in your God's name
    I'm every person you need to be
    I'm the cult of personality"

    Fortune, fame and power are the trappings of rulers everywhere. Cults of personality grant individuals with all of three.

    "Cult of Personality" at its heart is a very anarchistic song. That's part of what I find so compelling about it. It flies in the face of most music that you find out there, which preeches a message of blind conformity and obedience. Indeed, most musicians are cults of personality in themselves. In short, this song says only one thing: think for yourself, and don't follow blindly.
    ThirdRevolutionon September 11, 2008   Link
  • +7
    My InterpretationI think the main point of this song is not to wait around for someone to come and fix your problems. If you want to fix the world, start with yourself.
    jneumann1on October 20, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General CommentCM PUNK!
    JoeDawsonon August 08, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song is great all around - powerful lyrics, brilliant guitar, catchy bass, and exceptional percussion to hold it all together. Personally, I think this song is about NOT succombing to someone else's beliefs (like a cult) just because it's what the rest of society thinks is "best" or "right." I'm so sick of hearing the phrase "you're not normal." "Normal" is such a relative term. It is defined as "conforming to a standard." That's the problem with this world - most people conform to society and "normalcy" just because they have to believe in something to define themselves, following ridiculously intangible beliefs, while their lives waste away. Realize that this is how "society" and "normalcy" started in the first place - because of some bullshit artist trying to sell his/her ideas to make a profit. This song is telling us not to buy into any bullshit - which is all around us - politics, media, society, and especially religion. Be yourself; don't be a moron and buy into a "Cult Of Personality."
    NonGoggleGuyon November 26, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti found the
    "Only you can set me free"
    part very confusing , Eventually i thought a theory that works for me -

    this line is repeated later in the song with a change that seems small but chenge the meaning completely -

    the word "me" becomes "you"

    i think it was written like that to show how easily the "cult of personality" followers confuse their own identity with the leaders identity .
    the leader who wants you to believe he is a reflection of yourself "slips in" the word "me" where its logical to say "you" and many of the followers d'ont even notice it
    chen13on August 24, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about the dangers of willingly submitting yourself (or your money, unrelenting support,etc.) to any person or organization. The Cult of Personality refers to this phenomena of people using said entities (wether it be movie stars, politicans, etc.) to project their own desires. These entities don't even have to pretend to be honorable to enjoy the people's support. They can lie about anything (I tell you one and one makes three) or simply use you without consquence (exploit you still you love me). Of course, this song does suggest that it is your choice to "worship these gods", that you could simply ignore them and they would go away. But why would you if they represent everything you want to be, want to fight for, want to accomplish and all you have to do is to sell your soul in the process. Never has this been more relevant than in these times.
    discovery21on October 16, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is also a bit about subverting your own identity to an organization or belief. It speaks of the damage that can be done by even the best intentioned (Gandhi, Kennedy - in the video they show Martin Luther King Jr., too). The power comes form the people, and if you give yourself over to a group, the group has the power and not the individual.
    mattbear73on November 19, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentdiscovery21 summed it up pretty well. It's funny how in a world of grey there's so much black and white--so much polarization and mob mentality. Extremist ideas are easy to relate to and support because they are black and white, even though they are far from the truth of that which is reality and may not even be logical or practical. Those who refuse to follow the masses and carve their own path will find enlightenment...because in the end, YOU are the only one who can get you there. The journey is different for everybody...even though everybody strives towards similar ends. Buying into someone else's way is a sure dead end. I mean look at all the mindless religious-illiterate conservatives in this world and I'm not just talking about in the Mid-east...I'm also talking about right here in the States. It's just ridiculous that people have to line the pockets of babbling idiots who exploit them through infomercials just to feel as if they've found some fulfillment in their life. I mean anyone can believe what they want as far as religion, but as far as I'm concerned, "Today's religion is tomorrow's mythology."
    rog27on April 08, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI noticed most of you guys are saying "I sell the things you need to be". I'm pretty sure that lyric is "I'm all the things you need to be".
    Matrixangelon July 10, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe intensity of performance by the lead singer in the music video is awesome, not only does this song sound badass before its time, but the video has just as much meaning as the lyrics. id be interested to know what others think about the quotes that start and end the song.
    As the song ends the little girl in the video shakes her head and turns off the t.v. as “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself” is said by Franklin D. Roosevelt. This statement seems encouraging and benevolent but it is a focus on the negative and it is a self-reinforcing statement. Therefore; if you feel fear, then that is something you should fear. Which is not a comforting thought as it first seems to imply. And of course, fear often what is used by the ‘cult of personality’ e.g. the government, religion etc. to achieve the power it has over the masses. If we had realized the songs’ message that ‘only you can set you free’ then we will realize that this means we are able to free ourselves from our fears to. i think the girl is a metaphor for the people, and the world today, still in a young stage of development. But she gets the message and decides not to sit there anymore quietly accepting the lies of propaganda. if the world wants to advance, and if we want to survive, we need to get beyond the naiveté of blind acceptance and blind dependency. we need to save ourselves.
    intuiton February 09, 2012   Link

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