Their custom concern for the people
Build up the monuments and steeples
To wear out our eyes
I get up just about noon

My head sends a message for me
To reach for my shoes then walk
Gotta go to work, gotta go to work, gotta get a job
Goes through the parking lot fields

Doesn't see no signs that they will yield
And then thought, this'll never end
This'll never end, this'll never stop
Message read on the bathroom wall

Says, "I don't feel at all like I fall."
And we're losing all touch, losing all touch
Building a desert

Lyrics submitted by PLANES

Custom Concern Lyrics as written by Isaac Brock Eric Judy

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Custom Concern song meanings
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  • +5
    General Comment

    This is just my intreperetation and I don't claim this to be the right, its just what I think. I think that this is deeper than just drugs or social pressure or something similar. Ithink the main purpose of this song is to describe depression. I think whoever wrote this song used a lot of heavy metaphor, tone of music, imagery, and description of depression (without directly addressing it). I think that this is true because of, for starters, the music itself is very dreary and depressing. The banjo (I think it is, correct me if I am wrong) alone gives the listener a sense of mourning throughout the song. For the purpose of my interpretation, I would say that sense of mourning is for the loss of happiness (or the lack of it). Also, the writer uses images that are visually empty like a desert or "parking lot fields". Besides this being completely brilliant (sorry if this is a tad off topic of my analysis, but I just can't resist), it also reflects the how the writer feels, emotionally, empty, barren. Such a feeling, is often a common sign of depression. Also, the author presents waking up and going to work, something that is an ordinary task for every working person as difficult, hence reflecting another sign of depression, the agony of merely living and carrying out a life, and the last verse in the second stanza, "this'll never end, this'll never end, this'll never stop" plays well with the former line described. It describes the never ending hopelessness of the depression that the writer faces every day. Sorry if it was a little long, but for those who read it, thank yhou. I apprecate your consideration for my opinion.

    antrlon October 10, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    This song is a clear nod to Hesse's Steppenwolf!!!!!!! Do your reading! Some of the phrases are directly taken such as "Customary Concern" and in the next paragraph , Hesse talks about those outcasts in life that have monuments built for them after they die. Also, Hesse talks about how humans have inherited Eden and are turning it into a desert. Modest Mouse is well read.

    bluesbabyon October 25, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    TheSink, you're an asshole who knows nothing about what it takes to be a musician. Do you think musicians have it easy, that it isn't a real job and theyre just handed fame and fortune? Do you really think MM was always so popular that Issac never had to work a regular job during the band to support himself? As a band member I get so sick of retards like you who know nothing about the business yet mouth off like theyre experts.

    Until Good News, Issac had to do shitty work like janitoring and hosing out slaughterhouse trucks. He grew up poor in a trailer, he's been in jail, he's had a rough life. Your idea of rock stars is amazingly naive. So shut up, dumbass. You have no opinion.

    tundradesert81on September 26, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I think it's about shutting yourself from people and how people are becoming more and more isolated and not interacting with each other. Doing their routines without really questioning what in the hell they are doing it for.

    Relapseron December 09, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I always thought it said "I don't feel at all like I thought" and I liked that a lot.

    mateaon April 23, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Its like that anti drug commercial that talks about using cocaine to get through you can make more buy more be able to work harder, to make more money, to buy more cocaine, so you can work harder...

    This is how that idea translates into societies money addiction. By going bigger and better, and thinking that making money is the best thing we as people can accomplish, we are instead making our lives miserable and destroying the real beauty that we already had in our lives.

    Bellyfull of Swanson January 11, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i am now on a mission to write that on every bathroom wall i encounter

    PinkFloydrulezon March 30, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    Here we go. In sections. This is real easy.

    The custom concern for the people Build up the monuments and steeples to wear out our eyes

    -----Above verse is about social pressure to conform to society. -----Ever felt like society is sometimes pushing you places you dont wish to go ;) -----"Wear out your eyes" brain washed by commercial society

    I get up just about noon My head sends a message for me to reach for my shoes and then walk Got to go to work, got to go to work, got to have a job

    -----This verse is admitting the affect of the social conforming message -----Writer (I assume brock) is aware of this effect and is morbidly uncomfortable with it.

    Goes through the parking lot fields Didn't see no signs that they will yield and then thought This'll never end, this'll never end, this'll never stop

    -----"Parking lot fields" is the desperate monotony of this social setup. -----industral and not very creative.

    Message read on the bathroom wall Said, "I don't feel at all like I fall" And we're losing all touch, losing all touch, building a desert

    -----The last verse is a warning that the sprawling uninspired commercial society -----is blocking creativity and not letting us grow. Or making it worthwhile to be alive. Hmmm.

    -----On a happier note. Brock lives in an ideal world where he does not need to do -----that because he can write music and get paid for it. -----i envy him. A working class hero is something to be.

    NB: Sometimes being a zombee is easier than actually thinking about it all too much. And too much acid does not help with the "Not thinking" part ::--))...

    Romatronon October 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    The pointlessness of being alive and the unreasons that make us wake up every day and accept the reality we've been presented, "I don't feel at all like I fall" is sarcastic, he feels like falling when he thinks about it. And so do I. But like the rest of the world we ignore it and move on. It was so hard to move on for some that they invented religion, with it they kill this feeling and scare it away with faith. I admire them, I wish I could believe but reason doesn't let me. If you never explored this feeling, you must be a very happy person. So am I. I can ignore it and live like anyone else, and I don't need religion for now, maybe one day I will.

    LurkInTheDarkon March 14, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Yes Isaac is depressed, and basically this whole album portrays that very clearly. However there is more to it than simply being depressed. Here is my take on things:

    This album was written and recorded in the 1990's which is when the second wave of environmentalism arose in modern history with the discoveries of catastrophic effects humans have on our planet, our home. You can find this reoccurring theme of nature throughout the album.

    "The custom concern for the people Build up the monuments and steeples to wear out our eyes"

    This is a remark to moral ideals societies ascribe to themselves (esp through Christianity and democracy in the US) and it is custom to the human species. Isaac is trying to make sense of this customary concern because we are just as much animals as any of the others, with the exception of the most highly evolved brains. We understand we must have morals but there is no agreement among us on what those morals should be.

    "I get up just about noon My head sends a message for me to reach for my shoes and then walk Got to go to work, got to go to work, got to have a job"

    This describes modern capitalism, the free market hard working american idea. Isaac is obviously depressed and doesnt see the point in going to work but realizes he must keep going even though he might hate his job it is the only way to survive in this country. He feels he doesn't really know what hes working towards or for.

    "Goes through the parking lot fields Didn't see no signs that they will yield and then thought This'll never end, this'll never end, this'll never stop"

    This is where you first see the environmentalist thought expressed. We walk through parking lots all of the time, because humans have developed our environment in that way. The parking lots are supposed to be fields and forests, but we've altered things drastically for our benefit to the point that it feels like there is no turning back. Isaac doesnt like that idea- he realizes we've lost touch with our place in the order of things and yearns for an almost unattainable relationship with Earth once more. It is his instinct.

    "Message read on the bathroom wall Said, "I don't feel at all like I fall"

    Now I originally thought the lyrics was thought not fall, but either way they work work similarly. It's almost suggesting that he (and other people) feel like something is missing, like we are almost putting on an act. we are unsatisfied no matter how hard we try to do the things we are told to do in order to live a happy life- we are deviating from our nature as a species and it feels wrong.

    "And we're losing all touch, losing all touch, building a desert"

    This line reiterates the environmentalism I see so clearly in the song and his others on the album. We are losing touch, as I mentioned before, with our nature and our place within the natural working and order of things. Because we are doing this there are absolute disastrous consequences. We are building deserts with concrete (parking lot fields) and literally with desertification through cutting down forests and our practices of agriculture. (look up desertification in africa) Isaac is torn between the natural and domesticated sides of humanity. He sees (as many others did again starting in the 90's) that we aren't keeping our mother earth in mind and human despair results, mentally and physically.

    Sorry this is so long, but the more I listened to his album his lyrics touched a lot on the natural consequences of modern human societies. He resonates with the environmentalist mind set and is torn. He can't see why we've been behaving as we have for so long even with all the research proving we must change. Thanks for reading if you took the time. It just makes sense to me after listening to his lyrics in other songs too (ie "Talking shit about a pretty sunset, blanketing opinions that i'll probably regret soon" possibly refers partly to the fact polluted air often makes sunsets more vivid bold and red than normal, but with almost all environmental science there is some uncertainty due to the unexplainable scale of our planetary system)

    tue56191on February 21, 2013   Link

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