"Second Best" as written by and Kevin Neil/robertson Hearn....
Everything's a lie
We're all gonna die
Before we say goodbye
Let's attack

I admit it's bleak
But I give it a week
Until our friends the meek
Give it back

Is it true?
Well it's true enough I guess
Join the chorus of the second best
Second best
Second best

What's left of you that's real?
A mutated ideal
With limited appeal, I suggest
If winning is an art
Then it's drawn us apart
When you erased your heart and beat your chest

Is it you?
Well it's you enough I guess
You're an angel in a see-through dress


Perhaps it's just as well
That I still look like hell
At least the world can tell us apart

Is it true?
Yes it's true enough I guess
Come join the chorus of the unimpressed


Lyrics submitted by neko-chan

"Second Best" as written by Kevin Hearn Ed Robertson

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Second Best song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentIsn't the line, "If winning is an art"?
    Kyron April 13, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song sounds like such a joke at first, but I think it's meant to be a Canadian's perspective on the whole situation with Bush and Iraq and the UN and all that fun stuff. Basically it says that if being "best" means being like the US has been lately--unilateral, and basically just a big bully-- they prefer to be second.

    And yes, Kyr, I just checked the liner notes and it is "winning."
    gravity_defianton April 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthat so fits with "perhaps it's just as well / that i still look like hell / at least the world can tell us apart"
    wrionon June 04, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti have the strangest feeling that this is more of a prophecy than a little history. who wants to bet that Iraq will only stay under the new government we're putting up for a week? (But I give it a week/Until our friends the meek give it back)
    neko-chanon June 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's always someone better. Sometimes it's better to settle for second best.
    zBladeon October 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with zBlade. This song doesnt have to be about politcs. I think it is just about knowing where you are in life and being content with it. Sure you might not be first but heey. second aint bad either, is it?
    But also ive said it before and i'll say it again. BNL songs have so many different meaning it could be both.
    Thanksthatwuzfunon January 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentConsidering that E2E has other politically themed songs, the "Canadian perspective" interpretation is very sound. No doubt listeners may relate to it in more abstract ways, but the war is very likely the inspiration.
    truefictionon April 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am really sick of people reading the whole political thing into every single one of BNL's songs. So they spoke out against Iraq a little bit...does that mean that we have to retroactively interpret EVERY song they wrote through that lens? Give me one break.
    trippstclaireon February 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI know this song has been said by BNL to be about the war. This album was their most politically motivated album and they don't apologize for it.

    This is pretty much about the US. About how they are the best and they are letting everyone know it by beating their chest and attacking. The rest of the world isn't impressed by their demonstration.

    "If winning is an art
    Then it's drawn us apart
    When you erased your heart and beat your chest"

    Is talking about the rift in relations between the US and Canada because the US seemed to stop caring about people and instead insists of winning to prove their superiority.
    Zamrodon February 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with the interpretation that this song is about the war. And even beyond that, it is about the relationship between the United States and Canada. It's basically Canada saying, "your ideals have changed -- and not for the better. We're happy we're not you".

    America's "ideals" used to be that of laissez faire, keeping out of foreign issues. Even before that, however, the US was known for "manifest destiny", AKA spreading democracy (which is apparently what we're trying to do in Iraq?). A popular image portraying manifest destiny is seen in a painting by John Gast, showing an angel (democracy) flying west across the land (spreading democracy). The image can be seen here:


    This goes well with the line
    "You're an angel in a see-through dress"

    Overall, a very interesting song. Very true, though. A lot of people see Canada as "second best" to the United States, but in reality, they have a lot less crap to deal with than we do. "Sometimes it's better to be second best", indeed.
    motlehhon January 05, 2008   Link

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