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Set It Off song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentI try not to think as Cornell's lyrics as religious because i read in an interview that he didnt care about religion or something like that. But these lyrics speak a lot of the final days of Christ to me. He had many followers in his lifetime whom he refered to as his sheep. Underneath the arch he found the spark to set this fucker off could be that last night before he was arrested and he spoke with God and now had the spark to set off the way to heaven. Then in the next verse a shot ripped into his heart, i think this could be when he took on all the sin of the world and his heart was no longer pure. He then cried out to God and asked "why have you forsakened me?" (in need of some attention). Then he played his card which was his death, to which Satan expected victory, but lost the hand as he was overcome in Christ's death. The last thing that he said was "it is finished", but Cornell translated it to it just being the beggining "set this fucker off." Then it gets down to the bridge with "Jesus at the back door" Instead of upstairs or downstairs, heaven and hell could be depicted as the front and back door with earth, and what we know being inside. Christ went to hell after his death, before resurection. Jesus refered to himself as "the way, the truth and the life" and therefore, is the direction yearned for. Everything we don't know turns into a revelation with what we don't KNOW being what we might believe, or our faith, which will become a revelation to us all only upon our own demise. So it all adds up inside our heads to believe while we still can because time is waisting, and death will come. And then he finishes to say what he's been saying all along. Set it off, which i believe is his command for everyone to make disciples of the world, calling us his children, significant because we are to view God or Christ as our father.
    ST1on September 22, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIs it MLK or Christ...wrapped in fiction.
    That CC, always an enigma... peeking in the door at church as a kid or something.
    arfarfon June 05, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song I believe was inspired by the 1999 Seattle WTO riots.
    mmbson February 20, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTHis is by far their best song. Audioslave is just as good if not better than RAGE and soundgarden.
    AWOLon May 24, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's funny to hear chris cornell say the f-word. he says it more like fkkr
    laxbosson March 03, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSorry to say but I think most of you are wrong. Cornell is not religious and would never write a song abou christ. MLK is a possibility because of his activism but I don't think that's really it. I think the songs more about the communist revolutionary Che Guevera who helped the Castro's rise to power in Cuba. The rest of the band being of rage against the machine had many strong opinions, and I've heard this is one of the subjects there opinions focus on. The part in the song "Suddenly a shot ripped into his heart" is referring to the fact that Che was executed by gunshot by a Bolivian soldier, mainly to make it look like he was not executed but killed in battle. The soldier was ordered to aim for the heart, hence the phrase in the lyrics. It also mentions his last words which though were "set this fucker off" they were encouraging revolution. Also in his book Guerilla Warfare he spoke about the spark required in a revolution. He is considered a martyr for he was fighting for what he believed in and was rejected for such. The U.S. dislike him and said he brought revolution at gunpoint, but they forget that is also how America gained it's freedom. The anti-government philosophy in rage against the machine also helped contribute to the picking of Guevera.
    So that may be it, if you have other info comment and tell me
    Grungemusician87on March 31, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm starting to have a sneaking suspicion that he is alluding to JFK's speech when he was shot and still continues to give his speech...that is kennedy, right?? XD
    Suhdude69on September 30, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's both MLK and JC. The first verse is the sermon on the mount, and the second is when MLK was shot. Two of the world's greatest leaders, both maliciously killed for their beliefs, martyrs if you will. Definitely one of their best songs.
    SwiftImmortal_1on January 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDefinetely about a crusader who was killed for refusing to give up his beliefs. Even at the end, he won't give up, saying "Set this fucker off." Obviously he feels strong about it, because this is the only Audioslave song there's a cuss word in.
    neongreen44on January 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentare you sure its MLK? nothing about activism
    TheJerkon April 17, 2006   Link

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