"The Laws Have Changed" as written by and Carl Allan Newman....
It was crime at the time but the laws we changed 'em
Though the hero forgot us for another sane one (??)
Introducing for the first time, Phil on the microphone..
sing all hail, what'll be revealed today, when we appeal to the great unknown, from the land

Lyrics submitted by Statbucksbabe28

"The Laws Have Changed" as written by Carl Allan Newman

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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The Laws Have Changed song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThis song is a scathing criticism of American Foreign Policy from 2003 onwards. The “crime” refers to the US breaking just war theory and UN resolutions in the invasion of Iraq. The US set a precedent of preemptive warfare, “changing the laws” as it were, from the post-WWII order that it had previously constructed, bypassing NATO and the UN and instead relying on ‘coalitions of the willing.’ The Pharaoh is President Bush, who along with his staff issued a new National Security Report in 2003 about America’s role in the 21st century (the “great unknown”). This report declared that America would seek to stop threats before they erupted in tragedy. After the many foreign policy failures of the 90’s, (Rwanda, Somalia, Kosovo, etc) the American people were awakened to “cheers after years on the faultline” – that is, years of inaction. The song suggests that this kind of policy of unilaterally going after every threat is unwise, “it will all fail.” The pawn, that is, a nation having almost no military capability, will win over the most powerful nation in the world (the ‘queen’). Now it remains to be seen how the rest of the countries and the United States will react to an emerging world were American unipolarity is not as solid as it was after World War 2.
    Perpetual_Peaceon May 02, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI'm just straight down with this being a song about Exodus; straight up Torah old testament. "Form a line to the throne" can be interpreted as when the Egyptians threw the newborn boys into the Nile, or when Moses and Aaron went and talked to Pharaoh. There's no mistaking the Pharaoh part. I like the song as one about Moses.

    "Great Unknown" is Mount Sinai and the Torah. The Pawn is the Jews, The Queen is the Egyptians. Moses is the hero for hire, but I do agree that the song references that the Hero Journey's always the same. "Blood from bone" the Lamb blood on the door-post before the Tenth Plague, whereafter the Jews ate the lambbone.
    zuckertalerton June 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI believe this song is an obscure piece of poetry, referring to the hopelessness of modern politics and why it is becoming more and more a moral issue. The lyrics reflect the absurdity of "rights", as they can be altered at any time. Hence, "crime at the time, but the laws we changed 'em". The world is more and more chaotic.

    But the lyrics are also about the stupidity of nationalism are pride in the government. "All hail what will be revealed today." The moral aspects of government have been overtaken by the absurdity of nationalism, this ridiculous regional pride. A catchy song, and with lyrics that make you think. Brilliant work.
    nstewart925on July 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPerpetual_Peace, everything you say is right on. There's all kinds of metaphor to be read into the lyrics, but everything you've said is what NP intended with this song. Zuckertalert, all those names and phrases are there, but they're metaphors for Bush's U.S. policies, not simply literal discussions of the bible. NP are definitely literary lyricists and they've got their references down. This song is a straight-up clear indictment and Neko Case sings her lines with such a heartbreaking, yearning, wistful keening that it makes the political emotional -- it almost has that "saudade" of Portuguese fado in a way, as if Bush wiped out everything that came before, leaving us aching with longing for a time so far past that we can't even remember what it was like to feel pride in America... GENIUSES!
    Gillianizmoon March 21, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGreat catchy and clever song. I like Perpetual Peace's interpretation of the lyrics.

    The music video appears to be working on a whole different level though.
    [ youtube.com/… ]
    Anyone able to intrepet the video's meaning, in particluar the captions appearing in the second half?

    Guy hands barman a photo.
    Barman: What you have already lost, consider as totally lost.

    Girl: What are you thinking about?

    Guy: What is this dance called?

    Girl: "The Electric Version"
    Girl: Vade retro! Vade ultra!
    Girl: You'll just have to take it.
    Girl: Take it 'til the end!

    Girls starts a synchronised dance routine with others on dance floor, beckoning Guy to follow. He does.
    drunkon February 16, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is awesome like whoa.
    killstaron October 05, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentso catchy.
    fakeplasticgirlon November 01, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbut what the hell is it about?
    whatslifelikeon January 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI get the feeling sometimes that New Pornographers use their ridiculously catchy pop as a vehicle for uber-subversive obtuse lyrics:

    "alone in the chain it remains to be seen how
    how well you can play when the pawn takes the queen now"

    also the lyrics do sound nice phoenetically, so maybe thats the whole point...
    Yoshiidinoon January 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSounds kinda like a "we will overcome" rebellion type tune with lines like "when the pawn takes a queen" and "awakened to cheers after years on the faultline". Sounds like they're using the Jews building the pyramids for the Pharaoh as the vehicle.
    overkill94on February 07, 2005   Link

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