"At the Bottom of Everything" as written by and Oberst....
We must talk on every telephone
Get eaten off the web
We must rip out all the epilogues
From the books that we have read
And to the face of every criminal
Strapped firmly to a chair
We must stare, we must stare, we must stare

We must take all of the medicine
Too expensive now to sell
Set fire to the preacher
Who is promising us hell
And in the ear of every anarchist
That sleeps but doesn't dream
We must sing, we must sing, we must sing

While my mother waters plants
My father loads his gun
He says death will give us back to god
Just like the setting sun
Its return to the lonesome ocean

And then they splashed into the deep blue sea
It was a wonderful splash

We must blend into the choir
Sing a static with the whole
We must memorize nine numbers
And deny we have a soul
And in this endless race for property
And privilege to be one
We must run, we must run, we must run

We must hang up in the belfry
Where the bats and moonlight laugh
We must stare into a crystal ball
And only see the past
And into the caverns of tomorrow
With just our flashlights and our love
We must plunge, we must plunge, we must plunge
And then we'll get down there
Way down to the very bottom of everything
And then we'll see it, we'll see it, we'll see it

Oh my mornings coming back
The whole world's waking up
This city bus is swimming past
I'm happy just because
I found out that I am really no one

Lyrics submitted by Hunter, edited by sarahbelum, Cafehollander

"At the Bottom of Everything" as written by Conor Oberst

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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At the Bottom of Everything song meanings
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  • -2
    General CommentI think when the guy says "we're going to a birthday party" that isn't happening in real life. I think it means that the woman is in heaven. Since the song later describes death as going back to God, then it makes sense that death would be called a birthday party--because at your birth you are leaving God and at death you are going back to Him so it's two sides of the same coin. And it's also like going to your birthday party where everyone loves you because God loves you more than anyone.
    I can see how all the verys could sound sarcastic but I don't think that's necessarily true. I might say something like "happy birthday, darling! We love you very very very very very very very much!" to my dogs or one of my friends when I'm being silly but I sort of mean it at the same time even though I'm being silly and I certainly don't mean the opposite is true.
    I think different people will have different reactions to the story in terms of taking it seriously--it is definitely a silly and creepy story in that it portrays death as being awesome. I think a person's reaction to the story has to do with their religious beliefs and how easy it is for them to see something that is disturbing as beautiful and touching at the same time.
    I've only heard the song a few times, but the contradictions in the lyrics could just be because the song is describing life. The right way to live life is just to throw yourself into it whether you're doing good things like watering plants and singing into the ears of anarchists who don't dream and plunging into the caverns of the future, or bad things like taking too much medicine and trying to become rich and powerful.
    (Incidentally, it actually didn't occur to me until I read other people's comments that the choir thing sounds negative because I love choral singing.)
    mockingsmileon January 02, 2008   Link

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