"The Hand That Feeds" as written by and Trent Reznor....
You're keeping in step
In the line
Got your chin held high and you feel just fine
Because you do
What you're told
But inside your heart it is black and it's hollow and it's cold

Just how deep do you believe?
Will you bite the hand that feeds?
Will you chew until it bleeds?
Can you get up off your knees?
Are you brave enough to see?
Do you want to change it?

What if this whole crusade's
A charade
And behind it all there's a price to be paid
For the blood
On which we dine
Justified in the name of the holy and the divine

Just how deep do you believe?
Will you bite the hand that feeds?
Will you chew until it bleeds?
Can you get up off your knees?
Are you brave enough to see?
Do you want to change it?

So naive
To keep holding on to what I want to believe
I can see
But I keep holding on and on and on and on

Will you bite the hand that feeds you?
Will you stay down on your knees?

Lyrics submitted by Angie Christ

"The Hand That Feeds" as written by Trent Reznor

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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The Hand That Feeds song meanings
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  • +5
    General Commentfor the record... this site is not about your opinions on trent reznor. if you didn't like the song, then don't buy the album.

    now to get back on track. i think this song has maybe a political undertone? how we are basically zombies to our society and just do what we are told. a crusade? a war on oil? when asked if this was a political album trent replied " as in the definition: of or relating to your views about social relationships involving authority or power? then, yes it is."
    sugarrushon March 14, 2005   Link
  • +5
    General Commenti definitely feel that this is a political statement.
    "just how deep do you believe" is talking about how much trust you have in the american government. the next few lines are asking if you are going to stand up and fight against the propaganda being shoved in our throats.

    "what if this whole crusade's
    a charade
    and behind it all there's a price to be paid
    for the blood
    on which we dine
    justified in the name of the holy and the divine" is talking about the war in iraq. all the blood shed in the name of oil, etc... justified in the name of the holy and the divine is about bush's christian bent. i would elaborate, but you know what i'm saying
    mattjohndrowon March 17, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentDoesn't surprise me that you said that. Everybody who visits this website thinks a song is about gay or anal sex.

    I believe the song is about having everything given to you. Almost hand fed. Then realizing it's time to get up and go and do it yourself...

    Brilliant song though
    exthuseon February 24, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentNevermind Fluid's mini-review, he's just one of the cool fans that always hate any new CD any band releases and loves the old days.

    People said they hated NIN's "The Fragile" when it came out.

    You heard the song what? In an absolutely ass bad rip of it from the internet?

    I've listened to "The Line Begins To Blur" and it's a great song. That's all I need to hear until the CD comes out...I'm not going to listen to a shitty quality radio rip and pass judgement on anything.

    But hey, if you really think that way, go check out the song "Hooker With A Penis" from Tool...it kind of sums up you and subsequently what most people think of you.
    ab0veon March 01, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think song is about all the ignorant and blind people who follow the words, and trends, set by those in power today. George Bush, the media, the US, all of that shit. The same talk that's turning men into little emo wusses. Trent's mocking modern society's state and asking the blind if they are actually willing and able to get back up to start again. Think of Morpheus unplugging Neo.
    davemaxon May 10, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI suppose I read too far into it when I assumed it was an attack outright, on society in general.

    you're keeping in step
    in the line
    got your chin held high and you feel just fine
    because you do
    what you're told
    but inside your heart it is black and it's hollow and it's cold

    You're following society's mass plan, you've gotten through highschool, you've gone to college, you're married, you have a job, kids, a house and you're proud of these accomplishments. Not because given a choice you'd have actually aspired to these things but because you've succeeded in the way you were told you were supposed to and gone through life in line without making a fuss. Except, deep inside, you realize that none of these superficial things mean anything and you're simply going through the motions without thinking and for that reason when you look inside you realize your soul, your heart, your whatever is completely empty.

    'just how deep do you believe?
    will you bite the hand that feeds?
    will you chew until it bleeds?
    can you get up off your knees?
    are you brave enough to see?
    do you want to change it?'

    Asking just how attatched are you to the illusion of order society has created. Will you bite the thing, will you dystroy the thing that feeds the very foundation of your world. Are you strong enough to stand up and remove yourself from the hold that it has over you. Are you brave enough to face the fact that it is all just an illusion and even if you do realize this do you want to change it? It would be alot easier to just keep going on in the same fashion you have been your entire life.

    what if this whole crusade's
    a charade
    and behind it all there's a price to be paid
    for the blood
    on which we dine
    justified in the name of the holy and the divine

    Along the same lines as the first paragraph except the question is termed in frames of religion.

    so naive
    to keep holding on to what I want to believe
    i can see
    but i keep holding on and on and on and on

    Once again its easier just to keep believing in the legitimacy of the society we have created and to keep holding on and on and on even though deep down we know that it's superficial and that its pointless.

    Maybe I'm wrong but hey it's what I want to believe ;)
    ane8912on March 04, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentPeople are dominated by social structure, culture and society.
    The Hand That Feeds questions whether you should follow the rules of society for a comfortable life and continue believing the lies which control our culture or rebel and live by your own means.
    lokicannonon May 09, 2012   Link
  • +2
    My OpinionI genuinely believe the song is more about religion than politics. Look at all of the religious references in there ("Get up off your knees," "What if this whole crusade is a big charade," "Just how deep do you believe?", "Justified in the name of the holy and the divine,"). If it was political, I don't think it would reference stereotypical Christianity so much (unless he wished to portray politics as a religion).

    That being said, I believe the song is about following a religion blindly (which the meaning of the word "blindly" can be spun off into an entirely new debate). Regardless of how you define it, the song is speaking to those who fall into step with their religion, put on their smile, but continue to remain broken and empty, placing responsibility for life and circumstance solely on the shoulders of a deity who claims to be in control of your life. The song is a challenge to those to see past their indoctrination and their blindness to question their belief system, and follow what they can see and know to be true.

    Coming from somebody with a long history in Christianity, stepping away from that was the most frightening, challenging experiences of my life. But it is so worth it. I've taken responsibility for my own life, I choose happiness, and my life has been so much better because of it.
    Mikrakenon January 02, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General Commentfuck the disbelievers, trent is a god. he got more shit in 1999 for the fagile which to this day is one of the best albums of all fucking time. he was one of the few bright stars in the othewise darkskies that were the nineties. every truly great artist has to evolve otherwise they become stagnet and formulaic. after the success of downward spiral he changed. true fans need not doubt the album will be good. abd to the little fuck that said he listned to it once fuck man it a long time to get the full beauty of each nin song
    guyinhaton March 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTrent Reznor...what a character. He must be crazy...oh, he must have lost his touch...oh, no, maybe, just maybe, he put this song on the album for a reason. Maybe he made the whole Halo 18 album...oh what is it called?...thats right, The Hand That Feeds, for a reason. Its the first single off of WITH TEETH, thats right, for a reason. If you guys dont like it...dont buy the album. It is that simple.

    I will admit, I have heard this song...I will admit that it kinda took me off guard when I first heard it. Someone stated above that(Im paraphrasing) this song is simple. Everything rhymes with "bee" or something of that nature. Who cares. He got his point across. He is, afterall, finding himself through his music, and finding oneself is getting down to the most simple questions. Why cant inspiration be simple as well?

    Ive listened to pretty much anything that Trent has offered us, if I find a song that strikes me as having some personal relation to my life...I find it fascinating. Some I have came across and had no interest in when I first heard them. On a second listen, perhaps months or even years down the road, I found a place for them in my life, into my frame of mind. That is what music is, isnt it...an expression? Someone handing something to you and saying "here you go, do what you want with it". Trent never alludes to us what his music is about, probably never will. He expects us to find our own meaning. Do you think he really cares that you dont like his music? There are obviously alot of people that do like it considering the response on this forum. Well maybe not this song in particular. But in time I am sure The Hand That Feeds will be better reguarded, you know, when it is actually released.

    Ive babbled on long enough.

    If you dont like it then dont listen to it.

    Oh, by the way...I hate that painting you did in your high school art class. It really sucks. Just thought you should know since we are on a critics forum...oh wait, nevermind, were not.

    P.S. Frank, if you are going to insult, for trents sake at least be orignal. dumbass.
    armin9162on March 17, 2005   Link

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