I think I know what you mean but watch what you say
'Cause they'll be trying to knock you down in some way
Sometimes it feels like the world is falling asleep
How do you wake someone up from inside a dream?

You mind would wander and search for its place in the night
Your body followed this feeling like following light
Once that your music was born it followed you 'round
And It gave you activities meaning and let you be loud

You're sad but you smiled
Its not in your eyes
Your eyeballs don't change
It's the muscles around your eyes

An egg to fertilize
A pulse to stabilize
A body to deodorize
A life to scrutinize
A child to criticize
Young adults to modernize
Citizens to terrorize
Generations to desensitize

You're dreams are sweet and obsessed
And you're overworked
You're over taken by visions of being overlooked
I'm disappointed would the I.D.I.P.P be
To see such our power in our hands all wasted on greed

Am I a prisoner to instincts
Or do my thoughts just live as free
And detached as boats to the dock?

Just like music was born
And detached from your heart
Is your free time to free minds
Or for falling apart?

Night after night
You turn off the light
You don't fall asleep
Right away
Are we, are we done?

A desk to organize
A product to advertise
A market to monopolize
Movie stars you idolize
News to scandalize
Enemies to neutralize
No time to apologize
Fury to tranquilize
Weapons to synchronize
Cities to vapor-I

Lyrics submitted by h00ktup, edited by LoneDepth, DsquareD, aiden10171

"Ize of the World" as written by Julian Casablancas

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Ize of the World song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentI agree that this song is, generally speaking, a comment on modern society, but there's so much more here. Lyrically, this is by far the best Strokes album, and a lot of the themes that are carried through the entire album are well represented in Ize of the World, the most important of those being the ultimate question...what is the meaning of life? As human beings, we are the strangest kind of animal, one capable of incredibley complex reasoning. But we are animals none the less. Are we slaves to our instincts? Absolutely...the need to survive and procreate dominates almost every decision we make, intentionally or not. Unlike other animals, however, we can rise above these instincts, put others ahead of ourselves, and act out of compassion instead of need. So where does this leave us? In a very messy situation, one we are smart enough to build WMD's, but still stupid enough to think we actually need them. "Are we done?" Alright, we've created all this wonderful technology, this mega-conglomerate society. We can save lives and we can take them away. Now what? Are we capable of moving beyond our base animal instincts to realize our full potential? Or will we blow ourselves up first? I liked the sound of the last line before I read these lyrics, and now I LOVE the last line. Vapori-...

    ...no, thats not the government censoring him.
    xrainking12on January 14, 2006   Link
  • +5
    My InterpretationOkay, I'm really into this song, and I've spent a lot of time breaking down poetry for English classes, so I'm gonna try that same approach I use in class with this song: verse by verse. Here goes:

    I think I know what you mean but watch what you say
    'cause they'll be trying to knock you down in some way.
    Sometimes it feels like the world is falling asleep.
    How do you wake someone up from inside a dream?
    (Translation: It starts off like he's talking to you, the listener, but we don't know what the listener has said. The listener could have said two things: that they don't like the greedy state of the world they live in, or that they're trying to make it to the top of that world. Either way, they should watch what they say, because either statement could make enemies. The last two lines of this verse are either directed at the listener ("how do I wake you up from this wrong mentality?") or commiserating with the listener ("how do we stop this? how do we reach people and get them to change?").)

    Your mind would wander and search
    For its place in the night.
    Your body followed this feeling like following light.
    Once that your music was born it followed you 'round
    and then it gave your activities meaning
    and let you be loud.
    (Translation: You're lost, searching for your place in the world, and this feeling (which could be ambition to make it big by society's norms, or could be the firm rejection of them and a desire for something with more meaning) has determined everything in your life up until now, given you a reason and a voice.)

    You're sad but you smile.
    It's not in your eyes. Your eyeballs don't change.
    It's the muscles around your eyes.
    (Translation: This one is complicated. Note the play on words: ize and eyes. Replace "eyes" with "ize" and it's telling you, basically, the smile isn't in your "ize." There's no happiness in the "ize"--the "ize" being explained in the next verse.)

    An egg to fertilize,
    A pulse to stabilize,
    A body to deodorize,
    A life to scrutinize,
    A child to criticize,
    Young adults to modernize,
    Citizens to terrorize,
    Generations to desensitize.
    (Translation: "Ize" is explained through examples. "Ize" is evidently all the things you do because of society's expectations. The first three are having children, work ("a pulse to stabilize" being a specific type of work, that of a doctor), and hygine--in other words, your physical appearance. The second three are results of worrying about not meeting those expectations: self scrutiny, taking it out on others (that child you had), and trying to make others match the societal norms you've been assimilated into. The last two are the effects of buying into societal expectations and forcing them on others: terrorizing other people (they, too, are going to go through that emptiness and self-scrutiny, just the same as you), and desensitizing entire generations, making them merge in an unfeeling capitalistic mass.)

    Your dreams are sweet and obsessed
    and you're overworked.
    You're overtaken by visions of being overlooked.
    How disappointed would D.(ead) I.(dealistic) D.(esperate)
    I.(nventor) P.(ioneer) P.(hilosophers) be
    to see such power in our hands all wasted on greed?
    I am a prisoner to instincts or do my thoughts just live
    as free and detached as boats to the dock?
    Just like when music was born
    and detached from your heart.
    Is your free time to free minds or for falling apart?
    (Translation: You dream of, obsess about, wanting to escape it all--but you're focused on the real world, on your job which overworks you, on your concerns about not being important to others. The lyrics continue to say the philosophers would be disappointed to see where all our potential has gone, how we waste our time and resources on greed and accumulation of material goods--it's like "Fight Club": "Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need." Next the lyrics question, can I control this need to keep working, keep accumulating, keep assimilating? Is it something built into me, or are my thoughts not inherently part of who I am? The writer compares this to creating music and, once a song is completed, how it becomes its own entity, free and detached from you: perhaps thoughts are like that too. That would mean that what you've thought in the past is no longer part of you: you can change. Then it asks, so, what are you doing with your time, anyways? Are you freeing your mind--other minds as well--or are you just dwelling in your own misery?)

    Night after night you turn out the light.
    You don't fall asleep right away.
    "Are we...are we done?"
    A desk to organize,
    A product to advertise,
    A market to monopolize,
    Movie stars to idolize,
    Leaders to scandalize,
    Enemies to neutralize,
    No time to apologize,
    Fury to tranquilize,
    Weapons to synchronize,
    Cities to vaporize.
    (Translation: Night after night, as you're falling asleep, you feel like something is missing, hence the "are we done?" It's just like the title of their album: "Is This It?" It's a lamentation of disappointment. The end chorus builds up to show what the result of this kind of pointless life, of so many living these pointless lives, is: destruction. You go from organizing your desk, to advertising, from advertising to becoming a big-shot monopolizing the market. Next you try to climb the ladder of success, but the success in this kind of world isn't really success at all, it's just gaining more of that crap you don't need. So you idolize movie stars, try to copy them and build up to their status. Maybe you'll make it far enough to be a leader, and scandalize other leaders, pushing them back down the ladder so you reach higher to the top. What then? War--"enemies to neutralize . . . weapons to synchronize . . . cities to vaporize." In the end, the ultimate pinnacle of the greed you try to achieve is the end of the world, and yourself, hence the singer being cut off at the end.)

    I think the title itself also has some wordplay: "Ize of the World," again, you can plug in "Eyes of the World" and it sounds the same but has a different meaning: how do you see the world? How does the world see you? How does it see itself? Eyes allow us to perceive. Are your eyes blind to the way the world is? Are all the eyes in the world blind to it?

    Anyways, that's what I get out of it. Sorry if that was too long.
    maybefalseon June 17, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentYou know, I went off on such a tangent there I forgot to mention the most important part..."Is your free time to free minds or for falling apart?" Its the other half of this song...what can I do to fix the problems that society has created? "How do you wake someone up from inside a dream?" And I like the falling apart part, because to me it means that if you focus your energies inward, and not outward to share what you know with other people, you will ultimately come up empty.
    xrainking12on January 14, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentdoes anyone find the song just amazingly catchy im dacning in my head when i hear this song it just is soooooo catchy i cant stop listening to it
    colston03on December 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell if you add the last line to the title of the song you get,
    'Cities to vaporize of the world'
    I think the guys are clever!
    ladyfromaboveon December 14, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't know if you guys noticed but he doesn't say "desensitize" completely. He cuts it off like "vaporize." Any theories on this?
    Bucketheadrockson June 14, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti seriously like the way Jules cuts off what he's saying. Like he's being silenced at that exact moment because of govermental censorship ;p

    Awesome song though.....i'm never good with deciphiring songs but it is all about political views and probbaly the patriot actso to speak and how how media controls everything we think and do and respect...im most likely wrong so please correct meh ;p
    S0nlxaftrsh0ckon December 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Cities to vaporize of the world"

    That's not really very grammatical. Couldn't "Ize of the World" just be a reference to all the different "...ize" words in the song, rather than the actual last line? I think the complete last line would simply be:

    Cities to vaporize

    I love the first two lines (which seem to be wrong above - word missing?) This album has quite a few good opening lines.
    caitsith01on December 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHmm, I think it's just a song about the world and the modern age. Appart from being their best song and having a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l guitar solo and ace lyrics.
    Puffskeinon December 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMedia censoring and human inteferance. Thats what it seems like.
    Chester Sydelon December 22, 2005   Link

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