Come what may
Lay your eggs where it's warm
We come here to swarm
Come by sea
Swarm like smoke in the dawn
We were the young
We were the swarm

Midges and moths
Cut from a cloth
We were the young
We were the swarm

Flailing fetal fleas
Feeding from the arms of the master
Burrow into me
And this is sure to misspell disaster
Oh and the young in the larval stage
Orchestrating plays
In vestments of translucent alabaster

So they took me to the hospital
They put my body through a scan
What they saw there would impress them all
For inside me grows a man
Who speaks with perfect diction
As he orders my eviction
As he acts with more conviction
Than I

Oh, burrow into me
This is sure to misspell disaster
Oh, burrow into me
You're feeding from the arms of the master

[Repeat: x3]
We were the young
We were the swarm
We were the young

Come what may
Come what may

Lyrics submitted by thriggle

"Masterswarm" as written by Andrew Wegman Bird

Lyrics © Wixen Music Publishing

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Masterswarm song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentAt first I thought there was a parasitic undertone to this entire song, but after closer examination I don't think that's the case. Radiolarians are not parasitic at all (they muck up the ocean floor). It's worth noting that while the word "midge" today refers to small parasitic flies, up until the 1500s the word referred to cloth-eating moth larvae. Although fleas are mentioned, they are "fetal," and flea larvae do not drink blood.

    Rather than a song being about leeching and parasitism, the underlying message seems to be one of potential for change. It's about youth, change, and uncertainty. The singer is changing into something stronger (someone who "speaks with perfect diction"), whether he likes it or not.

    "This is sure to misspell disaster" - Delightful wordplay. Certainly, if something "spells disaster" it's going to be bad, but what if something misspells disaster? It's dubiously ominous, and only adds to the song's sense of uncertainty regarding the future.
    thriggleon December 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentRandom thought--->

    If something is sure to miss-spell disaster \ disastre wouldn't that imply he means the opposite of disaster.
    If disaster is miss-spelled than it by the very act of misspelling it, it would then NOT be a disaster....
    Bug2on January 03, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentto add to or further develop thriggle's comments...
    I had similar ideas about the immigration and seeing his ancestors as a swarm of life taking over land. I think you could be even more macroscopic and apply it to the planet instead of just America. Are we not parasites living off the planet? Spreading out like a slow moving swarm throughout history.

    I think the way the song is divided is interesting too. The first section introducing the swarm gives way to a more personal story. This is the story of one of the members of the swarm. I agree that the song is about individual change. As each member of the swarm does before him, he grows into a man, no longer fetal, and in a sense this new stronger thing destroys the old larval form. "As he orders my eviction"

    or something like that.
    chuckletson September 17, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt took such a long time but Noble Beast eventually grew on me and this, amongst Not A Robot, Anonanimal & Souverian, is one of my favourites.
    He's an incredible lyricist, obviously. Always manages to create about ten layers of meaning for me. I love the line "this is sure to misspell disaster" but I love this song mostly for the actual music. Perfect.
    pizzatarianon February 26, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI disagree with many of these interpretations, though, open to any input.. I believe its referring to a society where what we believe is so influenced by the "Master" that we are as larvae or fleas that only live off of the host of another without the ability to survive on our own beliefs. "swarm like smoke in the dawn" you've heard the saying "like a moth to a flame". We are drawn to one that offers comfort and warmth not knowing we are losing our independant thinking. "misspell disaster".. I was raised in a very religious home where if you were to stray from a "right wing" way of thinking, we were doomed to disaster, the obvious choice would be to conform. This "master" I believe is similar to what's written in our Constitution with all of it's flaws. We have choices and this song is speaking very much about how we are so influenced by the prejudices around us.

    "inside me grows a man" is obviously his soul. This means I am my own person and don't have to be led by a society which is flawed and corrupt. Yes, radiolarians is all about organisms that are integrated and many different forms all rolled into one, so I believe with others when this speaks of the diversity in society. It's all political though it should be completely natural to cohabitate.
    M1975on October 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWith a more macroscopic interpretation, the song's subject could be America, the land of immigrants. Particularly "come by sea / swarm like smoke in the dawn." Naturally, there is nothing anti-immigrant to this interpretation; the reference to the swarm is inclusive and in the past-tense (*we* were the swarm) perhaps offering a reproach to those who would discriminate against immigrants although they themselves are the descendants of immigrants. Furthermore, the swarm turns out to not be parasitic (as I noted above), but developmental: the final product of these larval swarms is a man "who speaks with perfect diction" and "acts with more conviction"... in other words, the swarm eventually improves upon the host.

    So if the song is about immigration, the swarm represents the people who flock to America's harbors (I can see the Statue of Liberty welcoming them with the opening words: "come what may") and ultimately improve upon her being.

    I also want to point out the wordplay in the line "in vestments of translucent alabaster." Yes, the skin ("vestments") of larvae is like translucent alabaster. But the line can also be read as "investments of translucent alabaster," which ties in nicely to the idea of the swarm developing into something better than the host.
    thriggleon December 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis part always gives me chills (in the best possible way):

    so they took me to the hospital
    they put my body through a scan
    what they saw there would impress them all
    for inside me grows a man
    who speaks with perfect diction
    as he orders my eviction
    as he acts with more conviction
    than I

    It reminds me of that feeling of helplessness you get in nightmares. I feel like it's a way of worrying that you're not doing enough with your life (you're not young any more, perhaps), that someone who has taken a backseat up until now wants a chance because you're useless.
    wolbyon February 13, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationTo me this seems to be about conception and pregnancy?
    "lay your eggs where it's warm"- the warmth and comfort the ovaries provide to eggs, or the soft and warm uterus where the zygote will form.

    "we come here to swarm
    come by sea
    swarm like smoke in the dawn"- possibly sperm. they come in swarms, in fluid like a wave? And expand in the space they are given (disperse in the vagina like smoke in the air)

    "flailing fetal fleas
    feeding from the arms of the master
    burrow into me
    and this is sure to misspell disaster
    Oh and the young in the larval stage
    orchestrating plays
    in vestments of translucent alabaster"- Burrowing into the uterine lining, being nervous about the 'disaster' that could come of this, and fetuses of course leech and feed off of their master

    "so they took me to the hospital
    they put my body through a scan
    what they saw there would impress them all
    for inside me grows a man
    who speaks with perfect diction
    as he orders my eviction"- a sonogram possibly, finding a 'man' growing inside the womb
    and he is almost developed enough to fend for himself without the comfort of the womb

    tinytownnon January 18, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe Intro is about how we were all cut from a cloth. cloned.

    The various referrences to insects and swarms is about The Deus Ex Machina that Neo negotiated with (feeding from the arms of the master). We were literally all in the hands of Neo since he bought us more time to be posting song meanings.

    We were the young. being mass produced at the time of Revolutions.
    Its a statement that we owe our lives to neo since we were the collective that bargained survival for peace.
    zepedachemicalon May 02, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love it when he starts the verse "So they took me to the hospital..." It's a very coherent verse, and it's different than his sort of unintelligible babble. I love his crazy lyrics, but this just stands out so well because of the sharp contrast.
    chopperjon May 04, 2011   Link

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