O Superman. O judge. O Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad.
O Superman. O judge. O Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad.
Hi. I'm not home right now. But if you want to leave a
message, just start talking at the sound of the tone.
Hello? This is your Mother. Are you there? Are you
coming home?
Hello? Is anybody home? Well, you don't know me,
but I know you.
And I've got a message to give to you.
Here come the planes.
So you better get ready. Ready to go. You can come
as you are, but pay as you go. Pay as you go.

And I said: OK. Who is this really? And the voice said:
This is the hand, the hand that takes. This is the
hand, the hand that takes.
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
Here come the planes.
They're American planes. Made in America.
Smoking or non-smoking?
And the voice said: Neither snow nor rain nor gloom
of night shall stay these couriers from the swift
completion of their appointed rounds.

'Cause when love is gone, there's always justice.
And when justice is gone, there's always force.
And when force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi Mom!

So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. So hold me,
Mom, in your long arms.
In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms.
In your arms.
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
Your petrochemical arms. Your military arms.
In your electronic arms.


Lyrics submitted by SongMeanings, edited by alloowishus

O Superman song meanings
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    My InterpretationAnything we should know about your change? Which starts with the lines "O Sovereign, O Judge, O Father"

    Anderson has substituted Sovereign with Superman, which could mean that the Sovereign ruler (today it would be a politician or a corporate leader) is considered better than the commoner, of a higher class and genetic breeding.

    Mom and Dad in replace of Father, I think refers to the political speech writing habit of breaking everything down to an infantile level to appeal to our emotional inner child. Therefore, "Mom and Dad" is always used instead of the more formal "Mother and Father". This song is a conversation between an infant and it's "Mom", but the infant could be actually an infantile adult. More on that later.

    "Hi. I'm not home right now. But if you want to leave a
    message, just start talking at the sound of the tone."

    This is also very prescient today because nobody actually answers their phone anymore. In the early 80s, the innovation was answering machines today, it is smartphones which tell us who is calling. This is about communication technology and the tendency to seperate human beings and detach from emotional contact.

    "Hello? This is your Mother. Are you there? Are you
    coming home?
    Hello? Is anybody home? Well, you don't know me,
    but I know you."

    At first this appears to the narrator's mother calling, but then it is revealed it is not ("you don't know me"). The voice changes from a pleasant "Mom" sounding voice to a more serious, sinister tone. This I believe is the omnipresent technological "Mom" that surrounds us, google, etc. Google, Amazon and others know us, more than we care to admit or even have knowledge of. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence technology it will soon be difficult to tell the difference between a human and a machine on the phone.

    "And I've got a message to give to you.
    Here come the planes.
    So you better get ready. Ready to go. You can come
    as you are, but pay as you go. Pay as you go."

    This is somewhat unclear, this is alluding to war, and the inevitability of it. "Come as you are but pay as you go", is a reference to capitalism, were are born "as we are" but we must pay our way through life in order to survive. "Mom" (i.e. the state) is gently telling us about the impending doom that is coming. There is no avoiding it, it is best to accept it.

    So now the narrator is getting confused, who this strange person/thing on the phone? "Mom" stays cryptic, and continues with it's riddle.

    "And I said: OK. Who is this really? And the voice said:
    This is the hand, the hand that takes. This is the
    hand, the hand that takes.
    This is the hand, the hand that takes.
    Here come the planes.
    They're American planes. Made in America.
    Smoking or non-smoking?"

    So it is the hand that takes, it is omnipotent and takes, it takes lives, takes money, takes love, whatever it needs. ANd it is continually reminding of the planes, the impending doom that cannot be avoided. But as a measure of reassurance, the planes are made in America, whether warplanes (or in the case of 9/11) passenger planes. This is mean to appease the narrator and lull them into a false sense of security, reminds me of sedating the child before administering the cyanide pill. Creepy!

    " Neither snow nor rain nor gloom
    of night shall stay these couriers from the swift
    completion of their appointed rounds."

    This is the motto of the U.S. postal service, which apparently originated in ancient Persia. It seems that communication and it's integral part of human society has existed for a long, long time. Today, substitute postal service, which internet packet transmissions, but it's the same idea. And today it is all run by machines, much like "Mom".

    "'Cause when love is gone, there's always justice.
    And when justice is gone, there's always force.
    And when force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi Mom!"


    This is a breakdown of the the various levels of our society, the highest being love, below which there is justice, below that there is brute force (primitive) and below that is "Mom", which is the state, google etc. Mom will always be there, even when war defeats us.

    "So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. So hold me,
    Mom, in your long arms.
    In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms.
    In your arms.
    So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
    Your petrochemical arms. Your military arms.
    In your electronic arms."

    So now the narrator is giving in, they are letting go of having warmth or love from their biological mother (or broadly humanity), they are relinquishing themselves to the electronic petrochemical state. The "Long Arms" refers to long reach of the technology which envelopes us, penetrates all aspects of our lives.

    The song fades out with a creepy synth melody, gone are the pretty childlike melodies from earlier in the song, now the end is nigh and "Mom" is wrapping us in here electronic arms as we are sung a lullaby of that gently rocks us into oblivion. We have been absorbed into the machine.
    alloowishuson September 17, 2014   Link

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