Things worked out better than we had planned
Capital from boy, woman and man.
We were like ink and paper
Numbers on a calculator
Knew arithmetic so well
Working overtime
Completed what was assigned
We had to multiply ourselves

A bouncing little baby
A shiny copper penny

And he spent himself
Would not listen to us
But when he lost his appetite
He lost his weight in friends

Baby became a fat nickel so fast
Then came puberty
Soon our boy became a million

People loved him so
And helped him to grow
Everyone knew the thing that was best
Of course, he must invest

A penny won't do

But he made us proud
He made us rich
But how were we to know
He's counterfeit

Now everything's ruined

Lyrics submitted by jt

Everything's Ruined song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentIt is interesting to see the way a lot of people have interpreted the song as some sort of analysis of the Russian economy. My only reservations on this interpretation are:

    a) I believe Angel Dust is more of a commentary on the state of the human aspect of society, rather than the political or economic. Mike Patton seems to prefer analysing the absurdity inherent in everyday human life (see the tracks RV, or Kindergarten).

    When asked about how he found the inspiration for the album's lyrical content, Patton was quoted as saying: "I drove around a lot in my Honda. Drove to a real bad area of town, parked and just watched people. Coffee shops and white-trash diner-type places were great for inspiration".

    b) The whole deal with the Russian Army publicity photo is a bit of a faux ami.

    Mike Bordin (the band's drummer) was quoted as saying : "That was a thing the record company really tried to foist on us. They really tried to fuck with our layout, and sent us these fucking pictures of us, just our heads. It was like this, they wanted us to have a poster inside the record consisted of our five heads on a black background, everything was black, the whole inside, and it's like, 'Fuck you.' We're going to make our cover, we made our record, we produced it our way, we wrote our songs, we played them our way, it sounds like us."

    I believe the song is more an indictment of the economy-driven belief, perpetrated on us by the government that life can be broken down into a simplistic equation of "spouse + hard work + building a family = true happiness". The song shows the transition from a couple's initial optimism and belief that they had everything figured out "We were like ink and paper. Numbers on a calculator. Knew arithmetic so well", to a gradual realisation that although their child had made them proud and happy to an extent, it had not left them truly fulfilled: "But he made us proud. He made us rich. But how were we to know. He's counterfeit".

    What I really like about this song is the way in which it continues the theme of how some of society's most serious flaws can be attributed to the vicious cycle (parents forcing their beliefs onto their children) that was initially explored in the track RV.

    The couple in this song chose to follow the equation I mentioned above, and near the end of the song, when they are coming to the realisation that the child will not provide the true fulfillment they craved, they begin to feel that they must now force their beliefs on the child: "Everyone knew the thing that was best. Of course, he must invest. A penny won't do". They want their child to begin a family and continue the cycle, albeit with more investment (I take this to mean more children).

    I may be completely wrong, but to me, this song is another example of how amazingly insightful and intelligent Mike Patton is when it comes to exploring the many ills of today's society.
    altruistic1antithesison January 09, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think the song is about 'stage parents' and the greed of that kind of person, looking at a child as an asset, letting others raise and guide the child, then when the kid's (whatever, appeal) wears off, finding out that they really don't know the kid at all.
    rolekion April 08, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"We were like ink and paper
    Numbers on a calculator
    Knew arithmetic so well
    Working overtime
    Completed what was assigned
    We had to multiply ourselves"

    this describes to me accountants in love who obviously had wealth from saving money so they have the baby but they dont think of it as cute or precious....they think..this will be a marvelous investment and in the end maybe he didnt follow in their follow in their footsteps but he was worth a million to them anyway.......i'd like to hear pattons explanation
    malleyon January 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOr maybe I look into it to much, maybe Mike Patton will look it this and laugh!
    zoolloffon September 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI've loved this album since it was released in 1992 and although I've often replayed it, I only got to thinking about the meaning to this track after seeing FNM at Donington Park in 2009 when I was revising the lyric content of all their albums for a good old sing-along. To be honest, I don't think this track was politically motivated. The lyrics run a parallel between money and procreation for it's entirety and seem to leave a mystery as to why their son was 'counterfeit', especially as just previously he made them 'proud' and 'rich'. So here's my social topic take... finalising with my own political alternative to keep in with the thread-

    1. The offspring of the couple is everything his parents wanted him to be; just like them, smart and ambitious with a need to have a family. Now, whether he has the family or not is the contentious point of the track, --or so I believe. Earlier I said that a parallel was drawn between money and procreation, but also in the lyrics they both stand separate. So, he gave his parents something to be proud of, that might be ambition/money, and the richness? Again, could be ambition/money... or grandchildren. They refer to him as 'a shiny copper penny' but then say 'of course he must invest' -but- 'a penny won't do', so they want him to have a big family--possibly? So as to the counterfeit? Well... he either turns out to be infertile or more likely, just gay. And they just can't settle it with their reputation/family dreams, ergo 'everything's ruined, yea-hare'.

    2. If it is political, I think it has to refer to Cuba being the offspring of the old USSR's dreams of a widened communist family.

    That's my idea anyway. You'll have to excuse me now... I'm off to scratch my feet!!

    crazycogon October 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot entirely sure on this one, but I believe it is about the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, particularly the Stalin era (i.e. he made us proud, and made us rich, but how were we to know he's counterfiet). The rest of the song seems to list soviet communistic ideals (i.e. captial from boy, women and man, working overtime).
    jimbobjoeon May 12, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song can also be looked upon as losing a friend who ditches your friendship for something un-worthy
    but i think jimbobjoe is more likely onto something
    Calculator Joseon May 14, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPersonally, I think it's got to do with the rise and fall of any capitalist economic system... primarily that of the United States - especially since the Soviet Union doesn't have shiny copper pennies or fat nickels...
    gravemistake78on August 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti used this for an english assignment, i feel its about how two rich and greedy people grew up with a planned lifestyle to be rich with great jobs but ended up having a baby which complicated things. The that child grew up to be as heartless and greedy as them.
    Caralho Ricocheton April 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentkick ass song,whatever it means. i think it has something to do with Russia, saying as they danced about in Russian military gear for the video.
    Razormasticatoron May 27, 2004   Link

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