Lyric discussion by jonesth 

When I first heard this song in late September 2001, I was stunned by how much its lyrics evoked the WTC attack. Obviously Tweedy had written it beforehand, but I wonder what he meant by this song. I'm inclined to understand it, like "Ashes of American Flags," as a lament for a materialistic, decadent, and unholy society. Amid collapsed skyscrapers (perhaps metaphorical for economic markets) and human sorrow, the "bitter melodies" have a notable effect: "turning your orbit around." This, I think, turns out to be much more than "throwing you for a loop." The key is the image of "God's money," which scorns the fallen monuments to human money. "All of God's money" is not in the tall buildings which house investment banks and law firms, but in "our love," which is really "all we have" anyway. The images of sun and stars convey the ephemeral and precious nature of life. There are the lines, "You were right about the stars, each one is a setting sun," depicting each of us -- "everyone is a burning sun" -- in imminent demise. I understand this part in a positive way: while our existence is brief, it is also passionate and glorious.

Jesus Etc sung by the crowd at Mass MoCA, with Tweedy joining in at the end:

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