What does Radioactive mean?

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Imagine Dragons: Radioactive Meaning


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Song Released: 2012

Radioactive Lyrics

I'm waking up to ash and dust
I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
I'm breathing in the chemicals
I'm breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
This is it, the apocalypse

I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones


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    Feb 20th, 2013 2:17am report

    I love the political undertones of this song. Just think about the symbolism to current events in the following music video.

    "Waking Up" to the actions, and defeating a certain person in a position of power... "Painted RED, to fit right in..." (Communist).

    It's a song about David vs. Goliath, the People vs. Tyrannical Government. It's a song about the INDIVIDUAL acting against "the system" to restore FREEDOM to those people in captivity of an ever-expanding government (the average American). The band is beating the drum of resistance...

    Goliath (Gov) crushes all opposition until a unique individual utilizes the full power of the Individual's hand to defeat the multiple levels of defense. This could be interpreted as voting, or more forceful measures if constitutional Rights are being violated.

    If you haven't been paying attention the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Amendments of the Constitution are under blatant attack from certain politicians right now...

    I don't think that there is any coincidence that this band, and this song specifically is gaining popularity right now... This song is a lot deeper than the catchy beat.


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    Apr 25th, 2013 4:36am report

    I personally believe this is an anti NWO song.

    I'm waking up to ash and dust,
    I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
    He's realizing that the old world as he knew it is no more and he has just been slaving away

    I'm breathing in, the chemicals.
    He's taking in the chemicals and poisons put in the air and food.

    I'm breaking in, shaping up, checking out on the prison bus.
    He realizes he is part of the prison planet.

    This is it, the apocalypse
    NWO take over

    I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones.
    Enough to make my systems blow.
    He's seeing the truth and has the internal instinct to tell him that something isn't right, and it makes his emotions explode.

    Welcome to the new age, to the new age.
    The age of the NWO

    Whoa, whoa, radioactive, radioactive
    Smalls doses of radiation won't harm you while large amounts can kill the larger body. Same with people. One person can't do much to a larger organization but a group of people can.

    I raise my flags, don my clothes
    He has picked his side to fight on.

    Its a revolution I suppose.
    He is beginning the fight against tyranny with the other "awake" people

    We'll paint it red, to fit right in, whoa
    They will fight fire with fire. The NWO sheds blood and so will they.

    All systems go, sun hasn't died.
    Deep in my bones, straight from inside.
    The revolution is on, hope hasn't died. He feels from inside that there is still hope.

    Any opinions?


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    Jun 5th, 2013 6:13pm report

    Woah, woah, woah
    Woah, woah, woah
    Woah, woah, woah

    I'm waking up to ash and dust
    -Waking up to war, pollution, general destruction of the planet

    I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
    -Radiation has a scent of metal. Also, he sweating his rust. His machine like body due to repetitive, mundane work. Similar to how a robot continoulsy works. The sweating of a body that's been transformed by technology. due to possible ingested and inhaled pollutants and chemicals.

    I'm breathing in the chemicals
    - The general pollution and chemicals released in the air by the industrialized way of life. The machines, cars, factories, etc.

    I'm breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
    -Possible workday. The feeling of being in prison on a crowded bus everyday, forced to go to work to live. To survive.

    This is it, the apocalypse
    -Humanity is on a collision course with unpreventable near apocalypse

    I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
    Enough to make my systems blow
    -He feels the downward spiral of earth and humanity; it's overwhelming

    Welcome to the new age, to the new age
    Welcome to the new age, to the new age
    Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, I'm radioactive, radioactive
    Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, I'm radioactive, radioactive
    -The human body absorbs radiation and the body itself becomes radioactive. The more nuclear power plants and radiation released into the air, the more the body absorbs. The sun also emits radiation; however, I think he is referring to man made radiation.

    I raise my flags, dye my clothes
    It's a revolution, I suppose
    We're painted red to fit right in
    -He gives up, there's no need to fight the system, it will always win. Hes painted red to fit in. The world and humanity are slowly bleeding as one, and now, so is he, also red.


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    Jul 18th, 7:49pm report

    Anyone else get "The Walking Dead"? He talks about waking up to a new age and the main character is just waking up from a coma. Also they are breathing in the chemicals, everyone is already infected. It's the apocalypse. Painted red reminds me of when they cut up the zombie and put his blood all over them to get past all the other.


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    Jun 24th, 6:15am report

    This is about them worshipping the devil, it's a very bad song and it's clear on the meaning. They believe the end is coming and they fell in with it. Painted red is the mark of the beast, the nwo has been talked about for two millennia, it's coming and they are on the side that can't win. Its sad that no one sees that, media is dangerous as this shows.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Jun 23rd, 6:17pm report

    I think no one really understands meaning anymore. It's said that every artist creates something that they hold true, a deep thought, or a truth they wish to be told.

    Think closely of the words they have chosen. Could they just have written this song for fun? Or could they have written it because they know something? In these days, everything is not what it seems, there is truth behind everything, just wake up and seek it.

    Think of the words that stand out the most. Think of all the things you have seen and heard about the word today. Coincidence? I think not.

    Just wake up and think.



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    Jan 27th, 2014 1:24pm report

    Although I'm not going to put in the lyrics and the meanings for each line, I believe that I know the basic message of Radioactive.

    This song is says that the human race used to be a perfect society. But now everyone is fighting and trying to just make it. Everything is about money and there are little things that people care about that has to do with helping each other. Our world has been contaminated by greed and now we are about to suffer the consequences.


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    Jan 5th, 2014 1:08pm report

    I have three interpretations.

    A person who has woken up from a coma to Find the world has changed into a post apocalyptic world where everything is radioactive.

    We've all seen thee Matrix. Neo waking up to the truth of the world.

    Weve all seen Tomorrow when the war began. When they woke up to the fact they are the only ones left to lead the revolution


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    Jan 3rd, 2014 1:59am report

    I believe its about the NWO as well.

    "We're painted red, to fit right in"

    red is often the color of repulicans and conservatives but being catorgorized is to help keep people divided. "right wing nut jobs"

    "I'm radioactive"

    There are a number of anti-NWO radio talk shows.

    "i'm checking out of a prison bus"
    I instantly thought fema camps, where they would take all the awake.


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    Jan 1st, 2014 1:07pm report

    Radioactive pretty much means where we are now, in the "New Age." You wake up to "ash and dust", the muck and smog of our "new and better" society, and "sweat my rust" means you've been slaving away for those above you and its time to clear yourself up.
    The prison bus is what takes him around each day. (Ever seen a public bus? Pretty similar...) He's Radioactive because the world around him is tainted and ill-fated, and he shines like the morning sun in the bloody mist that will layer the Earth soon. OUR earth soon...
    "Raise my flags, dye my clothes, its a revolution I suppose" means the people are finally seeing what they've helped to create and are now choosing their side to fight.
    "Paint it red to fit right in, woah" Red, white, blue? Red is the color of blood. Blood is the color of shame and murder and death. WE will be RED white and blue...
    "All systems go, sun hasn't died, deep in my bones, straight from inside, revolution is on, hope hasn't died..." It means all systems, including US will go, but the sun will run on longer, allowing more systems to thrive. Deep in his bones, he feels that the revolution against what we've created will go on, until we are all no more...
    (Rate me! ;) )


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    Dec 4th, 2013 12:26pm report

    To me it's about "wakeing up" and seeing what is really going on and going agaist the mass for what is right...


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    Sep 26th, 2013 9:05pm report

    It's about nuclear testing in Nevada where over 900 nuclear bombs detonated some above most below ground. About people living near and working at NTS. The song writer was born and lived in Nevada. Workers took a (prison) buses innocently to work. DOE said it was safe but WE Are Radioactive.


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    Sep 20th, 2013 9:19am report

    This is about the sudden realization that the so-called "weak" have power. This feeling of being "radioactive" testifies to this. Not only is radioactivity related to the awesome power of nuclear technology, but also the potential to change the world. The only way to do that, is to tap into that power and use it for change.

    The plot of the song is about an individual having that realization. He goes through the daily routine, waking up to ash and dust (his poor living conditions), breathing in the chemicals (things in life meant to subdue and keep him doped up, so to speak). But now he is getting off the prison bus and is deciding to welcome a new age of humanity. And how does he welcome it? Revolution.

    However there is something to beware of. People are not so keen on cooperating effectively. Look at the Occupy movement in the US. It did not amount to anything. They just raised their flags and donned their clothes and hoped it would result in a, supposed, revolution. But it failed. That new age. That rising sun....it stopped. But the sun hasn't died. The People still have a chance. They always have the potential to be change the world. They are Radioactive.


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    Sep 6th, 2013 9:47am report

    I think it would be a good theme song for the walking dead as that is what it reminds me of.


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    Jul 25th, 2013 7:19pm report

    It seems based on the show Jericho. First episode has the prison bus escape. The EMP from the nuke blew all of the electrical systems. The group that set it off was trying to start a new age without corrupt politicians (naturally failed). The second season starts with a new flag for the Allied States of America. It ends with the start of a revolution to restore America. The whole series is about waking up to what could happen if we just left things in the current path.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Jul 10th, 2013 7:08pm report

    Age of Aquarius, anyone? Welcome to the New Age.
    "Waking up" is a theme throughout the song as it is mentioned many times. An "awakening" is taking place in the singer and also those he is encountering this "revolution" with - a spiritual awakening perhaps.
    The real world manifestations he encounters is war and destruction, changes in social structures, technological advances, "radioactive" may refer to nuclear weaponry as many have pointed out, the "apocalypse" of one world view to give rise to another. Welcome to the New Age.


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    Jun 23rd, 2013 6:53pm report

    I think this is about what would happen if the U.S. got involved in nuclear war or any sorta war for that matter. Thus the use of terms like "apocalypse", "revolution", "radioactive", and the like.


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    Jun 21st, 2013 6:40am report

    Like any good song/story its meaning is whatever you want to take from it.

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