What does Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums mean?

A Perfect Circle: Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums Meaning

Album cover for Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums album cover

Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums Lyrics

Don't fret precious I'm here, step away from the window
Go back to sleep
Safe from pain and truth and choice and other poison devils,
See, they don't give a ---- about you, like I do.

Count the bodies like sheep
Count the bodies like...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jan 11th 2006 !⃝

    Anyone in a twelve step program knows what the thirteenth step, or thirteenth stepping is. It is when someone with time in the program uses their sobriety time and the program as a way of getting into involved sexually with someone in the program who has very little time (usually less than a year; or a newcomer). The entire album Thirteenth Step is about twelve programs, and addiction in all of its aspects. Addicts have warped minds, and the addiction speeks to them in certain ways. The song takes the stand point of the addiction speaking to the addict in his own head. Addicts use their addiction as a solution to theirreal problems, or as a numbing agent for their real pain. The addiction is telling the addict not to worry and not to look at their real core problems, which are terrifying and painful to the addict. Step four is where addicts must make a searching and fearless moral inventory of themselves. "The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions," a book used in the program says that when a newcomer attempts this, "both his pride and his fear beat him back everytime he tries to look within himself. Pride says,"You need not pass this way," and fear says, "you dare not look!" But the testimony of A.A.'s who have really tried a moral inventory is that pride and fear of this sort turn out to be bogeymen, nothing else (page 49, step four)." The addiction tries to convince the addict that it will protect them from bogeymen, which are false or irrational fears, and keeps them in their disease, blind, ignorant,oblivious and unable to see the truth or have achoice in the matter. That's exactly where it wants them. Addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful,and that is expresed here in the song. It is the enemy, and the demon, that it says it is protecting you from, but it wants to trick you, so it tells you that the other voices in your head (consciense and reason)are the evil ones. For your higher power, consciense and reason, are the only ones that save the addict from the deadly problem of addiction. Addicts often refer to having their heads talk to them (the addiction, and a voice of reason) and it gets verydifficult to distinguish between them. Counting bodies like sheep refers to great number of addicts still suffering, and the increasing numbers of those becoming addicted, if not killed by their addictions.

  2. anonymous
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    Sep 9th 2014 !⃝

    I see it as an abusive or controlling relationship, maybe borderline Stockholm Syndrome. This would be the abuser talking to the abused. The wording follows a lot of patterns and methods an abuser uses to control his victim: Saying that others don't care for them the way they do, that they will make all the choices for them to keep them safe, etc.

    This song is sort of a "part two" to "Pet," so that song has to be looked at as well.

  3. anonymous
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    May 12th 2014 !⃝

    I have a very simple interpretation of this song. Although I think it could definitely be read as a political statement, I don't really like to go so big-picture. I think this song is about a pet, like a beloved family dog, telling a child to go back to sleep. The pet is literally the narrator. He/she wants the child to not grow up and become a part of what he sees as a cruel, violent world. He will protect the child from nightmares, etc. to me, this song is simply about a pet who loves his owner and wants to protect the child he belongs to.

  4. anonymous
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    Nov 19th 2012 !⃝

    Being a partner of an addict I relate to this song and see it as describing a codependant personality......ME. Protecting the addict from harm and embarrassment thus enabling them to continue using........just my thoughts.

  5. anonymous
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    Nov 8th 2012 !⃝

    all of your thoughts make sences but to me its telling a love one that dont worrie everything will be okay and when it comes down to it they will be there to take care of them and i think counting bodies like sheep is more of a song that you can relate to in your own personal life and whats going on in your life....

  6. anonymous
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    Jan 13th 2012 !⃝

    Based on what i've read so far it is the tribulation in the point of view of the Antichrist, who supossebly leads all the worlds goverments in that seven year persiod, and he is a drug to the world, seemingly charasmatic and likeable but will allow innocent people to die as if he got a sick sexual thrill out of it.

  7. anonymous
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    Oct 6th 2011 !⃝

    He blatantly refers to the the New World Order. Great lyrics.

  8. anonymous
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    Sep 26th 2011 !⃝

    i said it is an remix of lullaby but it is actually a remix of pet so analyze that song

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 26th 2011 !⃝

    This song has no meaning, although a great song it is just a remix of Lullaby, so analyze lullaby not this song.

  10. anonymous
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    Jun 3rd 2011 !⃝

    What i think this song means, and also because of the video, is that its about politics and how when it looks like Bush was in presidency, he wanted us to be like sheep because sheep basically go where they are moved or told to. And the reason why he wanted that was because we were pretty much in bad times and he just wanted it so that we would do as he said and not rebel or try to change his ways. In the Video it shows two sheep kicking at the tv wall thing and then being speared with the spears saying "traitor" and the reason why this happened is because they had gone against him, so they were killed. Also He was pretty much brainwashing his followers so we wouldnt see the wrong's he had made. It's hard to explain but hopefully some will be able to put it in different, easier, words.

  11. anonymous
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    Apr 19th 2011 !⃝

    There definately could be an underlying political meaning but i don't think it is intended. The lyrics could pretty much relate to any war not neccesarily the Gulf (thats not neccesarily saying that its about war). The closest relation are the lyrics "swinging to the rythm of the new world order while counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums" however to limit interpretation to a single insident would be an under evaluation.

    like Tool, APC are more about projecting an emotion rather than giving an opinion on a particular event. I also liked lazarus's view its definately interesting although i did not notice any sign in TNWLM that the patient was a mental patient. Perhaps this song is a juxtoposed opinion from the nurses perspective of the same patient.

    Overall the song projects isolation and overprotection, but not without reason since if theres bodies being counted, there probably is something to be feared. Kind of an inner turmoil of choosing the lesser of two evils. The unique thoughts and meanings that emerge in your mind are part of the magic.

  12. anonymous
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    Feb 3rd 2011 !⃝

    This is a political song which talks about the government trying to control people. If the people don't look into something they can't challenge the government about it, hence "step away from the window/go back to sleep".

    I read on another site some person talking about this song talking about panem et circenses which is Latin for 'Bread and Circuses' which basically means if the government feeds/looks after the people and keeps them entertained they can pretty much control everything and do as they like. So as well as that, the following lyrics talk about control and a persuasive way to make the people accept and love their rulers.

    "I’ll be the one to protect you from your enemies and all your demons
    I'll be the one to protect you from a will to survive and a voice of reason
    I'll be the one to protect you from your enemies and your choices son
    They're one in the same, I must isolate you…
    Isolate and save you from yourself …"

  13. anonymous
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    Dec 10th 2010 !⃝

    I believe its about the new world order. He mentions it in the other version of this song "pet"

  14. Bad.Idea
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    Nov 19th 2010 !⃝

    I get it now.
    You count sheep when you go to sleep.
    "Go back to sleep...
    Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of a war drum."
    I'd hate to be this simplistic, but it sounds like it's about someone's nightmares.
    "Don't fret precious I'm here,
    Step away from the window,
    And go back to sleep."
    I feel smart.

  15. anonymous
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    Sep 25th 2010 !⃝

    I have been reading many of these interpretations. I can't disagree with any of them and, like some of you have said, it's about addiction. I personally think the whole album is, yes, based off of the twelve step program but the album is also a political statement (i.e. Swing to the rythm of the NEW WORLD ORDER..[that last part doesn't sound like a reference from the twelve step program to me..just saying]) and mostly covers the aspects of human psychology that are, as we know, prominent in addicts, but the truth is that it's every one of us suffers from these behaviors, we are all addicts to the controlling/evil sect..Pet is just the "wrap up" I believe, which is why I love this album :)...Gravity I think is sort of a song pertaining to the matter of us trying to find our way without all of this addiction/tyranny...Do you disagree?

  16. anonymous
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    May 23rd 2010 !⃝

    me being a oif vet i take the song leteraly what its say"dont fret precious im here step away from the window go back to sleep,safe from pain truth and choice and all the poisend devils they dont give a f*** about you like i do" i take this as a marine that there telling america that there safe from all the poisend minds from over seas like they said "dont fret precious im here" we here as troops so dont worrie. when they say step away from the window it aslmost seems to me they were telling the press to kinda back off so they dont see something there going to regret, when they say go back to sleep theyre telling the press and politicians to lets us fight the war with them not getting in the way. and the backround music gives it that middle eatern iraq sound that also brings me to this conclusion

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