Cheap Trick: Surrender Meaning
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Song Released: 1978
She also told me, "Stay away, you'll never know what you'll catch"
Just the other day I heard a soldier falling off some Indonesian junk that's going round
Mommy's alright, Daddy's...
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:
The song was very popular in the early 80's, and when it came out,it's meaning was a part of the social revolution that occurred from the 1970's when unprotected sex and group sex were very common.Therefore, it would be incorrect to assume this song is foremost not about Sexually Transmitted Disease.
The term "surrender, but don't give yourself away" means that it will be a losing proposition to try and avoid sex through abstinence, especially before your married. Instead, wear a condom and prevent getting that "Indonesian Junk That's going around".
The song also advocates having casual protected sex because you want to avoid parenthood, and because your parents are hypocritical that they give advice that they didn't follow when they were young and before they had gotten married. Evidence with finding out that his mom wasn't as innocent as he had been led to believe before marrying his dad.
However, the song ends on a more traditional and optimistic point. He had assumed the institution of marriage meant "game over" for his sex life but he saw that it was not true with his parents listening to kiss and having sex on the couch. Thus giving him hope that marriage with the right girl is possible and it won't necessarily mean an end to having a sex life.
2TOP RATED#2 top rated interpretation:anonymous Aug 3rd 2008 report
Amazingly enough, I have heard that the song is about syphilis (STD). Hence the correct lyrics "Heard of a soldier's falling off" (Guess what fell of the soldier?) followed by "Some Indonesian junk that's going 'round"
Also, mother warning Rick to "stay away, you never know what you'll catch." And mother having worked as a WAAC in the Philippines (Women's Army Air Corps, where she was probably a nurse and so a great many military men infected with STDs -- in the Philippines it is almost epidemic.) The long term effects of Syph is insanity, so who knows, maybe that's why he says mother may or may not have it, and the refrain "mommy's alright, daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird..." Surrender? Hmmm... Surrender to lust?
anonymous Aug 2nd 2019 report
The song simply means that sometimes parents are right and sometimes they aren’t. Surrender to their advice, but dont lose yourself in the process. Consider if their advice would work for you as an individual and if it doesn’t, choose your own path. So ‘surrender’ , in that context probably means to ‘seriously consider’ your parents advice but not be bound to follow them. Parents are overprotective of their children after all regardless of how they were when they were younger.
anonymous Dec 1st 2017 report
Coming from an ex junkie...."Falling off" is what we call "noding out" which is what heroin does to you. To nod means you are in a semi state of consciousness. Indonesian junk is super good heroin. This line has nothing to do with someones pecker falling off.
anonymous Feb 23rd 2013 report
I guess some of you must be too young to understand the lyrics. During Viet Nam, there were rumors that soldiers could not come home from the war because the got an STD that could not be cured (Indonesian junk)and thus his fell off. Rolling numbers refers to "joints" marijuana, that was a common term at the time.
anonymous Sep 9th 2012 report
I think it's about how a teenager has overprotective parents who tell him/her not to do stuff, but he/she does it anyway, without them knowing.
anonymous Jul 15th 2012 report
As a kid growing up when this song came out, I had always taken two meanings. One was obvious: mom and dad aren't just two fools, they did and know stuff that you are about to encounter in their own way. you just need to interpret it for your generation.
The other one seemed more specific to drugs. "the other day I heard of a soldier's falling off some indonesian junk that's goin round." That seemed too much like how people talked about veterans coming back from vietnam and having to withdrawal from heroin (falling off is withdrawal and indonesian junk is a type of heroin).
anonymous Jun 11th 2011 report
grow up. this song is based on a kids point of view and the differences he or she has and their parents' differences. this whole song is from the point of view of an 11-year old kid. or a kid of any age. do you get it. read the lyrics again.
anonymous Oct 21st 2010 report
The song's not about STD's, per se, but yes that part of the song refers to STD's or "social diseases" as they would have been called during WWII when the WACS were around, but that's not the whole meaning of the song. The song is about growing up. It's about going from a child to adult, specifically about learning about sex and about your parents.
His parents have told him to avoid "girls like you" which is to say girls who will have sex because "you'll never know what you'll catch." So early on, sex is associated with bad consequences. The main character doesn't know what sex is about and doesn't know what to think. Sex is still mysterious to him. He's susceptible to rumors: "Just the other day I heard of a soldier's falling off."
When I woke up, Mom and Dad are rolling on the couch
Rolling numbers, rock and rolling, got my Kiss records out
So one day the kid sees Mom and Day getting busy on the couch listing to Rock and Roll and rolling joints.
The earlier line "Ev'ry time I got to thinking, where'd they disappear?" is him realizing this is not a one time thing, his parents have been having sex for his whole life. So not the kid realizes there must be more to sex that STD's and negative consequences also that his parents are who he thought they were. They're a bit hypocritical and a bit more human to him now. They're weird, but they're also all right.
The Surrender, but don't give your self away chorus is open to multiple interpretations which is why is a such a great, great lyric. It could mean one thing for the parents, one thing for the kid. It actually seems to be the point of view of the band, telling the kid it will be all right: Parents often give hypocritical or mixed messages to kids, but the kids should cut them some slack since it's often with good intentions. The kids have to grow up and figure out what is right for them.
The ending of "We're all all right" repeated so often, I think is the band telling the kids they will get through adolescence. That growing up is positive, even if it means you realize your parents have sex.
Not sure about Tom's comment that they actually sang it in clubs that way, but that was the original lyrics of the song. Epic required them to change it, just as they required them to change titles to two other songs. "The Ballad of TV Violence" was originally "the Ballad of Richard Speck". And "Love Comes a Tumblin'" was originally "Life Comes a Tumblin'" as it is about the death of Bon Scott from AC/DC. They also had much more explicit lyrics originally for "You're All Talk" off the In Color album, though what those were escapes me now...I have them somewhere from an old Cheap Trick newsgroup posting.
It's about how a teenager understands his parents - "they just seem a little wierd". Kids don't understand their parents anymore than their parents understand them. The narrator is trying to repeat their parents "wisdom" but it sounds like nonsense because he doesn't understand the context. He does his best to make sense of what they are saying and doing, but instead of "fighting the power", just agrees and then does his own thing.
anonymous Jun 25th 2007 report
I know it is about children being embarrassed by the way their parents are acting. And they want them to change but not completely.
This song is about the differences in kids and their parents- as written from the kids view. It's about how, even though the parents are kind of cool, there's a lack of connection in all things pop culture and historic. It really resonated with Japanese youth due to the idea that you could conform to the parents' ideals (a biggie in Japan) but still have your own identity. ("Surrender, but don't give yourself away") Of course the "don't give yourself away" part can also mean that you SEEM to conform, but really don't...
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