What does This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race mean?

Fall Out Boy: This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race Meaning

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Album cover for This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race album cover

Song Released: 2007

This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race Lyrics

I am an arms dealer
Fitting you with weapons in the form of words
And don't really care, which side wins
As long as the room keeps singing
That's just the business I'm in.

This ain't a scene, it’s a god damn arms race
This ain't a scene,...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Dec 1st 2013 !⃝

    While this may have been said countless times before, I'd like to put in my interpretation of this song. For the longest time I thought it was about a massive fight between two sides of a family, and there was one person in the middle who was feeding lies to both sides. Then I read in a FOB book that this song was about the punk scene, and I was like "What?" I didn't really get it until I was listening to it one morning on the way to school and all of the pieces fell into place and I felt really stupid. The first lyric, "I am an arms dealer, fitting you with weapons in the form of words", is saying that they write the songs for us to sing, that they make the "weapons." "And don't really care which side wins, long as the room keeps singing, that's just the business I'm in" means that they don't care all that much who wins the awards or anything, as long as people keep listening to their music, they'll be alright. "This ain't a scene, it's a goddamn arms race" is saying that this isn't just a group of people who like similar music, (a "scene") it's a contest to see who can win the most awards, who can sell the most albums, who can have the best songs. "I'm not a shoulder to cry on, but I digress" is from the point of view of everyone who turned them down, they aren't going to feel bad for them. "I'm a leading man and the lies I weave are oh so intricate" is talking about how rumors about FOB are spread so easily, and how a great number of them are false. "I wrote the gospel on giving up" is saying that they kind of gave up on being themselves to get records. "But the real bombshells have already sunk" is saying that the first impression has already been made, so there's no chance of truly reinventing yourself. "At night we're painting your trash gold while you sleep" is about how just about anyone can be famous with a new wardrobe and some autotuning, no matter how bad they actually are, and that they pretty much become famous overnight nowadays. "Crashing not like ships or cars, no, more like parties" is taking advantage of the double-meaning of the word 'crashing.' There is then a reprise of the chorus with one different line, "Bandwagon's full, please catch another". This is from the point of view of all the FOB fans who say "You aren't a real fan." Then there is a repeat of the bridge. Afterword we cut to a part spoken by Patrick, "All the boy who the dance floor didn't love, and all the girls whose lips couldn't move fast enough, sing until your lungs give out". This is saying that they don't write for the popular kids who have the attention span of a gnat; they write and sing and play and perform for the kids who maybe aren't so popular, the boys who can't dance and the girls who can't sing; they write for the people who maybe don't have a voice on their own and they give them weapons to build a voice with, they give them power and courage and strength and I think that's beautiful and true. I know that's what FOB has done for me, and I think that's what they've done for a lot of people. Maybe I'm wrong. But that's what I think.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Feb 28th 2007 !⃝

    This song is about a really competitive music industry. The arms dealer basically represents the person who writes the music and the lyrics and they just throw all the different bands out there with there "weapons" (word/lies/rumors etc) and who ever wins (record sales) wins and as long as the keep pumping out music, the record labels don't care. Everyone in the song is basically self destructive but no one cares as long as they keep singing and keeping the audience happy. "Bandwagon's full please catch another" is really significant because it basically is saying that no one really thinks for themselves anymore they just form in groups and become exclusive. It's basically just reassuring all the losers who weren't fit enough to survive (social scene, rock scene, whatever scene its up for your interpretation) that whatever you were fighting for, no one really achieved it and it just became a race to defend yourself, not really a race to meet your goal.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Feb 21st 2007 !⃝

    (You need to watch the video to understand some of this song, but this is about the video so watch it!) This song is about a lot of things, both a response from fans and the look on the scence of music. First we see the band finishing one of thier songs and they stop and walk through the crowd. The "fans" are all made of cardboard. This is their statment on how all their fans said they sold out with their last album, the fans were in fact fake. Then they move to a magazine cover which says that they are breaking into the hip-hop genre. This is a message that is displaying how hard it is for bands to be classified and how they are forced into other genres when there are too many other bands like them, hence the line about the bandwagon being full. Then they are in the recording studio and the people around them are making fun of them, this is about the ridicule from other bands and producers. When the badn goes into full on crazy mode and start dancing, they end up breaking something which I think says how the band is too wild for the genre. There you see a member of the band ready for his photshoot. Another publicity act made by many artists. The photographer has plenty of good cameras there, but instead he chooses a phone. As he asks the person to pose differently, he finally has him take down his pants which the person is hesitant about, but does it anyway. First off, the photographer picking the phone is representing how fans would rather see crappy pictures taken of embarrising things that a person might do than real pictures that the artists try to sell. The whole pants thing is another publicty stunt. When the girls find the picture online they look at it and seem disgusted. All of the partying scenes are again just about things that people will do to get noticed (stuff a sock down thier pants, get pets, etc.). When one of the band memebers gets flipped out the window, you'll notice the flash of a camera which is a statement on how obsessed the press is with getting the latest story. Then we flash to a funeral were we see a band member preaching about how hard everyone tries to make themselves seen (the boy bands always sing about not being loved). We also see some people who resemble the following bands and celebrities: Panic at the Disco, Britney Spears (or another girl similar to her), a person from thier music video Sugar we're going down, the MTV astrounaut, and a rapper. They are all dancing and trying to make themselves clear to the crowd. Finally the person pops out of the coffin and it flashes the the band that looks to be early in their carreer. One asks "dreams again" and that signifies that the the life bands lead can be nightmares, and the video ends with the band prefoming in a small auditorium.

  4. Probably
    click a star to vote
    Mar 23rd 2021 !⃝

    This song was about the feud in the so-called 'scene days'. Bands trying to up each other with record sales and fame. Also, if I remember correctly, they wrote this during the feud with The Killers? The original title was even called "You Can't Spell 'Star' Without A&R." which is a reference when the label's A&R was focusing on FOB rather than the Killers and Brandon went on to sht the emo scene or something.

  5. MyPanicBoy
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    Jan 5th 2016 !⃝

    I think it's about everyone getting back at record dealers for dumping them when they stopped making money off the band.

  6. anonymous
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    Feb 22nd 2011 !⃝

    Talking about how the society we live in today has just sold out and everyone is already going down the dumps (prima donna of the gutter).

  7. anonymous
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    Jan 17th 2011 !⃝

    I know many of you don't know what Illuminati is, but its got to do with medi controlling them, Look at the funeral. the blonde girl it flashes to id doing the pyramid. OPEN YOUR EYES. good interpretation though.

  8. anonymous
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    Dec 20th 2010 !⃝

    You guys are retarded. This is about when Pete's nude pictures got out. You guys are stupid as hell.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  9. anonymous
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    May 11th 2010 !⃝

    This song, this album was pure genius, to reiterate what others said, fall out boy is trying to stay as popular, as relevant, and as mainstream as possible, so they are saying that they are being forced to misrepresent themselves, and it's sad, but like they said in "thriller", crowds are won and lost and won again but our hearts beat for the die hards, do you remember the funeral scene from the video? All the characters from FOB music videos attending the funeral? They're saying, while simultaneously tipping their hat to the diehards who knew a different FOB, that they're former style, green day's style, is dead, it doesn't sell, but this does, even folie à deux validates this, the cover of the album, a fake bear carrying a real bear on it's shoulders, put the pieces together people, because of today's viscous music industry, bands like fall out boy have to misrepresent themselves in order to make money and stay on top!

  10. anonymous
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    Mar 21st 2010 !⃝

    At the beginning of the music video we see cardboard cut-outs of fans after dance dance.

    This obviously means that after the sucess of sugar were goin down and dance dance they had many fake fans.

    "This Aint A scene; its an arms race" I think means that were not emo; were rock. After every called them emo.

  11. anonymous
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    Jul 2nd 2008 !⃝

    Patrick said himself this song was just a big laugh. It was just a song making fun of themselves.

    *Hint the whole Pete Wentz scene.
    [His nude pics leaked out, & that was a joke about it.]

    They have the making of the video on youtube. Watch it.

  12. anonymous
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    Apr 27th 2008 !⃝

    Actually Deli Beli it's vise versa, if it weren't for Pete Wentz signing their contract they wouldn't have been this famous (Panic).

  13. anonymous
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    Jan 3rd 2008 !⃝

    On the post that was given on Feb. 21, it talks about the people at the end at Pete's funeral. The guy dancing is one of the guys dancing from dance dance. The girl said to be portrayed at Britney Spears is actually the girl from the "where is your boy" video. The guy emptying the wine bottle looks kind of like Dirty, one of Pete's good friends. and the girl making out with the deer guy is the girl from the dance dance video. and the deer guy is obviously from the sugar we're going down video. This scene has other meanings, but the people in it have obviously been in their previous videos.

  14. sosantney
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    Jan 2nd 2008 !⃝

    No offense to Fall Out Boys... but they did redefine the scene and in a trendy way. I mean, I get it, "This ain't a scene, its a God Damn arms race" As in, this so called scene is BS and it's a Arms Race (War). I'd rather have the song have it's own meetings to myself, like America (this ain't a scene) it's a God Damn Arms Race, because were at War, especially an Arms Race.

  15. sheen4444
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    Dec 27th 2007 !⃝

    I agree about the record because one...if you see the music video it supports that..also the record because make the bands change when they don't want to and FOD is totally against thaat

  16. anonymous
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    Oct 20th 2007 !⃝

    I think this song is about Pete and what happened to him in the last yesr. I mean wach the music video.

  17. anonymous
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    Aug 23rd 2007 !⃝

    I purely and simply think this is a song about war.
    Throughout the whole song its like there talking about a pointless war and how everyone is fighting for nothing??? You never know...

  18. anonymous
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    Aug 8th 2007 !⃝

    I think it's about a bunch of young kittens frolicking in the meadows in alaska..but its an arms race because the kittens grew arms

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