Megadeth: Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? Meaning
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Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? Lyrics
I talk to him every day.
What do you mean, "I don't support your system"?
I go to court when I have to.
What do you mean, "I can't get to work on time"?
I got nothing better to do
And, what do you mean,...
Dave Mustaine himself (I think....) Said himself the song is about the metal stereotypes.
Example 1) "What do you mean, "I don't believe in God?" I Talk to him everyday..." People think Metal is satanic, or Anti-Religion.
Example 2) "What do you mean, "I hurt Your Feelings?" I didn't know you had any feelings..." People think Metalheads are rude
Example 3)"What Do you mean, I couldn't be the president? of the United States of America?" People think Metal is Anti-Government
This pretty much happens for the verses.
I'm guessing the rest, but I think the chorus means
if we could find a new way to explain metal isn't evil, he'd want to be the first to know (If there's a new way, id be the first in line)
The bridge,(Peace sells,but who's buying?)
Relating to the main topic, I think it means mealheads wants peace, but nobody wants to stop arguing against metal
I'm not 100% on what this song is about, but here are my assumptions:
1) One reason may be that; any country can have peace, if they wish, but they choose not to. I.e. The line "peace sells!" meaning any country can have peace.. "but who's buying?" meaning no one wants peace, perhaps they just say they do.
2) Another theory is that a government tells it's country they are at peace ["peace sells"], but you can clearly see that they are not, maybe due to a war or threat ["who's buying"]. It's almost like the government is saying "Peace Sells" and the song is confronting them wrong, asking "well then if peace sells...who's buying? I don't see any peace here." Or something like that.
those are my best guesses.. Hope they made sense.
anonymous Sep 24th, 9:40am report
I think that the song has to do with experiencing apathy/nihilism/cynicism at the personal level (i.e. the metalhead stereotypes) when faced with awareness of the total saturation of global economies, media channels and political systems by the corporate military-industrial complex in all its forms and effects. Mustaine presented these ideas not just in the lyrics, but in the album artwork and the visuals for the song's music video.
"Peace sells, but who's buying?" - massive financial deals, the activities of powerful corporations and the influence-peddling of governments are motivated by violent economies (weapons, prisons, armed forces, destructive extraction of natural environments, etc). "Peace" is perfectly welcome to bring its wares and handicrafts to the free market, but alas, there are no [noteworthy] buyers. The market for war, destruction and control are what move the world system.
"If there's a new way, I'd be the first in line." - He doesn't have any ideas about how things should work, he's not a revolutionary. He's just acknowledging that the current system is rotten and he would get in line if there were an alternative.
"It's still 'we the people', right?" - this line is reminiscent of Eisenhower's warning about the military industrial complex taking over the US from behind the scenes. Mustaine grew up in the Cold War period and is aware of these processes/paranoias. I don't think it's a call to patriotism or constitutionalism per se, but more like an existential question about whether the political entity of the US is actually surviving the takeover by the military industrial complex.
anonymous Feb 14th, 2020 2:23am report
Perhaps ‘Peace Sells’ is a song about Metal Stereotypes. However, another meaning of the song is the rejection of modern society and its norms, seeking a ‘new way’ to live life.
The song features God, paying bills, going to court to ‘support the system’ (jury duty), and going to work, all components of American life/the American Way according to Mustaine. Also, the line ‘it’s still ‘we the people’ right?’ can be a nod to the Constitution and the government.
Also, the album title ‘Peace Sells... but Who’s Buying?’ came from an article or magazine Dave Mustaine read titled ‘Peace Would Sell but No One Would Buy It’. It essentially means that in a certain scenario, Peace would be available for purchase/on sale (duh), but no one would be willing to pay for it (‘Buying Peace’ means sacrifices of any sort) due to reasons including but not limited to:
- Unwillingness to change
Eh that’s my interpretation.
anonymous Jan 11th, 2020 1:28pm report
Peace sells for one country or group or whatever it is in search of peace but some other country or someone else pays. So there is never world peace. Someone always pays.
anonymous Sep 8th, 2018 9:04pm report
My uneducated guess about the meaning of this song goes like this:
Democracy sells peace, just take a look at the trillions our great American government is spending on our behalf (the taxpayer) on our armed forces around the globe;who are constantly impinging on other sovereign nations democratic views on the name of peace. All that started right on our backyard. Our government is demanding from us to "produce" children to support this great nation. We are expected to produce well rounded future taxpayers but we have to follow the hundreds (and counting) rules on how to rear them. Any "deviants" are unfairly frown upon no matter their social status.
anonymous Oct 1st, 2017 10:39pm report
The song is a critic about the whole modern social system. That's why he says "if there's a new way, i'll be the first in line". He prays to god, he goes to work, he pays his taxes...
I don't understand pretty well the phrase "Peace sells, but who's buying?". I suppose nobody is.
This song is about stereotypes given towards metalheads and in extension, Dave Mustaine.
By members of society are often given a bad name which is misleading. Metalheads are thought of to be godless, satanic heathens; to be noisy loud and crude, and to be anti-establishment. This is where these lyrics come to play.
"What do you mean I believe in god/ i talk to him everyday
What do you mean I hurt your feelings/ i didnt know you had any feelings
What do you mean I'm kind/ just not your kind
What do you mean I couldn't be the president of united states of america/ its still we the people right" and so on and so forth.
I also believe this song is a parody towards those beliefs that metalheads are bad people. The message is there, but its done in a tongue in cheek sort of way. The replies to the 'what do you mean' questions are said in a crass, sarcastic way similar to how one would expect a metalhead stereotypically.
The song then goes on to talk about further contradictions in life. The title which is repeated many times throughout the song suggests that we have the tools and possibilities to make the world better (evoke peace); but ironically people are not willing to give up ('buy' the peace) for it.
anonymous May 7th, 2015 5:43pm report
Peace is a good idea but no one can profit off of peace like corporations can off of war.That could be one meaning,don't know how to tie the rest of the song with that one.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Jul 5th, 2010 7:58pm report
While the metal stereotypes answer might be right I think it's about how there could be world peace but nobody wants it.
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