OneRepublic: Preacher Meaning
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I knew how to fly, and I would teach you for a fee
Broke every window in my hotel heart
When I was only 5 years old, the 12 years scar
But I'd hear the same voice echo in my mind
See son you...
Finn Whittemore Apr 18th, 2014 4:46pm report
I think there are two wolves within us all - a good one (selflessness, humility, etc) and a bad one (selfishness, greed, etc). I think that each person deals with different wolves, specifically different "bad wolves" (or demons, if you prefer). I think each person is given sinful qualities/traits at the beginning of their life and it is their test in life to see whether they keep the "bad wolf" at bay or let it take over. And in the end, they will be either rewarded or punished, both in this life and in the next. That said, this is what I think the song means.
When I was a kid, I used to buy and sell gravity
I knew how to fly, and I would teach you for a fee
In these lines you see that the sinful quality/trait, or bad wolf, for him is greed. Note that this whole song is in the past tense, and that he talks about different points throughout his life. The current state is his childhood, however we get to young adulthood later on. He is telling this story, reflecting on his life, from adulthood.
And I'd hear the same voice
Echo in my mind
Said, "Son you got an angel,
To chase the devil at night."
I think the voice in his mind is his conscience, or maybe even what he thinks to be God. Regardless, this voice is telling him that he has an angel (what we later find out to be his grandfather) to chase the devil at night (his greed).
When I was a kid, my grandfather was a preacher
I think this line can be taken two ways, a literal way or a more metaphoric way. I choose to look at it metaphorically. Now although he talks about his young adulthood later on, he continuously returns to talking about when he was a kid because it was in his childhood that he viewed his grandfather as a preacher. His grandfather was not actually a preacher but because his grandfather taught him so much about God, love, and life, his adolescent-self thought that he was a preacher (because he certainly acted like one).
He'd talk about God, yeah he was something like a teacher
Here he is talking about how his grandfather gave him advice/taught him about God. And it was through these teachings that the child version of himself saw him as some sort of preacher.
He said, "God only helps those
Who learn to help themselves."
I think this line can be interpreted a number of different ways. However, the way in which I wish to interpret this is how in life, as we mature we must learn to become more independent. When I say independent, I mean not necessarily of others (ex. getting a job instead of having your parents give you an allowance), but more along the lines of that you have to take your destiny in your own hands. I believe that we have complete control over our destiny, but not over our fate. I think that fate is absolute and unchanging, but the way in which you go about your fate (destiny) is completely up to you. I think that at the beginning of your life, God gives you a blueprint and tells you to build something (your fate). However, the way in which you build that something, such as the tools you use or the step you take, is in your hands and in your control (your destiny). We can't escape our fates but we do have free will. So to sum up this line, learning to become independent and taking your destiny into your own hands is helping yourself (because you get to decide what goes on around you). And by helping yourself, God will help you (in this life and in the next) - which can even be defined as the meaning of life. The meaning of life is to give life a meaning - and only you can give your life a meaning, so take control of your destiny!
He was a million miles from a million dollars
But you could never spend his wealth
This is my favorite line in the song. The entire story (entire song) is being told from his current point of view in adulthood. This line is him realizing that his grandfather's advice/teachings were so far from what he was originally after (money), but the advice/teachings were in fact priceless and in the end, meant more to him than money ever would.
And as I walked through that storybook life
I was looking for an angel to chase the devil at night
In the lines before this you see that he is now in young adulthood. In these lines you see that he is still unaware of what his grandfather did for him. It is only in his adulthood that he realizes just how important his grandfather was (hence why he returns to talking about his childhood in the chorus). You see that he is unaware because he is still looking for an angel to chase the devil at night (although he already found him in his childhood).
After this, the chorus is repeated several times with minor changes (God changes to love which changes to life). The chorus is repeated so many times because it shows how in his adulthood, he acknowledges what his grandfather did for him (chased away his greed by teaching him about God, love, and life). In his adulthood he realizes that his grandfather was in fact not a preacher, but since he acted like one (taught about God, love, and life), his childhood-self thought he was. His grandfather not only taught him about these three things but to also become an independent person and be in charge of his own destiny when he gets older. His older self reflects on these teachings and realizes that although they were so far from what he originally wanted (money), he wouldn't trade them for the world. It's this realization that the line: "Son you got an angel to chase the devil at night" makes sense because the angel (his grandfather and his teachings) really did chase away the devil (his greed) - which is shown when he says "But you could never spend his wealth". In the end, it's just his older self realizing that his grandfather saved him from corruption, saved him from his sinful qualities/traits, saved him from his bad wolf/demons.
I think the theme or message of this song is to find your angel to help chase away your demons.
anonymous Apr 1st, 2013 4:12pm report
The answer is on the following video:
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