What does Us and Them mean?

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Pink Floyd: Us and Them Meaning


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Song Released: 1974

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Us and Them Lyrics

Us and them
And after all we're only ordinary men
Me and you
God only knows
It's not what we would choose to do
Forward he cried from the rear
And the front rank died
And the general sat
And the lines on the map
Moved from side...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 27th 2012 report

    This is a classic anti-war song at the time of the Vietnam war and the anti-war youth movement around the English-speaking world. This, mostly informal, movement had been given a massive boost the Woodstock in 1969. In the background was the space era and linked to it the threat of nuclear oblivion. Us and Them simply and brilliantly summed up the human tragedy: if we were us and us, there would be no conflict. But greed prevents this ("with, without, and after all it's what the fighting's all about"), and "ordinary men" are manipulated by the rich and powerful ("the general sat and the lines on his map moved from side to side") and carry the burden of war. And, to me, what is always a most poignant comment Floyd made in this song, was that those who control the conflicts are cowards ("forward he cried from the rear and the front rank died"). This poignancy was also brilliantly portrayed by Clare Torry's voice in The Great Gig In The Sky. An amazing album!


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Mar 15th 2015 report

    All good music comes from within. You can't sit down and write a great song without inspiration. DSOTM is laced with Roger's angst. This song is related to him losing his father in WW2, when he was very young. It goes over a lot of specifics about war, being in the military, being a veteran myself I can relate to this as the viewpoint of many veterans.

    "Us and them" refers to the opposing forces, nameless and faceless

    "And after all we're only ordinary men" Heros, ordinary people who do an extraordinary thing

    "Me and you" Now it gets to a personal individual level, Roger lets us into his head

    "God only knows It's not what we would choose to do" Nobody in their right mind would choose to go to war except power trippers. But somebody has to and so ordinary people, like Roger's dad, go to defend their homes and family and way of life. So you do what has to be done. Unfortunately, some don't make it back. So we move on to the bottom line of who is to blame for that.

    "Forward he cried from the rear
    And the front rank died" Setting up the following line.

    "And the general sat
    And the lines on the map
    Moved from side..." The short version is the general who had to order Roger's dad to his death, came home and Mr Waters didn't.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Dec 23rd 2012 report

    This is not only about war, it is about ourselves. That divideness (us and them) leads us to conflict and to madness.

  4. anonymous
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    Mar 15th 2022 report

    It means that the generals give order whole the enlisted men die and when they do the borders change according to who is viewed as the conqueror.

  5. anonymous
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    Sep 10th 2021 report

    It's about the emnity between the seeds. Us (serpent race/copper based blood;hemocyanin) and them (man/iron based blood; hemoglobin) and the war that's raged between them since the beginning.

  6. anonymous
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    Jun 2nd 2020 report

    This song about the life ..about ourselves ...”black and blue .. and who knows which is which and who is who...its about us the human .. we going in circles and we don’t know nothing ”and in the end it’s only round and round “it’S our boring life it’s the routine ... great song.

  7. anonymous
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    Jun 5th 2019 report

    I am gonna take a different approach here. So if we talking about war. I once sat next to Vietnam veterans and he explained his experience of the Vietnam war. He said the viets would not shoot him because he was a black man. They said it's " Us and Them" go home and your battle awaits you. Upon arrival to the US he still faced segregation even though he was asked to fight for a country that would discriminate against him based on his skin color...

  8. anonymous
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    Jun 20th 2018 report

    It seems to be about life simply."Us and them" is all around us and is inside us human beings. It's one of our collective bad habits. We are born into "us and them" because nobody really grew up all the way. We don't know what we fear, what truth is and in the end we die.

  9. anonymous
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    May 14th 2018 report

    For want of the price
    Of tea and a slice
    The old man died

    Says it all really. This is about the futility of war and the loss of his father in WW2 who he never met

  10. anonymous
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    Jul 6th 2017 report

    It's about dmt aliens..

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  11. anonymous
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    Mar 30th 2017 report

    A song about the psychological and emotional damage done to US, the survivors or the left behinders. When and after losing a loved one, if be a father, mother, brother, sister or a friend by the hands of our history's Wars. Where mostly ordinary people fought in Them against their will of choice most of the times. Those Wars, like most wars were usually started somehow by the bloodline of the Top Elites. Who knows since when, who was who or which was which, but let's just say from the times when the crypto Je[w]suits used their manipulative power of influence from the Pop to divide Us from ourselves by ''Them'' and Their ''isms'' ideas. Wherefore in the past just like in the present also divided the Muse llems. That uaually gave and promised Us many indulgencies. Towards forwanting either to control,weaken or to go for the end that justified[s] their means to even destroy the Eastern Ottoman and Orthordox Christian along with the Protestant ever since it's split, forwanting ''freedom and truth'' from the beginning to practice a more of a godly liberal-conservative way of life in the name of God[Jesus Christ], who's in the Bible for Us to be just left alone and become ''freemen'' and not to worship with no choice. Which were and are The Empire's idols or A State that always wanted or still wants to use Us for War and whatever.

  12. anonymous
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    Dec 23rd 2012 report

    the way i see it: i listened to this song while tripping on acid.
    "us and them" - us: the group i was with, tripping.
    Them: the people not on the drugs, while tripping acid you feel separate from everyone else.
    also refering to war.
    "and in the end, we're all just ordinary men" there isn't anything actually separating us, other than drugs.
    "up and down, and in the end its all just round and round." acid makes you think a lot! and you are constantly making conclusions and explaining the high, and when you think you have made a discovery, you realize you are just going in circles making the same observation using different metaphors.
    i found many drug references in this song and it may have been because I was tripping balls but still, pink floyd is known for that kind of thing so i cant help but think they were on purpose.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  13. anonymous
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    Dec 15th 2012 report

    Its a nice melodic ditty featuring two fantastic sax solos. They tried it without words but gave it a shot with lyrics anyway.

    While they were just jammin..the bass track layin down with the many snare rim shots..they laughed and smiled until someone just sang into the mic....us us us us us us us aaand them them them them them them them...(the bloke on the board had left echo/sustain on from a previous track).

    After much laughter...the boys said yeah yeah that's it. Just a jamming jazz track with blasts of sound wall chorus...the rest is history.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  14. anonymous
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    Dec 11th 2012 report

    its obviously about fucking. "forward he cried from the rear" the man is yelling while he is ramming his lady from behind.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  15. anonymous
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    Jun 16th 2012 report

    the song AINT definetely got to do with war......chill out Sartres....war can also be between man-o woman

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  16. anonymous
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    Oct 2nd 2011 report

    "Us and them" Meaning, him and us. The rich and the ordinary. "Me and You" meaning, him and I. "God only know's, it's not what we would choose....to do". Humm... My translation to this. New World Order...or war, to take the baby steps ino getting there. The rich control us. "And after all, we're only ordinary men" Some have power, and the rest of us don't. Pink Floyds Symbol from The Dark Side Of The Moon, is the same symbol that is on the dollor bill, which means New World Order.

  17. anonymous
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    Sep 12th 2011 report

    The song is about inmates and nurses at the insane asylum. The spoken part of the song considers the fact that the tenants and nurses are not really that different, while the chorus/sung part of the song drives home that the nurses are in complete control of the inmates lives. The general/battle stuff is just a metaphor for the plight of the inmates in the insane asylum.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  18. anonymous
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    Jan 30th 2011 report

    It's about a war. All the people in the war are "just ordinary men." Everyone in this particular war is dying (everyone important mostly). This oints out the stupidity of war, and how it does nothing but hurt others, even wars that don't involve weapons, and just use words. The war they're takng about in this war may actually not be with weapons, and all the people dying could just be people giving up on the fight after being hurt by all the words used against them. No one knows what's really going on, but they just keep moving forward into thehatred and taking other to their side.

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