Pink Floyd: Us and Them Meaning
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Song Released: 1974
Us and Them Lyrics
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...
anonymous Oct 27th, 2012 10:28pm 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!
anonymous Mar 15th, 2015 3:31am 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.
anonymous Jun 2nd, 6:50am 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.
anonymous Jun 5th, 2019 6:51am 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...
anonymous Jun 20th, 2018 6:44am 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.
anonymous May 14th, 2018 5:32pm 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
anonymous Oct 2nd, 2011 10:49pm 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.
anonymous Jan 30th, 2011 1:08pm 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.
anonymous Jun 15th, 2010 6:25pm report
For the line "And after all we're ordinary men" means to me why are we fighting in war, what have i done you, and what have you done to me? "Black and Blue" the two sides of war. so i think that this song is party about war and the pointlessness of war.
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