Ants Marching by Dave Matthews Band Lyrics Meaning – Unpacking the Metaphoric Rhythm of Existence

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Dave Mathews Band's Ants Marching at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


He wakes up in the morning

Does his teeth, bite to eat, and he’s rollin’

Never changes a thing

The week ends, the week begins

She thinks, we look at each other

Wonderin’ what the other is thinking

But we never say a thing

As these crimes between us grow deeper

Take these chances

Place them in a box until a quieter time

Lights down, you up and die

Goes to visit his mommy

She feeds him well his concerns he forgets them

And remembers being small

Playing under the table and dreaming

Take these chances

Place them in a box until a quieter time

Lights down, you up and die

Driving in on this highway

All these cars and upon the sidewalk

People in every direction

No words exchanged, no time to exchange

Oh, when all the little ants are marching

Red and black antennae waving

They all do it the same

They all do it the same way

Candyman tempting the thoughts of a

Sweet tooth tortured by weight loss

Program a-cutting the corners

A loose end, loose end, cut, cut

On the fence, care not to offend

Cut, cut, cut, cut

Take these chances

Place them in a box until a quieter time

Lights down, you up and die

Lights down, you up and die

Full Lyrics

Dave Matthews Band, known for their fusion of jazz, folk, and rock, has always had a knack for weaving intricate tales with their music. ‘Ants Marching,’ a hit from their early catalog, is no exception. The song taps into the band’s unique style, delivering a profound message that resonates deeply with the listener’s sense of routine and existence.

The song emerged as an anthem of the mundane, capturing the essence of the human experience with its lilting melodies and poignant lyrics. Through ‘Ants Marching,’ the band invites fans to delve into a reflection of daily life, the inexorable march of time, and the collective behavior that binds us all.

The Daily Grind: A Melodic Encounter

The song kicks off with an image that hits close to home for many – the monotony of our daily rituals. A man wakes, brushes his teeth, eats, and then sets off into the day. It’s a loop familiar to all: the cycle that keeps on spinning with little change. DMB encapsulates the essence of the grind with precision, harmonizing the repetitiveness of our morning routines to the beat of a drum that never misses a note.

The week ends, and the week begins, and in these simple lines, Matthews evokes not just the monotonous nature of our lives but also the underlying sense of security that this routine provides. It’s the comfort of the known, the rhythm we dance to because the steps are too familiar.

The Unspoken Truths: The Silence That Speaks Volumes

In an era where communication is at our fingertips, ‘Ants Marching’ touches upon the poignant irony of unspoken words. The song portrays an exchange between two individuals, seemingly aware of each other’s thoughts, yet silence reigns supreme. This portrayal of human disconnect in the midst of assumed familiarity is a subtle reminder of the emotional chasms that can grow even in the closest of relationships.

DMB tackles these

Decrypting the Chorus: A Closer Look at ‘Take These Chances’

The chorus of ‘Ants Marching’ serves as a captivating vault of meaning. ‘Take these chances’ is a call to action, yet placed in a ‘box until a quieter time,’ there’s a profound statement about procrastination and the deferral of dreams. Dave Matthews captures the all-too-human habit of setting aside our desires, perhaps out of fear or for the sake of pragmatism, until the time is right – a time that, for some, may never come.

As the lights go down and the character metaphorically ‘dies,’ possibly a nod to the end of the day or life itself, there’s a subtle hint at mortality and the importance of seizing the moment before our own lights dim. In these few lines, DMB asks listeners to ponder the ‘what ifs’ that haunt the paths not taken.

The Imagery of Conformity: ‘They All Do It the Same Way’

Few lines capture the essence of ‘Ants Marching’ as vividly as the comparison of people to ants. Red and black, the ants wave their antennae in uniformity, falling in line and marching as one. In this stark imagery, DMB paints a picture of society’s collective action, hinting at the notion that amidst our individual struggles, we play parts in a larger pattern of behavior, often without conscious thought.

The lyrical genius lies in the observation that we ‘all do it the same way.’ It’s a reflection on the comfort and, at times, the resignation that comes with conformity. While there’s a sense of unity, there’s also a subtle critique of the mindlessness of following the crowd, losing a part of oneself in the process.

The Resonance Within: Why ‘Ants Marching’ Holds Up Decades Later

The true testament to the song’s meaning lies in its lasting relevance. Decades after its release, ‘Ants Marching’ continues to be a reflective mirror for audiences, a reminder of our shared humanity. The song walks us through the stages of life, from childhood memories under the table to the weight of adult decisions, echoing the notion that no matter where we’re headed, we’re all in this together.

Dave Matthews Band didn’t just create a catchy tune; they crafted a lyrical exploration of life’s cyclical nature. ‘Ants Marching’ remains an anthem not just for the individual lost in their routine, but for anyone who seeks a deeper connection to the collective rhythm of human existence.

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