Classifieds – Unraveling the Existential Auction Block


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Academy Is...'s Classifieds at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. An Existential Marketplace: Interpreting the Auction Metaphor
  5. Scoring Style Points: The Pressure of Perpetual Performance
  6. The Smoking Gun of Ambition: A Battle with Burnout
  7. Asking for the Final Bid: The Inevitability of Finding Own Value
  8. Uncovering the Hidden Meaning: Beyond the Façade of ‘Classifieds’

Lyrics

My life reads like the classifieds
Pages of what’s for sale, whats on the auction block?
Attention bidders, its Lot forty-five
He’s got a decent voice, he’s got that crooked smile
Hold on, you haven’t heard the best yet
He writes good storylines, he’s got those honest eyes
So, take him home for just nine-ninety-five
he’ll sing the songs you like, he’ll keep you warm at night (at night)
Back down, cash out, that’s the city for ya
Break down and back out, and get what’s coming to you
When you said you were falling apart
I thought you meant that you were falling apart
Ohh oh… I’m not the type to forget about nights like this
when every single move that I make is documented and scored for style points
The once ambitious one, now holds a smoking gun
And if I die in my sleep, are you still willing to be everything you promised you would be?
Back down, cash out, that’s the city for ya
Break down and back out, and get what’s coming to you
When you said you were falling apart I thought you meant that you were falling apart
Ohh oh
Will you be the first one to tell the neigborhood papers
and all my family and friends that still care
Did you buy what I sold and did you feel what I told you
I hope that you still do, will you?
Promise yourself, that this isn’t all we’ve got
Back down, cash out, that’s the city for ya
Break down and back out, get what’s coming to you
When you said you were falling apart
I thought you meant that you were falling apart
Back down, cash out, that’s the city for ya
Break down and back out, get what’s coming to you
When you said you were falling apart
I thought you meant that you were falling apart
Ohh oh

Full Lyrics

The angst and fervor of youth find a potent conduit in the music of The Academy Is…, and their song ‘Classifieds’ is no different. A mix of electric guitar riffs and evocative lyrics paint a picture of a young individual grappling with their place in a world where everything has a price tag.

The song doesn’t just challenge the listener with its brisk tempo; it invites them into a deeper conversation about identity and worth in an age where personal value feels increasingly commoditized. Let’s delve into the meaning behind ‘Classifieds’ and explore what it tells us about society’s auctioning of the self.

An Existential Marketplace: Interpreting the Auction Metaphor

At the heart of ‘Classifieds’ lies a stark metaphor: the transformation of one’s life into a series of advertisements and sales pitches. This analogy extends beyond mere possessions to the very essence of the narrator’s being. The notion that a human with all their complexities can be summarized into ‘Lot forty-five’—a number on an auctioneer’s docket—highlights a stinging critique of a culture determined to quantify and categorize individuality.

The description of his qualities—’a decent voice,’ ‘crooked smile,’ ‘good storylines,’ ‘honest eyes’—mirrors the bullet points one might find in a well-crafted ad, trivializing his traits as though they were features of a used car. By commoditizing these personal attributes, the song questions the impersonal and transactional nature of societal relationships.

Scoring Style Points: The Pressure of Perpetual Performance

‘Classifieds’ captures the suffocating pressure of living under constant scrutiny, where each action is ‘documented and scored for style points.’ In this hyper-aware state, the narrator’s life becomes a performance, each moment subjected to relentless evaluation. The lyrics reflect a societal expectation to cultivate a personal brand, polished for public consumption and tailored for approval.

This merciless scorekeeping suggests a broader commentary on the pursuit of authenticity amidst a landscape dominated by social media, where façades are often valued more than substance. The notion of living genuinely, without the pretense of performance, emerges as a rebellious act against the backdrop of an image-obsessed culture.

The Smoking Gun of Ambition: A Battle with Burnout

There’s a poignant transition from aspiration to resignation in ‘Classifieds,’ where the narrator is described as ‘the once ambitious one’ now merely holding ‘a smoking gun.’ This evokes the struggle many face after a relentless pursuit of success—at some point, the dreamer becomes a cynic, the go-getter a ghost of their former self.

Burnout, a pervasive issue especially among millennials and Gen Zers, rings loud and clear in these lines. The imagery of a ‘smoking gun’ serves as a sobering metaphor for self-sabotage or the unintended consequences that come from chasing a conventional notion of success that may, in the end, not align with one’s personal values or lead to fulfillment.

Asking for the Final Bid: The Inevitability of Finding Own Value

One can’t help but ponder the pivotal question posed in ‘Classifieds’: ‘Did you buy what I sold, and did you feel what I told you?’ This line shows the narrator’s vulnerability, needing confirmation that his personal ‘ad’ was compelling enough—that his essence truly resonated with someone.

The song’s plea for reassurance reflects a larger human longing for connection and recognition. It’s an introspective call, asking not just if others believe in his worth, but if he believes it himself. As the song winds down, there’s an awakening, a move toward taking ownership of one’s value, independent of external validation.

Uncovering the Hidden Meaning: Beyond the Façade of ‘Classifieds’

‘Classifieds’ is not merely a lyrical labyrinth but a mirror held up to the fragmented self-image many young people juggle. It pushes past the literal meaning of words to explore what it means to live in a world where even our most intimate assets—the quirks and quiet dreams—are for sale to the highest bidder.

In the undercurrent of its catchy chorus and dynamic bridges, the song offers a subtle but clear reminder: Breaking free from the societal classifieds is both our most formidable challenge and our greatest salvation. It is a call to reclaim our complexities, assert our worth, and refuse to allow ourselves to be reduced to mere bullet points in the classifieds of life.

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