Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Don’t by Brand New Lyrics Meaning – Unpacking Emo’s Lyrical Labyrinth


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Brand New's Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Don't at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning

Lyrics

I’m heaven sent, don’t you dare forget
I am all you’ve ever wanted
What all the other boys all promised
Sorry I told, I just needed you to know
I think in decimals and dollars
I am the cause to all your problems
Shelter from cold, we’re never alone
Coordinate brain and mouth
Then ask me what its like to have myself so figured out
I wish I knew

I hope this song starts a craze
The kind of song that ignites the airways
The kind of song that makes people glad to be where they are
With whoever they’re there with
This is war
Every line is about who I don’t want to write about anymore
Hope you come down with something they can’t diagnose
Don’t have the cure for
Holding on to your grudge
Oh it’s so hard to have someone to love
And keeping quiet is hard
‘Cause you can’t keep a secret if it was never was a secret to start
At least pretend you didn’t want to get caught

We’re concentrating on falling apart
We were contenders, now we’re throwing the fight
I just want to believe
I just want to believe
I just want to believe

Oh we’re so c-c-c-c-c-controversial
We are entirely smooth
We admit to the truth, we are the best at what we do
And these are the words you wish you wrote down
This is the way you wish your voice sounds
Handsome and smart
Oh my tongue’s the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart
And it’s all from watching TV
And from speeding up my breathing
I wouldn’t stop if I could, oh it hurts to be this good
Holding on to your grudge
Oh it hurts to always have to be honest with the one that you love
Oh so let it go

We’re concentrating on falling apart
We were contenders, now we’re throwing the fight
I just want to believe
I just want to believe
I just want to believe

We’re concentrating on falling apart
We were contenders, now we’re throwing the fight
I just want to believe
I just want to believe
I just want to believe

This is the grace only we can bestow
This is the price you pay for loss of control
This is the break in the bend
This is closest of calls
This is the reason you’re alone
This is the rise and the fall

We’re concentrating on falling apart
We were contenders, now we’re throwing the fight
I just want to believe
I just want to believe
I just want to believe

We’re concentrating on falling apart
We were contenders, now we’re throwing the fight
I just want to believe
I just want to believe
I just want to believe

Full Lyrics

Among the raw and emotionally charged anthems of the early 2000s emo scene, Brand New’s ‘Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Don’t’ stands as a monument to lyrical complexity and the artistry of angst. The track, soaring with a blend of confessional poetry and biting self-awareness, plumbs the depths of personal identity, artistic integrity, and the struggle to connect in the static-filled channels of human relationships.

But beneath the surface of writer Jesse Lacey’s seemingly straightforward address to an ambiguous ‘you,’ a tapestry of introspection and accusation unfolds. The song captures a moment in time for a generation wrestling with the authenticity of self, love, and the pursuit of artistic truth amidst the cacophony of critics and internal demons.

A Self-Aware Serenade in a Sea of Pretension

The song opens with a declaration of divinity, ‘I’m heaven sent, don’t you dare forget,’ an ironic pedestal that Lacey places himself upon. He continues to juxtapose his self-proclaimed grandeur—’I am all you’ve ever wanted’—with a candid admission of his fallibility and imperfection—’I am the cause to all your problems.’

This duality creates a narrative tension, embodying the song’s underlying exploration of ego and humility. Lacey uses this tension to dissect the artifice often built around musical artists while acknowledging his own role in perpetuating these myths.

The Catchy Chorus that Captured a Movement

In the irresistible pull of the chorus, ‘I just want to believe,’ lies a universal cry for something, anything to be genuine. Brand New taps into the youthful desperation for belief and meaning amidst disillusionment. The repetition becomes a mantra for listeners who, like the band, are ‘concentrating on falling apart’ and ‘throwing the fight,’ losing themselves in the struggle for authenticity.

The phrase becomes an anthem of resignation and hope, a dual-edged sword that cynically acknowledges defeat while still yearning for something to hold on to—something to believe in.

Decoding the Hidden Meaning Behind the Infamous Line

Perhaps the most dissected line of the song, ‘This is the grace only we can bestow,’ captures the very essence of the power dynamics at play within the track. Brand New exudes the confidence of a band aware of their influential position, bestowing grace through their lyrics, while also implicating the listener in this act—making them complicit in the hollow pageantry they bemoan.

The grace promised is fraught with the weight of expectation and the knowledge that control, once lost, comes with consequences both freeing and isolating—a theme that resonates throughout the song as Lacey grapples with the tension between public persona and private struggle.

The Tongue-Twisting Truths of Tongue and Heart

Lacey’s self-reflective quip, ‘Oh my tongue’s the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart,’ at once confesses to the verbal dexterity that enables his songwriting and betrays a certain emotional fatigue. These words speak to the exhaustive effort of maintaining a façade, one that sacrifices vulnerability on the altar of cleverness and lyrical agility.

This memorable line encapsulates the essence of Brand New’s charge – to voice a generation’s inner turmoil through music that is at turns aggressive and introspective, a valve releasing the pent-up pressure of trying to remain true in a world that often demands artifice.

From Contenders to Conceding the Fight – A Closing Thought

As the song winds down to its conclusion, the notion of ‘concentrating on falling apart,’ juxtaposing the act of falling apart with a sense of deliberate focus, reflects not just a surrender but an intentional dismantling of self-constructed images. It is in this lyrical unraveling that Lacey and his audience find a rare and unguarded honesty.

In their refusal to fit neatly into the labels prescribed by the music industry, Brand New manifests a powerful message of rebellion—choosing to believe not in the sanitized versions of themselves but in the chaotic, troubled, and genuine identities that pulse underneath the surface of their music.

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