Religious, political, nihilistic, optimistic, realistic in 2:20 of hardcore punk. The song is a series of indictments toward major ideologies highlighting hypocrisy (“Hey brother Christian with your high and mighty errand / your actions speak so loud I can’t hear a word you are saying… Hey man of science with your perfect rules of measure / can you improve this place with the data that you gather”). And the grand chorus offers the solution: an “I,” who will bestow utopia upon the earth through equality, “feeding all the children,” and also saving the whales. The character would “promote equality and all of [his] decisions.” The character would also make this appear by conquering and he’d be giving “all the idiots a brand new religion.” Great, with a benevolent monarchy all will be fine– punk can save us all!
Rather than a genuine desire and a pure knowledge of how to endow utopia onto all, the “I” knows the futulity of his dream. Even in his righteousness, he notes how he would have to “conquer” and force others to follow his decisions in order to achieve utopia. And of course “I” has great ideas to solve all of the worlds problems, but, again, at what cost? So, rushed over and nearly unintelligibly the chorus concludes: “With a quick wink of the eye / and a “god you must be joking!” (i.e., not so easily solvable a situation).
This type of shit is standard Bad Religion. They have been playing thought-provoking punk for nearly four decades. And, despite the heaviness of their themes, the music style is upbeat and even positive pouring in beautiful punk harmonies from song to song. And over 16 records they’ve hit on a lot. The last record, True North, came out in 2013 with another likely in the near future. Today’s banger “I Want to Conquer the World” is from 1989’s No Control, which (with Suffer) is my favorite album.
Bad Religion is best appreciated along with reflection or followed by conversation. Not just through music but also ideas, they are well worthy of a listen and some appreciation. This song rails into you from the outset with a quick guitar solo and then the rest. I’ve put the lyrics below for ease of access. Enjoy.
Hey brother christian with your high and mighty errand
Your actions speak so loud I can’t hear a word you’re saying
Hey sister bleeding heart with all of your compassion
Your labors soothe the hurt but can’t assuage temptation
Hey man of science with your perfect rules of measure
Can you improve this place with the data that you gather
Hey mother mercy can your loins bear fruit forever?
Is your fecundity a trammel or a treasure?
I want to conquer the world
Give all the idiots a brand new religion
Put an end to poverty, uncleanliness and toil
Promote equality in all of my decisions
With a quick wink of the eye and a “god you must be joking!”
Hey mister diplomat with your worldly aspirations
Did you see your children cry when you left them at the station?
Hey moral soldier you’ve got righteous proclamation
And precious tomes to fuel your pulpy conflagrations
I want to conquer the world
Expose the culprits and feed them to the children
I’ll do away with air pollution
And then I’ll save the whales
We’ll have peace on earth
And global communion