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Hard Rock | Alternative Rock | Grunge | Lubbock, TX

Behind the Lyrics: Gates Wide Open

I'd like to try to spend some time going into each of the individual songs on the album and writing a bit about what they mean or what they meant when they were written. I'm a firm believer that songs can take on different meanings for different people and I wouldn't want to keep anyone from making their own meaning from each song. The lyrics are written in an interpretable way for that reason specifically. However, the question of what a song means comes up often after it's written and performed, so in a new series, "Behind the Lyrics," I want to talk about the meanings behind the lyrics of different songs, starting with the new album's title track "Gates Wide Open."




Verse 1:


I see you like heaven

bright blinding, with gates wide open.

I see you, like Jesus--

wine blood and bread on my tongue.

I want you like angel wings,

feathers breathing life into me.

Oh, here comes your reason

making fake all the rake from my gums.


Chorus:


Lie with me, my lover.

Drink the sea until it's gone.

Sing your hymn to heaven,

til he craves like everyone.


Climb in me my monster.

Claw away until it's gone.

Scream your curse to heaven,

til he bleeds and then we're saved.


Verse 2:


I praise you like god above.

Feel your weight on me like a million tons.

Desecrate you like idol gold,

'cause you glow like the face of a burning soul.

Come rape me, you Gomorrahn whore,

that shan't be saved so salt her.

I'll wait here like a boring stone

'til the time when it's right to take more.


Bridge:


You wraith, you...

You ravage me,

and I long to give in.

Take me away.

At a distance, this song might seem to have a reverence to religion, but it's actually quite the opposite. Using Christian references, the song portrays a more satirical tone with the actual theme of the song being sex.


Taking the first verse for example:


I see you like heaven,

bright blinding with gates wide open.


This is a reference to a lover in wait. Continuing:


I need you like Jesus--

wine blood and bread on my tongue.

I want you like angel wings,

feathers breathing life into me.


These are focused on the acts of sex, the closeness and the envelopment of two human beings together, through a pseudo-religious filter, satirical in that it's using a faith as a medium for conveying otherwise Biblically taboo ideas.


The turn then comes with:


Oh, here comes your reason

making fake all the rake from my gums.


These lyrics portray a change, a challenge to the act, to the moment, but also point out reason as a tool sometimes contrary to religious belief.


The chorus focuses on the point of sexual excess:


Lie with me my lover.

Drink the sea until it's gone.

Sing your hymn to heaven

til he craves like everyone.


Here we see some of the first explicit lyrics relating to the sex themes of the song. "Drink the sea until it's gone," can be filtered through a lot of interpretations (some more intense) but it's about taking everything and leaving nothing left. Complete exasperation. "Sing your hymn to heaven" is about the moaning or the sounds of sex, and the blasphemy, "til he craves like everyone," refers to a temptation of a god, also fallible to the sounds of a wanton lover.


The second half of the chorus:


Climb in me my monster.

Claw away until it's gone.

Scream your curse to heaven

til he bleeds and then we're saved.


This part of the chorus is all about intensifying the themes, as sex might be closer to climax, where lyrics like "singing hymns" is replaced by intensifiers, "screaming curses," with the last line again referring to a god as having been broken by the act, bleeding out, which also is a salvation in the Christian faith, but in this case is a salvation from the taboo of sex common in the practice of Western faiths.


The second verse, like the second half of the chorus, is about intensification of the sex themes from the first verse, filtered through clear moments of retribution in the Bible concerning sex:


I praise you like god above.


A simile comparing love or a lover equally to a god.


Feel your weight on me like a million tons.


A semi-literal reference about the weight of a human body on top of another, grounding the theme.


Desecrate you like idol gold,

'cause you glow like the face of a burning soul.


These are references to the Golden Calf, a cult idol from the Bible, which earned the idolaters harsh punishment. While heterosexual sex is generally less taboo in many religions, homosexual sex is still highly taboo in some Western religious sects, and this reference might satirize their interpretation of homosexuality being "an abomination" that will send someone to hell. Reflectively, to weaken that idea, the lyrics poke at the idea, focusing on desecration or intensity in sex, while the "glowing face of a burning soul" is a reference to punishment in hell, diffused as happiness or excitement during sex.


The latter half of the second verse is more diffusing through the double-meanings of the language:


Come rape me, you Gomorrahn whore,

that shan't be saved so salt her.


While exaggerated, and not to deny the severity of rape, these lyrics are more tonally referring to a sort of "dirty talk" while using specific references from the Bible, like Sodom and Gomorrah, which was an epicenter for "nefarious sexual practices" and taboo, which resulted in the punishment of some being turned into pillars of salt. In this case, one of the sexual partners has no intention of changing or turning away from this brand of please, she "will not be saved," so turn her to salt, because the act together is worth the punishment.


The resolve works similarly to the literal nature of the final lines in the first verse:


I'll wait here like a boring stone,

til the time when it's right to take more.


These lyrics address the waiting between being with the person again, sharing the act again, and in that time taking with as much voracity as the previous encounter.


Finally, the bridge focuses on the affliction and attraction between two people:


You wraith, you...

You ravage me and I long to give in.

Take me away.


As is with the most powerful experiences with others, that person can become consuming to the mind, they can become a "wraith" or a "spectre" which is impossible to stop thinking about. The bridge focuses on the lasting effect of the experience and the times in between, then with "Take me away," there's a longing for a release.


Gates Wide Open is the second song on the coming album of the same name, releasing 08.01.2019 on all streaming platforms.