2 x 4

Lyrics

He was agin the rich
He was agin the rich
He was agin the poor
He was agin the poor
He was agin the rich
He was agin the poor
He wa agin the rich
He was against all trepidation

He was agin the rich
On the loose again
He was agin the rich

There's a new fiend on the loose
On the back of the exhaust clip (1)
Clipped on rich and poor alike
Come to roost again once more

Ol' Nick doesn't go from digs to digs no more (2)
Hit him on the head with a 2 by 4
Nowadays he has a Georgian glazed porch (3)

He was agin the rich
He was agin the rich/poor (4)
He was agin the poor 
He was agin the poor

There's a new fiend on the loose
On the back of the exhaust clip
Clipped on rich and poor alike
Come to roost again once more

He said, hit 'em on the head
With a 2 by 4
He said, hit 'em on the head
With a 2 by 4

He was agin the rich
He was agin the poor

Used a table leg to club son-in-law (5)

Hit me again, my friend
Fiend in your home again
Fiend in your home again
New friend in the home, my fiend

He said show me my quarters and glasses
He said show me my quarters and glasses

There's a new fiend on the loose
Jolting in his tradition
It's a fear of the obtuse
He's got patents on the moaning
 

Notes

1. The "exhaust clip" line is odd--all I can imagine is a clamp on an automobile. The general idea seems to be someone (or something) who follows one around unbeknownst.

^

2. "Old Nick" is a common epithet for the devil (see also "there's a new fiend on the loose"). Here's a quote from co-writer Brix Smith, courtesy of the Reformation site: "'2 by 4' was my words. My mental reference point was an American cartoon like Road Runner, where he would take a 2 x 4 which was a plank and whack 'em on the head. Tom and Jerry with the frying pan."

^

3. Georgian architecture is not something from the southern USA or the Caucasus region, but is an 18th-19th century British style named after Kings George I-IV. A "Georgian glazed porch" is a small entry-way porch encompassed by glass. 

^

4. The double tracking on the vocal line splits here, with one MES singing "rich" and the other singing "poor." 

^ 

5. It has been suggested somewhere or other that MES tips his hand here, and he's writing about Brix's father (compare "What You Need": "And to meet your horrible new dad/with a grudge against me"). It could be (although I doubt the actual clubbing is factual), who knows? As usual, these background facts (if they are such) are interesting, but only mildly so.

^

More Information

Comments (11)

John
  • 1. John | 01/08/2013

This is about Brix' father, who hated MES. See also "and to meet your horrible new dad, with a grudge against me" from What you Need. And "her father was much worse, can't say why in this line" from Sing! Harpy.

dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 12/08/2013

I don't think this is about Brix's father. Brix's mother, by the way, brought up Brix as a single parent with help from a grandparent until the age of 6 when Brix's stepfather moved in. Her genetic father hadn't been around since she was a baby.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-2184940/Emotional-ties-original-frock-chic-Brix-Smith-Start.html

dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 12/10/2013

I've been listening to this again for concordance purposes.

These lyrics seem incomplete. This is what I hear (towards the end there's some indistinct stuff that I can't do anything with):

"He was agin the rich
He was agin the rich
He was agin the poor
He was agin the poor
He was agin the rich
He was agin the poor
He was agin the rich
He was against all trepidation
He was agin the rich
On the loose again
He was agin the rich
There's a new fiend on the loose
On the back of the exhaust clip
Clipped on rich and poor alike
Come to roost again once more
Ol' Nick doesn't go from digs to digs no more
Hit him on the head with a two by four
Nowadays he has a Georgian glazed porch
He was agin the rich
He was agin the rich (poor )
He was agin the poor
He was agin the poor
There's a new fiend on the loose
On the back of the exhaust clip
Clipped on rich and poor alike
Come to roost again once more
He said hit him on the head with a two by four
He said hit him on the head with a two by four
He was agin the rich
He was agin the poor
He was agin the poor
Used table leg to club son-in-law
New Fiend again in your home my friend
New fiend in your home again
Two by four
He said show me my quarters and glasses
He said show me my quarters and glasses
There's a new fiend on the loose
Jolting in his tradition
It's a fear of the obtuse
He's got patents on the moaning"

Mark
  • 4. Mark | 29/04/2014

At 3.00: "New friend in your home, my fiend."

Martin
  • 5. Martin | 14/10/2014

Does anyone know what is referred to by "quarters and glasses"? There is a drinking game called quarters, which obviously needs (drinking) glasses as well, but I don't think it's this. Maybe living quarters? Not sure.

dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 07/12/2015

"He was against all trepidation"

What does it mean, in the context of the song, for the subject to oppose dread, apprehension, fear or anxiety? Assuming MES is using the word correctly, it's a very unusual line.

bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 13/12/2015

Yes, it is odd although not in an unheard-of-for-MES way. At times I'm not sure if he doesn't just spit out words he's not always sure of the meaning of, or just as likely knows it's a little off but just likes the way it sounds.

It could mean that he is against acting hesitantly or fearfully rather than the feeling itself.

On the other hand if "he" is Old Nick, perhaps it does make sense for the devil to oppose one of the building blocks of human nature, since perhaps he is in a position to debate such metaphysical decisions made by Yahweh..."Why'd you make them so wimpy"?

dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 04/05/2016

From Brix Smith-Start's The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise


In England, they don't have '2x4's, which is a non-metric term for a wooden plank. That image is from watching so many cartoons as a child - Road Runner hitting Wile E. Coyote with a two-by-four. It was that kind of imagery. When I listen to the lyrics now, for his part, it's evident that Mark was talking about my family's perception of him. There's a line where he goes 'used table leg to club son-in-law'.


Note, however, that this is Brix listening to the lyrics now - so may not be completely true.

dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 17/04/2017

"Pigs to pigs" has been suggested here and there instead of "digs to digs", because of the story in Mark 5:12. Digs works better, I think, not least because there are multiple demons in the story rather than the de'il hi'self. Trouble is, once someone has suggested "pigs", that's all you can hear.

bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt (link) | 13/05/2017

Yeah, both make sense but I kind of like "pigs" more. You could see Legion as his avatars or something.

bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt (link) | 13/05/2017

We have nothing but our ears for evidence on this, right? We should scare up a few live versions...I like "pigs" much better, I hope that's it.

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