Friday, September 18, 2009


One of Pink Floyd's best. It is you, it is me, it is most of USAll. Break out of the pasture. Break out of the fold.

It was originally titled "Raving and Drooling".
From Wikipedia.

Sheep in Animals are not so different from the ones in George Orwell's 1945 novel Animal Farm. The sheep represent the lowest class of the social system, the proletariat. They are oblivious and exploited, "only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air". In the first verse they are described to be peacefully grazing - unaware that they are soon to be brought to a slaughterhouse. They are warned of the presence of dogs, the iron-handed guardians of the system. It is also described in the first few lines that the artist had "looked over Jordan and I have seen / Things are not what they seem," which is a reference to Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, and has become an idiom for having an ecstatic vision, especially one involving death, particularly one's own. In the book of Exodus, the Israelites must cross the river Jordan to get to the "Promised Land" after their escape from Egyptian Slavery.

In the second verse the awful truth suddenly dawns on them and with "terminal shock in (their) eyes" they realize that they are being led into the "valley of steel", which is a metaphorical phrase, because it also represents the high-rise buildings (hence the steel framework), home of the corporate world as well as the slaughterhouse. The song continues into a mock biblical verse in which the sheep describe their dedicated belief in their master with "great power and great hunger." But in a humorous turnabout the sheep, "through quiet reflection and great dedication" master the art of karate and rebel against the dogs.

The third verse describes the sheep's revolt, as they fall "on his neck with a scream." They might have had enough but they are still undereducated and uncivilized as they are described as "demented avengers." The song is completed with a cheerful announcement: "Have you heard the news? / The dogs are dead!" The sheep, because of their strength in numbers, overpower and kill the dogs. Despite popular belief, this is not a possible reference to the Russian October Revolution as represented in Animal Farm because the album critiques western capitalism rather than communism.


Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away;
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air.
You better watch out,
There may be dogs about
I've looked over Jordan, and I have seen
Things are not what they seem.

What do you get for pretending the danger's not real.
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is no bad dream.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to lie
Through pastures green He leadeth me the silent waters by.
With bright knives He releaseth my soul.
He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places.
He converteth me to lamb cutlets,
For lo, He hath great power, and great hunger.
When cometh the day we lowly ones,
Through quiet reflection, and great dedication
Master the art of karate,
Lo, we shall rise up,
And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water.

Bleating and babbling I fell on his neck with a scream.
Wave upon wave of demented avengers
March cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream.

Have you heard the news?
The dogs are dead!
You better stay home
And do as you're told.
Get out of the road if you want to grow old.