"ATOMIC GARDEN = Our World...and 'they' do what they what with IT"
"Perhaps this song is about nuclear proliferation, the fact that so many countries now either have nuclear weapons or the ability to acquire them. Countries want to be considered as 'possible threats' in order to increase their security, but at the same time, no one really wants to have a situation deteriorate to the point where they are forced to use their weapons. 'Everybody wants to dance in the play pen, but nobody wants to play in my garden.' I think the part about having 'something bigger that can really go pop, so I can make the gardening stop,' could be about creating the most powerful and deadliest weapon to wipe out all the other countries and stop them from developing their own weapons."
"Ok, i already explazined this elsewhere, but i think it's worth doing again. I think this song is literally about nuclear proliferation, but I think there's a;so another level to it, the story of a guy who sees beauty verywhere, and appreciates it in many forms, but wants it for himself and can't break through to actual experience of beauty, only contemplation of it. And he has this strong yearning for some sort of release from his paralysis (a la Joyce) but the only thing he can find solace in this idea of some moment of existentialist chaos, namely an explosion, and the bigger the better. The Garden he is tending could be (this is hard to put into words) the place inside him where he is storing all his experiences of beauty, and the accumulation of it and the yearning it is causing is driving him mad. "Everybody wants to dance in a playpen, but nobody wants to play in my garden." I've often felt like I could imagine a world that was greater then anything people created for themselvesa, but since there's no real way to communicate that transcendental imagination, people will remain constricted by "reality." "i see the hippies on an angry line, guess they don't get my meaning" Literally about hippies protesting, but "don't get my meaning" also evokes the same them from above. "I'm enchanted by the birds in my blosoms, i'm enamored by young lovers on the weeked, I like the fourth of July, when bombs start flashig" He has theses appreciations of beauty in his garden, but what hwe really craves is chaos, entropy, a reaction, hence the flashing. He then goes on to describe how he could make the gardening stop. The last line is obviously a pun on the soviet union, considering "the party that would never stop" was coming to an end. But in the lyrics, you hear the man's yearning for a "more fertile garden" he is also "watching from the room inside my r! oom" I'm not sure if gurewitz meant this from his lyrics, but it made me think of it."
"As an add-on to what I said above, I see how obviously it is describing the world as the "atomic garden" but i think it's a double metaphor and that's what makes it great art. In the more obvious meaning, i think the song was referencing the breakup of the soviet union and how nuclear bombs could now be more prolific. But I think it was combining this idea of a world that had more potential to be destroyed by an extremist, with the spiritual state such a world induces, and in many pervasive ways, where an individual can become spiritually paralytic and seek chaos or destruction as liberation."