Skyscraper     Brett Gurewitz's Interpretation


"This might be a bit off from what most people understand from this song, but here's what I think. Skyscraper lyrically, is a quick telling of the story of Babel. Not much more to it than that. Which is why I think the song is actually ABOUT something metaphorical and does not involve God at all, for all intents and purposes. To me, the first verse relates to the community. They have a shared goal, and all work together to see their vision realized. They build this great empire, and as history dictates, the 'natural' ordinance of hierarchical government is established. In typical Bad Religion form, more specifically, Mr. Brett's style, the song is a rebellion anthem opposed to the idea of using the whole to feed the few. 'build me up, then tear down these joining walls' refers to the greedy segregating themselves from the lowly working class, thus leaving the prized piece to the privileged (a.k.a.: the corporations and the governments working under them). Conforming to Mr. Brett's running theme in many of his songs, the bridge near the end in which 'madness reigns and paradise falls, and Babel's walls come crashing down' hints of rebellion in the system, a revolt against a power which took the population's collective dream as their own, for themselves. Related to present day United States, I think this is a song which not only comments on the situations of big business and government, but screams 'get up, and do something about it!' Remember: First dey get de money, den dey get de power, den dey get de women. Just not fair. P.S. One line I couldn't get around was 'you thought, that if you got caught, We'd all go away'. At this point, I figure it gets at, in a bit of an obscure way, the fat cats segregating further (applying the class system) and hoping the others would just leave them be with their ill gotten gains and not do anything about it. Dunno though. I'd like to here some more opinions about this song, as it's my favourite. Solidarity."



"In the words of Denis Miller 'I don't wish to go off on a rant here' but here we go. First off, I'd like to say that Hellboy's interpretation is intelligent, original, and very well might be what Mr. Brett meant, but in my opinion Hellboy has (as often happens when analyzing literature) 'over read' what I consider a much more straight forward song.  One of Mr. Brett's favorite things to do in Bad Religion is criticize stories in the bible that were meant to instill 'morals' but in actuality do the opposite. In Genesis 11. 1-9 the people of Babylon said 'come let us make bricks and bake them hard...we'll build a city with a tower that reaches the sky' then god said 'This is just the beginning of what they can do..., soon they will be able to do anything at all.' This is almost the exact first verse of the song. The words were just changed around to flow better. I can't see how Brett could use a biblical quote as a metaphor about modern community and the growing wealth gap. There is just no evidence of it. Its like, in an obscure way, I could say the song 'basketcase' by greenday is an anti-abortion song. I could play on the words and make a good argument, BUT THERE JUST ISN'T ANY PROOF ANYWHERE IN THE SONG. This song is merely about the fact that, in the story of Babels tower, God created discrimination and racism (by making people speak different languages) and is against the advancement of human kind. I guess you can apply this to anti-corporation, or the poor getting poorer, or anarchism, or society, or communism, or smarties, or the freakin carebears if you wish, I just don't see any evidence. 'that's just my opinion, I could be wrong!' This is war Hellboy. You're going down. I expect to hear your rebuttal soon!"



"Well boys, here we go again...hope I don't break down. The thing about poetry, or stories or songs or anything artistic at all is, once it is released to the public, any original meaning is gone, and replaced by what the viewer brings to it. every interpretation is right, and speculation is just that...a speculation. Perhaps if Mr. Brett were to come on and tell you what he thought at the time.....sorry....but it's true."



"Please don't make fun of me.  I have a neurological chemical brain deficiency that causes me to emotionally break down and whimper like the cowardly worm I am whenever people raise their voice at me."



"In light of the recent attacks on the World Trade Center towers, this song now seems to early foretell the future. America has most definitely 'climbed to reach anything they may propose' which angered these terrorists so profoundly. Though I know nothing of the Bible, Babel's tower seems to analogize the current situation in the US. If the people of the world cannot see eye to eye, Babel's tower may be just the first to go. Considering this song, describing the demise of a skyscraper, now is much more tangible for the people in modern society, I am a little worried about other Bad Religion songs and their predictions. Especially songs like 'watch it die' and 'atomic garden'."

   -Mister Hurtado


"Every interpretation is individual and represents the reader's own view based upon his own acquired knowledge and experiences. I think this song can have multiple 'interpretations' depending on how you twist and turn things..... Personally I have a feeling it's joking about the  Bible.( There is a huge contradiction in the Bible: 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live' - Exodus and 'Thou shalt not kill' one of the commandments. The first one was used as an excuse to burn  ,'witches', people that had different opinions during the 15-16-17 centuries. This contradiction isn't mentioned in this song, but still....)."



"I know it was asked not to talk about my 'personal relation' to the song, but in this case, it seems most appropriate.

I worked overnight Sept. 11th, 2001 and I spent the later part of my shift glued to the TV watching all the events in New York and Washington unfold live. I left work about 8:30am AZ. time, after the Towers had fallen and all hell had broken loose. Already shaken because of the attacks and then finding out that a member of my extended family was unaccounted for in NYC, I sat in my car for a few minutes and tried to settle down before driving home. On my way to work the night before, I'd been listening to a BR compilation CD I made and left off with 'Skyscraper.' I hadn't realized it, but when I turned the car on and my stereo started playing, it was at the line, 'We'll build a city with a tower for the world and climb so we can reach anything we may propose,' then into 'Build me up, tear me down like a skyscraper.' It was one of the most chilling moments of my life.

The parallels seemed truly scary. The Tower of Babel was leveled because God felt the people that built it were arrogant for thinking they could reach Heaven and it seemed to me that the WTC towers were leveled because some lunatic feels the US is getting too big for it britches and these towers were a symbol of our arrogance. But, just as Mr. Brett said, 'I know why you tore it down that day, You thought that if you got caught, we'd all go away, Like a spoiled little baby, who can't come out and play, you had your revenge.' Sounds like a certain terrorist hiding out in Afghanistan, doesn't it? 'Skyscraper' was always one of my favorite songs on 'Recipe for Hate' because of the way it was written, great lyrics, but amazing melodies and great vocals, but now it seems to hold more significance to me and hits a little closer to home. I doubt Gurewitz could have even guessed how true his words could be.

Thanks for listening,"

   -Steve Montiel


"Although Recipe for Hate is a fantastic album, I think that Skyscraper is the diamond-in-the-rough (is that how that saying goes?). It is the most beautiful song on the album and, although there are other songs on the album that show BR's more creative side (ie: All Good Soldiers), Skyscraper shows how melodic and beautiful BR can be."

   -Illyana Delorean


"I must say that all these interpretations have been interesting, I still believe that the 'tower of Babel' bible story seems to fit like a glove. This tends to be one of my favorite BR songs due to the lyrics (like every song they write) and the infectious melody. However, I really want to get something off my chest, Steve Montiel, I really think that your explanation is really off the mark. Yes, I understand that this is YOUR interpretation, but, I think it's full of shit. This song is clearly about the Tower of Babel, however I do see some similarities, but, I am 100% sure that Mr. Brett is not Ms. Cleo, and does not predict the future. Please don't tarnish BR with the media hype of the WTC bombing. You aren't Peter Jennings."

    -The Hippie Killer