The Execution of All Things (song)

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CD single cover.

The Execution of All Things is an indie rock song, and the titular track of the Rilo Kiley album The Execution of All Things, first released as track three of the album on 2002-10-01. The song was composed by Ben Boyer, Jenny Lewis, and Blake Sennett and is sung by Lewis. It was later released as a single on 2003-09-22 with the B-sides Emotional (Until Crickets Guide You Back) and a cover of The Velvet Underground song, After Hours.

The song's lyrics aren't straight-forward so I don't really understand what it's about. The first verse seems like self-deprecation due to losing a competition, but the second verse appears to be about leaving a tired city to seek a fortune through music. Omaha, played a big part in the growth of the indie pop scene that Rilo Kiley became a part of. The third verse seems to be about the destruction of the environment in California. Though born in Las Vegas, Jenny grew up in California, and the reference to "bears" might be about the extinction of the California grizzly bear. "Crush all hopes of happiness with disease" might be a reference to Europeans bringing disease to the Americas and killing off the bulk of the natives.


I'm not sure if I first heard this song after downloading it through Kazaa or when I bought the album, but I'm pretty sure I liked it from the get-go. The song has a minute-long building intro, but it's interesting the whole time. Jenny's vocals have her usual matter-of-fact style, but they raise and lower nicely to the music, and Blake has a pretty great guitar solo after the second verse. My favorite line from the song is, "And if you're well off, well, then I'm happy some for you. But I'd rather not celebrate my defeat and humiliation here with you," which sums up how we feel when we lose a competition to someone we were hoping to defeat. I also like Jenny's staccato shouts as she backs up herself on the final line, "the execution of all things."


Soldiers come quickly,
I feel the earth beneath my feet.
I'm feeling badly,
It's not an attempt at decency.
And if you're well off,
Well, then I'm happy some for you.
But I'd rather not celebrate my defeat and humiliation here with you.

Someone come quickly,
This place was built for moving out.
Leave behind buildings,
The city planners got mapped out.
Bring with you history and
Make your hard-earned feast.
Then we'll go to Omaha,
To work and exploit the booming music scene.
And humility.

And we've been talking all night.

Oh god come quickly,
The execution of all things.
Let's start with the bears and the air,
And then mountains, rivers, and streams.

Then we'll murder what matters to you,
And move on to your neighbors and kids.
Crush all hopes of happiness with disease 'cause of what you did.

And lastly, you're all alone,
With nothing left but sleep.
But sleep never comes to you,
It's the guilt and forever wakefulness of the weak.

It's just you and me...
The execution of all things,
The execution of all things,
The execution of all things.



Album version.
Live, 2005.
Live at Maryjanes in Houston, TX on 2002-11-16.


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