The One Who Got Us Out
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists Lyrics


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I know I like doing a lot of talking. Time goes on, I'm talking still
While soldier girls are dodging grenades
and rockets, and moms and dads are paying the bill
And they say, it's the only way
Ooh, it's the only way
And the play like it's a game
Oooh, it's like it's a game
Sometimes something about my being on the sidelines doesn't jibe
And I know why the millions of working people,
they would fight if they had time
And they say, it's the only way
Ooh, it's the only way
And the play like it's a game
Oooh, it's like it's a game

And what can you say to take that weight away?
I look into the endless bottom, and all I want is what should be.
I'm damned ashamed to feel this rotten
Can we reclaim what's been forgotten?
The state of the State don't let me feel that safe.
I want to take it to the tired and affronted, and all they want is one who'll lead
but I'll put it to you plain and bluntly:
I'm worried for my tired country
That look on your face - don't let it go to waste
Take it to the floor of Congress




Look into the Core of Rotten
Turn into the one who got us out.

Overall Meaning

In the first verse of Ted Leo and The Pharmacists’ “The One Who Got Us Out,” the lyrics describe how time passes and the singer continues talking, while soldiers are risking their lives, and their families are paying for it. It highlights the irony of how some people continue to talk about political issues without taking any actual action to bring change, while others sacrifice their lives and livelihoods to fight for what they believe in. The phrase “it’s the only way” repeats throughout the song, suggesting that people feel they have no other choice than to engage in war, even though it should not be considered a game.


The second verse suggests that if the millions of working people who are too busy to protest had the time, they too would fight for social justice. The lyrics express guilt and shame for not being on the frontline of the issues at hand, for not doing more to help or to stop the war, and for feeling that their country has become tired and complacent. The singer wants to see change happen, but feels helpless in the face of powerful institutions like the government and the military. The song ends on a call to action, urging listeners to take action and to become “the one who got us out,” and to fight for positive change.


Line by Line Meaning

I know I like doing a lot of talking. Time goes on, I'm talking still
I tend to talk more than I act, even as time passes


While soldier girls are dodging grenades and rockets, and moms and dads are paying the bill
While soldiers fight dangerous wars and families endure the financial burden of it all


And they say, it's the only way. Ooh, it's the only way. And they play like it's a game. Oooh, it's like it's a game
People in charge say war is necessary and treat it like a game


Sometimes something about my being on the sidelines doesn't jibe
Being on the sidelines doesn't always sit right with me


And I know why the millions of working people, they would fight if they had time
I understand that if working people had the opportunity, they would fight for change


And they say, it's the only way. Ooh, it's the only way. And they play like it's a game. Oooh, it's like it's a game
People in charge say war is necessary and treat it like a game


And what can you say to take that weight away? I look into the endless bottom, and all I want is what should be.
What can be done to alleviate the weight of the situation? All I see is a bleak future and all I want is what's right


I'm damned ashamed to feel this rotten. Can we reclaim what's been forgotten?
I'm ashamed to feel so helpless, is it possible to recover what has been lost?


The state of the State don't let me feel that safe. I want to take it to the tired and affronted, and all they want is one who'll lead
The state of our nation doesn't make me feel secure. I want to fight for the exhausted and wronged; all they need is a leader


But I'll put it to you plain and bluntly: I'm worried for my tired country. That look on your face - don't let it go to waste
To be direct, I'm concerned for my country. Don't waste that expression on your face


Take it to the floor of Congress. Look into the Core of Rotten. Turn into the one who got us out.
Bring it to Congress, examine the root of the decay, and become the one who brought us to freedom




Contributed by Lily T. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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