top of page
21 Guns
Song

21 Guns

Green Day
Album:
21st Century Breakdown

Song meaning of 21 Guns by Green Day, and what it is about


"21 Guns" by Green Day, released in 2009 as part of their album "21st Century Breakdown," is a song that carries a deep and contemplative meaning. The narrative within the song tells a story of inner conflict, personal battles, and the search for redemption. While the exact interpretation can vary, many listeners see the lyrics as an exploration of the complexities surrounding decisions and the consequences that follow.


The song grapples with a sense of guilt and responsibility, contemplating the impact of their choices on themselves and those around them. The repeated refrain, "Lay down your arms, give up the fight," suggests a desire for peace and surrender, perhaps stemming from a recognition of the toll that constant struggle and conflict can take on one's well-being.


The phrase "21 guns" is symbolic, often associated with a military salute or a farewell, emphasizing the seriousness of the internal conflict within the narrative. It conveys a sense of finality and the weight of the decisions being made.


As the song unfolds, there's a plea for forgiveness and understanding, both from others and oneself. The line "Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I" hints at a shared vulnerability and a call for unity, as the characters in the song confront the consequences of their actions together.


Given that the chorus' melody is similar to that of his song "All the Young Dudes," David Bowie is listed as the song's songwriter in order to prevent a possible lawsuit alleging plagiarism.


Song lyrics of 21 Guns by Green Day


Do you know what's worth fighting for

When it's not worth dying for?

Does it take your breath away

And you feel yourself suffocating

Does the pain weigh out the pride?

And you look for a place to hide

Did someone break your heart inside

You're in ruins

 

One, 21 Guns

Lay down your arms

Give up the fight

One, 21 Guns

Throw up your arms into the sky

You and I

 

When you're at the end of the road

And you lost all sense of control

And your thoughts have taken their toll

When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul

Your faith walks on broken glass

And the hangover doesn't pass

Nothing's ever built to last

You're in ruins

 

One, 21 Guns

Lay down your arms

Give up the fight

One, 21 Guns

Throw up your arms into the sky

You and I

 

Did you try to live on your own

When you burned down the house and home?

Did you stand too close to the fire

Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone?

 

When it's time to live and let die

And you can't get another try

Something inside this heart has died

You're in ruins

 

One, 21 Guns

Lay down your arms

Give up the fight

One, 21 Guns

Throw up your arms into the sky

One, 21 Guns

Lay down your arms

Give up the fight

One, 21 Guns

Throw up your arms into the sky

 

You and I

Release Date

2009

Songwriter/s

Billie Joe Armstrong, David Bowie

Producer/s

Butch Vig, Green Day

Label/s

Reprise

Other Songs

bottom of page