Brandenburg Gate

Album: American Spring (2015)
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Songfacts®:

  • The Brandenburg Gate is a monument in Berlin erected in the late 1700s. When the Berlin Wall went up in 1961, the Gate was on the East German side near the Wall, and largely off limits. When the Wall came down in 1989, the Brandenburg Gate became a symbol of freedom and unity.

    The song tells a story about a couple who metaphorically separated but refuse to give up on their relationship. "In the end, the song is about the idea that despite the odds - no matter how big the odds may be - anything is achievable," guitarist Justin Sane said in his Songfacts interview. "The Brandenburg Gate was a symbol of the Cold War, and it was a symbol of division. It was like this barrier that no one would be able to overcome. But eventually, that wall came down, and all of a sudden, that gate was opened. People were actually able to be brought together. I think that's just one example of how when things seem impossible, there's always a possibility for hope and change when people are willing to fight for it."
  • Tim Armstrong from the group Rancid sings on this track along with Justin Sane.
  • All members of Anti-Flag contribute songs, which they hash out together and share writer credits. This one originated with bass player Chris#2 (Chris Barker), who sings lead on the track. He wrote it about a literal relationship that ended, and the difficult times he spent in Berlin. When he brought it to the band, drummer Pat Thetic heard a different interpretation. "His zoomed out perspective on the lyrics created this backstory about a love song for socialism," Barker told Antimusic. "My imagery of Berlin and the Brandenburg Gate became a metaphor to Pat for socialism being seen as untouchable in America. How vastly far away universal health care and education seem to be to us in the states. He had parallels for each line. Ones that I would never had seen. We then shaped the remainder of the lyrics to both mirror and reference my emotions but our collective understanding of how no matter how far away the things you want or believe to be important or things you know to be just, they are attainable. The Brandenburg Gate was locked away during the era of the Berlin Wall. Closed form society. It now stands alive, tourists flock to it, it's a meeting point, a protest square. It was once also untouchable, these 'socialist' ideas of treating humanity with the respect it deserves will not be untouchable for much longer."

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