Monarch

Album: Nowhere Generation (2021)

Songfacts®:

  • Like many Rise Against songs, the title doesn't appear in the lyric, but it gleans insight into the song's meaning. A monarch is an unelected ruler of a kingdom or empire, but it's also a kind of butterfly. According to frontman Tim McIlrath, the song is about someone who once ruled over you like a monarch, but also about finding the strength to transform and take away their power, as a caterpillar changes into a monarch butterfly.
  • An influence on this song is the 2018 memoir Educated by Tara Westover, who was raised in a cloistered, survivalist family but learned on her own and found her way to Brigham Young University. Her tale of reinvention struck a chord with Tim McIlrath.
  • There was a specific person Tim McIlrath had in mind - a classmate at Rolling Meadows High School in Illinois - in the lyrics where he rails against the one who tried to keep him down:

    I am not the person you remember from before
    The one you patronized and stepped on
    The one you hurt


    "I was a skateboarder with long hair down to my shoulder and one jock got in my face, told me to cut my hair, and yelled a derogatory slur for a gay person at me so the whole hallway heard it," he told Kerrang!. "The ironic part was, a year or two later, the same kid grew his hair long and got into bands - I was like, 'F--k you!' When Rise Against got big, I became cool to him. Adults in my life were very dismissive about what I was doing with my life until I was successful and then it was all, 'Good for you! I respect you now because you can buy a house!' That's so wrong; I was like, 'You should have respected me then, and you should respect the person doing this who isn't successful at it.'"

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