Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

Album: Duality (2014)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Set It Up frontman Cody Carson wrote this fast-paced rocker in response to being betrayed by people he trusted. He learned the hard lesson that a friendly exterior can hide something sinister. "There's a lot of people that put up facades," he explained to the Songfacts Podcast in 2021. "I was writing about two people who have done this sort of thing where they came across as super nice people, and then they totally screwed me over in the harshest way possible. And I'm like, man, I came into the industry so naive, thinking everyone's gonna be nice. We're all rooting for each other. And don't get me wrong, there are people out there that are incredible and they deserve all that credit. But I was just like, well, there's some bad people out here. So I was venting into that song."
  • This is a cut from the band's second studio album, Duality. It wasn't released as a single, but it blew up on social media thanks to anime fans who used it in YouTube videos. "So it got this organic gravitation from this subculture on YouTube that would take songs and create their own videos with cartoon clips from their favorite animes, or different shows of that nature," Carson said. "I was going on there and finding these videos, and they had multiple millions of views. This subculture just latched on to it, and propelled it up and it started getting used in tons of videos like that. Then it starts to live now more on TikTok, and everywhere, and it just seems to get bigger and bigger. It's the coolest thing to me. It also makes me go, 'F--k... we should have made it a single.'"
  • The wolf in sheep's clothing is a pop culture trope, but it's also an idiom that has biblical origins. In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, he warns (in Matthew 7:15), "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." But he says the two-faced deceivers will eventually reveal their true selves through their actions, like Carson learned when his "friends" turned on him.
  • This features guest vocals from William Beckett of The Academy Is….
  • Carson puts a sarcastic twist on classic nursery rhymes and fairy tales to undermine the backstabber's supposed innocence. While "Baa Baa Black Sheep" is usually asked, "Have you any wool?" with the reply, "Yes, sir, yes, sir three bags full," Carson wonders, "Have you any soul?" The sheep replies, "No sir, by the way, what the hell are morals?"

    In "Jack and the Beanstalk," the menacing giant senses the lad's presence in his castle and shouts, "Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman." Carson sings,

    Fee-fi-fo-fum, you better run and hide
    I smell the blood of a petty little coward


    "Jack Be Nimble" is also told to be "lethal and slick" instead of "nimble and quick" because Jill (of "Jack and Jill went up the hill" fame) will leave him lonely and dying in a ditch.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

The End Of The Rock Era

The End Of The Rock EraSong Writing

There are no more rock stars - the last one died in 1994.

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors Examined

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors ExaminedSong Writing

Doors expert Jim Cherry, author of The Doors Examined, talks about some of their defining songs and exposes some Jim Morrison myths.

Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty

Rob Thomas of Matchbox TwentySongwriter Interviews

Rob Thomas on his Social Distance Sessions, co-starring with a camel, and his friendship with Carlos Santana.

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)Songwriter Interviews

Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai were two of Graham's co-writers for some '80s rock classics.

When Rock Belonged To Michelob

When Rock Belonged To MichelobSong Writing

Michelob commercials generated hits for Eric Clapton, Genesis and Steve Winwood in the '80s, even as some of these rockers were fighting alcoholism.