Cold War | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/8/10
The Trees = Cold War.
Simple as that.
Maples = Numerous countries involved.
Oaks = U.S.S.R.
Cold War was technological tied into Vietnam War, and he USSR broke up after that, the hatchet, axe, and saw are the USA, Britain, and another powerful ally I can't think of right now, but possibly someone like China.
Greed | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/23/10
I think they should have added another stance. Once the Greedy oaks were cut down with hatchet axe and saw, neither the oaks grew slower and the maples had too much sun and didnt grow well either. Who really was the greedy one?
I like your review but I think you're wrong about one thing. Government is not the lumberjacks. Government is the hatchet, axe and saw. The powerful World Elite are the lumberjacks and the rest of us are the forest.
That's just my opinion.
how about equality | Reviewer: boss | 2/22/10
My interpretation of this song is and always has been Government over private sector citizens, because we (trees) all become equal under hatchet, axe, and saw. Who passed that mandate in the forest, not the oaks, not the willows! So yes lumberjacks (government) keep us all equal!
For all of you | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/21/10
the meaning of this song is that we cant all be equal. people are not equal. we all have different needs in order to live a comfortable life style. in this song the maples are convinced that the oaks are way too big and they hog up all the light. The maples then protest and form unions and get really angry. In the end of this song is where the true meaning and motto of the story is introduced. The oaks "pass a noble law" and cut all the trees down in order to make them equal. Rush is trying to say In order for us all to be equal we need to be basically cut down. It's anti socialism. And about the cartoon thing, the song says what is says and its pretty obvious what neil is trying to say.
The Trees | Reviewer: M | 2/19/10
@Logan- There is a long history of black people forming labor unions beginning in the early 20th Century. They were often separate from white unions because white people felt they would get no sympathy if they worked with an even more hated group than themselves. In fact, MLK become gained a lot of his fame as a union organizer and was killed during a union march.
I believe, from as much as I can ascertain, that this is a song about unions. Though, I'm not convinced it's a positive one. Checking Rush's politics (left-libertarian) and their influence by Ayn Rand only confirms the inkling.
That being said, I believe whatever you get out a song is important. Art can have different meanings to everyone and it shouldn't be necessary to force your interpretation on another.
@mike mcafee | Reviewer: Logan | 2/14/10
doesn't make any sense to equate the song to the african-american struggle for equal rights(i assume you meant that one specific group of blacks since jim crow laws only exist within the united states in the context of the post civil war south). I mean, Rush is a canadian band, first off. Secondly, blacks as a group never formed a union. They can't, cause being black isn't a job, and labor unions have to represent clearly defined labor groups.
Being a steel worker or automotive worker is, however. As it turns out, that group(of mostly whites) did form unions and demand that the companies(run universally by whites at the time) they worked for give them more money and benefits. Unions also favor closing tax loopholes used by corporations and rich(mostly white) people, and ever more progressive tax systems which limit(not substantially at the moment) the ability of individuals to join the ranks of the wealthy.
Of course, that all depends on how loosely you want to interpret the song's literal meaning. You could consider the NAACP to be a union. Granted, you can get away with being black in the united states of america and not giving them a portion of your monthly income, which is a luxury a lot of workers for GE don't have in respect to the autoworkers union(s).
all of you are incorrect | Reviewer: mike mcafee | 2/9/10
this song is an allegoryfor the blacks civil rights movement throughout the 20th century.. the oaks represent the whites and the maples, the blacks... this song is about segregation by the jim crow laws after the civil war. when the jim crow laws were removed, the blacks all equal rights represented by the last verse "So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.
"The oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light."
Now there's no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw."
this proves my point that this song is about the black civil rights movement.
i wonder | Reviewer: Brian
I read most of these reviews and read a lot of ideas on the meaning of "THE TREES" but i would like to submit a thought. At the end of the song we hear of the equalizer..Hatchet axe and saw..could this trio the beloved power trio themselves. I think that is to be the focus here. The artist has the ability to level the playing field for all that have ears.
wow we have some very wrong people | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/25/10
i mean you can get a lot of messages from this song and meaningful things!...buuuuutttt...they got the idea to write this song by watching a cartoon with talking trees in it!! oh my god! its so simple!
yah i looked into it a lot!
A Large Voice | Reviewer: Rob
This is written in general terms so you can get help from it. If you are oppressed, then maybe it will give you some hope knowing you're not the only one and that playing fields can be leveled. You may decide that you can gain more equality with a voice of large numbers and not need laws and saws. But, whatever you get out of it, it should be empowering and not argumentative.
Note: The Maples are not the tares from the Bible as someone suggested.
Bill is the ignorant one | Reviewer: PatJ | 1/8/10
Hey Bill, be careful when you call others ignorant. You state that "Eric Lifeson" writes the lyrics for Rush?? First of all there is no "Eric" Lifeson in Rush. His name is "Alex Lifeson" and he is the guitar player. Second, he is not the one who wrote the lyrics for the band. Neil Peart, the drummer, did. Politically, Peart is considered to be a left-leaning libertarian.
think! | Reviewer: nico | 12/30/09
The song is about the human condition, it doesn't matter your political affiliation, right or left or centre, or extremes or even completely bugfuck insane, it is human nature to feel entitlement to something over someone else.
I think you need to recognise that there is no right or wrong here - both sides are unwaivering in their belief that they are right, and their refusal to compromise leads to the destruction of all of them. It's not about willows vs oaks, or whoever you would like to substitute in there.
So just because you happen to fervently follow one point of view and can find an example of this beautiful song agreeing with you does not mean that you are somehow right and everyone else is wrong. I'm pretty sure if this is you, then you may as well be the willows or the oaks, because this song is about you.
It is absolutely about oppressive government | Reviewer: Bill | 12/29/09
Those of you who say "it's just a song" or that the lyrics are ambiguous simply are ignorant of Rush's history. Eric Lifeson, who wrote most of Rush's lyrics, has strong libertarian - i.e., limited government - leanings. And this shows through in many of his songs. A recurring theme of 2112 was oppressive government and the lack of individual liberties. Red Barchetta is based on the short story "A Nice Morning Drive," written by Richard Foster and published in the November, 1973 issue of Road and Track magazine, and is absolutely about oppressive government and loss of freedoms.
The Trees carries on that theme - about the mindless strive to total equality of outcome, regardless of ability. It is about socialism and the desire of socialists to ensure, by government force, that everyone gets equal results, regardless of their own ability or effort. Rush's libertarian leanings are well-known and documented. Look it up, people.
It's art, people | Reviewer: zator | 12/28/09
As all good art does, this song speaks differently to different people. You cant anymore fathom what the author had in mind than you can fathom what others think of when they hear it - unless they tell you. However, unless they are shallow, even having them tell you is not enough.
Art is beautiful because people interpret it as they will without agreement with anyone else. Let the song inspire you to greatness rather than trying to find out what other people think about it. Examine yourself, not others.