Chain Reaction
By: Beck Hansen, John King, Mike Simpson

Written by: Beck Hansen, John King, Mike Simpson

Versions:
  1. Chain Reaction (3:28)
    Available on Guero.
    Credits
    The Dust Brothers: Beats
    Beck Hansen: Celeste, Guitar (Electric), Hand Claps, Vocals
Unofficial Versions: [show/hide]
  1. Farewell G.Y.F.O. (3:52)
    Available on Remixx Laws.
    Credits
    Beck Hansen: Mashed
    Missy Elliott: Mashed
 
 
Lyrics:
Chain Reaction [Version (a)]:

Coming through the barricades, cutting the lines
The red lights going round like insanity sirens
The end of the galaxy, the middle of the road
Where the blackout moons cut the weather of souls
Black engines grind down, teeth are raw
The rubber juggernaut rots in a shattering jaw
Helter skelter bulldozers runnin' over the block
Where a pawnshop clock is ticking out like a bomb
It's a chain reaction, yea!
It's a chain reaction, yea!
It's a chain reaction, yea!
It's a chain reaction, yea!

On a chain reactor blowing out of my arms
Shoot every paranoid phantom that's done me harm
Like a desolate specter with a pummel of fists
Kicking against the pricks burning black like wicks
They spit pig iron, tell you nothing is wrong
Put a heart on a pike sing a resurrection song
For a paralyzed mind in a kerosene jar
Barracuda believer with a heathen guitar
Apocalyptic nostalgia tokens
Dark arks set sail for Antarctica oceans
It's a chain reaction, yea!
It's a chain reaction, yea!
It's a chain reaction, yea!
It's a chain reaction, yea!

It's a chain reaction
It's a chain reaction

It's a chain reaction

It's a chain reaction
Woo!

It's a chain reaction, yea!
Yea!
It's a chain reaction
Woo!
Yea!
Woo!
 
The Song:

"Chain Reaction" is an angular, sharp rocker, with fuzzed out vocals.  It reminds me somewhat of a cross between "Minus" and "Novacane," that kind of punk attitude.

The second verse in particular is relatively rough. I do not mean bad, but in that there is a considerable amount of violence being described. Albeit, directed at invisible psychological targets. First Beck shoots paranoid phantoms, then pummels desolate specters with fists, kicks against the pricks, put hearts on sticks.

"Kicking against the pricks" is the name of the third album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Beck has said he was a big fan when he was younger, and surely is aware they used the phrase. The phrase comes from the Bible ("I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks"), where it is used to teach the idea that one should not rebel against authority or it will lead to greater troubles. More generally, "kicking against the pricks" means stubbornly fighting.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out Beck referencing Nick Cave. "Chain Reaction" is an evocative song, with memorable phrases and a tough attitude.