*The first issue of which was titled 'At Midnight All the Agents', which is a lyric fragment from the song. The full verse is
At midnight, all the agents
and superhuman crew
go out and round up everyone
that knows more than they do.
I'm tempted to copy and paste all of the lyrics here, but I'm not going to, for the exact same reason as I'm discussing the song in the first place here.
This song has 41 billion verses.
It goes on for on for over 11 minutes, and not in a mid-sixties 'started a guitar solo and forgot to start singing again for a while' kind of way. It's just verse, after verse, after verse, after verse.
(The other prime example of this phenomenon is of course Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' (aka that song that everyone pretends they liked before they heard John Cale's (admittedly excellent) cover of it on the 1st Shrek soundtrack. Even Leonard Cohen stated on more than one occasion that he just couldn't stop writing verses and the song was way way too long, and if you're familiar with how long Leonard was willing to let things just sort of keep flowing along then you realize the enormity of that statement.)
('Hallelujah is also notable for the fact that we are now all apparently required by law to record a cover of it before we die.)
But meanwhile, back in the topic at hand...
The film version of Watchmen runs the closing credits over a cover of Desolation Row by My Chemical Romance who, perhaps wisely, chose to only do 4 of the 41 Billion verses - they stuffed the song into a 2/4 time signature and punked it up a bit, which kind of worked for them but seems to have really hocked off the Dillon purists on the internet which just goes to show that you can't please everyone, can you.
Where I was originally going with all of this is that the baton was thrown on Facebook to do a full lyrical deconstruction of the song, and I feel obligated to do so because
A: Even though I kind of wanted to do that anyway, this still totally counts as doing David Quinn a favor
B: A baton is a kind of stick, and anyone that's ever been around a Vizsla knows that if you throw a stick anywhere in a Vizsla's vicinity they are damn well going to retrieve it.
So... we begin at the beginning with Verse 1 (of 41 Billion. Don't worry, I'm not going to do them all in detail, I have learned my lesson after the never-ending Catwoman article)
They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town