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There is a song called Toy Soldiers by Martika of which a part of the lyrics goes:

Step by step
Heart to heart
Left, right, left
We all fall down
Like toy soldiers

Bit by bit
Torn apart
We never win
But the battle wages on
For toy soldiers

This song was later remade by Eminem, retaining the original chorus lyrics, but being renamed to Like Toy Soldiers.

What does this phrase mean? Who are the toy soldiers? I know the literal meaning - the toys - small soldiers - with which the children play, but I believe there is a deeper meaning to it.

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Interpretation of literature is off-topic for this site, and once we've established that the phrase toy soldiers is being used literally here (which I think we have), the "deeper meaning" - if any - becomes a question of interpretation. –  Marthaª Apr 13 '11 at 21:36
    
After watching Bokurano, Martika's Toy Soldiers felt so much darker. –  Dan D. Sep 26 '11 at 7:29

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

"Like toy soldiers" does mean disposable and easily knocked down, but in each context the use of the phrase takes on additional connotations.

For Martika (watch video), there seem to be multiple levels of meaning. First, there's the sense of young people in relationships being toy soldiers in that they often hurt each other (get knocked down), but keep going on. Some have argued the toy soldiers are the men the singer is going after as she breaks one heart after another. There are also clear drug allusions in Martika's video. In this layer, those who are addicted to drugs are the toy soldiers. Ultimately, I think the song is about the loss of innocence—whether to drugs or bad relationships, or both. Using a childhood toy as a metaphor conveys this well.

Eminem (watch video) didn't remake the song, but samples Martika's chorus as the chorus to his rap song. The following definition from the Urban Dictionary explains Eminem's use of the phrase:

  1. Toy Soldier
    Urban background, orginating on the streets and in hip-hop lyrics

  2. A friend that's willing to go out and ride with you, no matter what the situation may be

  3. A friend who has your back and is willing to give his life to ensure your protection (in essence, a friend that acts like a body guard) My dawg G-War is my toy soldier...he always got my back

The song is about Eminem's attempts to deal with a violent feud in the rap community and the video depicts a member of Eminem's original group getting gunned down in a drive-by shooting.

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It means "toy soldiers" ie. the toy figures put in a line by children which are easy to knock over. So poetically it also means unimportant or disposable.

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I agree with mgb

Toy soldiers Knocked over

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They look `arm-less –  mgb Apr 12 '11 at 20:41

There are two perceptions : The soldiers are used like toys .

The song is about a past relationship with a soldier. Unfortunately the soldier lost his life in a war (notice the last scene in the video where she places a rose in his grave).

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