Wake Up

It’s been a while since I posted something by the Canadian indie-rock band Arcade Fire. This afternoon, I went down an Internet rabbit hole, scouting out some songs I’d thought of or captured on the Shazam app recently. And as I surfed, my searches for other songs and artists and YouTube’s algorithms brought me to the video I’m sharing today.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may remember my summer, one-week-and-a-day series on the album, The Suburbs (August 24 to 31, 2020). I liked the way it felt to stay with and savour a single album for that many days. And as with many posts, I’d like to go back sometime and expand upon ideas from my examination into the album. (I sometimes go back and make minor tweaks or correct mistakes I’ve found after posting or when I find new information that challenges what I originally wrote. Or just stuff I forgot and really wanted to include.)

As I mentioned in the series on The Suburbs, one of my sons and I went to the concert on the tour supporting the album. My sweety and I also saw Arcade Fire a few years later for their Reflektor tour show, at which many people dressed in formal wear/black tie.

I’m pretty sure the band played “Wake Up” at both shows I saw; it’s one of their staple songs, and it comes from their breakout album, Funeral. They also released a live EP with a recording of the song performed with David Bowie at the show Fashion Rocks 2005.

On the YouTube video for the studio version of the song, one commenter observed, “… Arcade Fire created a chorus without a single word. Yet, it still holds mountains (beyond mountains HAHA) of power and intensity. Fans across the world can sing this chorus and unite, without having to sing a single word. Arcade Fire holds a talent that is extremely unique and beautiful. Freakin (sic) powerful.” I love this comment and how obvious yet observant it is.

The song has been called an anthem and a call to action to young people to grow beyond past generations’ mistakes. Kind of like a computer restart for society, something we desperately need, in my opinion.

(Chorus)

Somethin’ filled up
my heart with nothin’.
Someone told me not to cry.

But now that I’m older,
my heart’s colder,
and I can see that it’s a lie.

(Chorus)

Children, wake up.
Hold your mistake up
before they turn the summer into dust.

If the children don’t grow up,
our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up.
We’re just a million little gods causin’ rain storms,
turnin’ every good thing to rust.

I guess we’ll just have to adjust.

(Chorus)

With my lightnin’ bolts a glowin’,
I can see where I am goin’ to be
when the reaper he reaches and touches my hand.

(Chorus)

With my lightnin’ bolts a glowin’,
I can see where I am goin’.
With my lightnin’ bolts a glowin’,
I can see where I am go — goin’!

You better look out below!

(“Wake Up,” by by Win Butler, Regine Chassagne, Will Butler, Tim Kingsbury, Richard Parry)

Some believe the world is entering a period of change to rival (and perhaps reverse) the adverse effects that accompanied periods of history like Colonization, the Industrial Revolution, the rise of capitalism, and the Internet age. These times have stoked progress over people, enslavement, greed, selfishness and, more recently, intense individualism at the expense of communal caring and civility.

But I see glimmers of hope in how people act towards each other in the pandemic as we navigate a global sense of loss of close contact with loved ones. There’s a greater sense of appreciation for things we often took for granted, which seems to affect how we view the world as a whole, our place in it, and what we want to be in it.

So, individually, as nations and as one human race, maybe we are waking up to the need to be kinder to our fellow citizens, our living world, and ourselves.

Let’s rise ‘n shine!

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the video for the song from BBC Music’s official YouTube channel. It’s a live performance at the 2014 Glastonbury Music Festival in England (remember live music?!):

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