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Neighborhood #4
Arcade Fire Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

I am waitin' 'til I don't know when
'Cause I'm sure it's gonna happen then
Time keeps creepin' through the neighborhood
Killing old folks, wakin' up babies
Just like we knew it would

All the neighbors are startin' up a fire
Burning all the old folks the witches and the liars
My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids
But my heart keeps watchin'
Through the skin of my eyelids

They say a watched pot won't ever boil
Well I closed my eyes and nothin' changed
Just some water getting hotter in the flames

It's not a lover I want no more
And it's not heaven I'm pining for
But there's some spirit I used to know
That's been drowned out by the radio

They say a watched pot won't ever boil
You can't raise a baby on motor oil
Just like a seed down in the soil
You gotta give it time

Overall Meaning

The lyrics of Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #4" are poetic and philosophic. The song opens on a contemplative note with the singer waiting in anticipation. He is waiting for a transformative moment that will change everything, but he doesn't know when it will happen. The passage of time is a central theme in the song. The singer observes how time is creeping through the neighborhood, killing old folks, and waking up babies, just like he knew it would. This shows the inevitability of change and how time waits for no one.


The song then descends into a chaotic scene where the neighbors are starting a fire, burning all the old folks, witches, and liars. The singer's eyes are covered by the hands of his unborn kids, but his heart keeps watching through the skin of his eyelids. This suggests that even though we may be shielded from certain things, we still feel the effects of the chaos around us. The singer then reflects on the saying that a watched pot won't ever boil, which could mean that certain things won't change no matter how much we might want them to. The chorus highlights the importance of giving things time and not rushing to achieve certain things.


Line by Line Meaning

I am waitin' 'til I don't know when
I am eagerly waiting for an uncertain future


'Cause I'm sure it's gonna happen then
I am confident that what I'm waiting for will happen in the future


Time keeps creepin' through the neighborhood
The passage of time is slowly taking its toll on the neighborhood and its inhabitants


Killing old folks, wakin' up babies
Time is affecting both the elderly and the young in the neighborhood by taking away the former and forcing the latter to grow up


Just like we knew it would
The inevitability of Time's effects on the neighborhood is known


All the neighbors are startin' up a fire
The community is coming together to make a change


Burning all the old folks the witches and the liars
They are getting rid of those who are corrupt, deceitful or too old to contribute to the society


My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids
The artist's vision is being obstructed by the potential future of his family


But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids
Despite the obstruction, the artist can still perceive the problems in the neighborhood, which affect him emotionally


They say a watched pot won't ever boil
Being impatient about something won't make it happen faster


Well I closed my eyes and nothin' changed
Trying to ignore the problem won't solve it


Just some water getting hotter in the flames
The problem is still there and getting worse


It's not a lover I want no more
The singer is not searching for a romantic partner anymore


And it's not heaven I'm pining for
The singer is not longing for a heaven or an afterlife


But there's some spirit I used to know
The singer is trying to reconnect with an spirit from his past


That's been drowned out by the radio
Modern media and technology has made it harder to connect with the more spiritual side of life


You can't raise a baby on motor oil
You can't expect a child to grow up with only harmful or questionable influences


Just like a seed down in the soil
A child needs to be nurtured and grown to reach their potential, like a seed in soil


You gotta give it time
Good things take time to develop and mature




Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: William Butler, Win Butler, Regine Chassagne, Tim Kingsbury, Richard R Parry

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comments from YouTube:

@BLACKDOGJOKER

I am waitin’ ‘til I don’t know when


‘Cause I’m sure it’s gonna happen then


Time keeps creepin’ through the neighborhood


Killin’ old folks, wakin’ up babies


Just like we knew it would.





All the neighbors are startin’ up a fire


Burnin’ all the old folks, the witches and the liars


My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids,


But my heart keeps watchin’ through the skin of my eyelids.





They say a watched pot won’t ever boil


Well, I closed my eyes and nothin’ changed


Just some water gettin’ hotter in the flames.





It’s not a lover I want no more


And it’s not heaven I’m pinin’ for


But there’s some spirit I used to know


That’s been drowned out by the radio.





They say a watched pot won’t ever boil


You can’t raise a baby on motor oil


Just like a seed down in the soil, you’ve got to give it time.



@Winter-Alpha-Omega

This song makes me feel as if I were driving through the mountains of British Columbia.

In silence.

I'm going to pick up my sister.

We'll then drive to our childhood home, to pick up our stuff.

Then we'll leave, into Oregon.



All comments from YouTube:

@Aiur

This album changed everything

@sanchitvarma1282

It greatly changed my taste in music. It was like a shocking eye opener of what modern music was capable of.

@raymondlind2880

@@sanchitvarma1282 It is possibly the best album of the 21st century. At least in the rock genre.

@inigonachobragglanao4552

Animals and darkside of the Moon Pink Floyd and these Funeral

@alvarockerdz

I hope you all here have experienced an Arcade Fire gig or will do it in the future. It´s a gorgeous, intense and unique experience. I miss them.

@thehypoxic.450

I'm very confused by the posting of this.
But I'm not complaining. 💖💖

@joneyakinyaani5573

Funeral turned 15 years recently.

@Erzahler

@@joneyakinyaani5573 I still have the first AF disc I purchased years ago, "Neon Bible."

@tomphoenix8697

The way the whistle of the kettle slowly rises to meet with the music at around 2:44 is among the most beautiful things Arcade Fire created.

@nycgirlxx

why does this song make me cry so hard

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