Half Light I
Arcade Fire Lyrics


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You told us that
We were too young
Now that night's closing in
And in the half light
We run

Lock us up safe
And hide the key
But the night tears us loose
And in the half light
We're free

Strange how the half light
Can make a place new
You can't recognize me
And I can't recognize you

We run through the streets
That we know so well
And the houses hide so much
We're in the half light
None of us can tell
They hide the ocean in a shell

Ocean in a shell

Our heads are just houses
Without enough windows
They say you hear human voices
But they only echo

They only echo
They only echo
Only echo

(We are not listening, we are on the streets)




(We are not listening, we are on the streets)
(We are not listening, we are on the streets)

Overall Meaning

In the opening lines of Arcade Fire's "Half Light I", the group speaks of being told that they were too young for something, which can be interpreted as a metaphor for being told they are not experienced or mature enough to navigate the world on their own. As the night approaches and darkness sets in, the "half light" becomes a source of freedom for the group. They are locked up, but the night frees them, allowing them to run through the streets they know so well. The houses that once concealed secrets are now visible to them in the partial darkness of the half light, revealing hidden oceans in shells. The idea of an ocean in a shell represents how something so vast can be contained within a small, limited space.


The second verse speaks of our heads being like houses with not enough windows, meaning that we are trapped inside of our own minds with a limited view of the outside world. The voices we hear are just echoes of our own thoughts, rather than truly engaging with the voices of others. The repetition of the "only echo" line represents the cyclical nature of our thoughts and how they are just reflections of our own perceptions. The final stanza repeats "we are not listening" three times, solidifying the idea that people are often preoccupied with their own thoughts and experiences rather than truly listening to others around them.


Line by Line Meaning

You told us that
You gave us guidance at one point


We were too young
You told us we weren't ready


Now that night's closing in
Now we are approaching the end of something


And in the half light
And with only some light


We run
We move quickly


Lock us up safe
Make us feel secure


And hide the key
Keep control of us


But the night tears us loose
But the darkness gives us freedom


And in the half light
And with only some light


We're free
We are liberated


Strange how the half light
It's remarkable how subtle light changes things


Can make a place new
Can make a place seem different


You can't recognize me
I seem unfamiliar to you


And I can't recognize you
You seem unfamiliar to me


We run through the streets
We race through the familiar places


That we know so well
That we are familiar with


And the houses hide so much
There are many secrets in the houses


We're in the half light
We are in the dim light


None of us can tell
Neither of us can discern


They hide the ocean in a shell
They conceal something vast and deep


Our heads are just houses
Our minds are like buildings


Without enough windows
Lacking sufficient openings


They say you hear human voices
People claim that they hear others


But they only echo
But it's just repetitive noise


They only echo
It only reverberates


They only echo
It's just a repeated sound


(We are not listening, we are on the streets)
(We are ignoring, we are outside)


(We are not listening, we are on the streets)
(We are disregarding, we are not indoors)


(We are not listening, we are on the streets)
(We are indifferent, we are out)




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

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

@gabryga6573

[Verse 1]
You told us that
We were too young
Now that night’s closing in
And in the half light, we run
Lock us up safe
And hide the key
But the night tears us loose
And in the half light, we’re free

[Verse 2]
Strange how the half light
Can make a place new
You can’t recognize me
And I can’t recognize you
We run through these streets
That we know so well
And the houses hide so much
But in the half light
None of us can tell
They hide the ocean in a shell
The ocean in a shell

[Verse 3]
Our heads are just houses
Without enough windows
You say you hear human voices
But they’re only echoes
They’re only echoes
They’re only echoes
Only echoes

[Outro]
We are not asleep
We are in the streets
We are not asleep
We are in the streets
We are not asleep
We are in the streets



All comments from YouTube:

@LeonardoSoares219

This album is from another world

@johnny5isalive2020

So is the band! :D I could be as well..

@omagnifico520

Não, ele é meio medíocre.

@teejee8017

@@omagnifico520
Não, você está errado

@plunkadelicdaydream

hello from another world

@nelsonduarte1979

​@omagnifico520 concordo, os 2 primeiros albuns eram bem melhores (sobretudo o primeiro).

@gregoirepolet4991

The first time i heard that song i cried

@nelsonduarte1979

Pauvre petit

@gregoirepolet4991

@@nelsonduarte1979 merci

@M00SE414

This is one of those songs that rips the emotion right out of your chest in the most crude and beautiful manner.

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