Keep the Car Running
Arcade Fire Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Every night my dream's the same
Same old city with a different name
They're not coming to take me away
I don't know why, but I know I can't stay

There's a weight that's pressing down
Late at night you can hear the sound
Even the noise you make when you sleep
Can't swim across a river so deep

They know my name because I told it to them
But they don't know where, and they don't know when
It's coming
When it's coming

There's this fear I keep so deep
Knew it's name since before I could speak
Oh, oh, oh, oh

They know my name because I told it to them
But they don't know where, and they don't know when
It's coming, oh when
But it's coming, keep the car running

If some night I don't come home
Please don't think I've left you alone
The same place that I must go when they die
You can't climb across a mountain so high
The same city where I go when I sleep
Can't swim across a river so deep

They know my name because I told it to them
But they don't know where, and they don't know when
It's coming, oh when
Is it's coming?
Keep the car running




Keep the car running
Keep the car running

Overall Meaning

The lyrics of Arcade Fire's song "Keep the Car Running" tell a story of a person haunted by the same recurring dream every night. In the dream, the person is in the same city, but the name of the city keeps changing. The person fears that they will be taken away, and they can't stay in the dream city. The weight of this fear is so heavy that even when they are sleeping and making noise, they can hear it. However, even though they know they are in danger, they can't cross the deep river that separates them from safety.


The last verse of the song is particularly haunting, with the person saying that they must go to the same place when they die, and that you can't climb a high mountain to get there. The same city is where they go when they sleep, but they can't swim across the deep river that separates them from it. The person is aware that others know their name, but they don't know where or when the danger will come. Therefore, they ask to "keep the car running," implying that they may need to make a quick getaway.


Line by Line Meaning

Every night my dream's the same
I have repetitive nightmares about being stuck in a city


Same old city with a different name
The city in my nightmare changes its name every night


They're not coming to take me away
I feel trapped in the city but I also know that nobody is really after me


I don't know why, but I know I can't stay
I am not sure what the threat is or why I can't stay, but I know I have to leave


There's a weight that's pressing down
I feel a heavy burden on me all the time


Late at night you can hear the sound
The pressure is more tangible at night and seems to have a sound


Even the noise you make when you sleep
Even the sound of my own sleep is drowned out by the pressure


Can't swim across a river so deep
I feel like the obstacle in front of me is insurmountable


They know my name because I told it to them
I am not hiding my identity in this situation


But they don't know where, and they don't know when
Whoever or whatever is after me is not sure of where or when to strike


It's coming
Some kind of danger is definitely on its way


When it's coming
I don't know the exact timing of the danger


There's this fear I keep so deep
My fear is buried so deep that it's hard to acknowledge


Knew it's name since before I could speak
The fear is so familiar that feels like it has always been there


Oh, oh, oh, oh
I am still struggling to face my fear


If some night I don't come home
I am afraid that the danger might catch up with me


Please don't think I've left you alone
I don't want to leave my loved ones behind, but I might have to if the danger is real


The same place that I must go when they die
I am referring to a place where I myself will go when I die


You can't climb across a mountain so high
It feels like the journey to that place is impossible


The same city where I go when I sleep
The city in my dreams is the same city that haunts me when I am awake


Can't swim across a river so deep
The obstacle in front of me, whether in real life or in my dreams, is too big for me to face alone


Is it's coming?
I am still unsure when the danger is going to arrive


Keep the car running
I am prepared to leave at a moment's notice if the danger strikes while I am still awake


Keep the car running
I am reminding myself to stay alert and ready to go


Keep the car running
I want to make sure I have a way to escape if I need to




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
To comment on or correct specific content, highlight it

Genre not found
Artist not found
Album not found
Song not found
Comments from YouTube:

@bigjohn289

I was introduced to this album at the end of my four-year battle with cancer. Helped me immensely during these dark days.

@Maxiloup

i used to do to newspaper delivery job, i was a teenager and the guy who i was doing it with always was listening to good music like this in his dodge caravan it was always on the same radio channel and he would keep the car running so it doesn't get cold especially in winter times.





miss you Chris

@jansonbriggs3250

Arcade Fire makes my eyes water. My heart race & my entire body tingle. ❤

@ericfoster8411

They were really writing music that couldn’t age. So many of these songs sound timeless to me

@zackzallie8735

This song/album got me into this band. It brings my spirit up!!!

@annymatias5469

Com certeza 🙌🏼

@ARIngram-yx8ui

Same!

@jeremiahhall5898

It’s coming, when it’s coming…I rock this song in my car, volume up, and own it!

@michelleglay7899

I don’t even like Arcade Fire all that much but this song embodies the feeling of Montreal in the winter. Plus I saw Win Butler at an LCD Sound System show, dude is hella tall.

@petajames4292

I always picture Règine with her hurdy gurdy as soon as this starts....awesome band x

More Comments

More Versions