We Exist
Arcade Fire Lyrics


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They're walking around
Head full of sound
Acting like
We don't exist
They walk in the room
And stare right through you
Talking like
We don't exist
But we exist
Daddy it's true
I'm different from you
But tell me why they treat me like this?
If you turned away
What would I say?
Not the first betrayed by a kiss

Maybe it's true
They're staring at you
When you walk in the room
Tell 'em it's fine
Stare if you like
Just let us through
Just let us through
Na na na na na na na
Na na na na na na na

They're down on their knees
Begging us please
Praying that we don't exist
Daddy it's fine
I'm used to 'em now
But tell me why they treat me like this?
It's cause we do it like this

Na na na na na na na
Na na na na na na na
Maybe it's true
They're staring at you
When you walk in the room
Tell 'em it's fine
Stare if you like
Just let us through
Just let us through

Let 'em stare! Let 'em stare!
If that's all they can do!
But I'd lose my heart
If I turned away from you

Oh Daddy don't turn away
You know that I'm so scared
But will you watch me drown?
You know we're going nowhere
We know that we're young
And no shit we're confused
But will you watch us drown?
What are you so afraid to lose?

Down on your knees
Begging us please
Praying that we don't exist
You're down on your knees
Begging us please
Praying that we don't exist
We exist!
We exist!

Down on your knees
Begging us please
Praying that we don't exist
You're down on your knees
Begging us please
Praying that we don't exist
We exist!
We exist!
We exist!
We exist! Na na na na na na na, na na na na na na na, na na na na na na na

Maybe if you hang together
You can make the changes in our hearts




And if you hang together, you can change us
Just where should you start?

Overall Meaning

The lyrics to Arcade Fire's "We Exist" speak to the feelings of alienation and persecution felt by those who identify as queer in a society that doesn't always recognize or accept them. The verses describe individuals who "walk in the room and stare right through you, talking like we don't exist," and who are "praying that we don't exist." The pre-chorus then refutes this dismissal, stating "but we exist, daddy it's true," and asking why they are made to feel this way. The chorus then amps up the defiance, telling those who stare to "tell 'em it's fine, stare if you like, just let us through." The song culminates in a plea for understanding and solidarity, claiming "maybe if you hang together, you can make the changes in our hearts, just where should you start?"


Throughout the song, the lyrics are saturated with a palpable sense of defiance and frustration. The use of the phrase "daddy it's true" in the pre-chorus is particularly significant, as it speaks both to the personal nature of the song (the lead singer's father allegedly had difficulty accepting his son's sexual orientation) as well as the societal expectations and norms that lead to feelings of alienation. Overall, "We Exist" is a powerful anthem for queer individuals who refuse to be silenced or erased by a society that doesn't accept them.


Line by Line Meaning

They're walking around
People are going about their daily lives


Head full of sound
They are completely preoccupied with their own thoughts and not paying attention to those around them


Acting like We don't exist
They are ignoring the existence of others


They walk in the room
These people enter a physical space


And stare right through you
They are not acknowledging or recognizing the presence of others


Talking like We don't exist
They are speaking to each other as if no one else is present


But we exist
The people being ignored and marginalized are a real presence, regardless of others' perceptions of them


Daddy it's true
Addressing a parental figure, someone who is expected to provide guidance and protection


I'm different from you
The marginalized person is not conforming to societal norms or gender expectations


But tell me why they treat me like this?
The marginalized person is questioning the reason for their mistreatment and lack of recognition


If you turned away
If you, the father figure, were to ignore or abandon this person


What would I say?
The marginalized person is unsure how they would react or cope with such a rejection


Not the first betrayed by a kiss
This person has experienced betrayal or rejection in the past


Maybe it's true
Perhaps the marginalized person is not imagining the indifference and mistreatment they have experienced


They're staring at you
Others are fixated on the marginalized person and treating them as if they are different or strange


When you walk in the room
The marginalization occurs when this person enters a room or space


Tell 'em it's fine
The marginalized person is addressing others directly and suggesting that their presence should not be a problem


Stare if you like
Others are allowed to look at them or scrutinize them


Just let us through
The marginalized person is asking simply to be acknowledged and allowed to exist without impediment


They're down on their knees
The marginalized person is invoking images of a supplicant or subservient position


Begging us please
This person is being mocked or ignored, but is still hopeful for recognition or understanding


Praying that we don't exist
Others actively wish that this person did not exist or were not a part of their lives


Daddy it's fine
Addressing a parental figure again, reaffirming that this person is handling the mistreatment and marginalization without assistance


I'm used to 'em now
This person is resigned to the treatment they receive and has adapted to it


It's cause we do it like this
Perhaps the marginalization is due to the actions of the individual or their non-conformity, but this should not excuse mistreatment


Oh Daddy don't turn away
A final plea to the father figure not to abandon or ignore this person


You know that I'm so scared
The marginalized person experiences fear and vulnerability as a result of their treatment


But will you watch me drown?
This person fears abandonment or neglect that will lead to their downfall


We know that we're young
Perhaps this person is being marginalized due to their age or inexperience


And no shit we're confused
This person acknowledges their own confusion and uncertainty in the face of their mistreatment


But will you watch us drown?
Again, this person fears being neglected or abandoned to their own fate


What are you so afraid to lose?
A final question to the father figure, suggesting that there is something to be gained through acknowledging and supporting the marginalized person


We exist!
A rallying cry for recognition and acknowledgement by the marginalized group


Maybe if you hang together
Change is possible if others come together and support one another


You can make the changes in our hearts
This change starts from within and can come from a shift in perspective or empathy


And if you hang together, you can change us
The marginalization can be overcome by a united front of those who support and recognize the existence of the oppressed


Just where should you start?
The solution may be complex or unclear, but it is necessary to begin somewhere




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 comments from YouTube:

@lygiadaniela79

They're walking around
Head full of sound
Acting like
We don't exist
They walk in the room
And stare right through you
Talking like
We don't exist
But we exist
Daddy it's true
I'm different from you
But tell me, why they treat me like this?
If you turned away
What would I say?
Not the first betrayed by a kiss
Maybe it's true
They're staring at you
When you walk in the room
Tell 'em it's fine
Stare if you like
Just let us through
Just let us through
They're down on their knees
Begging us please
Praying that we don't exist
Daddy it's fine
I'm used to 'em now
But tell me, why they treat me like this?
It's cause we do it like this
Maybe it's true
They're staring at you
When you walk in the room
Tell 'em it's fine
Stare if you like
Just let us through
Just let us through
Let 'em stare! Let 'em stare!
If that's all they can do!
But I'd lose my heart
If I turn away from you
Oh, daddy don't turn away
You know that I'm so scared
But will you watch me drown?
You know we're going nowhere
We know that we're young
And no shit we're confused
But will you watch us drown?
What are you so afraid to lose?
Down on my knees
Begging us please
Praying that we don't exist
You're down on your knees
Begging us please
Praying that we don't exist
We exist
We exist
We exist
We exist



@truthaboutcabbage

Panda Pounce this kind of thinking is so much nonsense and removes any meaning from the word "gender".

If i dress like a dog, and like to think of myself as a dog, that no more makes me a dog than if I dress like a woman and think of myself as a woman.

People are free to do as they please, but they are not being devalued because they come up against reality and find other people aren't eager to play fantasy with them.

The fact that there is contemporary thinking which feels supportive of these fantasies doesn't make them true. History has demonstrated all kinds of fads. a lot of people in the sixties thought they were changing the world fundamentally by smoking marijuana and listening to pop music. Some people still firmly believe that. It doesn't actually make it true. Lots of people don't believe in climate change, that doesn't make it not true.

Dressing up as a woman and saying "I am a woman" says things about how you think and feel, but it doesn't make you a woman; unfortunately, in cold reality you remain a man, no matter how much you wish and pray.

I feel tired of today's world where there is so much wishful nonsense and a willful zeitgeist to disperse with reality in favour of fancies. It's like some weird Taming of the Shrew world, except we are all expected to go along with it and validate delusion simply because academia got run over my the endless whining cacophony of identity politics warriors.



@bentonmackey4214

As a trans person, Seeing a cis person play this role in the way that he did shows that he understands at least a little what we go through. The way he stares in the mirror and is shy around men and cautious but trying to be confident. It shows that cis people can visualize how we feel in such an intense and heartbreaking and heartwarming way.
I understand why other trans people dont like how cis people play roles about us, but in certain circumstances I do like it. for example of a movie, they're looking for a person who fits the physical description of the person, especially if it's based off of a book. While trans people should always be offered positions for trans roles, they aren't always available. If they're looking for a pre-op pre-hormones person to play a role that is specified about pre-transition, it can be hard to find an actor that hasn't transitioned or doesn't plan to. Many actors have the financial or insurance means to transition however they please.
For roles that require a transitioned or partially transitioned person the same challenges can be faced, the actors may not be available, (Which doesn't mean they shouldn't try to find a trans person first) But when you cannot find one willing to or available to partake "The show must go on". I've watched a few movies and music videos that were played by cis people and it is honestly quite amazing how great of a job they can do. As long as they don't turn around and act like they know what it's like to be trans or mock trans people, of course. We shouldn't blame the cis actors for them getting the part because honestly, it's the directors and producers who make these decisions "Then don't try out for the part" is a low blow, because we all need money. Some people honestly just want to help spread recognition or put out a good image.
We have gay people who play as straight people
trans people who play as cis people
Straight people who play as gay people,
how is it any different? It's acting, not reality. Just because a cis person plays a trans person doesn't mean they're mocking us, a gay person playing straight or bisexual doesn't make them fakers or trying to win "Straight brownie points"
In reality, there's many many more cis than trans people, and we have to accept that we wont be portrayed in every way we desire.
As long as it's done respectfully, I don't see any problem with it.



All comments from YouTube:

@YesFunnyYes

Andrew Garfield?

@philanddeb818

Yep, it's Andrew Garfield.

@elizabethmarie7828

philanddeb818 NOOOOOOOO! :(

@antipathy17

Syameel Fauzi Right! One little broken neck and peter is a queen :P

@philanddeb818

Please be patient with me...but I didn't get the reference to a broken neck.  Are you referencing a film?  Thanks!

@philanddeb818

LittleMissObviousx T.Y.

5 More Replies...

@hey-zel

Years later and this still one of the most beautiful music videos I’ve ever watched. Andrew Garfield gave a performance of a lifetime and he never said a word yet the emotions he displayed were felt. Not to mention the fact that the music itself just transmits pain and yet strength at the same time. I’m still get emotional after all this time

@ameliarose3142

I cried watching this video for the first time. I still cry because it makes my blood boil that there's someone out there who has or is going through this.

No one deserves to be treated like this, ever. Just wish I could hug everyone who has or is enduring this treatment.

@stalinjolly

P

@ricardoivantorrescollins4499

@Amelia Rose still crying everytime... and omg that is Andrew Garfield holyyyy, didnt knew till today LOL.

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