Decoding Arcade Fire’s ‘Wake Up’s Lyrics

Growing up might usually sound like the coolest thing as a clueless child, but the moment people start treating you like a decent adult, and you realize you need actually to work to pay for things, all the magic in ‘it’ easily dissipates, and according to studies, an average adult might often find themselves go with a disappointing, ‘Oh, no. I want to go back.’

After all, bedtime or trying to learn basic math for hours in school might not be ideal for anyone, so it could be easy for the usual, naive kid to be fascinated with adults driving cars or going anywhere they wish without asking permission. However, things often aren’t what they seem, and the moment you turn the proper age, society starts expecting you to work and function.

So, childhood is that naive phase of our lives where we often fail to realize how free we are without any boundaries and no actual limits, which leaves most adults with a livid nostalgia and a desperate wish to invent unstoppable time machines to go back to the good old times… or at least, that’s what Arcade Fire had in mind while composing a particular track.

You might easily see how the inspiration behind Arcade Fire’s ‘Wake Up‘ came from a place of regret and disappointment; if you’re all too familiar with the feelings of nostalgia I’ve just described in three different paragraphs.

Arcade Fire released the song in 2004, and the moment it hit the market, it was a chart-topping hit that impressed millions with its brilliant arrangements, catchy melody, and genuine lyrics. The track was all about how naive and clueless children might get while wishing for adulthood and having responsibilities, only to realize it wasn’t fun at all.

The lyrics, especially, quickly and deeply touched people’s longing for their early days, surrounding Arcade Fire fans with a sense of nostalgia. However, the Arcade Fire audience or any average rock listener weren’t the only fans of the song since fellow rockers also appeared to enjoy the song a lot.

The legend himself, David Bowie, was a fan of the song so much that he collaborated with Arcade Fire for a live version on stage, singing ‘Wake Up’ in harmony with frontman Win Butler. U2 was also among those who celebrated the song, as the act often used the track as their opening piece during their world tour, Vertigo.

So, as the song became a major commercial success, it also became the track Arcade Fire often chose to play during encores as the audience loved to finish the night off with a livid rock anthem that left them a bit depressed with its genuine lyrics.

The disappointment behind the track is a pretty naive one itself since it genuinely resonates with an adult’s cries to wish to go back to their early days and stay as a carefree child with no real awareness. It might be upsetting to look at things like that, but nostalgia also might be fun, so I’ll leave you to the song to have regrets about adulthood.