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Arcade Fire - Wake Up - Lyrics Meaning

"Wake Up" is a 2005 single from the Canadian alternative band Arcade Fire. The song reached number 24 on the U.K. charts. Although it didn't chart in the U.S., the song has been widely used in sports montage videos, was used as the stage entrance by U2 during their 2005-2006 Vertigo tour, and is featured in the movie trailer for the 2009 children's movie "Where The Wild Things Are."

The lyrics speak of a transition from childhood innocence to adulthood. The apparent theme is that we can't repress our emotions and we must learn from the mistakes of previous generations. There is always the danger of becoming an empty, hollow, cold soul who never realizes the power of change that he or she possesses.

The lyrics seem to be told by an adult in a tone that could best be summarized as reflective. Almost as if the singer recognizes the lies that he's bought into over the years that have almost numbed him from reality. He has realized that he's turned a blind eye to things that he could've changed for the better and has hurt the world's progress in the process. This could perhaps be an acknowledgment of the influence of corporate media, perhaps a misplaced emphasis on materialism or organized religion, or the over reliance and general misuse of technology.

He's realized that the general feeling of apathy that he's suffered from is not only self destructive to himself personally but the betterment of the world around him. And he now cries out for a wake up call, begging future generations to take heed before it's too late.

The song's tempo picks up at the end upon the realization that all things are possible if this wake up call is acknowledged and acted on. The tune becomes a joyous celebration of the optimism that has arisen from apparent darkness.

The epic song is a fan favorite of the band's live act and Arcade Fire have been joined on stage by David Bowie, David Byrne of the Talking Heads, and the band U2, for live renditions of the song.

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