(Antichrist Television Blues) – The Intersection of Faith and Fame in Modern Society


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Arcade Fire's (Antichrist Television Blues) at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Faustian Bargain: Fame at Faith’s Expense
  5. Is There a Prophet in Pop Culture?
  6. The Tug-of-War Between Exploitation and Protection
  7. The Echoes of Consumer Culture in Modern Religion
  8. Unraveling ‘Antichrist Television Blues’: The Unspoken Horror

Lyrics

I don’t wanna work in a building downtown,
No, I don’t wanna work in a building downtown.
I don’t know what I’m gonna do,
Cause the planes keep crashing always two by two.
I don’t wanna work in a building downtown,
No I don’t wanna see when the planes hit the ground.
I don’t wanna work in a building downtown X2
Parking their cars in the underground,
Their voices when they scream, well they make no sound.
I wanna see the cities rust,
And the troublemakers riding on the back of the bus.
Dear God, I’m a good Christian man.
In your glory, I know you understand,
That you gotta work hard and you gotta get paid,
My girl’s 13, but she don’t act her age.
She can sing like a bird in a cage,
O Lord, if you could see her when she’s up on that stage!
You know that I’m a God-fearing man X2
But I just gotta know if it’s part of your plan
To seat my daughters there by your right hand.
I know that you’ll do what’s right, Lord,
For they are the lanterns and you are the light…

Now I’m overcome,
By the light of day.
My lips are near, by my heart is far away.
Tell me what to say,
I’ll be your mouthpiece!

Into the light of a bridge that burns
As I drive from the city with the money that I earned.
Into the dark of a starless sky,
I’m staring into nothing and I’m asking you why:
Lord, let me make her a star
So the world can see who you really are.
Little girl, you’re old enough to understand,
That you’ll always be a stranger in a strange, strange land.
The men are gonna come while you’re fast asleep,
So you better just stay close and hold onto me.
If momma’s mocking bird don’t sing,
Then daddy won’t buy her no diamond ring.
Dear God, would you send me a child?
Oh! God, would you send me a child,
Cause I wanna put it up on the TV screen,
So the world can see what your true word means.
Lord, would you send me a sign,
Cause I just gotta know if I’m wastin’ my time!

Now I’m overcome,
By the light of day.
My lips are near, but my heart is far away.
Now the war is won,
How come nothing tastes good?…

You’re such a sensitive child!
You know you’re such a sensitive child!
I know you’re tired, but it’s alright,
I just need you to sing for me tonight.
You’re gonna have your day in the sun;
You know God loves the sensitive ones.
Oh! my little bird in a cage! X2
I need you to get for me up on that stage,
And show the men that you’re old for your age.
Now ain’t the time for fear but if you don’t take it, it’ll disappear!
Oh! my little mockingbird, sing! X2
I need you to get up on that stage for me, honey,
And show the men it’s not about the money.
Wanna hold a mirror up to the world,
So that they can see themselves inside my little girl!
Do you know where I was at your age?
Any idea where I was at your age?
I was working downtown for the minimum wage,
And I’m not gonna let you just throw it all away!
I’m through being cute,
I’m through being nice,
O tell me, Lord, am I the Antichrist?!

Full Lyrics

In a world where the lines between spirituality and commercialism are often blurred, Arcade Fire’s ‘(Antichrist Television Blues)’ stands as a complex narrative of a father’s desperation, ambition, and confused spiritual yearnings. With a gripping blend of rock and blues, this anthem echoes the anxieties of contemporary parenthood and fame.

The song unwinds the tale of a conflicted man, invoking religious imagery to underscore his inner turmoil. As the narrative unravels, one can’t help but question: where does genuine faith end and blind idolatry begin in the relentless pursuit of stardom? Such is the provocative discourse that Arcade Fire instigates with their stirring lyrics.

A Faustian Bargain: Fame at Faith’s Expense

The song’s protagonist is portrayed as a man beset with contradictions. He seeks to make his daughter a star under the guise of fulfilling divine will, all while wrestling with the moral implications of his ambition. The track posits the father-daughter relationship within the treacherous landscape of the entertainment industry, begging listeners to reflect on the sacrifices made at the altars of fame.

This modern-day Faustian tale does not center on the devil but on the ‘Antichrist Television Blues’ – a symbol of the corrupting power of media and celebrity culture. It’s a lament for innocence lost and an indictment of a society that often confuses notoriety with divine affirmation.

Is There a Prophet in Pop Culture?

Arcade Fire skillfully juxtaposes the sacred with the secular, suggesting that in today’s society, television has become a pulpit and celebrities its prophets. The lyrics, ‘Lord, let me make her a star/So the world can see who you really are,’ imply an unsettling conflation of God’s ‘true word’ with pop culture, challenging the listener to discern between true faith and grandiose disillusionment.

By painting the image of a man eager to exploit his daughter’s talent as a means to fulfill what he perceives as a spiritual calling, the song delves into the murky ethics of fame and questions the genuineness of those who claim to know divine intentions.

The Tug-of-War Between Exploitation and Protection

The lyrics ‘You’re gonna have your day in the sun; you know God loves the sensitive ones,’ speak to the duality of the parent’s role as both exploiter and protector. There’s a tenderness juxtaposed with fierce determination, hinting at a love that’s both smothering and ruinous.

Arcade Fire taps into a universal fear many parents share – the understanding that the world doesn’t offer easy paths, and the protective instinct that sometimes results in misguided actions. The father’s desire to see his daughter succeed is marred by the knowledge that she is entering a world of inevitable judgement and objectification.

The Echoes of Consumer Culture in Modern Religion

The song subtly critiques consumer culture’s infusion into modern spirituality. ‘If momma’s mockingbird don’t sing/Then daddy won’t buy her no diamond ring,’ speaks volumes of the transactional nature that has seeped into our most intimate relationships and institutions, drawing parallels between consumerist urges and spiritual bargaining.

Arcade Fire probes at the commodification of personal faith, turning the mirror towards a society where moral values seem often up for sale. The lyrics suggest that even the purest of bonds and beliefs aren’t immune to the distortions of a world driven by the visual and the viral.

Unraveling ‘Antichrist Television Blues’: The Unspoken Horror

Descending into the darkest corners of the song, the alleged ‘Antichrist Television Blues’ could be seen as the father’s unvoiced acknowledgment of his monstrous alter-ego. In his blind pursuit, he fears, ‘Am I the Antichrist?’ acknowledging that he could be the true villain in his daughter’s story – the antithesis of the protective and nurturing figure he ought to be.

In this revelation lies the song’s haunting power: the suggestion that the very institutions meant to guide and foster could become destructive forces. The dawning recognition that the father may be trafficking his child’s innocence for a promised glory that is as seductive as it is sinister serves as the song’s chilling crescendo.

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