Happiness By The Kilowatt – Unpacking the Melancholy of Modern Contentment


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Alexisonfire's Happiness By The Kilowatt at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. From Drapes to Despair: The Aesthetic of Discontent
  5. The Wake-Up Call: A Crisis of Consciousness
  6. Electric Anomalies: When the Sparks Fly and Plans Fail
  7. The Icy Grip of Disillusionment: ‘Why Am I So Cold?’
  8. The Echo of Regret: ‘This is not what I hoped for’

Lyrics

So this is continuous happiness
You know, I always
Imagined it something more
With the right drapes, the right paints
The right frames, this could really work
What a great day to spend indoors

Wake, wake up, wake, wake up
Wake, wake up, wake, wake up
Wake, wake up, wake, wake up
Wake, wake up, wake, wake up

In a hail of sparks
And a tangle of wires
Everything went wrong

So where has all the day gone?
And why are my lungs aching when I breathe?
Is there something wrong with the heat?
Why am I so cold?
And my heart feels sick
And it hurts when I speak
And this is not what I hoped for

Wake, wake up, wake, wake up
Wake, wake up, wake, wake up
Wake, wake up, wake, wake up
Wake, wake up, wake, wake up

Was this what we hoped for?
It’s not what we hoped for!
It’s not, not what we, we hoped for!

Was this what we hoped for?
It’s not what we hoped for!
It’s not!

Full Lyrics

Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire is no stranger to crafting poignant, impactful music that delves deep into the human psyche. ‘Happiness By The Kilowatt’ stands out as a particularly evocative track that takes listeners on a journey through the dimly lit corridors of perceived contentment and the shadows it casts.

It’s a song that wrestles with the notion of what happiness means in the commodified age we live in. The lyrics, which at first glance appear simple, reveal layers of existential questioning and an undercurrent of disillusionment upon closer listening. Let’s peel back these layers and explore the beating heart of this anthemic ballad.

From Drapes to Despair: The Aesthetic of Discontent

The song begins with an almost sarcastic nod to domestic bliss – the ‘right drapes, the right paints, the right frames’ evoking an image of a picture-perfect home. But the repetition of ‘this could really work’ suggests a forced convincing, an echo of doubt that perhaps happiness cannot be curated or arranged within the confines of interior decoration.

This sense of artificially constructed satisfaction is a trenchant critique of the modern rat race – the relentless pursuit of an idealized lifestyle setting, which may ultimately be as hollow as the walls meant to exhibit this illusion of a fulfilled life.

The Wake-Up Call: A Crisis of Consciousness

The repetitive demand to ‘wake’ scattered throughout ‘Happiness By The Kilowatt’ serves as a rallying cry for introspection. It’s a call to awaken from the stupor of complacency, to recognize that what we’ve been sold as happiness is in fact a soporific, numbing us to the authentic joys and sorrows of being human.

Each ‘wake up’ is a jolt, an interruption to the monotony of existence and a reminder that the state of true wakefulness lies beyond the superficial trappings of material happiness.

Electric Anomalies: When the Sparks Fly and Plans Fail

In a vivid image of dysfunction, the ‘hail of sparks and a tangle of wires’ alludes directly to technical failure, yet metaphorically, it speaks to the breakdown of the modern dream. Not all that’s wired together holds power; not all bright starts lead to enlightening ends.

The lyrics suggest that amidst life’s ambitions and intricate plans, chaos is often the uninvited guest. The infrastructure of our so-called happiness can short-circuit, leaving us in the dark, reflecting on where the time has gone and why contentment escapes us.

The Icy Grip of Disillusionment: ‘Why Am I So Cold?’

Alexisonfire doesn’t shy away from the visceral, bodily reaction to this crisis of the soul. The singer’s aching lungs, the inexplicable chill, the sick heart, and pained speech – all point to a deep-seated malaise that’s more than physical. It’s the chill of realizing that the warmth provided by artificial measures is insufficient in sustaining human spirit.

Here, the band artfully illustrates the sinking reality that genuine happiness is not a consistent state but rather a fleeting moment often chased but rarely captured. The question is more a cry of realization: happiness, as it’s hawked by societal standards, leaves us cold.

The Echo of Regret: ‘This is not what I hoped for’

These memorable lines from ‘Happiness By The Kilowatt’ resonate with anyone who has ever found themselves at the precipice of disenchantment. It’s a haunting refrain that serves as a mirror, reflecting our own doubts about the paths we follow in search of validation, success, and perceived joy.

The crescendo of this lyric articulates a collective emotional resonance – the song becomes an anthem for everyone who has realized that the milestones they reach may not always fulfill the aspirations they set. It’s a powerful reminder that sometimes, the things we hope for hold different meanings in the harsh light of reality.

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