Icarus by Bastille Lyrics Meaning – Soaring Melodies and Tragic Fates

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Bastille's Icarus at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


Look who’s digging their own grave
That is what they all say
You’ll drink yourself to death

Look who makes their own bed
Lies right down within it
And what will you have left?

Out on the front doorstep
Drinking from a paper cup
You won’t remember this

Living beyond your years
Acting out all their fears
You feel it in your chest

Your hands protect the flames
From the wild winds around you

Icarus is flying too close to the sun
And Icarus’s life, it has only just begun
It’s just begun

Standing on the cliff face
Highest foe you’ll ever grace
It scares me half to death

Look out to the future
But it tells you nothing
So take another breath

Your hands protect the flames
From the wild winds around you

Icarus is flying too close to the sun
And Icarus’s life, it has only just begun
This is how it feels to take a fall
Icarus is flying towards an early grave

You put up your defenses when you leave
You leave because you’re certain
Of who you want to be

You’re putting up your armor when you leave
And you leave because you’re certain
Of who you want to be, oh

Icarus is flying too close to the sun
And Icarus’s life, it has only just begun
This is how it feels to take a fall
Icarus is flying towards an early grave

Full Lyrics

Bastille’s ‘Icarus’ is not just another modern indie-pop anthem; it’s a tale of hubris and downfall, a contemporary reimagining of an ancient myth that resonates with the audacity of the young and the reckless. The band, known for their evocative storytelling and complex musical landscapes, dives deep into the narrative of a youth flirting dangerously with the sun, embodying a universal theme of ambition and its potential consequences.

Through haunting melodies and compelling lyrics, Bastille has transformed the Greek myth into a cautionary tale for the modern age, warning against the seduction of overreaching and the steep price one pays for flying too high. ‘Icarus’, with its intensely relatable metaphor, emerges as an anthem for a generation grappling with the balance between aspiration and self-destructiveness.

The Waxen Wings of Modern Youth – Unpacking the Myth Reimagined

‘Icarus’ by Bastille resonates not merely as a retelling but as a recontextualization of the ancient Greek myth for today’s ethos. As we parse the lyrics, ‘Icarus is flying too close to the sun,’ we’re met with the age-old symbolism of hubris and its consequences, but the modern twist adds layers of youth anxiety, societal expectations, and self-imposed pressure to excel.

Much like the original Icarus, born of myth yet timeless in his ambition, the song’s protagonist embodies the youthful thirst for experience and achievement. Against a backdrop of competitive and chaotic modern existence, Bastille’s Icarus is not just flying but also falling, serving as a harbinger of the dangers in our quest for the extraordinary.

A Toast to the Thrill-Seekers and Doomed Dreamers

The song’s narrative starts with a scene familiar to many — ‘Look who’s digging their own grave; You’ll drink yourself to death.’ Here, Bastille paints a portrait of self-destruction that can come from the pursuit of pleasure and dismissal of mortality. The protagonist, much like the youth of today, is caught in a lifestyle that promotes excess and the blurring of limits.

This stark beginning soon unfolds into a story of risk and defiance, and the subtle but powerful refrain, ‘Your hands protect the flames from the wild winds around you,’ symbolizes the innate human desire to preserve one’s fiery ambition against all odds, often leading to one’s downfall.

Uncertain Horizons – The Modern Anxiety of Choice and Path

In the verse, ‘Look out to the future, But it tells you nothing, So take another breath,’ lies an existential uncertainty that defines the modern condition. Amidst the complex choices life poses, the song recognizes the inability of our future to guide us, signaling the need to make peace with ambiguity. The cliff’s edge represents the precipice of decision and potential, where fear and courage intermingle to shape destiny.

The song examines how personal fortification, ‘putting up your armor when you leave,’ is a mechanism to confront the daunting world outside, an echo of the defenses each individual builds in an attempt to survive their unique struggles and the risks inherent in charging headfirst into life’s battles.

The Lyrical Siren – Memorable Lines that Echo Beyond the Song

‘Icarus is flying towards an early grave,’ uttered with both melancholy and a touch of evanescence, serves not only as a catchy chorus but also as a stark reminder of life’s fragility. These lyrics stick with the listener, a motif that echoes through the ebbs and flows of the song, uniting the story’s message with an emotive and mnemonic hook.

The song’s potency is undeniably found in these resonant lines, which while memorable, also work to cement the narrative into our consciousness, transforming an individual song into a universal anthem that speaks to our deepest apprehensions about life’s transient and soaring moments.

Decoding Icarus’ Descent – The Hidden Meaning Within the Lyrics

Bastille’s ‘Icarus’ unravels further when one delves into the subtext. The seemingly offhand remarks, ‘You leave because you’re certain, Of who you want to be,’ suggest a deeper narrative about identity and the complex journey we undertake to discover or cement it. The notion of departure alludes not only to physical leaving but to a departure from one’s old self or naïveté.

Indeed, the story behind the lyrics is not just of a fall but of transformation and growth, even if it means facing the inevitable burns one gets from flying too close to one’s dreams. ‘Icarus’ stands as a metaphor not only for overambition but also for the arduous path of self-discovery and the pain that often accompanies personal evolution.

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