"Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head! (Restore! Rebuild! Reconsider!)" as written by and Sufjan Stevens....
Once a great place, now a prison
All I can say, all I can do
People mover: bad decision
From suburban, now a prison
All I can say, all I can do

From the trembling walls, it’s a great idea!
Everything you want, it’s a great idea!

Once a great place, now a prison
All I can say, all I can do

Henry Ford, Henry Ford
Public trans, public trans
Pontiac, Pontiac
Feed the poor, feed the poor
City Hall, City Hall
Windsor Park, Windsor Park
Saginaw, Saginaw
After dark, after dark
Tigers game, Tigers game
Eighty-four, eighty-four
Industry, industry
Unemployed, unemployed
Gun control, gun control
Wolverine, wolverine
Iroquois, Iroquois
Industry, industry
Public trans, public trans
Auto cars, auto cars
Jefferson, Jefferson
Michigan, Michigan

From the trembling walls, it’s a great idea!
Everything you want, it’s a great idea!
From the Renaissance, it’s a great idea!
Everything you want, it’s a great idea!
Throw them all away, it’s a great idea!
From the Renaissance, it’s a great idea!
Everything you want
(Hesitate to burn the buildings)


Lyrics submitted by drinkmilk

Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head! (Restore! Rebuild! Reconsider!) song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentthe repetition and melodic focus in this song is lovely, really, it adds depth to lyrics that might be considered bland in another context.

    sufjan sure knows what he's doing, eh?
    kemekongkaon December 01, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love the line "once a great place, now a prison." To think such a catchy song could be written about urban decay. As a student of urban studies, this song rocks.
    Yalegirl03on December 04, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI really love this song. I attended university in Detroit and lived there last year. I hated living there, I found it isolating and deadening.
    I believe the line about trembling walls is about the demolition of the JL Hudson building in 1998. It was heartbreaking for many to see that building go.
    rkaram88on September 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt seems like this song is mostly just an account of the decline of Detroit. I'm confused by the chorus os "From the trembling walls. It's A Great Idea!" as well as "Everything you want..." and "Throw them all away" and "From the Renaissance." Any ideas anyone?
    Raving Lunaticon March 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdetroitrenaissance.com/…
    poseurcoreon March 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Tigers game / Eighty-four" makes me grin like crazy every time, though that too can be seen as a symbol of Detroit's decline- from World Series champions to the Tigers of today.
    AlmightyChrissyon April 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment>People Mover: Bad Decision.

    AND HOW!

    >"Tigers game / Eighty-four" makes me grin like crazy every time, though >that too can be seen as a symbol of Detroit's decline- from World Series >champions to the Tigers of today.

    Hey, they Tigers are in first place now! Heh.
    salsa sharkon May 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell as someone who grew up but a mere river's width from downtown Detroit I'll offer my take on this song: modern Detroit is kinda a tragic place in that it doesn't have much life in it and all attempts to revive it have failed because they were misguided.

    For example, "From the Renaissance, it's a great idea!" Is an example of sarcasm. The Renaissance Center in DT Detroit is a huge multiplex that was built with the idea that it would draw people to downtown Detroit and breathe some life back into it (hence "Renessaince"), but it failed because the people who go to the Renaissance centre drive in from suburbia, fulfill their days work and head home without even walking a block into the actual city.

    I think the whole song is sacrcastic...not "great ideas!", bad ideas. Bad ideas that lead Detroit even further astray.
    Ails123on August 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDo it up Detroit. DO IT UP! I love sufjan.
    arianekon November 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsufjan talks about this song, or at least detroit, in his interview on pbs (after acl). i think he said something about how it affects him; how he feels a connection with the town.
    fursoftasfuron December 09, 2006   Link

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