"Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" as written by Win Butler, Regine Chassagne, Tim Kingsbury, Richard R Parry and William Butler....
And if the snow buries my, my neighborhood.
And if my parents are crying
Then I'll dig a tunnel from my window to yours,
Yeah, a tunnel from my window to yours.

You climb out the chimney,
And meet me in the middle, the middle of the town.
And since there's no one else around,
We let our hair grow long,
And forget all we used to know.
Then our skin gets thicker from
Living out in the snow.

You change all the lead
Sleepin' in my head,
As the day grows dim
I hear you sing a golden hymn

Then we tried to name our babies
But we forgot all the names that
The names we used to know.
But sometimes, we remember our bedrooms,
And our parents' bedrooms,
And the bedrooms of our friends.
Then we think of our parents,
Well what ever happened to them?!

You change all the lead
Sleepin' in my head to gold,
As the day grows dim,
I hear you sing a golden hymn,
The song I've been trying to say.

Purify the colors, purify my mind.
Purify the colors, purify my mind,
And spread the ashes of the colors,
Over this heart of mine!


Lyrics submitted by drinkmilk

"Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" as written by Richard R Parry Regine Chassagne

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) song meanings
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  • +13
    My InterpretationI think that this is a brilliant song which has given people lots of different interpretations as shown above.
    My personal opinion is that its about growing up with love
    The first verse which has a childish imaginative feel 'Then I'll dig a tunnel,From my window to yours'
    Then it moves onto the teenage view 'We let our hair grow long' A sort of rebellish feel which adds onto 'Then our skin gets thicker,From living out in the snow' which I think could mean the couple facing the grimmer reality of life the harsh 'snow' but they're coping with it because they have each other.
    Then, finally the adult perspective of love and responsibility 'Then we tried to name our babies' which signifies that they are still with each other and are now parents.
    So, yeah. Thats my opinion and sorry that I went on for a bit.


    Applewormon August 15, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General CommentIt's common knowledge that Arcade Fire named the album on which this song appears Funeral because they had lost several close relations during the recording. But I think those losses sparked a more general contemplation of the contribution of the older generations and how they both affected and were affected by the passage of time in the twentieth century. The Arcade Fire often uses their music to make sociopolitical statements, and nowhere is this more evident than in the "Neighborhood" series, in which each song seems to reference a different time period in modern history.

    In this light, "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" is set during the countercultural revolution of the 1960s. Here we have two disaffected youths sneaking off to meet each other while their parents are noticeably distraught, as many adults were then due to the Vietnam War, the Kennedy assassination, and the growing "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll" movement among their children. In a world that they perceive as cold and alienating to them (i.e. covered in snow), the teens stage a protest of sorts and "let [their] hair grow long," as hippies did.

    However, there was indeed a backlash to the hippie movement, and many of those same impassioned Boomers demonstrating for the demise of capitalism became the yuppies of the Me generation, growing up and developing the thick skins referred to in the song. At some point, every young generation realizes that, despite their faults, their parents had valuable experiences to share and lessons to teach. Sadly, that realization often comes too late, as it does to the singer, whose generation has drifted so far from its roots that he can hardly remember his forefathers or the traditions he was raised with ("But we forgot all the names/...we used to know"; "Then we think of our parents/Well, whatever happened to them?"). Awakening to the fact that he's strayed so far from his youthful ideals, the singer, now older and more jaded, wishes that he could "hear.../The song I've been trying to sing," one which would "purify" him, restoring his tarnished ideals to their former brilliance. But, tragically, he also recognizes that the fire of his passion has burnt out, and only the "ashes of the colors" he once saw in the world still smolder in his heart.

    Please see my comments on the other "Neighborhood" songs for more details on how this song cycle makes a sociopolitical statement.
    LyricallyInclinedon November 29, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI agree with tackledspoon on the meaning completely...god...this is the most romantic song (in a weird way) I wanna cry when I hear it. in the best possible way.
    atombombjohnon November 23, 2004   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationThis is my favourite song ever.
    And this is my personal interpretation:


    And if the snow buries my
    My neighborhood
    And if my parents are crying
    Then I'll dig a tunnel
    From my window to yours
    Yeah, a tunnel from my window to yours

    ------------------------------------------
    He's still a young boy, and the snow is the coldness of feeling which comes with adult age; in fact, snow makes everything colorless and silent, and he'll say that he asks her loved one to spread what remains of the colors over his heart, and he hears her singing a beautiful hymn. She is the only way for him to keep on living a life worth living. So he'll dig a tunnel in the snow to connect his bedroom with hers. This is obviously hardly realizable, and to me this means a sort of pessimism.
    He sees his parents crying: they're probably not in love anymore, they have no dreams (this theme is much present in many Funeral songs, like Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)). They remind him what his life will probably be.
    ----------------------------------------------

    You climb out the chimney
    And meet me in the middle
    The middle of the town
    And since there's no one else around
    We let our hair grow long
    And forget all we used to know
    Then our skin gets thicker
    From living out in the snow

    --------------------------------------
    He plans a complete isolation from society because he's afraid of it: he doesn't wanna work in a building downtown (Antichrist Television Blues), he doesn't want a common life. He finally can have long hair because nobody is there to judge him. A thicker skin means more protection from the snow, both pratically and metaphorically. He gotta keep warm (Vampire/Forest Fire).
    --------------------------------------

    You change all the lead
    Sleeping in my head
    As the day grows dim
    I hear you sing a golden hymn

    ---------------------------------
    She turns his heavy thoughts in precious ones
    ---------------------------------

    Then we tried to name our babies
    But we forgot all the names that
    The names we used to know
    But sometimes, we remember our bedrooms
    And our parent's bedrooms
    And the bedrooms of our friends
    Then we think of our parents
    Well, what ever happened to them

    ----------------------------------
    He knows that far away, in his nest in the snow, he'll miss their parents and friends, and he's sad about the suffering he gived them going away (Win moved from Texas to Montreal and probably his parents were very sad about it; in My Heart Is An Apple he says that he won't come home not even after Texas called him back)
    ----------------------------------

    You change all the lead
    Sleeping in my head to gold
    As the day grows dim
    I hear you sing a golden hymn
    The song I've been trying to sing

    Purify the colors, purify my mind
    Purify the colors, purify my mind
    And spread the ashes of the colors
    Over this heart of mine!

    -----------------------------------

    I'm not native english, so sorry for my poor explanation.
    Urasawaon April 27, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song is sooo incredible. Will sings with emotion!! hearing him sing makes you feel the song. the line "then we tried to name our babies, but we forgot all the names that, the names we used to know" is sung so perfectly! love this song
    SMUSER17000263on December 14, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song reminds me of Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. Except without Ice-9, and, regretably, Bokonon.
    nitsirhcon January 01, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTo me this song is about finding comfort in someone special during a particularly traumatic event. I think there's stuff here about loss, sadness, survival and mourning. I think it's about having someone close to you who can help you in a time of need.
    erolsabadoshon January 23, 2005   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThis song seems so post-apocalyptic, but I guess the apocalypse is adulthood: you lose your parents, you lose your memories of childhood, you're some untamed creature roaming the harsh wilderness, trying to piece together a life with the ones who make it worthwhile... y'know, adult things!
    LavenderIsGreenon October 03, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"How did I get here?"
    This band is so reminiscent of the talking heads in message, very similar to 'Nothing But Flowers'
    They run away in love and forget the world. They sometimes remember civilization, but he then follows up with the trite question "what ever happened to them?!" much like someone from your highschool class who had faded from your mind.
    They can't event hink of names for babies, they're so removed. But they have love.
    Hooray!
    tackledspoonon October 11, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is fucking incredible.
    CountMyCrowson November 20, 2004   Link

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