"Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)" as written by and Regine Chassagne Timothy Kingsbury....
I am waitin' 'til I don't know when,
Cause I'm sure it's gonna happen then.
Time keeps creepin' through the neighborhood,
Killing old folks, wakin' up babies
Just like we knew it would.

All the neighbors are startin' up a fire,
Burning all the old folks the witches and the liars.
My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids,
But my heart keeps watchin'
Through the skin of my eyelids.

They say a watched pot won't ever boil,
Well I closed my eyes and nothin' changed,
Just some water getting hotter in the flames.

It's not a lover I want no more,
And it's not heaven I'm pining for,
But there's some spirit I used to know,
That's been drowned out by the radio!

They say a watched pot won't ever boil,
You can't raise a baby on motor oil,
Just like a seed down in the soil
You gotta give it time.


Lyrics submitted by drinkmilk

"Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)" as written by Regine Chassagne Edwin Butler

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles) song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentI think it's about him not knowing where time is going. He's waiting for something (he says it's not love, not heaven) but he's sure it's going to be something great. He's blinded by the fact that all he's going to do with his life is grow up and have kids (eyes covered by unborn kids hands) and he doesn't know what to do about getting old. Time is basically scaring him.
    Optimus Primeon April 04, 2005   Link
  • +4
    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.

    This last song in the "Neighborhood" cycle apparently concludes when the album was released, in 2004 and addresses the frustration that many contemporary Westerners feel with the the unresponsiveness of governmental powers to the impending crises that threaten to destroy our world: "Well, I closed my eyes and nothing changed,/Just some water getting hotter in the flames." The singer recognizes that soon he, too, will become the "last generation," and the decision-making power will be in the hands of his descendants, the "unborn children" who cover his eyes. Nonetheless, he is still very much emotionally involved in the outcome of his generation's decisions for them ("my heart keeps watching through the skin of my eyelids").

    Perhaps the most overtly political song of the cycle, "Neighborhood #4" criticizes the contemporary rebirth of Christian fundamentalism and the warmongering of the U.S. government in lines like "the neighbors are starting up a fire,/Burning all the old folks, the witches, and the liars." It also touches on the environmental crisis ("You can't raise a baby on motor oil") and more directly alludes to the isolation that has continued to define the lives of the kids who came of age in "Neighborhood #3," during the birth of the Internet age. It's not romance that will fill this emptiness and it's not religion, it's the community and humanistic values that have been sacrificed for economic and political advancement: "But there's some spirit I used to know/That's been drowned out by the radio!"

    Together, the four "Neighborhood" songs represent a cautionary retelling of the twentieth century and a bleak vision of the twenty-first.

    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 CommentThe passage of time is moving through the time, he's watching the various motions of love and hate that pass through a town. Time is sort of this inevitable, creeping thing that keeps getting steadily hotter. Modernization is coming in, radio, cars, all these symbols of adulthood, progress, etc., - and something gets lost in all of that. He doesn't want sex, he doesn't want religion (things that people seem to run to when shit gets heavy), he just wants that old feeling back, you can't rush these things with modernization. Just got to let them grow. But these days we're all watching our pots and they're just not boiling.
    Gamaon December 24, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI love the timpani drums at the end... to me, it's like the song has given us a glimpse into the inner machinery of the universe, represented by those drums... the slow, regular, implacable beats are the inevitable march of time

    if any of you have ever read camus' 'the stranger,' this reminds me of the end, where meursault imagines a great, inevitable wind that has been rushing at him from his future and is now finally sweeping over him.

    this song is amazing. always gives me chills.
    stupid_nameon February 20, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree with Gama. It's like taking a step back from living to watch everyone else live. And to watch Time as it moves throughout our lives. And kettles, and seeds in the soil, and babies... they NEED Time to change or grow. But the old and various others don't WANT Time. It's about how Time is fickle, and it can help some and hinder others. But in spite of all of this, it keeps the world moving, and that makes it's beautiful.

    Just like this song.
    SpineofaJellyFishon July 14, 2006   Link
  • +2
    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.

    This last song in the "Neighborhood" cycle apparently concludes when the album was released, in 2004 and addresses the frustration that many contemporary Westerners feel with the the unresponsiveness of governmental powers to the impending crises that threaten to destroy our world: "Well, I closed my eyes and nothing changed,/Just some water getting hotter in the flames." The singer recognizes that soon he, too, will become the "last generation," and the decision-making power will be in the hands of his descendants, the "unborn children" who cover his eyes. Nonetheless, he is still very much emotionally involved in the outcome of his generation's decisions for them ("my heart keeps watching through the skin of my eyelids").

    Perhaps the most overtly political song of the cycle, "Neighborhood #4" criticizes the contemporary rebirth of Christian fundamentalism and the warmongering of the U.S. government in lines like "the neighbors are starting up a fire,/Burning all the old folks, the witches, and the liars." It also touches on the environmental crisis ("You can't raise a baby on motor oil") and more directly alludes to the isolation that has continued to define the lives of the kids who came of age in "Neighborhood #3," during the birth of the Internet age. It's not romance that will fill this emptiness and it's not religion, it's the community and humanistic values that have been sacrificed for economic and political advancement: "But there's some spirit I used to know/That's been drowned out by the radio!"

    Together, the four "Neighborhood" songs represent a bleak review of the twentieth century and a cautionary but hopeful vision of the twenty-first. According to Arcade Fire, if our generation plants "a seed" of change "down in the soil" and "give it time," the results may be worth waiting for.

    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
  • +1
    General Commentit seems to me that he's become dissatisfied with his life the way it is, and people have been telling him thatthings will get better "they say a watched pot wont ever boil, well i closed my eyes and nothin changed, just some water getting hotter in the flames" instead of his life getting some meaning, life is just getting hotter and more difficult with nothing to show for it.
    fictional_realityon April 09, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me its about the inevitability of time, but also the predictability of it. It is also optimistic about time to. He is saying that you can make good things happen in your life but when you turn a blind eye to it, it'll just amount to nothing. When you boil water, thats exactly what it does.
    allofmylove68on July 06, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentblah blah meaning blah blah. anyone else notice how bleedin' gorgeous the song sounds?
    pumkinhedon November 12, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt took me a while to notice there actually is a kettle whistling sound in the beginning of this song.
    destroyalltacoson April 18, 2006   Link

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