"Neon Bible" as written by Win Butler, Regine Chassagne, Tim Kingsbury, Richard R Parry, William Butler and Jeremy Gara....
A vial of hope and a vial of pain
In the light they both looked the same
Poured them out on into the world
On every boy and every girl

It's in the neon Bible, the neon Bible
Not much chance for survival
If the neon Bible is right

Take the poison of your age
Don't lick your fingers when you turn the page
What I know is what you know is right
In the city it's the only light

It's the neon Bible, the neon Bible
Not much chance for survival
If the neon Bible is right

Oh God, well look at you now!
Oh, you lost it, but you don't know how!
In the light of a golden calf
Oh God! I had to laugh!

Take the poison of your age
Don't lick your fingers when you turn the page
It was wrong, but you said it was right
In the future I will read at night

In the neon Bible, the neon Bible
Not much chance for survival
If the neon Bible is true


Lyrics submitted by afimrtl

"Neon Bible" as written by Regine Chassagne Jeremy Gara

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Neon Bible song meanings
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64 Comments

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  • +7
    General CommentApologies if this has been posted.

    Neon Bible refers to the outlandish evangelical pastors that preach on TV. Hence, Neon bible (TV=neon, pastors and their religion, bible). It's not an anti-religion song, it's a song about those few folks who give Christianity a bad name with their TV BS and multi-million dollar jets. If the Neon bible is right, we're all in trouble.
    wn52627on November 05, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General CommentJust listening to this song as a whole... I get this odd interpretation of it.. even the first bit 'vial of hope, vial of pain, in the light they both look the same'.... it makes me think of some drugs, maybe not real drugs, but just anything that is your drug, anything that keeps you going (perhaps in this case, religion, your bible) and how drugs are the cause of and solution to all your problems... and when you really think about your drug, as much as it makes you feel good it also makes you feel kinda like crap. Being addicted to anything (food, xanax, percocets, dope, crack, the bible, being a peeping tom, touching little girls or boys...whatever it may be) is unhealthy....

    and also the whole in the city you see only lies lyric is like... the bible to living in the city, living in the fastpaced world that is ... now.....

    has a whole bible of its own.. and whole set of rules... a set of rules that mostly just reinforces how insignificant everyone is.


    see this is what i like about arcade fire--- i can interpret their songs any freakin way I want and almost... take a different meaning from it every time i listen.... Rock and roll can save the world---I sound like a dick.
    ieatseedson February 25, 2007   Link
  • +4
    General Commenti interpret this as arcade fire condemning commercialism again.

    The "neon bible" is the flashing, electrical advertising and marketing that tells us what to buy, when to buy and how to buy it.

    "In the city you see only lies, its the neon bible". I think its how we're all swept into advertising and being part of the capitalist west when its all crap - "not much for survival if the neon bible is right"

    Just a thought!
    saab693on March 09, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI have an interpretation for this song that kinda sounds stupid but kinda makes sense at the same time. Its about how when religious people go to church and let the church tell them what their bible means rather than interpret it for themselves, they put it right out there for everyone to see like a big neon sign that draws attention to it. And it gives some people hope but persecutes others, And if too many people allow themselves to believe what their higher powers tell them then it can be dangerous.
    King of Some Islandon February 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song has nothing to do with the John Toole novel. It's sheer coincidence.
    As for interpretation - I'm terrible at it. It seems to either be bashing the commercialism of religion, or commercialism in general. And if this commercialism is right, than we are all fucked. Or something like that.
    setfiretotheskyon March 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA lot of those lyrics are wrong. Here are the correct lyrics:


    A vial of hope and a vial of pain
    In the light they both looked the same
    Poured them out on into the world
    On every boy and every girl

    It's in the Neon Bible, the Neon Bible
    Not much chance for survival
    If the Neon Bible is right

    Take the poison of your age
    Don't lick your fingers when you turn the page
    What I know is what you know is right
    In the city it's the only light
    It's the Neon Bible, the Neon Bible
    Not much chance for survival
    If the Neon Bible is right

    Oh God! Well look at you now!
    Oh! You lost it, but you don't know how!
    In the light of a golden calf
    Oh God! I had to laugh!

    Take the poison of your age
    Don't lick your fingers when you turn the page
    It was wrong but you said it was right
    In the future I will read at night

    It's the Neon Bible, the Neon Bible
    Not much chance for survival
    If the Neon Bible is true



    -----------
    This is certianly a criticism of commercialism, capitalism, and greed.
    The light of the golden calf (a false god made of the wealth of a nation--america) is the light of a "neon bible."
    hoboghoston March 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have to agree with saab693 and hoboghost.

    golden calf is a clear reresentation from the old testament of wealth ...and making of the own god.

    I'm going to put myself on a limb here and say that it's a criticism of religious people, particularly christians who are taught to give to the poor...but you see so many of them driving fancy big cars..megachurches..and the money that is involved with it. and how their lives are somewhat of a contradiction of what they preach, in the light of all the money and commercialism (neon bible)
    and according to the bible that there is a condemnation after death for those who lead hyprocritical lives .. (not much chance for survival if the neon bible is right)

    just a thought...i certainly think this is about religion though, what with the bible references and a name called "neon bible"
    anwarnovaon March 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'd taken that the "Neon Bible" to mean "television" - news reports bring is a constant stream of tragedy and despair: we're ruining the planet, we're perpetually at war, we're threatened by disease. It really does give you the impression that there isn't much change of survival.

    The album - this musical genre - doesn't do much for me, personally, but I do quite like this track, it's got a lullaby quality to it that's quite hypnotic.
    AlfBon March 19, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIn the light they both looked the same
    Poured them out on into the world
    On every boy and every girl

    I think this pretty much secures how I feel about this song in the idea of how the world is becoming desensitized to bad news and good news. We hear about murders and rape and people dying every day and we hardly blink about it. Someone's birthday? Baby born? Big deal, anymore, right?


    Well, you lost him but you don't know how
    In the light of a golden calf

    In the light of things 'WOW' and commercial, we are being drawn to constantly boost our interest.

    This is a song about a lot of the things you guys have mentioned. It is a song about commercialization, television, and its about religion too. How can we keep our minds focused on religion when there are neon signs flashing everywhere, distracting us? They've got to join in too.
    Neon Bible.
    zhicagoon March 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFrom an interview (stereowarning.com/2007/03/…):

    "Where did the title Neon Bible come from? Was it at all related to the John Kennedy Toole novel?
    WIN BUTLER: It's a physical thing you see from time to time, a neon sign on a church. I thought of the name a while ago, and then read the book and thought, "Oh, too bad I can't use that." But as the record went on, I knew it was the title of the record. I'd thought of it as an idea, and then I read his other book, Confederacy of Dunces, and then heard reference to this book. It was more inspiring to me that a 16-year old wrote a book that isn't the best book in the world but deals with some interesting themes. The idea of a 16-year old writing a novel-instead of watching TV and doing whatever 16-year olds do-is pretty inspiring.
    RICHARD REED PARRY: It's also about blind consumerism. Not in a direct way, but I feel like that's there: humans living in the world as consumers, as participants, how people choose to be in the world and react to the world and treat the world.
    JEREMY GARA: That ties into the Red Campaign as well, if you want to take it further. That's the only thing we've said yes to all year. It's the only thing that admits to the blatant consumerism of North America. So let's tap into that for good, or at least try, instead of pretending that's not the way responsible people are. [Arcade Fire licensed the song "Rebellion (Lies)" to the Red Campaign during Christmas 2006, which raised funds for African AIDS relief through a dollar taken from every purchase at select clothing retailers.]

    What about what Neon Bible says about religion?
    WIN BUTLER: There's definitely an aspect of religion always combining with culture and becoming a third thing. Where it gets weird is when people mistake the culture for religion, and vice versa: these deeply held beliefs that are partially cultural artifacts, the idea that every line in the Bible is supposed to apply to some real thing in your life. There's a lot to chew on in the Bible, and to think of it as one coherent whole that's telling you one specific thing, like it's some kind of manual on how to live-I don't see how you can read that and get that out of it. There is some advice in there, but it's way more varied than that. "

    They were probably talking about the album as a whole, but the comments fit for this particular song. It's about the ways that culture and religion are mixed up.
    elcapitanlocoon April 19, 2007   Link

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