"Devil's Arcade" as written by and Bruce Springsteen....
Remember the morning we dug up your gun
The worms in the barrel, the hanging sun
Those first nervous evenings of perfume and gin
The lost smell on your breath as I helped you get it in
The rush of your lips, the feel of your name
The beat in your heart, the devil's arcade

You said "Heroes are needed, so heroes get made"
Somebody made a bet, somebody paid
The cool desert morning and nothing to save
Just metal and plastic where your body caved
The slow games of poker with Lieutenant Ray
In the ward with the blue walls, a sea with no name
Where you lie adrift with the heroes of the devil's arcade

You sleep and you dream, your buddies Charlie and James
And wake with a thick desert dust on your skin

Voice says "don't worry, I'm here
Just whisper the word tomorrow in my ear"
House on a quiet street, a home for the brave
A glorious kingdom with the sun on your face

Rising from a long night as dark as the grave
On a thin chain of next moments and something like faith
On a morning to order a breakfast to make
A bed draped in sunshine, a body that waits
For the touch of your fingers, the end of the day

The beat of your heart, the beat of your heart
The beat of your heart, the beat of your heart
The beat of your heart, the beat of her heart
The beat of your heart, the slow burning away
Of the bitter fires of the devil's arcade


[Terri's Song Begins]

Well they built the Titanic to be one of a kind, but many ships have ruled the seas
They built the Eiffel Tower to stand alone, but they could build another if they please
Taj Mahal, the pyramids of Egypt, are unique I suppose
But when they built you, brother, they broke the mold

Now the world is filled with many wonders under the passing sun
And sometimes something comes along and you know it's for sure the only one
The Mona Lisa, the David, the Sistine Chapel, Jesus, Mary, and Joe
And when they built you, brother, they broke the mold

When they built you, brother, they turned dust into gold
When they built you, brother, they broke the mold

They say you can't take it with you, but I think that they're wrong
'Cause all I know is I woke up this morning, and something big was gone
Gone into that dark ether where you're still young and hard and cold
Just like when they built you, brother, they broke the mold

Now your death is upon us and we'll return your ashes to the earth
And I know you'll take comfort in knowing you've been roundly blessed and cursed
But love is a power greater than death, just like the songs and stories told
And when she built you, brother, she broke the mold

That attitude's a power stronger than death, alive and burning her stone cold
When they built you, brother


Lyrics submitted by Lyricalis

"Devil's Arcade" as written by Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Devil's Arcade song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationI am 100% sure it's about a soldier who's dying of combat wounds (narrated by his friend):

    Remember the morning we dug up your gun
    The worms in the barrel, the hangin' sun

    Somebody made a bet, somebody paid
    The cool desert morning, then nothin' to save
    Just metal and plastic where your body caved

    In the ward with the blue walls, a sea with no name
    Where you lie adrift with the heroes
    Of the devil's arcade

    Then, his lover visits him, promising him he'll recover:

    A voice says "Don't worry, I'm here"
    Just whisper the word 'tomorrow' in my ear

    His condition worsens as the song goes on:

    Rising from a long night as dark as the grave
    On a thin chain of next moments
    And something like faith

    At the end of the song, he dies:

    A bed draped in sunshine, a body that waits
    For the touch of your fingers
    The end of a day

    The beat of your heart, the beat of her heart
    The beat of her heart, the slow burning away
    Of the bitter fires of the devil's arcade

    IZSBHRon July 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about the phases of romance and sex throughout life.

    "[T]hose first nervous evenings" are about the early years of sex, the experimentation. Not to mention the weirdness of it, of helping her "get it in."

    The "metal and plastic" thing, I imagine, is metaphor for sex in a car, OR, could be about an empty feeling of the college years, the drifting, meaningless one-night stands.

    "A voice says 'Don't worry, I'm here,'" is about marriage, and the comfort of having a loved one by your side, someone who can keep things "mum" and keep your secrets and assuage your worries and insecurities.

    "A house on a quiet street," talks about the later years. Sex is sporadic because it's now the twilight years. There's a fear of death, so there's hope for something after ("something like faith")

    Finally, he speaks of "the touch of your fingers / At the end of the day." Perhaps this is about the ending. Sex is no more, but you still have each other, he still has "the beat of your heart," even though the "sun [is] burning away."
    Lyricalison September 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think it is chronicling the thoughts of someone after a war.

    The first three paragraphs are all about sex - that much can't really be denied. the third paragraph ends and sets the stage: the devil's arcade.

    Next it speaks of heroes. the person gives his/her reasoning for joining hte service and fighting the war. "somebody made a bet, somebody paid" is a crack at the administration for betting on a war, and the person paying the price is the soldier.

    Paragraphs 5 through 8 color in the scene- the "metal and plastic where your body caved" (the lyric came is incorrect as per the lyrics in the album booklet) talk about where he was injured, where he needed to be replaced with artificial parts of some sort. then it details the recovery in a military hospital among all the other heroes in the devil's arcade.

    the final paragraphs detail all the little things our hero fights for, especially his/her lover.

    the final line: "The beat of your heart, the slow burning away Of the bitter fires of the devil’s arcade" shows us that the hell that injured our hero was put through was, in the end, worth the price
    barknogon October 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentnot sure about the rest but pretty sure that the lines: You sleep in a dream
    Your buddies Charlie and gin
    And wake with a faint desert dust
    On your skin

    A voice says "Don't worry, I'm here,"
    Just whisper the word to mum
    In my ear.
    sounds like someone waking screaming from nightmares, possibly PTSD from combat. also charlie(slang for cocaine) and gin to medicate enough to sleep.
    Sirrealon December 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe lyrics are wrong in three points: original is:
    You sleep and dream of your buddies Charlie and Jim
    ...
    and then
    Just whisper the word 'tomorrow' in my ear
    ... finally
    the slow burning away ...

    I think it's about a veteran whose soul has been lost to the devil during the war and menages to get it through thanks to love, that burns away the bitter fires of the devil's arcade
    fordescorton February 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI need to point out more errors...it's thick desert dust on your skin.

    also Where you lie adrift with the heroes

    and The cool desert morning, then nothin' to save
    Just metal and plastic where your body caved


    I think this song is about a lover lost in Iraq. There's "nothin' to save", this person was killed.
    They're drifting, dreaming of the life they should have had were it not for their death in the war. I don't see redemption here, just sad unnecessary death.
    zaphodbeebon February 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me the song is about a soldier lost in Iraq, written from the point of view of his partner. Heard in that context, it's one incredibly moving and powerful song.
    TheMinstrelBoyon May 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with you TheMinstrelBoy.
    What a song. I got shivers once I realized what it was about.
    gm10on August 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnd "get it in" probably refers to their first night together.
    gm10on August 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt has to be about either war or sex. Everyone has a valid explination of the song here.

    I will say this though. I read in some review (on Amazon I think) some person said that this is the weakest song on the album. Erm....no, it's not.
    Lukeyon March 28, 2009   Link

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