"The Penalty" as written by and Zach Condon....
Like an ancient day and I'm on trial
Let them seize the way, this once was an island
And I could not stay for I believed them
Left for the lights always in season

Impassable night in a crowd of homesick
Fully grown children, you'll leave the lights
Your family may not wait, Sir, keep on breathing
Our parents rue the day, they find us kneeling
Let them think what they may, for they've good reason
Left for the lights always in season


Lyrics submitted by sethbrown

"The Penalty" as written by Zach Condon

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Penalty song meanings
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21 Comments

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  • +3
    General Commenti have a friend who's a real airheaded frat boy type. not big into art or music. but every time he drives home from college, he listens to this song, and it nearly brings him to tears.

    that's just how powerful the beauty of this song is.
    ModusTheOperandion December 31, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm not entirely sure what this song means. I've only read through the lyrics once...I'll probably have to read them about a thousand more times before I have any sort of idea.
    BUT! Let me just say that this is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. I absolutely love it. Beirut is amazing.
    landofsubmarineson October 01, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentto me, this is the most beautiful song on the album.
    sterile.starson November 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm not sure either, but I saw them play yesterday in L.A. and they opened with this song. It was truly a magical moment. I love Zach's voice and this song gives me goosebumps.
    Liliahhon October 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt seems to have something to do with eloping, possibly drawing on his own experiences of rambling across Europe instead of attending high school.
    emueyeson December 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about coming to the decision of leaving your home and family behind at a young age. "This once was an island" refers to the small town you grew up in or your house, while the "lights aways in season" is the allure of a big city as you get older and realize how big the world is.

    The second verse is after a couple months when big city life doesn't have that special allure it once had. Some stay in the city, some leave to go back home.

    The last four lines is someone trying to convince you to stay in the city. Your family might not want you back. Your parents long to see you come back home on your knees begging to stay with them.
    JPW7218on December 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI do believe it's about going out on your own. The last part about "rueing the day," however, speaks to me about the regret of a parent's child returning to the nest instead of fulfilling his or her destiny... I also see a bit of mortality in the parents. The family doesn't wait and dies... and the child mourns...
    nae4blueon December 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about escaping. I love the lyrics to this one.
    la vita bassaon January 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHello fellow Beirut/Zach Condon fans. This mans music has utterly blown me away since I only recently discovered it. I cant believe hes so young, too.

    As for this song, I dont claim to have deciphered it myself, but through reading and watching the videos on flyingclubcup.com (Unbelievable) this song is about acceptance, learning that each moment should be cherished because every moment has an ending and eventually there wont be another one along to replace it. I quote from the site, "Because, at the end, its always time to leave". Beautiful.x
    partizanson January 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is one of my favorite songs off the flying club cup which is undoubtably one of the best albums i have ever heard and its fun to sing and play on the ukulele too, if you want the chords just go to this site: ukulelehunt.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/…
    Sunset Rubdownon January 11, 2008   Link

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