"Half Light II (No Celebration)" as written by Win Butler, Regine Chassagne, William Butler, Tim Kingsbury, Richard R Parry and Jeremy Gara....
Now that San Francisco's gone
I guess I'll just pack it in
Wanna wash away my sins
In the presence of my friends

You and I, we head back east
To find a town where we can live
Even in the half light
We can see that something's gotta give

When we watched the markets crash
The promises we made were torn
And my parents sent for me
From out west where I was born

Some people say
We've already lost
But they're afraid to pay the cost
For what we've lost
Pay the cost for what we've lost

Now that you have left me here
I will never raise my voice
All the diamonds you have here
In this home which has no life

Oh, this city's changed so much
Since I was a little child
Pray to God I won't live to see
The death of everything that's wild, woo!

Though we knew this day would come
Still it took us by surprise
In this town where I was born
I now see through a dead man's eyes

One day they will see it's long gone.
One day they will see it's long gone.
One day they will see it's long gone.
One day they will see it's long gone.


Lyrics submitted by firstgreenroom

"Half Light II (No Celebration)" as written by Regine Chassagne Jeremy Gara

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Half Light II (No Celebration) song meanings
Add your thoughts

25 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +9
    My InterpretationI think that Half Light I establishes the “half light” as starting to move away from the sheltered sunny existence that your parents created. At some point, you start to see the realties of life, which can be exciting and positive, at least in the half light.

    In Half Light II the narrator is describing how the night finally descends. He leaves home to pursue his idealistic half light dreams, but they eventually fall apart. He goes back home to try and recapture the innocence of his childhood in the “full” light. Of course, when he gets there he finds that it’s all changed. I don’t think the city itself had really change, but his childish perception of it had. The night is now closing in and he prays to not live to see the real truth. He’s surprised at how fast this disillusionment has come.
    clovuson August 12, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI love this track. In fact, the whole new CD is pretty excellent. The premise of the Arcade Fire has always been coming of age, and this song just is about already coming, and returning to what you were so many years later. Its sad, a little sweet, and absolutely true.
    Consmonauton August 04, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Commentholy shit this song is amazing.
    JackSmirkingRevengeon July 27, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe line "Pray that God won't live to see..." should actually be "Pray to God I won't live to see..." According to the lyrics printed on the insert in the vinyl LP anyway.
    littleghost3on July 31, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe line "one day they will see it's long gone" haunts me. That, with the line about watching the markets crash. I wish I could comment on what it means, but it strikes me more as how it feels - like we are a nation or a generation of people cut off from our moorings and set adrift, and even though we knew it all going to happen, we weren't ready for it when it did.
    asherbeeon September 29, 2010   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningHey everyone,
    It wasn't obvious, but I think I've figured it out... This song is about the commercialization of the US/Western World/the world and how it's made people void of humanity. San Francisco is a few hours away from the town where Win Butler (singer) was born, it was a hotspot of progressive cultural change in the '60s and '70s. But now, it's associated with Silicon Valley as the center of high-tech, dot-coms, etc. As in Sprawl II and perhaps other songs of the album, light is a metaphor for what is attractive (shiny) yet illusory (hollow, intangible)

    The over-speculation of dot-com stocks by greedy investors led to a stock market crash that left others suffering. And of course, the housing market collapse of 2008 has led to the current economic recession that still hasn't ended, and many people unrelated to the causes to lose lots -- their retirement savings, their mortgages, etc. Kids have seen their parents lose their jobs. Even now, there's no real reparations, and it's taken in everyone's minds that it's a done deal. If your house is repossessed, you're blamed for trying to afford outside of your minds, that you've set up yourself up for disaster already. But those who'd like most to accept things for what they are those who caused the problem, and they're afraid to really own up to what they've caused. Those who are left impoverished are struggling with their own problems to band together and effect change in the system, while those who profited and escaped lift a rich, unrewarding

    Already seeing what's happened in San Francisco, Win is saying that he's worried that all that's still good and natural in the world will be killed off by the effects of short-sighted human greed, superficiality, etc., which is happening faster than they expected. At some point, people will look back and wonder how things went wrong, but it will be far too late.

    Of course, this is just the gist of what I interpret. You may have other ideas. Personally, I'd also say that techology is a part of the self-destructive forces of commercialization sung about.

    Cool lyrics!
    elangocon January 28, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis could be there with or without you. AMAZING SONG!
    nocheson July 26, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentReferences to God, prayer, sins, market crashes, paying costs (reparation?), birth and death, childhood, light and darkness, relocation, etc.

    Great band that rights songs with great meanings.
    ejownz6on July 28, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is undoubtedly one of the album's highlights; it is certainly what we have come to expect from Arcade Fire.
    tad482on July 31, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Now that San Francisco's gone
    I guess I'll just pack it in
    Wanna wash away my sins
    In the presence of my friends"

    My first thought was, "Oh No's, he's talking about a horrible earthquake!" But then I realized it could be a few different things. SF has been taken over by the "hipsters" everyone here mentions, making it no longer a cool place to live. Someone was laid off during the recession, or the recession made it that much harder to survive in this city. Or someone finally realized the California Dream is better left a dream.
    cis4on October 31, 2010   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain