Tomorrow you'll see it through
The clouded-out disguises put you in the room
And though I wondered out alone
A thousand lights abounded on our own

And I remember every sound it made
The clouded-out disguises and the grave
So, yeah, I know I'm still afraid
Of letting go of choices I have made

All delighted people raise their hands

And I took you by the sleeve
No other other reason than to be your leading man
And you woke up with a fright
Our lives depended on the visions through the night
All we had always, all we had always wanted to be for
The hurricane that inclined us toppling on the floor

All delighted people raise their hands

Still the force of nature spurned
Ideas of strength and style abated by the burning basement

All delighted people raise their hands

I'm not easily confused
The trouble is the storm inside us grew
But I had so much to give
In spite of all the terror, and abuse

And the people bowed and prayed
And what difference does it make for you and me
All delighted people raise their hands

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And what difference does it make
The world surrounds us with its hate

Hello darkness, my old friend, it breaks my heart
I've come to strangle you, in spite of what you'd like
And don't be a rascal, don't be a laughing dog in spite of odds
All I'm deciphering from the spirits in the light within

All delighted people raise their hands

In restless dreams I walked alone, I walked alone
Clouded-out disguises left me in a dream of lightness

All delighted people raise their hands

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And what difference does it make
I love you so much anyway
And on your breast I gently lay
Your arms surround me in the lake
I am joined with you forever

And the people bowed and
Prayed
And what difference does it make for you and me

All delighted people raise their hands

I'm not easily confused
I feel alive, I feel it growing in the room

All delighted people raise their hands, all delighted people

And the people bowed and prayed
Oh, I love a lot
Oh, I love you from the top of my heart
And what difference does it make
I still love you a lot
Oh, I love you from the top of my heart
And on your breast I gently lay
All my head in your arms
Do you love me from the top of your heart
I tried my best, I tried in vain
Do you love me a lot
Do you love from the top of your heart

And the people bowed and prayed
Oh, I love a lot
Oh, I love you from the top of my heart
And you can see through my mistakes
Oh, I'll tell it to you now
Oh, I'll tell it from the top of my heart
And what difference does it make
If the world is a mess
If the world is a mess
And on your breast I gently laid
Oh, I'll tell it to you now
Oh, I'll tell it to you now

When the world's come and gone
Shall we follow our transgressions
Or shall we stand strong

I tried to save the things I made
Oh, but the world is a mess
Oh, but the world is a mess
And what difference does it make
If the world is a mess
If the world is a mess
I tried my best I tried in vain
Oh, but the world is a mess
Oh, but the world is a mess

Suffer not the child among you
Or shall you die young
When the world's come and gone


Lyrics submitted by lesea

All Delighted People (Original Version) song meanings
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22 Comments

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  • +3
    My InterpretationI believe that this whole song is about the internal struggles and insanity of people, and the escape from our own frightening insides, described as an apocalypse ("the hurricane that inclined us toppling on the floor", several mentions of darkness) into dreams ("our lives depended on the visions through the night"). The song is about the idiocy of humans and the simple sadness which accompanies being part of the species. The storm inside of us is growing, and the insanity is growing; the apocalypse that will bring our doom is growing inside of us, and we can do nothing but live inside our own dreams and hope that we can never return to our own heads.
    "and they all prayed to the neon god they had made"- this is a reference to the golden calf which the Jews made in the bible to worship while Moses retrieved the ten commandments from Mt. Sinai, but the "neon" part is a contradiction. It makes one think of neon lights, artificial lights, and the city. This contrasts with the dreamy, drugged quality of the song- envisioning harsh city lights next to "in my restless dreams I walked alone, I walked alone". These are two ideas and two human ideals that are very similar but obviously quite different as well.
    The lines, "And the people bowed and prayed/Oh I love you a lot, I love you from the top of my heart/And you can see through my mistakes" seem like a God reference. Although I originally thought he was talking about a woman, reading these lyrics make it seem like he is talking to God, and remembering the great human sin in the bible, and he is telling God of his sins. He is "gently laying" on God's breast, and feels safe there, like a mother and child.
    "Your arms surround me in the lake"- is this his death? Is this suicide? If God is the arms, then that would be the lake drowning him. Or maybe it's only in his own head.
    Another great line is "And what difference does it make/If the world is a mess, oh, if the world is a mess?" The world being a mess is also referenced in the fourth song of the EP: "From the Mouth of Gabriel". Maybe it makes no difference because people are individuals and should worry about themselves, and be happy with the life they have (which is the sort of vibe I get from his other songs and albums), or maybe it's a reference to death, and that we will all die and it doesn't matter anyway (which I think is more likely).
    "the burning basement" would be hell, and I think in the 18th line he is saying that people think they can evade hell by being popular or strong or revolutionizing their society- evading hell by networking and loopholes, like they always have done, until it comes to God.
    One thing I don't really understand is the chorus, the most important part: "All delighted people raise their hands". The way it is in a major key until the last note is nostalgic and almost ironic. It sounds like a bible reference but I'm actually not really familiar with the bible at all so I wouldn't know. I'm also not very religious, but I thought the God references are references that Sufjan would make. Those are just my thoughts, I'm excited to hear yours.
    amartescanaon August 21, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationBeautiful Song. As mentioned in the press release, it's about the Apocalypse / end of the world, but I also interpret it as Sufjan's struggle with the choice between his faith and the things / ways of the world (the people bowing and praying to the neon gods they made). The theme of the song I believe is stated in the refrain near the end "When the world's come and gone shall we follow our transgressions or shall we stand strong?". I wrote a more in-depth interpretation about the song here: musicforants.com/blog/
    musicforantson August 24, 2010   Link
  • +2
    Lyric CorrectionSuch a beautiful, beautiful song. However, these are not the correct lyrics. The correct lyrics are on Sufjan's website, just beneath this track when you listen to it.

    They are:

    Tomorrow you’ll see it through
    The clouded out disguises put you in the room
    And though I wandered out alone
    A thousand lights abounded on our home
    And I remember every sound it made
    The clouded out disguises and the grave
    So yeah I know I’m still afraid
    Of letting go of choices I have made
    All delighted people raise their hands

    And I took you by the sleeve
    No other reason than to be leading your leading man
    And you woke up with a fright
    Our lives depended on the visions through the night
    All we had always, all we had always wanted to before
    The hurricane inclined us, grappling on the floor
    All delighted people raise their hands

    Still the force of nature spurned
    Ideas of strength and style abated by the burning basement
    All delight people raise their hands

    I’m not easily confused
    The trouble with the storm inside us grew
    But I had so much to give
    In spite of all the terror and abuse

    And the people bowed and prayed
    And what difference does it make for you and me?
    All delighted people raise their hands

    And the people bowed and prayed
    And what difference does it make?
    It doesn’t matter anyway
    The world surrounds us with its hate

    Hello darkness my old friend it breaks my heart
    I’ve come to strangle you in spite of what you’d like
    And don’t be a rascal, don’t be a laughing dog in spite of odds
    All I’m deciphering from the spirits in the light within
    All delighted people raise their hands

    In restless dreams I walked alone I walked alive
    The clouded out disguises left me in a dream of lightness
    All delighted people raise their hands

    And the people bowed and prayed
    To the neon god they made
    And what difference does it make?
    I love you so much anyway
    And on your breast I gently laid
    Your arms surround me in the lake
    I am joined with you forever

    And the people bowed and prayed
    And what difference does it make for you and me?
    All delighted people raise their hands

    I’m not easily confused
    I feel alive I feel it glowing in the room
    All delighted people raise their hands….

    And the people bowed and prayed
    Oh I love you a lot; Oh! I love you from the top of my heart
    And what difference does it make?
    I still love you a lot; Oh! I love you from the top of my heart
    And on your breast I gently laid all my head in your arms
    Do you love me from the top of your heart?
    I tried my best I tried in vain. Do you love me a lot?
    Do you love me from the top of your heart?

    And the people bowed and prayed
    Oh! I love you a lot; Oh! I love you from the top of my heart
    And you can see through my mistakes
    Oh! I’ll tell it to you now; Oh! I’ll tell it from the top of my heart

    And what difference does it make
    If the world is a mess; if the world is a mess?
    And on your breast I gently laid
    Oh! I’ll tell it to you now; Oh! I’ll tell it to you now

    (When the world’s come and gone shall we follow our transgressions
    Or shall we stand strong?)

    I tried to save the things I made
    Oh! But the world is a mess, Oh! But the world is a mess
    And what difference does it make if the world is a mess?
    If the world is a mess!
    I tried my best I tried in vain
    Oh! But the world is a mess! Oh! But the world is a mess!

    (Suffer not the child among you or shall you die young…)
    AshleyJayneon September 15, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation Sufjan Steven’s All Delighted People was released on an online EP of the same name during summer 2010 with no prior notice, catching consumers and critics off guard alike. On the release website, the EP is described as being “built around two different versions of Sufjan’s long-form epic ballad ‘All Delighted People,’” with the song itself being described as “a dramatic homage to the Apocalypse, existential ennui, and Paul Simon’s ‘Sounds of Silence.’” The EP is 8 tracks long, of which (as stated) 2 are different versions of All Delighted People itself, which is a nearly 12 minute long song. (The lyrics are the same in both versions.)
    The lyrics oscillate between impenetrably cryptic and profoundly simple throughout the song– a feature more common than not in his works–and several themes appear throughout the length of the lengthy ballad: the world frequently bows and prays to a neon god it has made, and surrounds the speaker with hate; storms brew, hurricanes menace; dreams are walked in; darkness is personified (a la Sound of Silence); light is felt at a climax in the song, glowing in a room, while at other times spirits and light are deciphered. The symbolic landscape is immense, overwhelming, rich and fractured. Beyond any one image, motif, or symbol, however is a recurring character present throughout the song: an unnamed woman.
    The standard interpretation sees her as a former girlfriend, and gives her little emphasis. This interpretation is supported by the general theme of love especially later in the song, as well as expressions of physical intimacy (“on your breast I gently laid”; “your arms surround me in the lake”). This interpretation, however, admits most of the lyrics as an unrelated mystery. Because of this mystery, the woman has been avoided as a focus in previous attempts at interpretation–generally, she is taken as the only clear symbol extant in the song at all.
    I propose that this is unsatisfactory. While I believe the unexplained itself points to the probability of a deeper underlying problem with interpretation, I will start with an ever more clear indication, which is itself the spark of the epiphany that preceeded this paper: the expressions of physical intimacy in the song are not congruent with romance.
    Love is a mysterious thing–love in general, as opposed to specifically romantic love, that is. There is much talk about how love is described or named within a language; the Greeks famously had their handful from eros to storge, while among Spanish speaking countries there is a range of usage variances concerning “te amo” vs. “te quiero”–and in English, the language with the richest vocabulary of them all, we have: “love”–One word to cover them all. It could be perceived as limiting, stifling–or perhaps we should take it as a statement unto itself. In reality, there can be observed a very close link between the different kinds of love. We would like to think otherwise–it’s uncomfortable to think we love our mothers as we love our ‘lovers’, in our cultural context–but often has the link been observed between women’s relationship to their father and their husband, or the parallels between a man’s relationship with his mother and his wife.
    But there are nuances. We have been conditioned in modern music to expect love between man and woman to be romantic be default, but here this does not seem to be the case. Visualize for yourself: does a man typically lay his head on a woman’s breast? Isn’t the stronger image (in romance, at least) the opposite? Is it typically a woman’s arms who surround a man–or, again, isn’t it more normal (within a romantic context) for the man to be the one holding, surrounding a woman?
    But there is an exception: a boy in relation to his mother.
    This shift sheds light on concepts far beyond the expressions of love in Delighted, and into the core of the song and potentially all the motifs present. From other songs, we get a picture of Sufjan’s relationship to his mother that help us in this direction–from The Seer’s Tower, we have the line
    “Oh, my mother, she betrayed us, but my father loved and bathed us.”
    Also, although too lengthy to quote, the theme of the entire song Romulus seems to be an absent mother and the abandonment the children felt. From external information (see notes), it can be found that Sufjan’s mother actually suffered from Schizophrenia.
    Suddenly, the line “clouded out disguises” begins to take form and meaning. Images of abuse, of home, “visions through the night”, “woke up with a fright”; all of these begin to seem coherent in their mysteriousness, begin to form a silhouette in the fog of symbols. The fringe religious groups that marked Sufjan’s upbringing also bring into focus the lines that seem critical of prayer–lines which are otherwise somewhat confusing, as Sufjan is seemingly a devout Christian.
    “Do you love me a lot?” becomes not just a childish expression of vulnerability toward an old lover (which, again, almost makes sense but not quite; why ask if your ex-girlfriend still loves you?), but instead the voice of a child speaking to his mother, innocently longing. “You can see through my mistakes,” further childlike vulnerability. The list goes on; this interpretation of the song means that it is no longer taken as just a dramatic post break-up song, but as a meditation on childhood echoes, pains, and memories. “I am joined with you forever,” instead of a refusal to let go, becomes an admission of Sufjan’s as he ages (at the time the album was released, he was 35) that he cannot escape the results of the relationship with his mother.
    The implications and connections go deeper, and this song still has much to be explored, but this could be a vital key to understanding what’s going on in Sufjan’s masterpiece here. It should be noted how well this creates an arc with the last song on the album–Dhjoriah, which is described as an anthem to single mothers.
    lackinglatinon March 23, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaningthere are many alludes to Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sounds of Silence," such as the song's recurring phrase "And the people bowed and prayed." "The Sounds of Silence" is a song that Paul Simon himself refers to as "a societal view of the lack of communication." Maybe this interpretation could be applied to "All Delighted People?" I'm not sure if that would be an entirely true reflection for this song particularly; I personally see it as a unifying piece, one that presents the potential for love to rise above all and one that promotes equality. Either way, both compositions are lovely.
    mg1682on September 26, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti just don't know about this song. to be honest, i think there are many voices echoing throughout the lyrics. also it seems to reflect three worlds and the struggles within each: the mental, the "real" world, and the divine plain (as revealed through scripture).

    on one side it could almost be a story of satan trying to save his world and all his people, only to be defeated. so in anguish, he curls back into the breast of mother babylon and into the lake of fire forever. but even stranger, going on the notion of satan, there is sympathy for him in that it breaks this other character's (jesus?) heart that he must kill him.

    my favorite part is the last line. to me, personally, it is a warning not to hold on to your childhood or doom is upon you. even more, don't be afraid to grow up. and scary violin crescendos to a not so pleasant ending.
    iliketalkingaboutnothingon June 22, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOkay so this is from the first page of this sites page on the sounds of silence by Paul Simon. I know it's a Simon and garfunkel song but I have a personal vendetta against garfunkel and we all know he didn't contribute to me getting to see them this summer with his whole "strained voice i'm a pussy" thing he pulled.

    "The song sound of silence is a lyric that uses imagery and symbolism very heavily. The story of it is that the author has a dream about ten thousand people bowing to a god they made of neon light. The god represents the fake and shallow culture they are building on pop stars and the dollar bill. The media �talks without speaking� and the people �hear without listening� there is a cancer of silence which represents a widespred lack of meaning, in music namely. This is an extreemly well written poem and a good view on what is happening to the media. The so called artists are putting less and less art in their work.Their is mass prostitution of art happening in our culture and we all sit happily starring at the neon light and ignore the real art. I heard a good a good quote the other day i have eno idea who said it but I�ll close with it. �For the culture that tolerates shottyness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity and ignores excellence in plumbing because it is a humble activity. This is their fate. Neither their pipes nor it�s theories will hold water.� "

    I forgot to copy the author so this is going uncredited but hey that's what the internet is for.


    I just thought I'd start with that quote because this song is like half the sounds of silence (not an accurate figure).

    Things to say.

    1. The concept of making a song using another song, and a very very good other song at that.

    Sufjan has said recently that he is becoming less focused on the act of creating and sharing music with other people because he thinks the album as a concept is dying or dead and that the internet is destroying the world. That last part isn't something he said per say but I think it's kinda true. With all the people who are now able to share their work with all other beings except the poor souls without computers there is an excess of music and art. And in our lovely music which means so much to so many of us consists of 12 notes so it's hard to create something original and so much of it sounds similar but it's easy not to notice or to willfully suspend the knowledge of this. Anyway, people have been doing it for awhile and I feel like pretty much anything you could ever possibly want to say has already been said by someone else in another song. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm 20 and I wonder if people will still be around in another 60 years when I may or not be alive still and what music will be like and if there have been any major changes and 50 year I'll make my own 27 minute song that uses this song but branches off. Haha if you actually read this there isn't much coherency. And people always tell you how to write and to be more clear but maybe this exactly how I wanted to say it and don't you ever tell me how to live my life.

    2. It's been about 50 years since the original song came out so that means about 50 years have passed and people are still getting emotional connections to this song and also that all the problems that were around then are still around if not worse maybe. I like that Sufjan did this so much because holy shit sometimes I love a song so much but the concept of diminishing marginal returns doesn't apply to me and I wish the song would go on forever and want to create more lyrics to sing for longer which is why the trapeze swinger by iron and wine is such a good song because it's 11 minutes long. And hey this song is 11 minutes too I'm beginning to see a pattern why aren't all songs 11 minutes long?

    3. The emotional connection one gets to music based on their own interpretation is just as important as what the creator put into it. As an atheist I interpret a lot of these things as him losing faith because man it would be cool if he were an atheist and we were a happily married atheist couple (And the people bowed and prayed and what difference does it make to me sounds like you're praying to nothing so it doesn't do anything except it does because placebo effect and shit). But at the same time there are all the people who are falling more and more in love with that Jesus guy when they hear this song and that's cool too, as long as Sufjan and I are still married. Which is why there is so much beauty in the second half of the song when he pulls out the I love you a lot line, because we all know how much he loves me. And amartascena said it's a god reference but I think it's cuter and lovely to say it to the person you love if love exists and you are in a monogamous relationship. Because I think it's more important to have strong emotional connections to actual people in your life because they will love you back but again this is just me and a lot of people get a lot of emotion shit out of eating praying loving god or other religious beings. Again see the part where I say this is my interpretation.

    5. (I see what I did there) At the same time when he talks about love it says but what difference does it make so it looks like somebody is having a little trouble finding meaning in ABSOLUTELY EVERY FUCKING THING and hey that's okay Sufjan, I'm here for you.

    6. Arms surround me in the lake remind me of to be alone with you because he was gonna swim across lake michigan so now he is doing that. But again remember where I interpret his songs to my own personal view of the world I think that song is about gay love because even if he is still talking about Jesus Jesus is a man and Sufjan is a man so that's homosexual love thing we've got going not to mention the millions of people who are in love with Jesus so he's probably gotten a few stds over the 2000 years since he kicked the bucket.

    7.I'm losing wind here but why isn't too much love also on the EP in place of the classic rock version of this song? That's another thing I do is sometimes there is a song or two I don't like on a cd but there are songs that should be on it so I put them on it if I burn the cd or something like I did that with the Shrek soundtrack because why are the baha men or leslie carter on that shit. But maybe that's the type of shit that is making Sufjan think the album as a concept is dying because of over-sharing on the internet but then this EP wasn't an album and you can't put two version of the same song on an album that close together and not put such an amazing song that is also new and should be on the ep not on the ep. But I wouldn't change a thing about any of his other cds.

    8. When I saw him last fall he didn't play super sexy woman so I was pretty bummed.
    ninjamongooseon August 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is wonderful. Sufjan you've done it again.
    talkingbirdon August 31, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is AMAZING, I can't believe more people haven't commented about how incredible it is. My favourit from this EP, though it was close considering I adored every single song on it.
    Sweet_Amityon October 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI take this song as a reprimand of those who claim Christianity but live with a hollow faith, mainly Western Christianity (I heard a statistic that only 10% of people who claim to be Christian in the U.S. actually say that they live out their faith). I feel like lines like "And the people bowed and prayed, to the neon gods they made"; "Do you love me alot? Do you love me from the top of your heart?"; "I tried my best, I tried in vain" reflect the ideas of trying to live out a faith but either moving towards idols, not putting forth the effort needed because it is difficult, and giving up on your faith. I think I am kind of just pulling personal meaning out of this song that might not have been the intention of Sufjan, but I want to hear what other people think as well.

    I really just thought the line "I love you from the top of my heart" was so curious. To me it speaks alot about saying "I love you" but that love is not supported by a deep passion for you.
    anzoon October 25, 2010   Link

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