"Decades" as written by Ian Kevin Curtis, Peter Hook, Stephen Paul David Morris and Bernard Sumner....
Here are the young men, the weight on their shoulders,
Here are the young men, well where have they been?
We knocked on the doors of Hell's darker chamber,
Pushed to the limit, we dragged ourselves in,

Watched from the wings as the scenes were replaying,
We saw ourselves now as we never had seen.
Portrayal of the trauma and degeneration,
The sorrows we suffered and never were free.

Where have they been?
Where have they been?
Where have they been?
Where have they been?

Weary inside, now our heart's lost forever,
Can't replace the fear, or the thrill of the chase,
Each ritual showed up the door for our wanderings,
Open then shut, then slammed in our face.

Where have they been?
Where have they been?
Where have they been?
Where have they been?

Lyrics submitted by typo, edited by BlumpkinLord

"Decades" as written by Ian Kevin Curtis Bernard Sumner

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Decades song meanings
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  • +7
    General CommentI'm fairly certain this song is about the affects a war will have on the young men who are forced to fight it. It may be specifically about world war two, when the majority of young men (from the nations heavily involved) were called upon by their leaders to risk their lives and commit horrible acts against their enemies (We knocked on doors of Hell's darker chambers
    Pushed to the limits, we dragged ourselves in). Then, upon returning home these men, in most cases, lied about the truth of the horrors they had scene or remained silent about it ( Where have they been?). In many cases these soldiers could not adjust to civilian life because of traumas, or because they couldn't replace (the fear or the thrill of the chase). For these men, the possibilities in life that they had before the war were gone (These rituals showed up the door for our wanderings . Opened and shut, then slammed in our face). Though I don't think Ian is talking about the Vietnam war, The Deer Hunter is a great illustration of the kind of characters he is talking about.
    Kaguthon January 23, 2005   Link
  • +5
    General Commentdammit ian shouldnt be dead
    noitacilpmocon June 28, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song is not about war although they're using that as a metaphor. It's about looking back at a life that was not fulfilled for some reason. I think they wanted to transmit the way many people feel when reaching a certain point in life.
    patmo85on March 24, 2015   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBasically, Decades is Joy Division the Las Vegas years. This is not as glib an assesment as it sounds. Taking Closer as a whole, the first side is a man debating with himself whether or not to make the ultimate sacrifice ending in A Means to an End and the taking of his life. Heart and Soul is the immediate aftermath of death, Twenty Four Hours is coming to terms with grief, The Eternal is the funeral and Decades is twenty years later.

    Decades looks back at what could have been and what actually happened. Decades is very much in the spirit of "its better to burn out than fade away". Rather than grow old disgracefully and become a parody of him/themself Decades celebrates the implosion of what Curtis final act meant for the group both creatively and enigmatically.

    Its with some irony that 21 years on from Curtis death, New Order "reformed" and for the first time since Joy Division actually started playing their songs at their gigs. Perhaps Curtis was right all along...
    daprincetrkon June 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentdefinately about war, but is relatable in other ways

    i know so many people have said the same thing but this song gives me such chills and is truly amazing

    the second chorus almost always makes me break down

    this is one of the few bands that deserves every ounce of praise they get

    formaldehydeKATon April 06, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit's astounding how sensitive Ian (who'd never experienced any touch of war) was to create such pictures of war.
    "Watched from the wings as the scenes were replaying
    We saw ourselves now as we never had seen" - nobody can find better words to describe the realization of the atrocities. The whole song for me is more like a confessional, remorse and regret "These rituals showed up the door for our wanderings" - i'm pretty sure he talks about the effects on mental health caused by buntons, concentration camps and other realities of the war. i don't think he intended to point out any particular war, and i think that is proved by the song name itself. 'Decades', i suppose, is named so to emphasize a horrifying amount of time wars takes the human race.
    deniromanoffon March 28, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentim not sure at all what this song is about. maybe at looking at your life through another perspective, and realizing how shitty its been
    needafixon April 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCleared a few things up their daprincetrk nice one..

    Just to go back to last point, I think it would be WWI instead of the second one. That was the war in which "a whole generation of young men lost their lives". Also the trenches were often described as hell on earth etc in the famous war poems of the time.
    Mantinonon July 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt does sound like WWI in which an entire generation of French and Englishmen were killed...

    A Few of these verses are written in "The Crow" the graphic novel. It's kind of interesting how it fits.
    Murphy McManuson August 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI hear pain and suffering. That's what it's about.
    Might be war.

    Very striking song. I usually listen to it when I feel suicidal. It helps somehow. Yeah, I'm strange.
    Gwynbleiddon December 11, 2005   Link

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