And if the snow buries my, my neighborhood
And if my parents are crying
Then I'll dig a tunnel from my window to yours
Yeah, a tunnel from my window to yours

You climb out the chimney
And meet me in the middle, the middle of the town
And since there's no one else around
We let our hair grow long
And forget all we used to know
Then our skin gets thicker from
Living out in the snow

You change all the lead
Sleepin' in my head
As the day grows dim
I hear you sing a golden hymn

Then we tried to name our babies
But we forgot all the names that
The names we used to know
But sometimes, we remember our bedrooms
And our parents' bedrooms
And the bedrooms of our friends
Then we think of our parents
Well what ever happened to them?

You change all the lead
Sleepin' in my head to gold
As the day grows dim
I hear you sing a golden hymn
The song I've been trying to sing

Purify the colors, purify my mind
Purify the colors, purify my mind
And spread the ashes of the colors
Over this heart of mine


Lyrics submitted by drinkmilk

Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) Lyrics as written by Richard R Parry Regine Chassagne

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

143 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +14
    My Interpretation

    I think that this is a brilliant song which has given people lots of different interpretations as shown above. My personal opinion is that its about growing up with love The first verse which has a childish imaginative feel 'Then I'll dig a tunnel,From my window to yours' Then it moves onto the teenage view 'We let our hair grow long' A sort of rebellish feel which adds onto 'Then our skin gets thicker,From living out in the snow' which I think could mean the couple facing the grimmer reality of life the harsh 'snow' but they're coping with it because they have each other. Then, finally the adult perspective of love and responsibility 'Then we tried to name our babies' which signifies that they are still with each other and are now parents. So, yeah. Thats my opinion and sorry that I went on for a bit.

    Applewormon August 15, 2010   Link
  • +9
    General Comment

    It's common knowledge that Arcade Fire named the album on which this song appears Funeral because they had lost several close relations during the recording. But I think those losses sparked a more general contemplation of the contribution of the older generations and how they both affected and were affected by the passage of time in the twentieth century. The Arcade Fire often uses their music to make sociopolitical statements, and nowhere is this more evident than in the "Neighborhood" series, in which each song seems to reference a different time period in modern history.

    In this light, "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" is set during the countercultural revolution of the 1960s. Here we have two disaffected youths sneaking off to meet each other while their parents are noticeably distraught, as many adults were then due to the Vietnam War, the Kennedy assassination, and the growing "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll" movement among their children. In a world that they perceive as cold and alienating to them (i.e. covered in snow), the teens stage a protest of sorts and "let [their] hair grow long," as hippies did.

    However, there was indeed a backlash to the hippie movement, and many of those same impassioned Boomers demonstrating for the demise of capitalism became the yuppies of the Me generation, growing up and developing the thick skins referred to in the song. At some point, every young generation realizes that, despite their faults, their parents had valuable experiences to share and lessons to teach. Sadly, that realization often comes too late, as it does to the singer, whose generation has drifted so far from its roots that he can hardly remember his forefathers or the traditions he was raised with ("But we forgot all the names/...we used to know"; "Then we think of our parents/Well, whatever happened to them?"). Awakening to the fact that he's strayed so far from his youthful ideals, the singer, now older and more jaded, wishes that he could "hear.../The song I've been trying to sing," one which would "purify" him, restoring his tarnished ideals to their former brilliance. But, tragically, he also recognizes that the fire of his passion has burnt out, and only the "ashes of the colors" he once saw in the world still smolder in his heart.

    Please see my comments on the other "Neighborhood" songs for more details on how this song cycle makes a sociopolitical statement.

    LyricallyInclinedon November 29, 2007   Link
  • +4
    My Interpretation

    This is my favourite song ever. And this is my personal interpretation:

    And if the snow buries my My neighborhood And if my parents are crying Then I'll dig a tunnel From my window to yours Yeah, a tunnel from my window to yours


    He's still a young boy, and the snow is the coldness of feeling which comes with adult age; in fact, snow makes everything colorless and silent, and he'll say that he asks her loved one to spread what remains of the colors over his heart, and he hears her singing a beautiful hymn. She is the only way for him to keep on living a life worth living. So he'll dig a tunnel in the snow to connect his bedroom with hers. This is obviously hardly realizable, and to me this means a sort of pessimism. He sees his parents crying: they're probably not in love anymore, they have no dreams (this theme is much present in many Funeral songs, like Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)). They remind him what his life will probably be.

    You climb out the chimney And meet me in the middle The middle of the town And since there's no one else around We let our hair grow long And forget all we used to know Then our skin gets thicker From living out in the snow


    He plans a complete isolation from society because he's afraid of it: he doesn't wanna work in a building downtown (Antichrist Television Blues), he doesn't want a common life. He finally can have long hair because nobody is there to judge him. A thicker skin means more protection from the snow, both pratically and metaphorically. He gotta keep warm (Vampire/Forest Fire).

    You change all the lead Sleeping in my head As the day grows dim I hear you sing a golden hymn


    She turns his heavy thoughts in precious ones

    Then we tried to name our babies But we forgot all the names that The names we used to know But sometimes, we remember our bedrooms And our parent's bedrooms And the bedrooms of our friends Then we think of our parents Well, what ever happened to them


    He knows that far away, in his nest in the snow, he'll miss their parents and friends, and he's sad about the suffering he gived them going away (Win moved from Texas to Montreal and probably his parents were very sad about it; in My Heart Is An Apple he says that he won't come home not even after Texas called him back)

    You change all the lead Sleeping in my head to gold As the day grows dim I hear you sing a golden hymn The song I've been trying to sing

    Purify the colors, purify my mind Purify the colors, purify my mind And spread the ashes of the colors Over this heart of mine!


    I'm not native english, so sorry for my poor explanation.

    Urasawaon April 27, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    I agree with tackledspoon on the meaning completely...god...this is the most romantic song (in a weird way) I wanna cry when I hear it. in the best possible way.

    atombombjohnon November 24, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    this song is sooo incredible. Will sings with emotion!! hearing him sing makes you feel the song. the line "then we tried to name our babies, but we forgot all the names that, the names we used to know" is sung so perfectly! love this song

    SMUSER17000263on December 15, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    This song reminds me of Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. Except without Ice-9, and, regretably, Bokonon.

    nitsirhcon January 01, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    To me this song is about finding comfort in someone special during a particularly traumatic event. I think there's stuff here about loss, sadness, survival and mourning. I think it's about having someone close to you who can help you in a time of need.

    erolsabadoshon January 23, 2005   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    This song seems so post-apocalyptic, but I guess the apocalypse is adulthood: you lose your parents, you lose your memories of childhood, you're some untamed creature roaming the harsh wilderness, trying to piece together a life with the ones who make it worthwhile... y'know, adult things!

    LavenderIsGreenon October 03, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    "How did I get here?" This band is so reminiscent of the talking heads in message, very similar to 'Nothing But Flowers' They run away in love and forget the world. They sometimes remember civilization, but he then follows up with the trite question "what ever happened to them?!" much like someone from your highschool class who had faded from your mind. They can't event hink of names for babies, they're so removed. But they have love. Hooray!

    jfioajeo740239won October 12, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this song is fucking incredible.

    CountMyCrowson November 20, 2004   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!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Techno Ted
Audioslave
Techno Ted may be a person who caused Chris incredible emotional pain & trepidation as well as moments of peace & happiness but now is removed and awaiting his fate. Darling may be a different person who is also free of him and can live her life free of Ted's tyranny. "In between all the laughing, and daydreams ... lies: a desert of truth" Lies are like a desert or the omission of Truth: Where there were Lies then Truth was absent. The song, "Techno Ted", may be a cathartic celebration of the downfall of this person.
Album art
Cajun Girl
Little Feat
Overall about difficult moments of disappointment and vulnerability. Having hope and longing, while remaining optimistic for the future. Encourages the belief that with each new morning there is a chance for things to improve. The chorus offers a glimmer of optimism and a chance at a resolution and redemption in the future. Captures the rollercoaster of emotions of feeling lost while loving someone who is not there for you, feeling let down and abandoned while waiting for a lover. Lost with no direction, "Now I'm up in the air with the rain in my hair, Nowhere to go, I can go anywhere" The bridge shows signs of longing and a plea for companionship. The Lyrics express a desire for authentic connection and the importance of Loving someone just as they are. "Just in passing, I'm not asking. That you be anyone but you”
Album art
Holiday
Bee Gees
@[Diderik:33655] "Your a holiday!" Was a popular term used in the 50s/60s to compliment someone on their all around. For example, not only are they beautiful, but they are fun and kind too ... just an all around "holiday". I think your first comment is closer to being accurate. The singer/song writers state "Millions of eyes can see, yet why am i so blind!? When the someone else is me, its unkind its unkind". I believe hes referring to the girl toying with him and using him. He wants something deeper with her, thats why he allows himself to be as a puppet (even though for her fun and games) as long as it makes her happy. But he knows deep down that she doesnt really want to be serious with him and thats what makes him.
Album art
I Can't Go To Sleep
Wu-Tang Clan
This song is written as the perspective of the boys in the street, as a whole, and what path they are going to choose as they get older and grow into men. (This is why the music video takes place in an orphanage.) The seen, and unseen collective suffering is imbedded in the boys’ mind, consciously or subconsciously, and is haunting them. Which path will the boys choose? Issac Hayes is the voice of reason, maybe God, the angel on his shoulder, or the voice of his forefathers from beyond the grave who can see the big picture and are pleading with the boys not to continue the violence and pattern of killing their brothers, but to rise above. The most beautiful song and has so many levels. Racism towards African Americans in America would not exist if everyone sat down and listened to this song and understood the history behind the words. The power, fear, pleading in RZA and Ghostface voices are genuine and powerful. Issac Hayes’ strong voice makes the perfect strong father figure, who is possibly from beyond the grave.
Album art
Amazing
Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran tells a story of unsuccessfully trying to feel “Amazing.” This track is about the being weighed down by emotional stress despite valiant attempts to find some positivity in the situation. This track was written by Ed Sheeran from the perspective of his friend. From the track, we see this person fall deeper into the negative thoughts and slide further down the path of mental torment with every lyric.