"1940" as written by and Arthur Crudup....
Somethings wrong when you regret
Things that haven't happened yet
But it's a glorious day when morning comes
Without the feeling of alarm

So rise, and shine
Nows the time to be alive
To stay awake with me a while, and smile

You couldn't sleep for the awful fright
That kept you up in bed last
But curious shape shift in the dark,
They vanish with the sunrise spark

So rise, and shine
Nows the time to be alive
To stay awake with me a while, and smile

So rise, and shine
Nows the time to be alive
To stay awake with me a while

So rise, and shine
Nows the time to be alive
To stay awake with me a while, and smile

Somethings wrong. . . .

Lyrics submitted by SlipPete

1940 song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI actually just experienced what this song describes.

    Some people (like myself) are haunted by things in the hours before they fall asleep. That seems to be when doubt and worry become most difficult to bear.

    For me, it was knowing that I had set myself up to be hurt. It's so easy to just push out of mind during the day, but at night you can't avoid thoughts as easily. I'd dread going to bed because I knew I'd be tormented by my own thoughts.

    When I would wake up in the morning I'd feel great. I had plenty of distractions to keep me from thinking of my situation.

    While this may not be the same situation for the artist, I really feel like the idea of fearing your own thoughts was the motivation for this song.
    tuanafetchieon September 28, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's another obscure song about WW2, this time the Germans bombing London during The Blitz. The German bombers came in just after dark, blowing shit up and making everybody terrified. Nobody wanted to sleep, so those that did and woke up the next day alive where pretty damn grateful they survived the night.
    mastacreon November 04, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think that this song is the narrator speaking to a potential love interest. He's scared to enter a relationship with her ("Something's wrong when you regret things that haven't happened yet"), possibly because he's been hurt in the past ("You couldn't sleep for the awful fright that kept you up in bed last night"), but she's telling him that the past is in the past, that he should let go of it, and that he can be happy with her in the present ("So rise, and shine, now's the time to be alive, to stay awake with me a while, and smile"). The night/dark is a troubled past, and the bright morning is the beginning of a happier future. Just my take.
    fieldtooshon February 23, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:]
    Oubleion August 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionThe first two lines are amazing.
    BrittanyHOcakeon April 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe beat to this song sounds like "Bathwater" by No Doubt.

    Doesn't make me love this song any less though. <3
    SheenaIsAPunkRockeron April 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis is my favorite song from The Submarines, I'm upset to see how it has so little comments. Anyways, I've dug down this a little bit, and I have a few meanings that I can see already.

    The narrator, the lead singer Blake, is singing to somebody who has awful paranoia and unnecessary fears.

    1) "Something's wrong when you regret, things that haven't happened yet" can be interpreted as "There's something wrong when you are worrying about things that haven't happened yet", which means that the person is afraid of the future or what is yet to come.

    2) "You couldn't sleep for the awful fright that kept you up in bed last night" can be looked at like "You couldn't sleep last night for the fear that lingers and keeps you awake." The person couldn't go to sleep since their fears are taking over them.

    3) "They vanish with the sunrise spark" is "The curious that shape shift in the dark vanish when the sunrise sparks", the "curious" (the fear) that shape shift (changes and adapts to the person) will vanish when the light comes up, i.e., at sunrise.

    4) FINALLY, then the chorus states that the person should "rise and shine", because "now is the time to be alive, to stay awake with me a while, and smile". Now is the time to be happy, to rise and shine, to live free and alive, to let go of all these fears and regrets that are just paranoia.

    I hope I'm correct :D
    simonteodulfon July 30, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's describing the post 9/11 format. Scientific diligence tossed out the window of our culture, and replaced with programmed fear and hate. The artist is asking us to wake up, and join the culture of your life, the diligent, the aware please. Don't be a good German of the 40's. See that something is wrong, and do something about it. Rise and shine! Stay awake!
    nick112690on August 19, 2015   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThe song is set in the year 1940, and something is terribly wrong. Europe is being consumed by WWII and the Nazi's invade the Netherlands, Belgium, and France among other countries. America isn't yet involved in the war but elects FDR for a third term and is slowly beginning to pull out of the Great Depression. Modernism takes a giant leap forward as the 40 hour work week is instated. Race riots occurred in Chicago, Harlem, Los Angeles, and Detroit. In other words, this would apparently be a shitty year to be alive.

    The first verse contrasts a life lived in fear versus one where one does not awake with alarm. Notice that alarm here has two meanings, converging on one sentiment. One meaning is emotional and the other is symbolic of a physical alarm (like the ones that alarmed people of bombings). The sentiment is awaking without need for alarm of being repressed. In other words, it's a glorious day when we awake from a state where we constantly fear the things that haven't happened yet such as death, losing loved ones, getting old and etc.

    The chorus is a call to action. The artist urges the listener to rise and shine, because now is the time to be alive - not tomorrow, not a week from now, not when you graduate from college, and not when everything is perfect. Unlike the people who lived in Europe during WWII, we have the power to live without fear. One may also note that they eerily emphasize "and smile" leading one to believe that they have something else in mind.

    The second verse is sympathetic, but also somewhat dismissive. While the fright is "awful" in that we feel that at our very core, they are ultimately a reaction to what Blake colorfully calls shadows that vanish with the sunrise spark. In other words, things seem terrible when we apprehend them; however, they take less menacing shapes in the light of day. All it takes is living intentionally and appreciate the moment for what it is.
    zach109888on May 26, 2017   Link

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