"Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" as written by Win Butler, Regine Chassagne, William Butler, Tim Kingsbury, Richard R Parry and Jeremy Gara....
They heard me singing and they told me to stop,
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock,
These days, my life, I feel it has no purpose,
But late at night the feelings swim to the surface.
'Cause on the suburbs the city lights shine,
They're calling at me, 'come and find your kind.'

Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
Then we can never get away from the sprawl,
Living in the sprawl,
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
And there's no end in sight,
I need the darkness someone please cut the lights.

We rode our bikes to the nearest park,
Sat under the swings, we kissed in the dark,
We shield our eyes from the police lights,
We run away, but we don't know why,
And like a mirror these city lights shine,
They're screaming at us, 'we don't need your kind'

Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
Then we can never get away from the sprawl,
Living in the sprawl,
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
And there's no end in sight,
I need the darkness someone please cut the lights.

They heard me singing and they told me to stop,
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock.
Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
Can we ever get away from the sprawl?
Living in the sprawl,
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
And there's no end in sight,
I need the darkness someone please cut the lights.


Lyrics submitted by htcdb125, edited by Vindie

"Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" as written by Regine Chassagne Jeremy Gara

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) song meanings
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  • +18
    General CommentThere's matching lyrics in both parts of sprawl, giving me the impression that they're describing the same thing from two different people with two different perspectives, both present during the whole thing. They sound like boyfriend/girlfriend pair, Flatlands from his perspective, Mountains from hers. They describe the same things, like riding bikes, being in a park, and the run in with the cops. At the same time, the lyrics are almost opposites in the feelings conveyed, and even the titles are geographical opposites (flatlands vs. mountains).
    Rodan2000on August 01, 2010   Link
  • +14
    General CommentIt's kind of baffling to see so many blatant misinterpretations of this song. I've read a few of your interpretations, which seem to think that this song is about rejecting suburban life in exchange for urban life. It is about neither. The Sprawl, by its definition, and through its meaning here, is referring to the lights, life, and overall urban pollution of the city and all of its societal woes that have gradually expanded out to the countryside, creating suburban areas that extend outwardly and create mass consumerism and more problems. Will there be any room for the peaceful and quiet ways of life that once existed as a rational and practical means of survival, and which were previously enough for us to ascertain suitable enjoyment and fulfillment from?

    "Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
    And there's no end in sight,
    I need the darkness someone please cut the lights."

    We live in cities that never shut down at night. Sure, in certain areas there is less light pollution than others. But the sprawl of the cities and urban life has become so accepted that we can no longer gaze at the stars in full view on a whim. The only way they are now visible to us is through travel to the countryside, which is shrinking and being violated by our way of life at each step. New shopping malls are erected each year, and to what end?

    "And like a mirror these city lights shine,
    They're screaming at us, "we don't need your kind." "

    I think a lot of people feel like they're going through existential crises nowadays. Do we really belong amongst society how it exists in its current state? People have become obsessed and entranced by pop culture. What about those people who haven't? Where do they belong?

    Life is becoming increasingly metropolitan, and the computer age, the electronic era, mass media - it all dominates the mainstream way of life. The Sprawl of the city and corporate sponsored consumerism has become nearly, if not already universal and ubiquitous.

    the Arcade Fire are making social criticism here. They wonder where we're headed as a society. Cities become increasingly crowded, so suburban areas ceaselessly sprout around the main metropolises. When we're finally finished, if there is a such thing to occur (the end of our expansion, the end of our vane projection), will we have completely squelched and vanquished the natural world? I find myself disgusted with the city life all around us all the time. Was this really how it was supposed to be? Nature only exists in its natural state in select and preserved areas throughout the world. How long will they last for? Will society really trade it in for its own arrogantly touted world of mass consumerism?

    There's something missing from this life. the Arcade Fire tap into deep rooted feelings of nostalgia in this song, recalling their childhood, and how it effects their current situation. They also do this in others, such as "We Used to Wait" in which Win Butler longs for the slowed-down, even-paced way of life. Society used to wait for letters to come in the mail from loved ones. These were often well thought out and meaningful. We used to wait for all sorts of things. Now we demand immediacy and instant gratification.
    roadswindon April 22, 2011   Link
  • +7
    General CommentI think this album's sequencing is perfect. After exploring the flatlands of the suburbs (seeing how your childhood has been whitewashed over) and seeing the mountains beyond mountains of dead malls in the suburbs. The cities, the places where civilization started and where the people and culture are still actually abuzz, call out to your soul.

    This album perfectly expresses what the suburbs are in mood and tone, how meaningless, duplicated, shallow and ultimately uniform they all are.

    Every town has to have the same thing as every other town, leading to each town changing into being exactly the same thing. A pile of "dead shopping malls" that nobody is actually from, because it doesn't have any characteristics to call its own.

    This song also explores how the whole world seems to be getting taken over by the unplanned, sprawling suburbs to the point where it will soon be inescapable.

    Which is another central theme of the album, in my opinion, the fact that our lifestyle choices and civilization seem to be on the verge of wiping anything that's beautiful from the planet.

    Makes me want to move to the city.
    BuckWilderon August 05, 2010   Link
  • +6
    General CommentThis is my favorite song on the new album. I think it's beautiful how they always manage to write a song on the album that Regine can totally own. This song is hers, nobody can take that away from her.
    _hideyourloverson July 26, 2010   Link
  • +6
    General CommentFavorite song on the album, by far. Although I have to admit that every time I listen, it reminds me of "Heart of Glass" just a teeny tiny bit.
    RyGuy86on July 28, 2010   Link
  • +5
    My InterpretationMy interpretation of the song is one in which the protagonist is living in an oppressive environment; it's not overtly oppressive, like Communist Russia, but at the same time, her identity is being stifled to an extent by those around her. They "hear [her] singing and they tell [her] to stop" and to quit being "pretentious." In my understanding of the word, pretentious connotes showing off or being ostentatious, and the fact that these people are equating her singing, a form of expression, to pretentiousness implies that any outpour of emotion or thought is looked down upon; everyone is expected to stay mute, conform, and follow order ("just punch the clock"). I think one of the more insightful lines in the song is when the narrator says that she "needs the darkness, someone please cut the lights." Normally, one must shed light on something to discover its meaning or truth, or in others case, follow the light, but here, she needs the opposite. I feel like this is a way of her going against the grain of what is expected of her. I hear some echoes of Emerson throughout parts of the song, particularly from his essay "Self Reliance." Anyway, this song really is my favorite one by Arcade Fire!
    jjperezgon April 23, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentCompletely agree. Unreal song, my favourite on the album too. Just magnificent. I'd call it this albums version of "No Cars Go"

    Also worth noting, though I don't see how it fits in, "Mountains Beyond Mountains" is the name of a book about one of the founders of Partners in Health, a charitable group Arcade Fire is involved with, that has worked extensively on providing support to Haiti.
    htcdb125on July 26, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General CommentFavourite off of this album.
    Just hypnotic.
    MilkForWhaleson July 28, 2010   Link
  • +3
    My Opinioni love how all their songs make feel like a kid again
    favorite song on this album Regine kills it
    MMforever!on July 27, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Commentbeautiful, it makes me heart ache
    JackSmirkingRevengeon July 27, 2010   Link

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