Been giving thought to the Neon Bible lyrics? Why not, it’s Arcade Fire week in the city after all. But did you make the Win Butler/Simpson-family connection? Fluxblog has been doing some sleuthing. From his review of last night’s show:

As it turns out, “Antichrist Television Blues” has a few alternate titles, and one of them is “Joe Simpson,” as in the father and manager of Jessica and Ashlee. If you follow the words, it is clear that the song is based on him, and even though it’s rather damning, it’s still more generous than you could ever expect given that Butler writes his character as a devout believer corrupted by his hubris and ambition rather than someone who is merely creepy, exploitative, and opportunistic.

Flux is on to something. Last night, Win prefaced “(Antichrist Television Blues)” with something like “this is a song about what happens when fathers grow up to manage their daughters.” It didn’t click then, but it makes complete sense now. And it’s especially intriguing ’cause we always imagined that Win Butler lived in an alternate society where US Weekly didn’t exist.

“(Antichrist Television Blues)” lyrics after the jump.

I don’t wanna work in a building downtown,
no I don’t wanna work in a building downtown
I don’t know what I’m gonna do,
’cause the planes keep crashing,
always two by two.
I don’t wanna work in a building downtown,
No I don’t wanna see when the planes hit the ground.

I don’t wanna work in a building downtown,
I don’t wanna work in a building downtown,
Parking their cars in the underground,
Their voices when they scream, they make no sound.
I wanna see the cities rust
and the trouble makers riding on the back of the bus

Dear God, I’m a good Christian man,
In your glory, I know you understand,
That you gotta work hard and you gotta get paid,
My girl’s 13 but she don’t act her age.
She can sing like a bird in a cage,
Oh Lord, if you could see her when she’s up on that stage!

You know that I’m a God fearing man,
You know that I’m a God fearing man,
But I just gotta know if its part of your plan
To seat my daughters there by your right hand
I know that you’ll do what is right, Lord.
For they are the lanterns, and you are the light.

Now I’m overcome,
By the light of day.
My lips are near but my heart is far away.
Tell me what to say,
I’ll be your mouthpiece!

Into the light of a bridge that burns
As I drive from the city with the money that I earned.
Into the black of a starless sky,
I’m staring into nothing and I’m asking you why:
Lord, will you make her a star?
So the world can see who you really are.

Little girl, you’re old enough to understand,
That you’ll always be a stranger in a strange, strange land.
The men are gonna come while you’re fast asleep,

so you better just stay close and hold on to me.
If my little mocking bird don’t sing,
Then daddy won’t buy her no diamond ring.

Dear God, would you send me a child?
Oh God, would you send me a child?
’Cause I wanna put it up on the TV screen,
so the world can see what your true word means.
Lord would you just send me a sign?
’Cause I just gotta know if I’m wasting my time!

Now I’m overcome,
By the light of day.
My lips are near but my heart is far away.
Now the war is won,
Howcome nothing tastes good?

You’re such a sensitive child!
Oh, you’re such a sensitive child!
I know you’re tired but it’s alright,
I just need you to sing for me tonight.
You’re gonna have your day in the sun;
You know God loves the sensitive ones.

Oh! My little bird in a cage!
Oh! My little bird in a cage!
I need you to get up for me, up on that stage,
and show the men that you’re old for your age.
Now ain’t the time for fear,
But if you don’t take it, it’ll disappear.

Oh! My little mockingbird sing!
Oh! My little mockingbird sing!
I need you to get up on that stage for me, honey,
And show the men it’s not about the money.

Wanna hold a mirror up to the world
So that they can see themselves inside my little girl.

Do you know where I was at your age?
Any idea where I was at your age?
I was working downtown for the minimum wage.
And I’m not gonna let you just throw it all away.
I’m through being cute, I’m through being nice,
Oh tell me, Lord, am I the Antichrist?!

Comments (39)
  1. Ron H  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    her? really? is she funny or something?

    • Darren  |   Posted on Dec 7th, 2008 0

      Uppity Americans, everything is about you and your 9/11. Did you every consider that the song could have been based in Iraq, they have buildings downtown there too, planes crashing down etc… The fact it doesn’t mention New York (or for my flimsy example Iraq) at all means he has shit all to do with America… It’s clearly about Joe Simpson, it was pre titled to be “Joe Simpson is the Anti Christ” what part of that don’t you get, and if you read any part of the song after the mentioning of planes which was probably used more to set the scene more so than make any political statement… then you’ll know it’s about whoring your children out like Britneys mom and every other controlling freak who’s making money off their children’s fame…

      • huh  |   Posted on May 17th, 2009 0

        Why do non-Americans hate Americans so much? … Anyway, two planes does conjure up 9/11, but I do think the song is about Joe Simpson and exploitive parents of child stars. But where do the planes crashing two by two fit in? I don’t get it. Any explanations or did it just sound good?

  2. Ryan  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    The Torture Garden has been following this trend (with the help of the good kids over at for a bit now, and they have an interesting bit about it in this post:

  3. boxofbox  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    echoes of LeAnn Rhimes and Beyonce “booty” Knowles

  4. michael b  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    way to plant, anne.

  5. dude  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    this song was already brilliant, but this makes it so much better.

  6. Anonymous  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    the song’s original title was “Joe Simpson Is The Antichrist”

  7. It’s as Ann as the nose on plain’s face.

  8. Toto  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    I wonder what subject from Inquirer they will write about next. Im hoping maybe:

    Fire Crotch
    Fire Crotch
    How quickly does though turn
    Under glittzy paparazzi
    we shall see you burn

    If you figure out who thats about then you get like a billion dollars!

  9. Toto  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    Damnit! I meant “thou”.

  10. Finchmeister  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 -1

    WHY DON’T ANY OF YOU GET IT. This song is about 9/11 (clearly) and it hasn’t been mentioned ONCE.

    Being from New York, I’m kind of offended the Arcade Fire wrote a song about 9/11. They’re from Canada, after all.

    I seriously hope this Joe Simpson thing is good humored sarcasm.

    • You’re very self centered, the attack on the world trade center was “an attack on the West”. I use quotations because those are actual words by the so-called mastermind of the attack, Osama bin Laden.

      Canada is a westernized country, and there were Canadian victims of that attack.

      This really isn’t about the US, or the West… because EVERYONE in the world who knows of 9/11 has an opinion of it. America prides itself on the freedom of speech, but to be so brash and say something that makes it seems that freedom of speech only applies to Americans is just disgusting.

      It’s people like you that give America the terrible image it is renowned for across the globe. If you want to be a great beacon of hope for everyone, let your rights that you pride yourself on apply to everyone regardless of national boundaries (or any identifiable boundary to begin with, like race or religion or the like). Let people experience the same freedoms you do, instead of bashing them for their right to speculate, and say what they will.

  11. excited  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 +1

    Finchmesiter, you’re an idiot.

  12. halified  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    so 9/11 was about New York? it seems to me like it was about the entire world. how can you be so short sited?

  13. maria  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2007 0

    every night of the tour since the london shows there was a sentence on the setlists instead of the title of the song…an entire story was told through these sentences that is incredible…at these last two nyc shows he has just been saying lines before the songs and not having them written on the setlists…tonight it was ‘joseph simpson to whom we pray’ and last night it was ‘father’s shouldn’t grow up to manage their daughters’….i love this…

  14. I completly agree with the idea that Antichrist Television Blues is about Joe Simpson. At first i sorta just though it was poetically referring to parents who push their children for some sweet vicarious success, but after tabbing out the song and lyrics things sort of come together and … yeah Joe Simpson is a good call. Also, fun song to play.

  15. Daniel  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2007 0

    Has anyone noticed that these lyrics are really terrible.

  16. bobfrombob  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2007 0

    I have to agree with Finchmesiter on this. The entire album is about the USA and most of it is about New York City. You have every right to be pissed about a bunch of Canadians trying to appropriate your culture.

  17. dr feelgood  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2007 0

    oh man, anne-hogs coming?

  18. The Playlist  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2007 0

    It’s great to see the Arcade Fire are mining quality and meaningful topics for their lyrics.

  19. ryantheduke  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2007 0

    christ, does every song with a plane in it have to be about 9/11?

    i think this is a great song with a great message: don’t mindfuck your kids until they don’t know who they are.

  20. dannygutters  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2007 0

    Daniel, Yes I noticed. Why do indie songs have terrible lyrics these days.

    And your bird can sing.

  21. erg  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2007 0

    looks who’s riding the hog in the rear view mirror!

  22. alwaysontime  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2007 0

    do you all think it’s simply just about joseph simpson? you can’t be that dumb? how about the pimping of children in general in america? how about greed and voyeurism. references to 9/11 seem to be about fear and denial.

  23. mike  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2007 0

    she calls it a mayonegg.

  24. canada  |   Posted on Feb 16th, 2007 0

    Win is a United States citizen. He’s married to a Canadian and chooses to live in Canada, gee I wonder why?

  25. Don’t wanna fight in a holy war,
    Don’t want the salesmen knocking at my door,
    I don’t wanna live in America no more.
    ‘Cause the tide is high, and it’s rising still,
    And I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill.

    MTV, what have you done to me?
    Save my soul, set me free!
    Set me free! What have you done to me?
    I can’t breathe! I can’t see!
    World War III, when are you coming for me?

    The 2/15 show was awesome:

  26. HOLY SHIT. I knew it was about Jessica Simpson’s dad!

  27. Finchmeister  |   Posted on Mar 8th, 2007 0

    Unless you’ve ever lived in NYC, you cannot call me out on being pissed about The Arcade Fire writing a song about 9/11. All the NYC AF fans I talked felt buzzed when the album first leaked.

    Even if Win said ‘Alright, we’re going to try to make a respectable song about 9/11′ I don’t think the result was tasteful in that respect. At all.

    AND Win, while he was born in America, grew up in TX, and that doesn’t excuse the other 20 members of The Arcade Fire just because their singer is technically American.

    And it saddens me to see AF wasting their time singing about Jessica Simpson’s father and MTV on their record, despite how much I love it.

  28. Bleh. A good number of the Arcade Fire aren’t Canadian; even Regine Chassagne is Haitian (NOT Canadian), and Win and Will Butler are American, as someone mentioned. There are only 8 permanent members of the band, and one part-time (not even half of 20, to get Finchmeister on a technicality).

    Halified had a good point; stop being such narrow-minded Americans. Everything’s not about us, and in reference to the questionable Americans Will and Win, they’re allowed to say what they like; they’re American and always will be despite their place of residence. Why does everyone always have to find their link to disaster? “I’m from New York. That means I have to be pissed off. Rar. I hate Canadians.” Well, I’m from America/a city only an hour from NYC in a border state, and I suppose that should make me offended, too, but I’m not, because I heard the song and read the lyrics and analyzed them instead of sitting on my ass, being blinded by anger at the 9/11 references (out of context) by 5 Canadians and a Haitian, who obviously have “no right.”

    It’s not that I don’t think 9/11 wasn’t important, but just that it’s a song and a representation of someone else’s views, not the Arcade Fire’s. And I mean…they’re alluding to the fact that Monsieur Simpson/pimps/every child star’s parent is/are (a) religious moron(s)/just plain protective parents gone awry, the Antichrist. Do you really think they’re on his side?

  29. kristen  |   Posted on Mar 12th, 2007 0

    Way to be offended about something that doesn’t belong to you. I get so sickened by how often people are offended – if you weren’t so ego-centric then things wouldn’t bother you as much. you’re ridiculous.

  30. utterlypointless  |   Posted on Mar 30th, 2007 0


    first of all. yeah… before you try to point fingers at canadians for being anti-american or whatnot, why don’t you make sure that ANY of the people that you are talking about even ARE canadians…

    second… neon bible isn’t meant to be about america and 9/11- i don’t know where you got that, but if you have been listening to the lyrics on the album at all, you would see that it is largely about religion, culture clashes, faith, and abuse of power.

    perhaps the reference to “planes crashing two by two” is a reference the events at the world trade center on 9/11, but more so, about the bad things that can happen to people that are going to “work in a building downtown” as opposed to those who stay in the mansions that their exploited recording artist of a daughter paid for.

  31. Dave  |   Posted on Apr 4th, 2007 0

    Alwaysontime is on point. The rest of you sound like NYU students.

  32. anti-finchmeister television blues  |   Posted on Jan 25th, 2008 0

    Finchmeister. First you say that ATB is a song about 9/11 and then when it’s made clear that it isn’t, you say that if they were to make a song about 9/11 then it would be distasteful?? what’s it got to do with them?? You’re just an idiot who would rather waste time looking stupid then looking at the facts. You should try silent conversation. forever.

  33. amanda  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2008 0

    I didn’t realize that people who aren’t from the states weren’t allowed to have reactions or feelings about september 11th. I was living in montreal on spetember 11th and even though I am not an american I was scared, sad, angry and as emotional as anyone else watching and hearing about what was happening to other human beings (who just happen to be american). We are humans and Arcade Fire are humans, so I don’t find it strange at all if they write about a shared human experience. And what is so offensive about having a reaction to something and writing about it. That’s what art is about. I find it odd that there haven’t been more songs about that day and the fear it generated. Maybe it’s time for people to wake up and start writing and singing about real things again.

  34. Chelsea  |   Posted on Jun 4th, 2008 0

    It is so frustrating for me…that there is always one person who has to find that one line in the song to get offended over.
    I was really looking forward to reading an article on a band i was interested in. I was really looking forward to read about what the song was about. but now i am kind of bummed out by the fact i feel the need to stand up for them. I mean it is hard enough finding a band that has promise…but you can’t ever follow them or look up stuff about them because that one loser who has to say, “that’s about 911″ or something else stereotypical. The only people who should be complaining about the song are the Simpson’s…and they aren’t….because it would be lame. is an interesting innovative band…i don’t think they’re racist Canadians…or 911 conspirators. I think the previous comments only showed how paranoid, bigoted, and overly sensitive some Americans have become. and believe me…I know someone I’m sure someone will read this and be offended and might even write a comment about my post… but I hope not. I hope they will just comment on the band or the article…like I originally wanted to do.

    next time i will remember to skip reading the comments…

  35. toby  |   Posted on Nov 3rd, 2009 0

    your all wrong the songs about religion

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