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The Tale of Orpheus and Eurydice

Recently I posted about Arcade Fire streaming their new album on YouTube a few days before its release. Since then, the full album has been available for purchase and I have been obsessively listening to it on repeat ever since.

Something I found interesting was that there are two songs, titled “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” and “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)”. These names sounded familiar to me (shoutout to 6th grade teachers for teaching us about Greek Mythology) and I decided to look them up.


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(The album cover also features a picture of a sculpture of Orpheus and Eurydice)

I discovered the story of Orpheus and Eurydice: Orpheus was the son of Apollo, and was blessed with his father’s gifts of music. With his musical charms, Orpheus wooed the love of his life, Eurydice. The two were inseparable and madly in love. Then one day, Eurydice was bitten by a serpent and killed, and her soul was sent to Hades. Orpheus is so in love with Eurydice that he decides to make a bargain with Hades to get her back. Hades agrees, under one condition: Eurydice must follow Orpheus as they ascended back to the surface. Orpheus had to trust that his love was right behind him as they made their ascent. At the last moment, Orpheus turned around and Eurydice was dragged back down to the underworld. Today, the legend says that whenever a song mourning a lost love, “it is Orpheus’ spirit who guides the hand of the musicians who play it.”

I found it interesting that these two songs were about the love each has for one another. “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” is told in Orpheus’ point of view. He describes “it’s an awful sound when you hit the ground” when she dies in the story. Later on he explains “I met you up upon a stage, our love in a reflective age/ Oh no, now you’re gone” which could refer to the fact that this story was also made into plays.

“It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)” is told in Eurydice’s point of view in the first half, and the second half by Orpheus again. In the first half, Eurydice says to Orpheus, “And if I shout for you/ Never doubt/ Don’t turn around too soon/ Just wait until it’s over,” referring to how she needs Orpheus to trust that she is behind him and that he won’t turn around. Orpheus then goes on to say to Eurydice, “Hey, Eurydice!/ Can you see me?/ I will sing your name/ Till you’re sick of me,” also refers to how he will do anything to get his love back. The song concludes with “Oh Orpheus, Eurydice/ It’s over too soon” because Eurydice was forced back into the underworld, tragically ending their love until they meet again.

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