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Hey.

Welcome to the Pop Song Professor! My name's Clifford, and I explain song lyrics so that you can know what your artists are saying and can enjoy your music more. 

What does "Prayer in C" by Lilly Wood & The Prick mean?

What does "Prayer in C" by Lilly Wood & The Prick mean?

Think theology has no place in pop music? "Prayer in C" by Lilly Wood & The Prick has got a lot of theological argument in its lyrics, and it's mainly anti-theological. Like the name suggests, the song is a prayer in the key of C. And it's directed at God. (Genius.com suggests that the "Yah" at the beginning of the song sends it towards the Judeo-Christian God specifically.)

The song complains that God has been absent from the world and suggests that He probably couldn't even forgive Himself for what He's let happen.

The Meaning of the "Prayer in C" Lyrics

The song begins with the mysterious "Yah" or "Yeah"--Israeli-French accents make it difficult to tell. Many listeners theorize that this is a shortened version of "Yahweh," making this song most relevant to a Jewish or Christian audience.

Nili Hadida and Benjamin Cotto, the two bandmates, sing that God "didn't send . . . no letter" and that "the world is slowly dying." They question whether they can forgive Him for abandoning them and the world--a theme that continues throughout the song.

In the next stanza, they continue with "Our hands will get more wrinkled / And our hair will be grey." As they grow older, they will continue to feel abandoned. They believe God has left them alone and that things will continue to get worse as they near death, but they will remain insistent on not believing in Him.

In the next stanza, they continue to list God's "wrongs," mentioning starving children and destroyed homes. Here, they conclude that the children won't forgive God either.

When they mention "when seas will cover lands / and when men will be no more," they're making an apocalyptic reference indicating that they see the world slowly becoming a worse place.

The most interesting (and perhaps unique) part of the song comes in the next stanza: "Yah, when there'll just be silence / And when life will be over / Don't think you will forgive you." Hadida and Cotto believe that even God will feel guilty for sitting idle.

The song continues by repeating the above stanzas and thoughts, finally ending with the repeated sentiment, "Don't think you will forgive you," emphasizing this idea for listeners.

The music video shows several young people driving cars, spray painting public property, mooning the camera, riding skateboards, making out, and partying. One of the couples in the movie is lesbian. These activities suggest a young, carefree, and devil-may-care attitude toward life and established rules and conservative society. While the lyrics of the song comment on the writers' relationship to God, the video comments on the creators' relationship to society.

The questions we're left with after listening to this song are many. And not all of the answers are given, but, based on the song, we can make a few educated guesses.

Do Hadida and Cotto believe God exists?

I can't remember where, but I read on the internet that this song is particularly written to an "absent" god. It seems to be an argument or complaint that they can leverage at God "in case He should happen to show up." When they say, "Don't think you will forgive you," they almost seem to be conditioning it with "if you happen to be real." This, on one level then, is their argument for why they don't follow Him.

Lilly Wood & the Prick, photo 1
Lilly Wood & the Prick, photo 1

If not, then why are they singing to Him?

They're trying to make a point, and they're providing justification for why they don't follow Him. If He should happen to be real and demand an accounting for their actions, they can point back at this song/argument as an explanation for why they did what they did.

Are they making a point to those who believe in God? (I.e. Are they attacking Christians or Jews? Should Christians or Jew feel threatened?)

I don't think this is directed at those who do believe in God. It seems to be more self-exploration. Though it certainly could serve as a warning against those who may try to convince them of God's existence or goodness, I wouldn't wholeheartedly agree that Hadida and Cotto are trying to convince anyone of anything. I'm not 100% sure they care that much.

What do they hope to accomplish?

I don't think they're trying to accomplish anything other than making a statement and expressing themselves. In an interview with Girl.com concerning all of their song lyrics, Hadida says, "We are trying to deal with our upcoming adulthood, and where we stand, I think we are a very confused generation." The band members seem to be trying to explain their stance to themselves; artists are well known for making that exploration available to the public.

What do you think of "Prayer in C" by Lilly Wood & the Prick? Do you agree or how do you respond to the argument they leverage against God? 

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