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Album: The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon (2018)

Songfacts®:

  • Along with "The Somnanbulist," this is one of two new songs on The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon, an album otherwise comprised of new versions of songs from the Echo & the Bunnymen catalog. Cover of the album shows and astronaut's helmet, which ties into the line, "astronauts looking for heaven."
  • In a Songfacts interview with Ian McCulloch, the Echo frontman said: "That whole song, for me, was a David Bowie moment. I felt like I'd written 'Starman' or something. Not just because of the astral thing, but because it just had something of Bowie."

    Added McCulloch: "I've realized after singing it that I was singing it to some kind of god. We're supposed to believe and yet we're still looking for this heaven. Hence, the astronaut helmet on the cover of the album. Instead of the unknown soldier, the unknown astronaut."
  • Much of the lyric centers on the line, "Are we not the ones?" This is a classic Ian McCulloch rhetorical question. "That's how I like to write," he said. "I always know my answers to it, but I want it to be just cryptic enough without it being contentious. I love cryptic puzzles. I do a lot of crosswords. I'm always looking for anagrams and wordplay and stuff. That's an obsession I like to apply to songs."
  • The band was down to a duo (Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant) when this song was released. They got production help on the track from Andy Wright, whose other clients include Simple Minds and Jeff Beck.
  • McCulloch described this to Songfacts as "my Lord's Prayer," meaning it gives him personal affirmation and strength. He got Christian perspective on the song in the summer of 2018, when Echo & the Bunnymen played some shows with Jonathan Jackson from the TV series Nashville. Jackson told McCulloch that he thought of it as a traditional prayer, demonstrating how the song can transcend his personal meaning.

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