Open Arms

Album: Build a Rocket Boys! (2011)
Charted: 58

Songfacts®:

  • This sing-a-long anthem reprises the theme that runs through the album of a child on the brink of adulthood. The topic was triggered in part by singer Guy Garvey's move back to the area where he grew up. "We've got open arms for broken hearts/Like yours, my boy/Come home again," he sings.
  • Garvey told The Guardian he considered this to be, "the biggest, most obvious single on the album." He added that it, "is about a prodigal son-type scenario, and it describes, in depth, St. Bernadette's Social Centre in Whitefield, which is where the weddings, funerals and christenings take place in our parish. That's not normal pop-song fodder."
  • St. Bernadette's Social Centre was where all of Garvey's sisters got married, where he got christened and where he took his first Holy Communion. The singer explained to Mojo why he set this song in the community hall of his childhood. "I really like the idea of this crazy little shack where I used to slide on my knees after church on a Sunday. I'm a lapsed Catholic and you don't really think of yourself as being part of a tribe, but I've really consciously become part of my family as my parents get older and I start to plan to have children myself. I think in times likes these, there's nothing wrong with big, positive anthems of togetherness."
  • The song features a line that manages to quote the title of two different productions: "And you're not The Man Who Fell to Earth/You're the Man of La Mancha."

    The Man Who Fell to Earth was a 1976 film starring David Bowie as an extraterrestrial who crash lands on Earth seeking a way to ship water to his planet, which is suffering from a severe drought.

    Man of La Mancha was a 1965 Broadway musical inspired by Miguel de Cervantes's seventeenth century masterpiece Don Quixote. It tells the story of the eponymous "mad" knight as a play within a play, performed by Cervantes and his fellow prisoners as he awaits a hearing with the Spanish Inquisition. The standard, "The Impossible Dream," originates from the musical.
  • The song features Manchester's Halle Youth Choir on background vocals.

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