Nick Cave’s “O Children” in the latest Harry Potter film

By bonnie, 27 November, 2010

As much as I love film and have a great, great love for several favorite films in particular, my obsession and connection with music runs an entire level deeper.  I am not exaggerating when I say the the use of music and excellent sound cues contributes so much to my experience watching a film, it often can make the most memorable moments for me.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the use of an additional song for a Harry Potter film came as a big surprise in a franchise that has largely been instrumentally scored.  Even though I have appreciated many of the musical choices in the scores of the other films, the moment where Harry and Hermione danced in this film kind of blew me away.  It was a really sweet moment to begin with, but additionally, the choice of song was unconventional and one that I really enjoyed.

I’ve long been a fan of Nick Cave.   I’m drawn to his lyrical explorations of darkness and light, isolation, spiritual and religious iconography and themes.   This song is no exception.

I thought I would post the full lyrics for anyone not familiar.  This is a song about children being abandoned, lost, forced to grow up too quickly, having to navigate a dangerous and sinister world and having no one to trust.  To me it’s also about freedom and survival.  The potential of making your own way, remaking the world and finding small moments of joy in otherwise dire circumstances.  I really can’t think of anything more appropriate to the story of this particular book and film.

You can hear a live version of it posted here on my blip.fm channel.

“O Children”, from the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds double album: Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)

Pass me that lovely little gun
My dear, my darling one
The cleaners are coming, one by one
You don’t even want to let them start

They are knocking now upon your door
They measure the room, they know the score
They’re mopping up the butcher’s floor
Of your broken little heart

O children

Forgive us now for what we’ve done
It started out as a bit of fun
Here, take these before we run away
The keys to the gulag

O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice

Here comes Frank and poor old Jim
They’re gathering round with all my friends
We’re older now, the light is dim
And you are only just beginning

O children

We have the answer to all your fears
It’s short, it’s simple, it’s crystal clear
It’s round about, it’s somewhere here
Lost amongst our winnings

O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice

The cleaners have done their job on you
They’re hip to it, man, they’re in the groove
They’ve hosed you down, you’re good as new
And they’re lining up to inspect you

O children

Poor old Jim’s white as a ghost
He’s found the answer that we lost
We’re all weeping now, weeping because
There ain’t nothing we can do to protect you

O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice

Hey little train! We’re all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun
And the train ain’t even left the station

Hey, little train! Wait for me!
I once was blind but now I see
Have you left a seat for me?
Is that such a stretch of the imagination?

Hey little train! Wait for me!
I was held in chains but now I’m free
I’m hanging in there, don’t you see
In this process of elimination

Hey little train! We’re all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun
It’s beyond my wildest expectation

Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun
And the train ain’t even left the station

2 Comments

  1. [...] No surprise here.  I’ve always had a thing for Nick Cave.  And anyone who knows me knows I can’t shut up about the scene that so beautifully used this song in Harry Potter and the Deathly [...]

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>