a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version


Lyrics & Music: Neil Hannon

Published by: BMG Music Publishing Ltd.

Originally interpreted by: The Divine Comedy


To see the lyrics, click on the name of the version you are interested in (on the left).




According to Neil Hannon, it’s a difficult song, musically speaking, and it took The Divine Comedy a while to write it. [1]

As you can guess by its title, this song is the theme song of the album. It’s about regeneration, in other words new beginnings. It opposes the new and the old. Of course, its position in the album (song before last) is not gratuitous. To everyone who thought The Divine Comedy was dead, Neil is saying, “no, we’re just starting!” But who said they where dead, and when did the say it? When The Divine Comedy released A Secret History and they heard ‘Too Young To Die’? Or after they’ve been listening to Regeneration? What is the beginning: Regeneration, or what will come after? After all, this song was written in 1999-2000 and is at the end of the album. Once again, Neil Hannon’s message is ambiguous.
It could also be interpreted as a consideration on new prospects on the early days of one’s marriage (“X plus Y equals new life”), when one seems to be tied to the knot, while it’s inwardly taken as a serious challenge.

This song bears a few references: the title refets to Pat Barker’s novel of the same title; The Sheltering Sky is a novel by Paul Bowled adapted to the cinema in 1990 by Bernardo Bertolucci; The Razor’s Edge is a novel by Somerset Maugham also adapted to the cinema, by Edmond Goulding. “Angel or devils? We don’t care” is a reference to ‘My Death’ by Jacques Brel (which has been covered by Scott Walker).

The song has mostly been played during the Regeneration era from 2000 to 2003 and then, almost nothing it seems.

[1] New Comer, 2001