Song Analysis – “The House Wins” – OK Go

Fingers blistered from the nightly scratching at the window which won’t open far enough to let air in
The house wins
Oh, the house always wins

[The beginning describes a guy struggling to open his window.  The window is a repeated image that appears in this song a few times. He seems to be annoyed and I think there’s a crescendo of rising tension. The saying “the house always wins” comes from gambling in which it means that a casino manipulates the games so that it has an advantage and will ultimately turn a profit.]
Feral cats are screaming at the clouds beneath the window with the cracks so small that nothing gets within
The house wins
Oh, the house always wins

[A feral cat is a cat that is wild or undomesticated. I don’t understand why the cats are screaming at the clouds.]

You don’t have to be alone to be lonely
You might as well give in

[This is a powerfully true statement, that one does not have to be alone to be lonely. One can be alone even when surrounded by others if one does not feel a connection to those people or if one feels like an outsider. Yet I cannot understand how this connects to the earlier stanzas. How are blistered fingers, screaming cats, and loneliness connected?]
Telephones are howling at the cats out in the alley and the window offers nothing in the din
The house wins
Oh, the house always wins
[ How does a telephone howl at a cat? Are these cellular phones or wired phones? The part about the window offering nothing makes sense to me. I think it is saying that the window provides an ineffective barrier to the loud noises outside.]
Clouds uncage the car alarms to chase the cats and telephones
Fingers rake and rasp away there skin
The house wins
Oh, the house always wins
[This is a cool image. I didn’t realize it, but heavy rain can set off car alarms. Then there’s a slightly disturbing image of fingers tearing away skin. It seems when the speaker talks about the house winning, it means that evil wins or perhaps our darker sides win.]
You don’t have to be alone to be lonely
You might as well give in
Yeah you don’t have to be alone to be lonely
You might as well give in

Ice age upon catastrophic ice age of selection and only one result has trickled in
The house wins
Oh, the house always wins

[Ice ages tend to result in species loss and here the house seems to be death. Ice ages play a role in natural selection because they kill off species that do not adapt to the cold.]
If evil were a lesser breed then justice after all these years the righteous would have freed the world of sin
The house wins
Oh, the house always wins

[This is the most interesting part of the song to me because it touches on the very important philosophical topic of the problem of evil. He’s arguing that if evil were much weaker than good then good should have defeated evil a long time ago. So he’s saying that either good and evil are equally strong in our universe or that evil is actually stronger than good. My counterargument is that the righteous have not defeated sin because sin and evil are part of God’s plan and He knows that they both have roles to play in our world.]
You don’t have to be alone to be lonely
You might as well give in
You don’t have to be alone to be lonely
You might as well give in
You don’t have to be sick to be dying
You might as well give in
You don’t have to have lost to be lost
Oh, give in
You don’t have to be alone to be lonely
You might as well give in

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