This one is from the memory books. I do remember jamming to “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men when I was a lot younger than today and did not understand a thing what the song said. It just sounded good and that’s all that mattered at the time. Having rediscovered this song recently, I cannot help but dive into the tragic story it narrates, hidden underneath a powerful melody.
The Icelandic alternative rock group, Of Monsters and Men released “Little Talks” as the lead single from their debut studio album ‘My Head Is An Animal’ on September 20, 2011. The song was an immediate hit and an international success. The song peaked at #20 on Billboard Hot 100, at #12 on the UK Singles Chart, #3 on US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs, and #1 in Iceland.
Of Monsters and Men spoke about the inspiration behind the song is from different people who lived in the songwriter’s house;
“Okay. “Little Talks” is… How we usually make our lyrics is, Raggi and I, sometimes we come up with stories or situations. That one is about a relationship. Sometimes we haven’t wanted to give too much away. We like people to read their own things in the lyrics. I guess I could share it. It’s about a couple and the husband passed away and it’s from the conversation between the two of them. We don’t know if she’s going crazy or if someone’s actually there. We’ve kind of been inspired by people that lived in my house. This old couple that lived there for 30 years. The woman passed away, so it was kind of different.”
Listen to “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men
This music video was nominated for ‘Best Art Direction’ at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, but lost to Katy Perry’s ‘Wide Awake.’
Of Monsters and Men ‘Little Talks” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
The lyrics of the song progress in the form of a dialogue between two lovers. However, we come to realize the morbid reality of the situation later on.
In the first verse of the song, we hear a woman seemingly talking to herself, as she mentions that she is living in an empty house.
I don’t like walking around this old and empty house
But she gets a response.
So hold my hand, I’ll walk with you my dear
She walks around the house aimlessly and she can only hear the creaks of the floorboards underneath her steps. The silence is deafening. Some days she cannot even get up from her bed; crippled by the loneliness and loss of purpose. The voice responds. It is hurting him to see her this way.
So, who are these people? It is quite certain that these two had a strong liking towards each other some time back. It also becomes apparent that the male partner is no longer with her right now. Has he left her? Yes, but not for someone else. But to the other side of the living.
‘Cause though the truth may vary, this
Ship will carry our
Bodies safe to shore
The girl imagines and sees her partner all over the empty house. Is this the reality, though? It seems as if her mind is playing games with her because she is not ready to face the truth of the situation–that is, that he is gone.
The truth may be different from the world she is living in. But she wants to believe that their love (ship) will carry them safely to their natural demise (shore).
It is quite interesting and eerie that she called themselves ‘bodies’ instead of people. ‘Bodies’ is a term used for lifeless beings. Although she is in denial, she might not be completely oblivious to the reality she is living in.
In the second verse, we come across more back-and-forth between the two lovers (or herself?).
There’s an old voice in my head that’s holding me back
Well, tell her that I miss our little talks
It is also quite eerie that her mind enacts two different roles in her head. The voice inside of her head tells her that he is around. But she does not realize or deny to accept that it is the same voice that she keeps on having these conversations with. It’s all in her head. But our head is the commanding center that creates our reality. This is a tricky one to get out.
Your mind is playing tricks on you, my dear
This line resembles the movie ‘Inception.’ A reality within a reality. Can two realities that contradict each other even exist? Probably not. The guy AKA the voice inside her head tells her that her mind is playing games on her. It is telling her the truth. But she has a hard time believing this. She tells herself that she doesn’t even know if she is right or wrong.
The reality might be sinking into her in these lyrics. She recalls watching him go away.
All that’s left is a ghost of you
It is hard for us to tell that her belief in his ghost’s existence is good or bad. She might be using the word ‘ghost’ loosely, to tell us that she knows it’s all in her head. Or she could really be hearing voices and seeing ghosts.
Despite this realization, she is still confused as to how to handle this situation. In one line, she asks her ghosts to let her move on. But in the lyric right after, she begs these ghosts not to leave her.
I’ll see you when I fall asleep
Falling asleep can be both literal and metaphorical in these circumstances. She could fall asleep, literally, and meet her lover in the dream world. ‘Falling alseep’ also could mean her death, which would also allow her to meet her lover who is already in the same realm.
“Little Talks” is a hauntingly beautiful song. The upbeat music veils the ghosts hidden underneath the lyrics. Either way, sadly, a lot of people will be able to relate to these lyrics. For them, we hope you find peace.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.