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Artist of the week: Of Monsters and Men


Formed in Iceland, Of Monsters and Men is a fairly new indie band that had its first taste of fame when it won the Músíktilraunir, an Icelandic “Battle of the Bands” competition in 2010. They quickly signed with Universal Music Group, and released an EP, Into the Woods, in early 2012.  ‘My Head is an Animal,’ their first and only full length album, followed in April of 2012.

Of Monsters and Men is the kind of band that is well worth waiting for, because all of the songs on My Head is an Animal are pure gold.  Listening to this album is like eating a tub of neapolitan ice cream–but with fourteen flavors.  Each tune is sweet in its own way, there are many nuanced flavors, and you really don’t want to stop consuming it.

The album opens with ‘Dirty Paws,’ which lures the listener in with the strumming of an acoustic guitar.  As the telltale crash of drums appear, the beat speeds up and becomes more lively.  ‘Dirty Paws’ tells the story of an animal who fights with bees, causing me to wonder if Of Monsters and Men is slightly insane or incredibly profound. Here are some lyrics:


And for a while things were cold,

They were scared down in their holes.

The forest that once was green

Was colored black by those killing machines.

But she and her furry friends

Took down the queen bee and her men.

And that’s how the story goes,

The story of the beast with those four dirty paws.


Perhaps it is a metaphor about unnecessary wars, or a suggestion to make peace with your neighbors.  We may never know. In fact, many of the songs on ‘My Head is an Animal’ seem to be surreal, slightly confusing ballads which leave the listener with more questions than answers.  It’s arguable that AP Comp teachers should forget about Virginia Woolf and just have us analyze these lyrics.

Let’s fast forward to track six, ‘Little Talks,’ their most popular song.  I feel a strong ‘The Lumineers’ vibe with all the ‘Hey!’s throughout the song, but it’s just a little bit more upbeat.  However, if you take a look at the lyrics, this song isn’t so cheery after all:


Soon it will be over and buried with our past

We used to play outside when we were young

And full of life and full of love.

There have been multiple interpretations, which can be found at every song lyrics website in the comments section.  However, just from this stanza, the idea that one should cherish their youth is apparent.  So kids, go have fun.  Get off your iPhones and Twitter accounts and enjoy your youth.  #yolo!!!
Anyways, another favorite of mine on this album is ‘Love Love Love,’ which, despite the title, is not a happy, romantic song, so you might want to avoid this one on Valentine’s Day.  It’s another breakup song which really illustrates how hard it is to be around the special someone who is no longer in your life.  I’m in love love love with these lyrics, and I think they are relatable for anyone who has recently gone through heartbreak.

And these fingertips
Will never run through your skin
And Those bright blue eyes
Can only meet mine across the room
Filled with people that are less important than you

So darn poetic.  It’s getting all Ed Sheeran-y up in here.  Anyways, Of Monsters and Men has officially entered the graces of my ‘favorite bands’ list, which is pretty much the highest honor a group could ever receive.  I highly recommend that you guys start chowing down on this neapolitan ice cream, because it’s not melting anytime soon.




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