Of Monsters and Men: Your Bones Meaning
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Your Bones Lyrics
Out of feathers, out of bones.
We set fire to our homes,
Walking barefoot in the snow.
Distant rhythm of the drum,
As we drifted towards the storm.
Baby lion lost his teeth,
Now they're swimming in the...
anonymous Jun 12th, 2014 6:40pm report
It seems to me to be a person lamenting his lifelong friend at his funeral.
"In the spring..." Let me stop right there. Spring is a metaphor for new life, new beginning. Think of the idiom, "spring chicken," meaning a young person. Ok, now I can continue.
"In the spring we made a boat/ Out of feathers, out of bones" Little kids especially are generally oblivious to death, and items of symbolic nature. The "feathers and bones" are symbols of death. They imply something was killed for those things to be left behind. They made a boat out of these things without realizing that they represented death. And this boat took them to new experiences, but their irreverence had a cost. The boat could be a real object, or it could symbolize their carefree nature as children, as well as their irreverence due to their innocence.
"We set fire to our homes/ Walking barefoot in the snow" They grew up and became adults, in which they rejected the things of their childhood, thus destroying their childish tendencies. The "walking barefoot in the snow" could be a rite of passage, to leave their home with nothing and survive, or it could mean they felt cold and alone after leaving their childhood behind.
"Distant rhythm of the drum/ As we drifted towards the storm" These are war drums. The storm is not necessarily a true storm, but rather the conflict that is about to occur. They "drifted" there on their boat of bones, their innocence and obliviousness to death has vanished as the possibility of death grew very real.
"Baby lion lost its teeth/ Now they're swimming in the sea" The facade of courage, masculinity and maturity has been stripped away, revealing the scared children they once were. These elements were left behind before they reached the battle on their "boat of bones".
"Troubled spirits on my chest/ Where they laid to rest" The person is under great distress. I mean, come on. His childhood friend just died.
"The birds all left, my tall friend/ As your body hit the sand" He died, and the birds, which can represent a multitude of things, from good luck to peace to innocence, left. These things "left" as he died; the friends good luck (he died), and the person's peace and innocence that resided in their childhood together.
"Million stars up in the sky/ Formed a tiger's eye/ That looked down on my face/ Out of time and out of place" This represents two sides of the situation. The person is looking up at the stars (the heavens). He sees a "tiger's eye", a symbol of protection and courage, that was too late to save his friend. It appeared at the wrong time and failed to save the friend. On one hand, the person hopes that "tiger's eye" is watching over his dead friend. However, it could be "out of place". The tiger's eye could be formed by the person's mind to comfort him so he believes his friend is safe. The person is aware of that, and contemplates whether or not there is a heaven at all, in which case the "tiger's eye" would not be watching over his friend, who has had enough bad luck as it is without protection after his death.
The first chorus is the person telling his friend to remember those who were in his life. To keep them in his heart, and remember to watch over them.
"Awaken by the sound/ Of a screaming owl./ Chasing leaves in the wind/ Going where we've never been." The owl awakes him. Normally, a bird wouldn't wake you up at night, but the person is having trouble sleeping following his friends death. Also, the scream could have reminded him of a scream, of his friend or of himself, when his friend died. The fact that it is an owl may also be significant, as owls are said to have "watchful eyes". It is flying (chasing leaves in the wind). I believe the "going where we've never been" means something along the lines of how his friend's life has ended, while everyone else gets to continue theirs, and life goes on despite the tragedy that occurred.
"Said goodbye to you my friend/ As the fire spread./ All that's left are your bones/ That will soon sink like stones" He is now at his friend's funeral. It also refers back to the "setting fire to their homes." This tragedy has destroyed any last sense of innocence and childhood left in him. The bones will be buried, and the person realizes that these bones may become the materials for another set of children's "boat of bones". This kind of completes the circle.
So, this is my full interpretation without any interruptions:
A man is lamenting the death of his lifelong friend during an amphibious battle. He thinks back to their childhood, in which they were carefree and innocent, and did not grasp the concept of death. They made a boat out of bones, and were clueless to what that meant. They grow up and leave their childhood behind, but their innocence and childishness is cloaked in a facade of maturity and strength. They enter a battle, possibly the Invasion of Normandy, and the friend dies in battle. At that moment, the man loses his innocence and childlike qualities, but also a piece of his past. He spends the days leading up to the funeral questioning the idea of a higher authority, hoping for his friend's protection yet questioning why it didn't happen sooner. As the funeral happens, the sight of his dead friend provokes these memories, starting with the "boat of bones".
Of course, that is just one possible interpretation. There are many others, and I don't know OMAM's intentions when writing this song.
anonymous May 13th, 2015 5:07pm report
I think that this song may have something to do with the Viking system of burial for a chief or valued member of the community. They use to put the body into a ship, set it alight, and send it out into the sea, they believed this would help the person to get to the afterlife quicker. Also the latest music video has a depiction of a boat of bones being set on fire and sent out to sea. Of monsters and men are Icelandic and so they would be familiar to the Viking ritual.
anonymous Apr 9th, 2015 4:35am report
Distant rhythm of the drum
As we drifted towards the storm.
Baby lion lost his teeth,
Now they're swimming in the sea.
Troubled spirits on my chest
Where they laid to rest.
The birds all left my tall friend
As your body hit the sand.
Million stars up in the sky
Formed a tigers eye
That looked down on my face,
Out of time and out of place.
There are so many Viking symbolism and imagery, from the burning of the boat, even to the description of his friend as being tall, even to this day, the Norse are very tall people.
This isn't surprising considering the band is from Iceland.
anonymous Feb 12th, 2015 2:10am report
It's about the way the native American way of life was taken from them and they were forced to live the way Americans wanted them to. The rhythm of the song also holds some of the meaning too.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Mar 15th, 2014 3:20pm report
It's about two guys. They used to be troublemakers but they were friends. They grew apart and one of them grew up. Later, the "grown up" man heard his former friend died. Listen. "In the spring we made a boat out of feathers out of bones. We set fire to our homes. walking bear foot in the snow. Distant rhythm of the drum as we drifted towards the storm. Baby lion lost his teeth. Now they're swimming in the sea" Basically, they burned down their homes, built a boat and went somewhere else. About the baby lion, I don't really know, maybe a metaphor for one of them losing their patience or temper. IDK
"Troubled spirits on my chest, where they laid to rest. The birds all left my tall friend as your body hit the sand. Million stars up in the sky formed a tigers eye out of time and out of place" Basically, his friend died and he's remembering him. I notice OMAM use birds in a lot of their songs, could be a sign of good luck. The "good luck" left his friend, leaving him to die on his own. The tiger's eye is his friend is now watching him form above, but perhaps too soon or too late.
"Awaken by the sound of a screaming owl chasing leaves in the wind going places where we've never been. Said goodbye to you my friend as the fire spread. All that's left are your bones that will soon sink like stones." He woke to an owl that reminds him of his friend for some reason. Then, he said goodbye at the funeral and now, his bones are in the coffin (he was probably burned if he had no skin. Burned really bad.) and they will"sink like stones" meaning they will be buried underground. "So hold on. Hold on to what we are. Hold on to your heart" His friend is talking with him as a ghost or in his mind or something and telling him to just not fall apart and hold on to his memory before they meet again.
anonymous Mar 15th, 2014 3:37pm report
This reminds me of the book Eldest, by Christopher Paolini. In the parts where a character has to take his whole village to another country. The story continues on where he ends up lying, killing, and doing anything to get to that new country, because his fiancé was kidnapped by humanoid creatures.
anonymous Feb 26th, 2014 2:22pm report
It is definately about war, maybe d-day or something along those lines. The whole Lion and being lost at sea thing could be said to link close to what the soldiers were feeling when they were riding in their boats towards the coastline. The long wait gave them time to think about what was going to happen when they hit the shore. some of them just couldn't take it and lost their courage, some of the boats never even made it to the shore lines, being blown up and shot by snipers and gunsmen.
D-day didn't happen in the spring, but it could be taken into symbolic terms as in the newness or niaveness of life. D-day was thought to have been a terrific takedown strategy, but the weather got the best of them. Barefoot in the snow, meant that they were oblivious to the conditions they were heading into. The stormy nights and low clouds made it almost impossible for planes to come in and bomb targets meaning that the soldiers were going into war blind against heavy artillery which would have been taken out by planes on any other day. this occurance could also be included in the lines Birds all left.
When your body hits the sand, shows the deaths of the many people who could have been saved if the guns were able to be taken out, and the lost lives of the soldiers in general. considering that this battle took place on the beach, the sand is there.
Million stars up in the sky (when the planes finally were able to take parachuters down onto the beach)
These parachuters were out of time and out of place as the thought of men flying down onto the battle field was strange sight and for the fact that not a lot of them made it because they were gunned down before they even touched down.
The 'screaming sound''awaken by the owl' and 'Chasing leaves in the wind' are for when the planes were able to return and aid in the bombardment of the shorline defenses. The soldiers were able to 'go where they hadn't before' because the guns, snipers and defenses were able to be taken out in some places and then captured.
The fires spread because of the bombing, the flames grew, but the bombing was sometimes inaccurate and widespread meaning that some allied soldiers got caught in the friendly fire as well. This considers the line "Good bye my friend".
This song is most likely about the cases of D-Day or another battle similar to it during or around the era of World war 2
anonymous Oct 17th, 2013 10:23pm report
When I first heard this song I immediately thought of the Vikings of old. A funeral during war. Leaving their homeland [going where we've never been], setting fire to their homes, walking barefoot in the snow, hearing the rhythm of drums & million stars up in the sky says it's all happening at night, awaken to the sound of a screaming owl. Saying goodbye to dear departed friends as they leave..never to return. All Viking. Besides, the co-writer's name is Ragnar aka Raggi & Ragnar is a pure Viking name. As in Ragnar the young rouge Viking in the History Channels original series Vikings. OMAM are Iceland at its best. LOVE THIS BAND. <3
anonymous Sep 27th, 2013 9:35pm report
sounds like a history, something happened in the past and they are remembering it, they were on the losing side. baby lion lost his teeth now he's floating in the deep. king lost the war now they are on the run.
anonymous Jul 17th, 2013 7:42pm report
I think it's more about a war and the man had lost a close friend to him in the war.
Because at one point they sing ' As your body hit the sand' and with setting fire and the boat it's like when a viking dies and thats really what the other vikings did for their friend.
anonymous Sep 21st, 2012 9:15pm report
It sounds a lot like, "baby lie and lost it's teeth" which would make more sense. That he doesn't pronounce the "d" sound at the end is strange though as it would have came more naturally to do so.
Both the baby lion and "baby lie" really do not delineate from what that particular verse means and the lion does give more track for the course of the song...that being brave and king of the land, though a baby lion is not. This leads me to think that it was intended to describe a loss of innocence just as mammals loose their "milk teeth" when becoming an adult. That theme is pretty much included in the song...though the sails have been flown and the compass points west, the journey is not what it seems and the brave seamen are naive and disheartned...the lionheart is lost at sea and realizes that his motivation to pave a new way was a lie, lost in the deep.
That is what really stands out to me in the song because it is what the songwritter excludes that means more and especially when they use similar words to evoke the underlying meaning while those words, themselves are not similar to the word that is "hidden."
Not many bands are able to convey so much in what they said...but didn't say directly. One band, in particular who does this, is Chevelle. I love that because it forces you to think and dig deeper!
Honestly, when I first heard this one, I immediately thought "sea lion" but that is what makes this song even greater than I first suspected!
Will have to check out their others...only one problem...they leave out key sounds that your body is expecting and so you are about to feel it, and then are left hanging on. This isn't a bad thing at all because they do give a surface beat which leaves the rest up to the imagination as well.
Anywho, glad to have been turned on to this band as I would have never found them on my own.
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