Bloodflood by Alt-J Lyrics Meaning – Deciphering the Tidal Waves of Emotion in Modern Rock’s Esoteric Anthem

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Alt-J's Bloodflood at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


C-O-double M-O-N
A wave, an awesome wave,
That rushes skin and widens in blooded veins.
Breathe in, exhale,
I’ve poked a nerve he’ll slap me like a whale
Slaps the C-O-double M-O-N.

Tide out, tide in,
A flood of blood to the heart and the fear slipstreams.
Breathe in, exhale,
I’ve poked a nerve he’ll slap me like a whale
Slaps the C-O-double M-O-N.
Flood of blood to the heart.
Flood flood flood of blood blood blood to the heart heart heart, to the heart, heart, heart.

Full Lyrics

Alt-J, an indie rock band that has carved out its own niche with often cryptic lyrics and intricate soundscapes, is a band that knows how to play to the senses as well as the intellect. ‘Bloodflood,’ a track from their debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’, is a stellar example of their ability to weave vivid imagery with enigmatic storytelling.

Unpacking the layers behind ‘Bloodflood’ reveals a tapestry of emotion, memory, and place, as the lyrics hint at the cocktail of fear, adrenaline, and the instinctual fight or flight response that surges through one’s veins in face of confrontation. This analysis endeavours to tease out the nuanced themes and lyrical significance behind one of Alt-J’s most evocative compositions.

A Visceral Journey Through Sound and Verse

The song begins with a chant-like invocation of the word ‘COMMON,’ infusing a tribal energy into the opening seconds. This repetition seems to signal a summoning of collective experience or a confrontation with a universal truth. It’s as if the song is calling upon a shared consciousness before launching into a tale that is intensely personal yet strikingly relatable.

Alt-J often uses nature and the body as motifs to express emotional and psychological states. Here, the ‘awesome wave’ referenced could symbolize an overwhelming emotion that sweeps over one, just as a wave would engulf the shore. It’s a ‘flood of blood to the heart,’ a metaphor for the rush of feelings that can’t be controlled, akin to the tides pulled by the moon.

The Slap Heard ‘Round the World of Adolescence

The recurring line, ‘I’ve poked a nerve he’ll slap me like a whale slaps the C-O-double M-O-N,’ seems to allude to a memory from the band’s time at Leeds University, where the members first met. The ‘C-O-double M-O-N’ is a reference to the Leeds University campus common area, hinting at an event that transpired between the protagonist and a perceived antagonist.

The whale’s slap is not just physical but of such magnitude that it reverberates emotionally, highlighting a climactic confrontation. It mirrors a coming-of-age storyline, one that portrays the vulnerability of youth and the pain associated with growth and learning from harrowing experiences.

The Heartbeat of Fear and Anticipation

Alt-J’s musical delivery, paired with their deliberately jarring rhythm, mimics the ebb and flow of anxiety. The ‘flood of blood to the heart and the fear slipstreams’ might refer to the physiological response one experiences in high-pressure situations – the adrenaline-fueled fight or flight reflex that prepares the body for action.

By building up the sonic pressure before releasing it in a flood-like rush, the song replicates the physiological state it describes. It breaks down the barriers between listener and music, making the audience feel as though they are living through the intense moment alongside the narrator.

The Allegorical Current of ‘Bloodflood’

Beyond the literal elements, ‘Bloodflood’ swims in allegorical waters. It’s a cryptic narrative about the potency of memories and how they can ambush our present. The haunting refrain ‘flood of blood to the heart’ serves as an incantation, a rhythmic return to a core emotion that pulses throughout the song – and perhaps throughout life.

With each enunciation, the words become more than just sounds; they transform into emblems of raw human experience, urging us to ponder to what those heart floods might relate. From love to fear, ambition to regret, the song doesn’t specify, leaving listeners to fill in the blanks with our hues of heartache and resilience.

Memorable Lines Hold the Key to the Tidal Mystery

Bloodflood’s lyrics are filled with phrases that cling to the consciousness, with ‘A wave, an awesome wave, that rushes skin and widens in blooded veins’ standing out as a particularly potent line. It’s a lyric that paints a picture of immense power and impact, hinting at something or someone with the force to affect change or invoke deep feeling.

The song’s language invites us to confront our own awesome waves – be they challenges, feelings, or revelations – and to recognize the beauty in their intensity. Each word, rhythm, and pause is a clue to a riddle that encourages a deeper understanding of our emotional landscapes and the events that shape them.

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