Cuckoo Cuckoo by Animal Collective Lyrics Meaning – Unraveling the Layers of Loss and Transformation


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Animal Collective's Cuckoo Cuckoo at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning

Lyrics

How I lost my boy
How I lost my boy
How I lost my boy
How I lost my boy

The king and I died
He kept floating past my eyes
And singing his songs
Life was good now death surrounds
Cause you can’t feel a thing
No heart flutters in late spring
You just drift and pray
For sun-kissed, golden days

And I can’t hold what’s in my hand
Don’t do any good to say this isn’t what I planned
And little kids slide down on steel park slides
Little kids can’t play with things that died
Sometimes all I want’s one favorite song
And two to three minutes don’t seem so long
And where’s my mom, I wanna hold her tight
She’s so far away from crowded nights

I’m going cuckoo-ookoo-ookoo
Well I’m going cuckoo-ookoo-ookoo
Where I’m going

I said please stay
You can see me, don’t go away
I can’t see the landscape
Please describe it’s amarynthian haze
It’s odd where I am
They’re people, you’re not like them
They just look away
For rain-quenched golden days

My tears quenched five feet along
And I can scream but cannot yawn
And people gonna come and people gonna cry
We just hope it’s worth the age we die
Don’t try to erase what you have done
Put your favors in a mouth, and kiss it if it wants
And where’s my friend, I wanna hold him tight
He’s so far away from mountain light

I’m going cuckoo-ookoo-ookoo
Well I’m going cuckoo-ookoo-ookoo
Where I’m going

And I can’t hold what’s in my hand
Don’t do any good to say this isn’t what I planned
And little kids slide down on steel park slides
Little kids can’t play with things that died
Sometimes all I want’s one favorite song
And two to three minutes don’t seem so long
And where’s my mama, wanna hold her tight
She’s so far away from crowded nights

I’m going cuckoo-ookoo-ookoo
Well I’m going cuckoo-ookoo-ookoo
Where I’m going

Full Lyrics

Animal Collective, a band known for their experimental sounds and abstract lyrics, takes listeners on a profound journey through loss and the human psyche in their melancholic track ‘Cuckoo Cuckoo.’ This audial experience does not merely skim the surface for artistic allure but delves into the depths of grief and the passing of time.

Amid the cacophony of life’s ever-changing nature, ‘Cuckoo Cuckoo’ stands out as a poignant reflection on the transformational power of sorrow. It’s a song that encapsulates the struggle to grasp the ephemeral and confronts the reality of detachment from what we cherish.

The Echoes of Abandonment: ‘How I lost my boy’

The recurring line ‘How I lost my boy’ serves as a haunting mantra that threads through the fabric of ‘Cuckoo Cuckoo.’ It is a stark, raw expression of bereavement, one that resonates with the universal experience of losing someone or something dear. This refrain anchors the song in a place of vulnerability, beckoning the listener to peer into the abyss of the narrator’s despair.

The personal nature of this admission, amid Animal Collective’s typically broader lyrical content, strikes a chord that vibrates with an intimate frequency. It raises questions about the identity of ‘my boy’ – a child, a friend, a former self? The ambiguity allows the grief to take on a chameleonic quality, adapting to the personal losses of those who hear it.

A Kingdom of Memories: ‘The king and I died’

The cryptic pronouncement ‘The king and I died’ evokes a dual sense of demise, hinting at the possibility of a shared downfall between the subject and an influential figure in their life. The ‘king’ could be interpreted as a symbol of the vibrant past or a representation of a pivotal relationship that has ceased to be, as all that was once familiar ‘keeps floating past my eyes.’

Within these few words, a dichotomy unfolds that juxtaposes life’s ‘good’ days against the encroaching ‘death’ that surrounds. It is a poignant reminder of impermanence and the cruel way in which joyful memories can be enveloped by the shadow of loss.

Cry for Childhood: ‘Little kids can’t play with things that died’

There are lines within ‘Cuckoo Cuckoo’ that allude to a deep yearning for the simplicity and innocence of childhood. ‘Little kids slide down on steel park slides’ and ‘Little kids can’t play with things that died’ suggest both a literal and metaphorical distance from a time when life was unburdened by the complexities of pain and mortality.

This reflection shines a light on the narrator’s desire to reclaim the transient moments of joy, where ‘two to three minutes don’t seem so long.’ It speaks to the heart’s ache to return to a period where the fears of adulthood were inconceivable, and the gravitas of existence had yet to lay its weight upon young shoulders.

The Cry of the Cuckoo: decoding the song’s hidden meaning

The cuckoo, a recurring motif in literature and music, traditionally symbolizes unfaithfulness or the heralding of change. In ‘Cuckoo Cuckoo,’ Animal Collective recontextualizes the bird’s call as an emblem of going mad with grief, or ‘going cuckoo.’ It signifies the divergent paths one’s mind may wander down when faced with incomprehensible loss.

This feeling is further compounded by the longing for reconnection, as the lyrics plea for the vision of the landscape through ‘amarynthian haze.’ It suggests a profound disorientation and a quest for clarity amid the chaos of emotions brought on by separation and the unyielding march of time.

The Search for Solace in Separation: ‘And where’s my mom, I wanna hold her tight’

Animal Collective masterfully blankets human vulnerability and the ache for comfort in the lines, ‘And where’s my mom, I wanna hold her tight.’ It is an admission that, in times of distress, the soul instinctively reaches out for the primal comfort found in a mother’s embrace – a universal sanctuary amid life’s storms.

This yearning for closeness, contrasted with the solitude implied by ‘She’s so far away from crowded nights,’ evokes a sense of isolation that many experience when traversing the mazes of their own grief. In these words, ‘Cuckoo Cuckoo’ becomes not just a song but a vessel for empathy, reverberating with the transformative echoes of lost connections and the enduring pursuit of warmth in the cold aftermath.

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