Howlin’ for You by The Black Keys Lyrics Meaning – Unleashing the Roar of Passionate Blues


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

Lyrics

Alright
Yeah
Well, now

I must admit, I can’t explain
Any of these thoughts racin’ through my brain
It’s true
But, baby, I’m howlin’ for you
Alright
There’s something wrong with this plot
The actors here have not got
A clue
Baby, I’m howlin’ for you

Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da

Mockingbird, can’t you see?
Little girl’s got a hold on me
Like glue
Baby, I’m howlin’ for you
Yeah
Throw the ball to the stick
Swing and miss and a catcher’s mitt
Strike two
Baby, I’m howlin’ for you
Yeah
Yeah

Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da

Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da
Da-da, da-da, da

Full Lyrics

Beneath the howl of The Black Keys’s ‘Howlin’ for You’ lies a raw, blistering assault of emotion and reverberating guitar riffs. The song, a track from their 2010 critically acclaimed album ‘Brothers’, sends listeners on a ride through the tumultuous landscape of desire. Right from the opening chords, it’s evident that this isn’t just another rock song. It’s an anthem that captures the essence of primal longing dressed in the cloak of groovy blues-rock.

As the relentless thumping bass and Patrick Carney’s signature drumming set in, Dan Auerbach’s edgy vocals confess an inability to explain the racing thoughts prompted by a visceral attraction. The brilliance of ‘Howlin’ for You’ is not just in its ability to get you tapping your foot, but also in its layered exploration of attraction’s hold on the human psyche. Let’s delve into the growls and whispers of this powerful song.

The Scream of Inner Turmoil: A Tale of Desire

The opening verse of ‘Howlin’ for You’ serves as a powerful declaration of bewilderment. Auerbach confesses his inability to articulate the thoughts sprinting through his brain. This admission isn’t just about the perplexity of emotions; it’s about the deeply human experience of being captured by an intense longing that defies rationale. These are not just words; they are a peek into the soul’s unconscious yearning.

The blues has always been about expressing what’s difficult to discuss, and with ‘Howlin’ for You,’ The Black Keys continue this tradition. The song becomes an outlet for the obsessions that keep one awake at night, for the feelings that are too amorphous to capture in mere conversation. Auerbach’s howling is the perfect metaphor for the untamed heart’s cry.

Unraveling The Lyrical Layers of ‘Howlin’ for You’

On the surface, this song seems to revolve around raw attraction and the struggle to communicate it. But it’s within the clever metaphor of the plot and the actors that The Black Keys hint at deeper dissatisfaction. The metaphor reflects life’s complexities and the sense that we’re often players in a story we’ve yet to understand fully.

This plot of confusion spills over into the chorus—simple, catchy, and almost animalistic in its delivery. Its repetition is akin to a chant or a mantra, aligning our pulses with the beat, and turning listeners into fellow howlers, seeking connection in a maddening world.

Mockingbird’s Echo and Catcher’s Mitt: Decoding Symbols

The symbolic use of imagery in the verse ‘Mockingbird, can’t you see? Little girl’s got a hold on me like glue’ adds depth to the narrative. The mockingbird, a creature of imitation, could represent duplicity or desire mimicking true love. The little girl, a symbol of innocence or perhaps the object of yearning, sticks onto the persona imparting a sense of inescapability.

Following this, the ‘throw the ball to the stick, swing and miss and a catcher’s mitt’ conveys a frustrating game of love where the protagonist perpetually seems to strike out. It serves to illustrate the timelessness of romantic pursuit, its pitfalls, its swings, and misses, encapsulating the universal understanding that love is often a game with uncertain rules and outcomes.

The Hidden Meaning: Howling Beyond the Hunt

While one can interpret the howling to be about the chase in romance, there’s also a hidden meaning that transcends this. It’s about a deeper search for fulfillment. The howl represents an intrinsic, existential ache—a call that seeks not just a partner, but also a sense of completeness or understanding within the disarray of human emotion.

Therein lies the song’s existential hook: it draws listeners who don’t just hear the howl but feel it within their marrow. It’s a universal cry understood across languages and cultures—a rhythmic reminder that we are all, in various ways, searching for that elusive ‘more’ that haunts our quietest moments.

When the Howling Became an Anthem: Lines That Stick

The simplicity of ‘Baby, I’m howlin’ for you’ might just be the song’s most memorable line. Within the power of its repetition and delivery lies an infectious quality that transforms from personal longing to a collective refrain. It’s a line that gets under your skin and lingers long after the song is over, encapsulating the human experience with poetic brevity.

And this is the genius of The Black Keys—they manage to weave together relatable emotional narrative with an undeniably catchy soundscape. The unpretentious brilliance is that in howling for an unnamed ‘baby,’ Auerbach and Carney made room for listeners to fill in the object of their own desires, making the song resonate on a deeply personal level for many.

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