Little One – Unraveling the Layers of Beck’s Soulful Ballad


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Beck's Little One at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Serenade to the Soul: The Lulling Opening Lines
  5. Unlocking the Hidden Meaning: The Allegory of a Stolen Boat
  6. The Swinging Pendulum of Hope: Understanding the Wind’s Relevance
  7. Tripping on Crooked Legs: The Reality of Flawed Human Nature
  8. Unforgettable Verses: The Dreams That Awaken and Waste

Lyrics

Go to sleep
We’re so tired now
Altogether in a snake pit of souls
New days
To throw your chains away
To try to hang your hopes on the wind

Little one
Just a little way
Today all we need is waiting

Night rise
Like the evening prize
In a turnstile backwards we fly
Cold bones
Tied together by
Black ropes we pulled from a swing

Little one
Just a little way
Today all of the dreams are waking

Can’t stand on crooked legs
I’m cross-eyed to the wall
In these harbor lights
Satellites explode

Drown, drown
Sailors run aground
In a sea change nothing is safe
Strange waves
Push us every way
In a stolen boat we’ll float away

Little one
Hold on
All of the dreams are wasting

Full Lyrics

Beck’s ‘Little One’ is a track that resonates with the complexity of a lullaby set against the tumult of a disturbed sea. Serving as an auditory painting, this song curates a blend of melancholic melody with cryptic lyrics that seem to hinge on the delicate balance between despair and hope.

The song appears on Beck’s 2002 album ‘Sea Change,’ a work known for its departure from the artist’s earlier, more upbeat styles and into the terrain of acute introspection and emotional depth. ‘Little One’ stands out as a somber reflection that invites listeners into a contemplative journey—beckoning a deeper dive beneath its lyrical waves.

A Serenade to the Soul: The Lulling Opening Lines

Beginning with a weary invitation to rest, ‘Little One’ immediately sets the scene for a narrative weighted with fatigue. The reference to ‘a snake pit of souls’ vividly evokes the entanglement of struggles and the shared experience of exhaustion, suggesting a unity in vulnerability amongst those who are journeying through life’s vicissitudes.

Beck’s appeal to cast aside chains and hang hopes on the wind encapsulates a paradox of the human condition—the yearning for freedom amidst the inevitable confinement of our situations. This sets the stage for a song that is both a lullaby to the weary and a hymn for the hopeful.

Unlocking the Hidden Meaning: The Allegory of a Stolen Boat

In ‘Little One,’ the allegorical imagery of drowning sailors and a stolen boat adrift on ‘strange waves’ mirrors the unpredictability of life and the concept of finding oneself untethered from the familiar. Possibly a metaphor for loss and the subsequent feat of navigating through the unpredictable swell of emotions, these lines create a stark comparison between the search for direction and the onset of aimlessness.

The song may well be a meditation on the resistance we put up against the tides of change—where ‘nothing is safe’ suggests the fragility of comfort zones, and the refrain ‘Hold on’ becomes a mantra against the tide, imploring persistence in the midst of life’s disruptions.

The Swinging Pendulum of Hope: Understanding the Wind’s Relevance

Hope is an ever-present theme in ‘Little One,’ swinging like the pendulum of a clock—an elusive force at times anchored, other times set adrift. By speaking of hopes tied to the wind, Beck conjures images of desires that are at once free yet susceptible to the whims of fate, akin to the uncontrollable forces of nature.

It is this imagery that elevates the song from mere poetry to a profound meditation on the nature of hope as something that forever seeks to weather changing circumstances, emblematic of the human spirit’s tendency to find grounding even in the most tumultuous settings.

Tripping on Crooked Legs: The Reality of Flawed Human Nature

The line ‘Can’t stand on crooked legs’ delivers a blunt recognition of weakness. It suggests not only a physical incapacity but also a metaphorical stumbling—where one’s internal compass is skewed, and the stabilizing structures of belief and certainty fracture.

‘Cross-eyed to the wall’ further conveys a lack of clear direction or misunderstanding of one’s own position within the wider context, a poignant commentary on the internal disorientation that often accompanies life’s trials.

Unforgettable Verses: The Dreams That Awaken and Waste

‘Today all of the dreams are waking,’ juxtaposed later with ‘All of the dreams are wasting,’ encapsulates the ebb and flow of aspiration and despondence. Beck illustrates the fragile threshold where dreams are born and also where they may perish, a cycle of rising and falling that characterizes so much of human endeavor.

Amid this melancholy track, these lines echo with memorable poignancy, as they epitomize the fleeting nature of our most cherished visions. Beck’s mastery at capturing the essence of such vulnerability makes ‘Little One’ a refrain that lingers long after the music has ceased.

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