“Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men
According to Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, the female lead vocalist Of Monsters and Men, this is one of those types of bands that prefer listeners to interpret songs under their own initiative.
But that being said, this is also one of those types of songs that does in fact have a specific backstory. It was encouraged by an old couple that resided in Hilmarsdóttir’s house and had been there together for well over a generation. In other words, they were spouses.
Then one day the woman died, and as Nanna explains it the whole mood of the house “was kind of different”. So it is that couple whom the male and female characters on this track were inspired by.
However, in the case of the featured narrative, it is the man who has passed and the woman who is having a conversation with his ghost, if you will.
“Little Talks” is a love song
But all of that is more or less a fancy way of saying that this is a love song, albeit obviously of the posthumous variety. Indeed the fact that the male character is deceased may be something that many listeners don’t even pick up on, even though that concept is masterfully woven into the lyrical tapestry.
For instance, the bottom line is that the two vocalists miss each other. However, unlike conventional songs where sweethearts may be woefully separated, in this case there is no stated reason as to why they are not together.
Or put differently, it doesn’t read as if the husband is simply not at home. Rather the story comes off as if he can’t be at home, no matter what. Or as stated in the bridge, he and his wife are “torn apart”. And to make things worse, there’s absolutely, positively “nothing” either one of them “can do” to change that reality.
Yes, such a situation can also be the result of other things besides death such as, just off the top of our heads, incarceration. But there is also other terminology used such as “stairs creak(ing)” and even the word “ghost”.
Also the male vocalist speaks of the more-pleasant days, ‘when they were young’. So we are also made generally aware that this isn’t a youthful couple and as such logically wouldn’t be a case of the husband going off to war for instance.
Moreover it is further implied that the male vocalist cannot even communicate with the female directly.
All in all
So “Little Talks” is an interesting and once again well-written song. There’s almost an entire movie synopsis captured therein, reminiscent of the likes of “The Sixth Sense” (1999) – if one is able to pick up on the twist ending, if you will.
But again, most simply put this is a situation where we have two lovers who are missing each other. However, it can also be ascertained that they long for each other in a way that transcends the usual long-distance relationship type of scenario.
Indeed under normal of such circumstances, they would in the very least be able to communicate with each other. But in this case, we have one partner longing for even the “little talks”, i.e. totally casual conversations, he and his significant other used to have.
Music Video of “Little Talks”
The music video to this track was directed by Mihai Wilson. It went on to be nominated for an MTV Video Music Award in 2012.
Facts about “Little Talks”
Of Monsters and Men is a rock band from Iceland who were one of the most-successful acts in the world around the time 2010s were rolling around. And some decade later “Little Talks” remains the best-received of any other song they ever put out.
This track, being the first single they ever released, charted in over 20 nations, reaching number 1 in a handful of them. This includes stateside where it topped two Billboard charts, Adult Alternative Songs and Alternative Airplay.
It also broke the top 20 of the Hot 100 as well as the UK Singles Chart. Additionally it has been certified multi-platinum in both the US and UK, as well as quite a few other countries.
In fact it actually went quintuple-platinum in America, meaning that it has sold in the region of 5,000,000 copies stateside. And it also achieved quintuple-platinum status in Australia, though being a smaller country the criteria for doing so is a lot lower (i.e. 350,000 copies being sold).
This is the lead single from Of Monster and Men’s debut album, “My Head Is an Animal”. And it is a product of Universal Republic Records.
Of Monsters and Men members Ragnar Þórhallsson (lead vocalist) and Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir (lead vocalist) wrote this song.
At the time this track was released, the other members of the crew included the following:
- Rósenkranz Hilmarsson (drummer)
- Árni Guðjónsson (accordionist)
- Brynjar Leifsson (guitarist)
- Kristján Páll Kristjánsson (bassist)
The band as a unit are also credited as producers of the song, having done so alongside Aron Þór Arnarsson.
“My Head Is an Animal”
The album “My Head Is an Animal” is Of Monster and Men’s first studio album. All tracks were written by the band members. Initially released on September 20, 2011, through Record Records, it was re-issued through Republic Records on April 3, 2012.
During the first week of its release, the album peaked at number 6 on the US Billboard 200 charts with an estimated sale of 55,000 units.
The album was really successful in the United States. Here, it sold over 1 million copies as of 2015.
The lyric and music videos were created and directed by WeWereMonkeys. Most of the ideas were inspired by Nordic mythology.
Between 2012 and 2013, the album peaked at number one on the following prominent charts:
- the Australian Albums chart
- Icelandic Albums chart
- Irish albums chart
- US Rock Albums
- US Alternative Albums charts
In addition to “Little Talks”, “My Head Is an Animal” produced three other singles, namely: