“Soldier, Poet, King” by The Oh Hellos
The Oh Hellos is a sibling musical pairing consisting of Tyler Heath, who initially was a soloist, alongside his sister, Maggie. Their brand may not be a household name, but together they have managed, quite impressively, to drop eight albums between 2011 and 2021. At least one of those projects, “Dear Wormwood”, appeared on the Billboard 200.
More specifically, “Dear Wormwood” was released through Elektra Records on 16 October 2015. It is from said LP that we get “Soldier, Poet, King” which currently stands as The Oh Hellos most-popular song.
NO MUSIC VIDEO TO SPEAK OF, BUT A POPULAR MEME
There does not appear to be an official music video for this track. However, a YouTuber named Gothfrog has gone about creating an animation meme for “Soldier, Poet, King”. The clip in question has proven pretty popular. That is to say that as of this writing, the original, which was uploaded in 2018, has attracted nearly 170,000 YouTube views. Furthermore, it also went viral enough to be featured in a couple of meme encyclopedias.
WHAT IS WORMWOOD?
There is a type of plant known as wormwood. But within the context of the aforenoted album, what is being referenced is a part of the Bible. More specifically, it is referring to the Bible’s final major section, the apocalyptic Book of Revelation.
Within the terrifying eighth chapter of that book, “Wormwood” is a name given to a special star. According to the Bible, under the command of God, this star basically falls to the Earth. And as prophesied, when it does it will cause a significant portion of the world’s water to become unusable – so much so that those who partake of it end up passing away.
JESUS, THE HERO OF REVELATIONS
To reiterate, a good portion of Revelations is in fact frightening, in some of the worst ways imaginable. But whether or not it’s ultimately a story of sorrow or rejoicing is a matter of perspective.
For example, there is a protagonist found therein. This protagonist, most simply explained, can be classified as Jesus or the Christ. As the story is generally told, once end-time calamities such as Wormwood and others do come to pass, it is he who will go about establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. And those who have been deemed righteous enough to reside therein will enjoy an eternity of peace and happiness.
But on top of falling stars and what have you, Revelations is also a pretty-bloody affair. So when the son of God is depicted as coming to establish His kingdom, it isn’t such that he’s doing with flowers and rainbows. Instead, as noted in the first verse of this song, he “carries a mighty sword”. Armed with this sword, he would tear “your city down”.
Or as explained in Revelations, he’s coming to lead the heavenly army against the nations of the world, who in the latter days have united on the side of evil. So that is the “soldier” side of Jesus, according to The Oh Hellos.
In the next verse, we have him being referred to as “a poet”. Such terminology, as utilized by the vocalist, would be a shoutout to those parts of the Bible which for instance which liken the word of God to a sword.
Revelations (as well certain parts of the Gospels) clearly implies that the second coming of the Messiah will be marked by him engaging in physical violence. However, in this second verse, the vocalist is rather poetically noting the power and efficacy of what Jesus says, i.e. his “weapon (being) His word”. Or at least, all things considered, that would be the most logical way of interpreting this passage.
The third verse, via its mention of someone “whose brow is laid in thorn”, makes it more obvious that The Oh Hellos are in fact referring to Jesus. This particular segment pertains to his rule, i.e. as noted above, in the aftermath of the son of God coming to catch wreck on Earth.
Meanwhile, as for the outro, it is composed of the phrase “oh lei oh laid oh (Lord)”. This phrase is also found in every verse and basically serves the purpose of allowing the vocalist to harmonize or ad lib.
The Oh Hellos, aka Tyler and Maggie Heath, wrote and produced this track themselves. This outfit is actually classified as a folk/indie rock act. However, their Christian beliefs are often incorporated into their music.
So it is with “Soldier, Poet, King”, as all three of the titular designations are being used to describe Jesus Christ. For the most part, these designations are also used to portray Jesus how he is commonly depicted based on Biblical-apocalyptic prophecy. According to this prophesy, Jesus would ultimately return to the world to forcefully establish the Kingdom of Heaven and subsequently rule over it.
Furthermore, given the title of the album this song is featured on, it can be reasonably postulated that the artists at hand are looking forward to his return or at the very least are expecting it.