Speak in Rounds by Grizzly Bear Lyrics Meaning – Unraveling the Intricate Web of Solitude and Expression

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Grizzly Bear's Speak in Rounds at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


If I draw you upside down I can let go
Leaves my mind at ease gives me something to focus on
Could I be alone?
Could I be alone?

If I speak in rounds for a while letting my tongue swell
I’ll be sure to try and explain myself to dispel
Blame it on the day
Blame it on the day

Step down, just once learn how to be alone
Step down, just once learn how to be alone
Come get what’s lost, what’s left before it’s gone

But what makes each step worth the time and regret still shows
In the cradle of my unruly chest you belong
Take it as it is
Make another fist

Step down, just once learn how to be alone
Step down, just once learn how to be alone
Come get what’s lost, what’s left before it’s gone

Full Lyrics

Grizzly Bear has long been synonymous with crafting intricate landscapes of sound paired with evocative lyrics that penetrate deep into the psyche of listeners. ‘Speak in Rounds,’ a track from their fourth studio album ‘Shields,’ released in 2012, stands as a testament to their ability to weave together layered instrumentation with poignant lyrical narratives.

Through the lens of this song, we decode a complex web where the ideas of solitude, communication, and personal growth intertwine. The track, while subtly melodic, possesses a haunting quality that propels its listeners into a state of introspection about the human condition and our struggles with internal and external dialogue.

The Isolation Waltz: Dance of the Solitary Mind

The song opens with a query about solitude framed by the visual ‘If I draw you upside down.’ This inversion of perspective may represent an attempt to see the world differently, seeking comfort in disorientation. The art of introspection becomes a haven, mirrored in the lines ‘Leaves my mind at ease gives me something to focus on,’ illustrating a paradoxical tranquility found in solitude, where the mind is both absent of external stress and acutely focused.

Yet, the repetition of the question ‘Could I be alone?’ echoes a yearning for reassurance or a search for validation in the choice of isolation. It introduces the track’s recurring theme: the dialectics of desiring solitude while grappling with its emotional implications.

Circles of Speech: A Labyrinth of Linguistic Layers

When ‘Speak in Rounds’ starts to dissect the act of communication with ‘If I speak in rounds for a while letting my tongue swell,’ we enter a spiral of attempts to articulate thoughts and emotions that are rarely linear. It portrays the struggle of explaining oneself, suggesting that sometimes the act of speaking can be an exercise in futility.

By ‘speak in rounds,’ Grizzly Bear could imply the cyclical nature of conversations we have with ourselves or others—dialogues that often return to the same points without resolution. The swell of the tongue could signify a pent-up need to express that has been subdued or a verbal stumbling that comes with the frustration of being misunderstood.

Stepping Down to Rise Up: The Paradox of Growth

A pivotal lyrical moment comes with the command ‘Step down, just once learn how to be alone.’ It indicates a recognition that growth often requires surrender, an intentional stepping back or down from the clutters of life. This section posits solitude as not just inevitable but an essential ingredient for personal development.

The line ‘Come get what’s lost, what’s left before it’s gone’ suggests a sense of urgency, a call to reclaim parts of oneself or life that are slipping away. There is a finite window for introspection and recovery, and the song beckons to seize this moment before it disappears.

Echoes of Regret in a Chest of Unruliness

The heart, described as an ‘unruly chest,’ is where the cradle of emotions reside, and it is where the journey inevitably will take us. ‘But what makes each step worth the time and regret still shows’ reveals that despite the knowledge that some choices lead to regret, they still hold value. This intrinsic human experience of grappling with regrets is an anchor within the song’s narrative.

The unruly chest could symbolize the chaotic nature of our inner emotional world, where belonging is not just desired but necessary. The song, in its haunting melody, explores this restlessness and the inherent desire for emotional connectivity amidst the struggles of self-expression.

A Poignant Parable: The Resonance of Simplicity and Complexity

In ‘Speak in Rounds,’ the deceptively straightforward phrases like ‘Take it as it is’ and ‘Make another fist’ strike with the force of memorable lines by encapsulating an entire emotional experience in a few words. They urge acceptance of life’s complexity while also evoking the readiness for battle, the readiness to engage with life’s cyclical challenges.

These lines further cement the notion that the song deals with life’s contrasts and contradictions. Each syllable carries weight as it reveals the nature of human resilience—continuing to face life head-on, no matter how convoluted the path may seem.

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