“The Funeral” by Band of Horses

Due to the exquisite metaphors used throughout “The Funeral”, trying to understand this song based on its actual lyrics may prove to be a fool’s errand. So we’ll simply go with what Ben Bridwell, the leader of Band of Horses, has said about the tune, as he has claimed responsibility for being its primary writer.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Band of Horses's The Funeral at Lyrics.org.

Narrator dislikes Social Events

And what it is actually representative of was his disdain for attending social events, including some holiday gatherings, at the time. Thus perhaps the best way of describing this song is as it being centered on a metaphor where the singer is likening normal social get-togethers to funerals. And again, the reason he would be making such an analogy is due to his own disdain towards socializing. This is an action which at times (i.e. during the holidays) he is under considerable pressure to do.

But that being said, Mr. Bridwell has also stated that the concepts of mortality and perhaps romance also play a lesser role in “The Funeral”. He also said he ‘thinks he added some more [of his own] personal story in the song’. And at the end of the day, that may be the best way of concluding the analysis of this song’s lyrics, as it in fact being one which only its creators truly understand.  But that being said, its encrypted lyricism has not prevented “The Funeral” from becoming a pop-media sensation.

Lyrics of "The Funeral"

Facts about “The Funeral”

This is the lead single from Band of Horses’ debut album, “Everything All the Time”. The track was released by Sub Pop Records on 21 May 2006.

The director of the music video to this song is Matt Lenski.

Whereas “The Funeral” did not chart, it has maintained a regular presence in pop media. Over the years, it has appeared in numerous movies, television shows, videogames and advertisements. For example, it was used in an episode of Season 2 of the hit crime TV series “Criminal Minds” titled “Revelations”. It also appeared in the 2012 action film titled “Battleship”, starring the likes of Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna.

Band of Horses wrote this song, with additional credit being given to Ben Bridwell. And its producer is Phil Ek.

17 Responses

  1. me says:

    Nice song the way the melody breaks down is odd. Skips in the tune and lyrics. Creative.

  2. Wilting says:

    I always thought this song was about a druggie that was bound to die, not about not wanting to go to a Christmas celebration. I am wilting over this.

  3. Don't Wilt says:

    you shouldn’t be let down as you can take away from the song what it means to you, especially since this one is so highly metaphorical. however, we are built differently, and for some, attending these social events, especially the family holiday ones, takes incredible will when the outcome is feelings of social isolation, outcast, obligatory contribution and depression. highly emotionally connected people live in the world differently, and why songs with such attraction have appeal. enjoy the music how you see fit, but know those feelings aren’t any less important compared to other things cause others experience them differently.

  4. Non says:

    I feel this song is about how when your out socializing you are in your own head and people don’t really know what going on with you.

  5. Martin says:

    It could be about a person who is bipolar or suffets from asperger-syndrom and therefore does not like being in large groups.

  6. Anonymous says:

    As someone in her 40s, reflecting back on this song, I think it is about the end of eras, meaning that you tend to lose touch with friends after they marry and have kids. Every occasion, something you knew essentially dies.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I was way off with my interpretation of the song. I imagined as an apocalyptic scenario. “Coming up to show you wrong” was nuclear weapons coming out of the ground and all hell breaks loose and at the end of it there was mass casualties hence “one billion day funeral” I thought I nailed the meaning, but no chicken dinner for me.

  8. Michelle says:

    Wow, I also daw it way different. I thought it reffered to a toxic relationship.

    “I’m coming up only to hold you under”
    I thought this line meant the singer was drowning in shallow water, like misery, and the only time they came up was to hold the significant other under water as well.

    “And comin’ up only to show you’re wrong”
    And instead of coming up for air, the singer also only came up to show the other one was the wrong one

    “And to know you is hard, we wonder”
    I thought this meant that the significant other was a hard person, hard to live with, hard to love.

    “To know you all wrong, we won”
    I took this to mean that the singer took a vicious satisfaction out of the fact that everyone knew the significant other was an awful person, so the signer wins.

    “Really to late too call, so we wait for
    Morning to wake you, is all we got”
    The singer waited too long to call, to reach out, and now the other person is already asleep, so the singer waits for the morning. Only to realise the next morning that the singer should’ve called the previous night as well, cause all our time is limited.

    “And to know me as hardly golden
    Is to know me all wrong, they warn”
    The singer laments the fact that the significant other doesn’t know the singer’s worth, doesn’t appreciate the singer.

    “At every occasion I’ll be ready for the funeral”
    This enire stanza I took to mean that the singer has no hope left, that the singer is just waiting for everything and everyone to die, ready for it.

    I saw the rest of the song in the same vein.

    So yeah, I was way off. Turns out it’s just about a guy who doesn’t like holidays.

    • MickeyFinn says:


      I hope you are well. This song is only here in my playlist because of you.

    • Buck says:

      This is exactly how I read this song and, in spite of this not being the writer’s intent, it spoke to me in the same way. I made it personal – about someone in my life. The lyrics just fit so perfectly… for the most part 🙂
      Personalizing songs is something we all do, whether our interpretations fit the authors true meaning or not… and that’s okay. I will continue to find personal meaning in the song. That being said, thank you Ben for such a beautiful song.
      PS: I feel the same about social gatherings. If I’m able to get away with it, I pass.

  9. Gerard Rotonda says:

    There is a great mix called Sefa – Calling (Adaro Remix) which combines Funeral by Bank of Horses with Sefa’s Calling. Nicely done.

  10. Julia Jackson says:

    As I keep having loved ones die for various reasons, this song hits me not so much metaphorically. 🙁

  11. John Smith says:

    You can relate it in the way you want to in your life. It can mean dread or the end of something..beautiful sad song.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...