The Strumbellas’ “Spirits” Lyrics Meaning

Most simply explained, the titular “spirits”, which reside “in” the vocalist’s “head”, is an allegory for the depressed, doubtful side of his persona. This song, which was The Strumbellas’ breakthrough hit, came out in late 2015. However, the band had actually been together since 2008. So basically, they went through a significant amount of time without any success.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Strumbellas's Spirits at

And this reality was especially painful on Simon Ward, who appears to be the primary writer of this song, as he had a young family to care for. So this song reflects one of the low points in his journey. And as implied in the second verse, the only thing that kept him going was a desire not to disappoint an unspecified addressee, who presumably would be his aforementioned family and/or maybe the fans of The Strumbellas’.

In any event, the story concludes as it ends, with the vocalist being plagued by the voices of self-defeat. But along the way, it is revealed that at least ideologically speaking, he actually prefers a fulfilling life as opposed to perpetual depression.

Lyrics to The Strumbellas' "Spirits"

What Simon Ward has said about “Spirits”

Ward has said the lyrics of “Spirits” are about “fighting your inner demons” and trying to change for the better.

The Strumbellas

The Strumbellas is a rock band from Toronto. The band’s first LP, “My Father and the Hunter”, came out in 2012. Their biggest hit to date, which is “Spirits”, came from their third studio album, “Hope”. 

Facts about “Spirits”

Being released by Glassnote Records on 21 August 2015, this track actually marks The Strumbellas’ debut single.

“Spirits” fared especially well in North America, respectively appearing on a handful of music charts in both Canada and the US. Taking the entire globe into consideration, it charted in well over a dozen countries. And this track has also achieved triple-platinum status in Canada and Italy.

Additionally some years later, in 2020, Spirits went viral on TikTok. 

The Strumbellas are a sextet consisting of frontman Simon Ward joined by the following instrumentalists:

  • Jeremy Drury
  • Darryl James
  • Jon Hembrey
  • Isabel Ritchie
  • David Ritter

And it is those six individuals who are credited with writing this song alongside Brain Pickett and Joanne Setterington.

This track’s music video was directed by another Torontonian, Daniel AM Rosenberg. And the song itself was produced by David Schiffman.


4 Responses

  1. ENGlishJELLo says:

    Popular music is loaded with a lot of metaphor’s and this song is not any different. A lot of popular songs are also in 4/4 time (Musicians talk). Very simple to play. Can see why it’s a “hit” on the charts!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I interpreted it as a veteran of an Iraq war who is haunted by gunshot sounds.

  3. A says:

    I thought about the epidemic of gun violence in schools in the U.S. Those kids must have guns in their heads every day.

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