Warrior – A Battle Cry Against Life’s Adversity

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for YeahYeahYeahs's Warrior at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Raw Embrace of Vulnerability
  5. The Lifeline of Rhythmic Rebellion
  6. The Intimate Whisper of the ‘River’
  7. Wrestling with the Road’s Menace
  8. A Clarion Call in the Echo of Memorable Lines


When it’s missing then you want it more

It isn’t right

Turning, turning out the door

And back to this

Leave it like it was before

And let me out

Must’ve been the end of the story

Giving it all, giving it all away

You’re gonna wake up someone

Well study it all

The wings, the crowd, your face

You’re gonna end up like one

Well, trouble at home

Travel the way you say

“The road don’t like me”

Travel away

Travel it all away

“The road’s gonna end on me”

Man, they like me

Cause I’m a warrior, a warrior

Stand on my feet

Dance the warrior, the warrior

Where would I be?

I’d be a warrior, a warrior

Now the strangers have caught on

And they’re riding in the backseat

The river’s gonna wash all

Yeah the river it spoke to me

It told me I’m small

And I swallowed it down

If I make it all

I’m a make you want me


Trouble at home

Travel the way you say

“The road don’t like me”

Travel it all, travel it all away

“The road’s gonna get on me”

And I’m small

The road’s gonna get on me

Well if it gets it all

The road’s gonna end on me


Hey, hey!

Like a warrior, a warrior

Dance the warrior, the warrior

Full Lyrics

Wrapped in the raucous guitar and the relentless beat characteristic of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, ‘Warrior’ isn’t just a song—it’s a raw, untamed battle against the existential. An anthem for the misfits, the outcasts, and every marginalized soul, the track from the acclaimed album ‘Show Your Bones’ (2006) dives deep into the psyche of resistance and resilience.

Beyond the infectious melody and emotive vocals, ‘Warrior’ carries the weight of an inner dialogue and external struggles, perfectly encapsulating the juxtaposition of despair and defiance. Here, we dissect the multi-layered narrative spun by frontwoman Karen O threading through internal and external conflicts, intimacy, and isolation, carving its niche as a defiant ode to survival.

A Raw Embrace of Vulnerability

‘When it’s missing then you want it more / It isn’t right’: The track opens with these rueful confessions, not just to an ex-lover or the listening audience, but to oneself. ‘Warrior’ doesn’t shy away from exposing the ache of absence—the human tendency to long for what’s no longer within reach. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs masterfully weave a tapestry of longing against a landscape of dissonance and detached urgency.

Karen O’s vocal delivery in ‘Warrior’ is rife with emotion, her cries a mix of pain and power. It’s this vulnerability laid bare that resonates with listeners, this honesty about the internal struggle that feels so raw and real. This admission of vulnerability becomes a warrior’s shout; acknowledging weakness is the first step in harnessing true strength.

The Lifeline of Rhythmic Rebellion

The forceful drums and rattling guitars provide ‘Warrior’ not just with a melody, but with a beating heart. The rhythm acts as the pulse of rebellion, the soundtrack to an inner tumult—propelling us through the journey of the song. It transcends mere sound, becoming a call to arms for those who find themselves staggering through their own battles, big and small.

This palpable energy conjures a space where the audience can stand on their feet, ‘dance the warrior,’ and embrace the defiant spirit the song champions. Within this haven, being a ‘warrior’ extends beyond just navigating the external world; it encompasses the fight within each person to reclaim their agency.

The Intimate Whisper of the ‘River’

Significantly, the song presents the river as a character in its own right—a voice of nature that speaks to the protagonist’s soul, telling them they are ‘small.’ In a culture that consistently amplifies the voices that speak to power and grandeur, ‘Warrior’ does the opposite. It finds grounding in humility, in recognizing one’s smallness in the vastness of life’s river.

But even as it whispers of diminution, the river also cleanses. It washes away the superfluous, leaving behind a person forged by adversity and sculpted by persistence. It speaks to the deeply human experience of feeling inconsequential, yet driving forward with the currents toward a personal crescendo of self-affirmation.

Wrestling with the Road’s Menace

‘Travel the way you say / ‘The road don’t like me”: These lines capture the gestalt of ‘Warrior,’ gesturing toward the nomadic soul at war with the world. They are not just traversing a literal path, but the rocky road of existence. The road is both the enemy and the arena in which the warrior must prove their mettle. It is relentless and indifferent, a symbol of life’s cold realities.

Yet this acknowledgement isn’t a concession of defeat. It’s an embrace of the contours of struggle, embodying the mantra that the ‘road’s gonna end on me.’ There’s a steely resolve in the acceptance that while the journey is fraught with trials, it will culminate where the warrior stands their ground, where the journey transforms them.

A Clarion Call in the Echo of Memorable Lines

Karen O repeats ‘Like a warrior, a warrior / Dance the warrior, the warrior’ as a reprise, a refrain that worms its way into your consciousness. They aren’t merely lyrics but incantations—mantras of inner strength swathing the soul in armor. This repetition is the heartbeat, the stamping feet on the battleground of life, each echo a cadence of the indomitable human spirit.

In these lines, ‘Warrior’ achieved its memorable quality, embedding itself within the lexicon of anthemic rock ballads. They are words to live by, a soundtrack to personal revolution, as much a part of the warrior as their own voice—perhaps even more so, as they align with thousands of others who find solace and power in the song’s timeless call.

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