If you love animals, and you love music, then it’s no surprise that you’d love listening to songs with animals in the title. And if that’s the case, you’re in luck, as I provide you with my favorite songs that center around various furry creatures—either in the literal sense, or the metaphorical sense.
Songs with Animals in the Title You’ll Love
Let’s begin with a highly known track by Nelly Furtado.
I’m Like a Bird by Nelly Furtado
Nelly Furtado dropped an amazing pop album in 2006 called “Loose,” and despite having massive hits like “Promiscuous” with Timberland, she’ll probably be most linked with, and forever loved for, her single entitled “I’m Like a Bird.”
The funny thing about this song, though, is that despite it sounding so saccharine and syrupy sweet, it’s really kind of a sad, self-sabotaging track. I mean, on this track, you get Nelly essentially informing us that she’s going to cut and run from her man, despite his deep love for her.
For Nelly, she doesn’t trust herself emotionally to stay in the relationship. She sees herself as unreliable and untrustworthy—someone that will only hurt her man in the end. So, despite his love for her, she’s ultimately going to be like a bird—she’ll only fly away.
Far, far away from him.
A Horse with No Name by America (Feat. George Martin)
America is an interesting name for a British band, but their Folk Rock classic, “A Horse with No Name” features a singing style reminiscent of Neil Young hit American charts in the early 70s with ease. Written during a time America was trapped inside during a lengthy rainy season in England, the band daydreamed of a place that was warm and free from the tightly packed and grim world of the bustling city of London.
On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The singer, Dewey Bunnell, plays the role of an enthralled lone traveler hallucinating in the desert. At first, he sees wonders of lush greenery all around him, then dry riverbeds that make him sad that the water was now gone.
The ocean is a desert with its life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love
You see, I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
The more days he spends in the desert, the more and more the desert becomes the ocean it once was. He reaches a revelation that the desert holds treasures underground just as cities do; but, for some reason, humanity has yet to tap into that magical healing nature of love that can help all life.
All Men Are Pigs by Studio Killers
It’s high time someone spoke out about the toxic culture of men who think they are entitled to the world after a measly job of poorly executed sweet-talking. Studio Killers call these men out in pure Electropop Dance fashion in their single, “All Men Are Pigs”.
This is no fairytale: every single male
That I’ve met ’til this day had a curly tail
I believe it’s a poo-poo world
Men deceive – that means you too, girl
The singer, Cherry, may be pessimistic, but she is wizened to the tactics men use to score for a night and refuses to be a part of their numbers game (as she’s already been fooled before). We know how the saying goes: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice…shame on me.” Cherry takes this to heart and makes us privy to do the same by heeding the signs of key phrases every man with a snout is prone to say:
I am better than you think
Let me buy you a drink
Cha’mon, I’m not so typical at all
All men are pigs
(La la la la la la la la la la)
All men but me
Wait, what just happened? Could it be the innocent sheep singing to us all along was actually a pig in disguise?
And just like that, we are reminded that this is not a drill and even the men that pretend to be kind and understanding could be grunting and snorting as soon as you let them in. Although this fun song is an anthem for women who have endured these types of toxic men, the lyrics are meant to educate us on how to also avoid bad situations, rather than avoid men altogether.
Die Happy – The Wombats Remix by DREAMERS (feat. The Wombats)
Okay, you caught me. This song isn’t remotely about wombats at all, but let’s appreciate how The Wombats wonderfully remixed this Classic Alternative Rock, with a little funky twist.
What musical news entertainment blog, Aupium, describes as “rock with funky edginess,” they also offer a glimpse into DREAMERS singer’s (Nick Wold) inspiration behind the lyrics of this fun track.
“I wrote ‘Die Happy’ about sitting on my steps till the morning light with a girl I know. She was chain-smoking and I was talking philosophy, and it all made me think of how those little moments can be the most deeply gratifying, where you just feel like your life is complete.”
I share Nick Wold’s sentiment, as I’ve shared some of the best experiences with people I love with this song in the background. When one feels like they’re having a good time, everything else, like money, relationships falling apart, and even the future, don’t seem to matter anymore.
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi by Radiohead
We will give Radiohead a pass for calling the plural noun for fish as “fishes.” Radiohead is indeed a British band, and therefore might do things a little differently grammar-wise.
Their peaceful Indie Art-Rock, with a dash of electronica, showcased in “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” tells a poetically profound story of a cycle with which we’re all very familiar. This is a cycle of depression, hope, determination, failure, and repeat.
Let’s traverse trough this song together to explore the feelings that singer, Thom Yorke, so expressively articulates.
“In the deepest ocean
At the bottom of the sea
They turn me
Why should I stay here?
Why should I…stay?
I’d be crazy not to follow
Follow where you lead”
The ocean Yorke refers to could be interpreted as the engulfing feeling one has when they are experiencing a deep sadness or depression, yet there is a glimmer in someone’s eyes that intrigue him. Just as a fish responds to a glimmer in the ocean and turn towards it, Yorke is facing a new opportunity and asking himself why he should remain so far removed underwater.
“Yeah, everybody leaves (way out)
If they get the chance (way out)
And this…is my chance (way out)”
As the intensity of the music increases, Yorke is invigorated at the thought of emerging victorious if he just took the chance to get out of his current situation. You can hear the desperate optimism of him singing “way out” after each line, as he scrambles to snag at his opportunity.
“I get eaten by the worms
And weird fishes”
Though Yorke tried his best, like a fish that made a mistake that cost its life, York is “picked over by the worms” of his failure. The music slows and isolates his voice as he sings lower and lower, as if sinking back to the bottom of the proverbial ocean.
I’ll hit the bottom
Hit the bottom and escape
Though Yorke has found himself at the beginning of the cycle once more, he resolves to escape the deep depression he’s in and escape no matter what. Even if he has to keep trying to grasp for his next opportunity a thousand more times, he will do so if it means he can get out of his current situation.
I adore this song, as it can be applicable to many facets of one’s life, such as trying at relationships again, or leaving a small town to pursue one’s dreams. The journey can be long and grueling, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
Prince Minikid by Hiatus Kaiyote
Hiatus Kaiyote’s New Age Soul track has a deep whimsical nature, which leaves you asking, “Who is Prince Minikid?” Hear me out; though the name isn’t necessarily a part of the animal kingdom the name is a very significant reference to a special animal that was once in singer, Nai Palm’s, life.
Nai, an avid lover of the Studio Ghibli film, Princess Mononoke, refers to her late bird and best friend, Charlie Parker, as “Prince Minikid.” She sings fondly of one of the first times she laid eyes on him.
“Diamond of a boy
Docile and wide eyed
And small in size”
Lost in magical memory, she recounts the days she kept him warm, fed him seeds from her lips, and allowed him to nest in her hair. She had a strong, motherly bond with him, and he remained in her life for several years. Though he is no longer with her, she cherishes the days she could be there for him as her late mother was once there for her.
“I found a babe to keep warm and safe”
Silkworm Society by Now Vs Now
The idea that we can’t learn from instrumental music is a common misconception. Sometimes, the most wordless of songs carry the most earnest meanings. Close your eyes and listen to the groovy, 80s-esque Ambient Electronica of “Silkworm Society” and gauge how it makes you feel. Could you see yourself people watching on a Sunday as people travel to and from their workplaces or play with their children in the parks? Can you see how slowly yet quickly the world around you is constantly transforming? Do you feel interconnected and inspired to achieve your life’s aspirations?
If so, Now Vs Now has accomplished their mission.
In the music video of “Silkworm Society,” the message of this collaborative art project is made very clear; this song is an ode to metamorphosis. Change is not just physical, like a silkworm caterpillar that transmogrifies into a moth. No, change can happen from within, as well.
Reciting the uncertain yet exciting narrative of a hopeful silkworm (as portrayed by artist, Nikki Ortiz) that is ready to transition with the inspiration of a natural moving force, in this case, music.
“’All along,’ says the moth…she says,
‘Fly towards the flame to focus on life.
Grow. Meditate. Evolve. In silence.
Prosper. Improve. Meditation. Memory.
She was doing well.”
This song couldn’t have arrived at a better time in my life. At the time, I had just crawled out of debt and was finding myself, finally financially stabilized and able to work on my creative projects once more. I was ecstatic that I no longer had to be in survival mode, but some of my friends were constantly criticizing where I was in life.
I could not fathom their need to critique, as they often complimented me on my maturity and ability to make strides in my personal career path. Months passed before I realized they wanted me to be at a certain level so they could benefit from my achievements as well. Those aren’t really friends, but rather looming parasites eager to drink from my cocoon.
“Silkworm Society” helped me to understand that I move mountains in silence, and no one can really understand my story from the outside looking in. I was doing well on my own—and that was more than enough.
As the song touches on themes of introspection, precariousness, resistance to change, and faith, their message screams that we ultimately learn how to trust in our instincts just as the silkworm trusts that its metamorphosis will indeed result in gaining its wings of freedom.
Bear by The Antlers
Every experimental indie rock song harbors a distinct meaning that could bring a grown man to his knees. Beginning with a vibraphone that plays a lullaby tune, The Antlers waste no time hitting us right in the feels, as they describe the beginning of the end for two lovers.
“There’s a bear inside your stomach
The cub’s been kicking from within
He’s loud, though without vocal chords
We’ll put an end to him
We’ll make all the right appointments
No one ever has to know
And then tomorrow I’ll turn 21
We’ll script another show”
We immediately realize that the “bear” the singer is referring to a human child slowly growing in its mother’s womb. I love this analogy, as calling the child a bear cub alludes to how menacing the child appears to the frightened couple who have never been parents.
So, to make them feel less afraid of themselves, they mask the burden of responsibility by viewing the child as the wild, unruly cause of their problems. The couple scrambles to find a solution that preserves their security, but it’s very clear that, whether they keep the child or not, their relationship is done.
Continuing with the metaphor, The Antlers say,
“Well we’re not scared of making caves
Or finding food for him to eat
We’re terrified of one another
And terrified of what that means
But we’ll make only quick decisions
And you’ll just keep my in the waiting room
And all the while I’ll know we’re f****d
And not getting unf****d soon”
As the couple notices how their friends have slowly begun to abandon them, they’re still too lost in their fit of anxious planning to rid themselves of what they think is causing the biggest rift in their relationship.
However, as the weeks pass, they realize that caring for their child is not what they’re afraid of; they’re afraid of building a life with each other. Towards the end of the song, the couple is described as being two strangers in a room, and it’s evident the woman is planning to move away after the traumatic experience of choosing to not have her child. Though the couple is still very young, they’re caught in a tug-o-war, debating if they’re too old or too young to be parents.
The Butterfly by Celtic Woman
If you want to feel as flighty and free as a butterfly, Máiréad Nesbitt, Celtic Woman’s former fiddler, will make you feel like you’re soaring over vibrant green meadows in the middle of summer. I love how the intro of the beloved Celtic-Folk “The Butterfly” is slow and playful, dipping at every interval as if the sound is emulating a butterfly swooping downward as it makes its way to the next nectar-filled flower.
Then, as if startled by a human running through the meadow, the rhythm picks up tremendously, energetically collaborating with the skilled and ancient practice of clanking spoons to generate a flowing tempo akin to butterfly wings fluttering wildly into the sky.
Then the drums announce themselves, bringing on a hoard of migratory butterflies who have received the signal to move to a location. They dance in unison, reveling their own individual patterns until they reach the golden horizon.
Copper Wasp by Night Verses
When one thinks of a wasp, they usually imagine a chaotic animal fueled by its own rage to sting and devour pretty much anything it can get its segmented legs on. Night verses emulates the energy of a wasp, yet in a strategic way channeled through what seems like carefully calculated chaos.
This exciting and disorienting way of playing music is often called Math Rock and is a subsection of Progressive Metal. This genre brings my fellow nerds and headbanger buddies together as one unstoppable force. In the intro of “Copper Wasp” during talented drummer, Aric Improta’s insane solo, we vaguely hear the words,
“We don’t know who we are
We don’t know where we are
Each of us woke up one morning….”
When asked about the meaning of “Copper Wasp” and their album, From the Gallery of Sleep, Night Verses share with interviewers:
“From the Gallery of Sleep is mainly focused around the inexplicably limitless parameters we operate through in our dreams and the parallels between that world and the world of art (music, visual, etc.), from the subconscious influences to the value found in unpredictable story-lines. We wanted it to feel human….”
Night Verses certainly thinks outside of the multi-faceted box in their methods of making music and it’s quite liberating to behold as a listener. Even if the thought of metal wasps can be terrifying, the reality of this metal band breaking thought barriers is amazing.
Lone Wolf and Cub by Thundercat
Thundercat’s R&B Soulful “Lone Wolf and Cub” portrays the symbolism of being a single parent in an environment that is rife with challenges and dangers. Thundercat is an avid lover of anime, contributing to the musical soundtrack of the anime, Yasuke; thus, this track is also a reference to the shogun anime, Lone Wolf & Cub.
The main character in this series lives a dangerous life, yet tries to protect his son throughout the horrors of his grim occupation as an assassin.
Being a lone wolf with a cub is an analogy many people in this world can relate to; I’ve observe single parents surpass all odds to secure a life of safety and stability for themselves and their children. Their struggles and sacrifices mirror the four-legged animals in the wild.
When I first heard this song, it brought memories of watching a tiger mother and her two cubs struggling to survive in the animal kingdom. The mother disappeared one day after searching for food, leaving me to wonder if she died or abandoned her children. Her cubs stuck together and tried their best to remain strong and vigilant. Though the little sister lost her little brother, she miraculously grew up to be healthy and strong. Those memories make Thundercat’s lyrics seem far more impactful:
“Lone wolf and cub
Where will you go?
What will you do
All on your own?”
High Horse by Oceans Ate Alaska
The etymology of the phrase “high horse” dates to medieval times, when only people of high status and immense wealth could afford a very tall horse to sit upon. One can imagine the pompous and insufferable nature of the person who could afford such a luxury back then.
Taking this expression into account, Oceans Ate Alaska expresses an intense discontent towards an entity that can be perceived as their creator.
“With your head in the clouds
I guess it’s hard to hear the sound of a dying world
Where pure evil courses through its veins
We’re just a stain in your beautiful creation
The poison to your apple
We picked all those years ago”
It’s no question that the Metal band is crying out to the one creator whom they were taught cared about them, but as they endure this reality we call life, they realize they have been forsaken. Filled with rage, they accuse the creator of being no different than a snake in the grass and resolve to take the creator’s role to regain control over their life.
“Get off your high horse and bow before me!”
Being Human by Emily King
[Warning: Spoilers Ahead]
I wouldn’t be staying true to my geek-like intellect if I didn’t include us humans as best for last! The gentle Acoustic Dreampop single, “Being Human,” was featured at the end of Steven Universe Future, the movie that concluded the beloved children’s series, Steven Universe, with an emotional and hopeful message.
To quickly sum up the significance of this song, the main character, Steven, lived his whole life trying to save the world as a crystal gem, a non-human entity that was his mom. As he went on perilous journeys with his friends and did indeed save the world, he realized he had never had the opportunity to be human.
“Just a little time
Just a little something up ahead
I’m dreaming of
Just a little time
Just a little something that I need…”
“Being Human” is a love letter to the joys and woes of the human experience. It’s not just for people who are half-human like Steven, but also for us who have the wonderful opportunity to be human in this lifetime.
What I loved most about this song’s meaning as it pertains to the story is that Steven’s mother passed away when he was born, but her essence remained with him; as he learned more about her, he realized she was fascinated with humans and how they lived their lives.
She may have had an obsessive approach and had her own human zoo with happy and cared-for humans, but she truly wanted to experience being human. In a way, she got her wish, as she can live on within Steven and live the life of a feeling, breathing Human.
While our artists may not be the next David Attenborough, these multi-genre songs with animals in the title carry interesting and thought-provoking meanings that have helped change my perspective on a myriad of life situations.
From instinctual human observation to metaphors that compare the behavior of animals to human nature, each genre presented to us is a smorgasbord of lessons we can take to heart.
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This article was written by Randa, with a select addition by Michael.