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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are other artists who do or have done this, Kurt Cobain and Tori Amos as two examples, but people love to interpret this simple song written by Fleet Foxes, and may be violently defensive of their favorite version of not only the song, but the narrative they imagine they hear in it:




I sincerely ask you to listen/think/feel each version before you read my spoiler.

 
I heard the Birdy version first and am still partial to it, but actually like the Pentatonix version better than the original. ..I was originally disturbed by what I saw as lack of normal emotion in the original, considering the dark lyrics.

I heard "pack" and coats and scarves to protect their little heads as a pack of snow dogs (dogs have coats), little heads immediately had me envisioning animals, and I saw Michael as her boyfriend falling and being injured or possibly dying, bleeding to death in the snow.

Apparently a popular story is the dead brother in the woods story, about a Fleet Foxes younger brother who hit his head and died in the woods, and I totally bought into this, since it was similar to what I thought...until I learned that Fleet Foxes denies any meaning in the song, calling it gibberish, which explains what I saw as lack of feeling for the dark lyrics.

People interpret everything from the French Revolution to the dangers of belonging to a gang in the lyrics of this song. Pentatonix put it on a Xmas album, and the video makes me think they also bought the dead brother story.

What you hear or imagine says more about you than the song itself. I even saw some one on You Tube saying that it was about suicide, another actually said it was goat heads (Satanic cult fears?)

I know why I imagined what I imagined. Do you understand why you saw or believed what you did?

 

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I watched the Fleet Foxes music video first, which affected how I viewed the lyrics once I was able to hear them properly (I don't catch lyrics very well sometimes).

My interpretation off-the-cuff went like this:

 
Fleet Foxes music video is about working super hard all your life, only to find that you're old and white like snow at the end.

The lyrics are about the fragility of human life and how you can look around and your youth can be gone in a moment - Michael represents the youth of the singer dying from the harshness of life (represented by winter).


It is neat how people can interpret songs so differently though.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I watched the Fleet Foxes music video first, which affected how I viewed the lyrics once I was able to hear them properly (I don't catch lyrics very well sometimes).

My interpretation off-the-cuff went like this:

 
Fleet Foxes music video is about working super hard all your life, only to find that you're old and white like snow at the end.

The lyrics are about the fragility of human life and how you can look around and your youth can be gone in a moment - Michael represents the youth of the singer dying from the harshness of life (represented by winter).


It is neat how people can interpret songs so differently though.
Yeah I think it says something about your cognitive style or personality. I mean like I noticed I thought certain interpretations were kind of overly imaginative, according to moi, like seriously there's only so many freaking words there...but mine was fairly sensory and personal. It shows I think how sensors or intuitive types both have imaginations, but in different ways. It could also point to different life experience of course, like mine can almost creepily point to something in my life that has emotional value. .I honestly wonder how many people too just like the first version they heard.

It's also a great way to spot lingering pretentious hipsters, though one could surmise that the entire phenomenon is on some way hipster culture.

By the way, nothing I said just now was in regards to your personal interpretation. ..

 
I still can't fathom the French Revolution one for the very life of me, and the most pretentious hipsters are outraged that they listened to Fleet Foxes first.
 

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I didn't see this video before and had no idea about the existence of any interpretations of it. Also I know practically nothing about the band.
Had to google lyrics as I didn't hear them clearly, so here is my take on it:

 
The main idea of the song, as I interpret it, is about opposition of life and death and inevitability of dying.

I was following the pack,
All swaddled in their coats

Song's protagonist was living life, just as other people.

With scarves of red tied 'round their throats
To keep their little heads
From fallin' in the snow

Representation of the fragility of human life. Heads are kept in place by string of the red scarf. Its the only thing that keeps head in its place and prevents people from dying. "Fallin' in the snow" figuratively means "dying".

And I turned 'round and there you go.
Song's protagonist is one of the people and has the same scarf round his throat, and by "turning 'round" he ruined the fragile balance and turned out to be at the death's door.

And Michael you would fall,
Can be reference to some person the band knows. Maybe the one who's thinking that they are very powerful and strong and nothing will get in their way and song's protagonist reminds them that no one is immune to death.
I don't know if it's even important who is Michael in the general context of the song, but I'm entirely ignorant in terms of the band history or personal stories of the members. So, perhaps, it has some personal meaning to them.

And turn the white snow
Red as strawberries in the summertime.

No one will avoid death. Everybody will die in the end.

Video follows the same tropes. The old guy wanted to reverse the course of time, to postpone death and become young again, but in the end things resume their natural course. Inevitability of getting old and dying.
 
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