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Meaning of ‘Youth’ by ‘Glass Animals’

Released: 2016

“Youth” by Glass Animals is a touching narrative wrapped in a psychedelic pop shell, reflecting on the hopes and dreams laid down for a younger generation, perhaps even directly towards a child from a parental figure. It’s a potent mix of love, aspiration, and the bittersweet nature of growth and expectation.

The song kicks off with a poignant line, “Boy, when I left you, you were young”, instantly setting a tone of departure and the passage of time. The phrase “I was gone, but not my love” drives home the idea that even in absence, a parent’s love doesn’t wane; it’s a reassurance that physical absence doesn’t equate to emotional withdrawal. This opening sets up the theme of enduring connections and aspirations parents hold for their children, symbolizing a beacon of hope and guidance despite life’s battles, identified here as “a life lost in the war”.

The chorus amplifies this sentiment with a dream for the youth: “be happy, free to run, get dizzy on caffeine”. These lines paint a vivid picture of carefree joy and the simple pleasures in life—caffeine as a metaphor for the exhilarating rush of freedom, and the amusement found in the company of “funny friends”. It’s a nostalgic canvas that any listener can resonate with, capturing the essence of youthful abandon and the desire for light-heartedness amidst a world that can often feel heavy.

As the song progresses, it reveals a deeper layer with “Don’t you know you got my eyes”, which is a literal and metaphorical acknowledgment of inheritance—both in physical traits and perhaps the perspective through which one views the world. This line, coupled with “I’ll make you fly”, elevates the narrative to one of empowerment, emphasizing the belief in the youth’s potential to rise above challenges. The repetition of wanting the youth to be “happy all the time” underscores a universal parental desire, highlighting an almost protective instinct to shield one from life’s inherent sorrows.

The lines “Boy, now your life is back-to-front, But you’ll see that’s not for long, ‘Cause I know you’ll feel the ghost of some memories so warm”, touch on the cyclical nature of life and learning from past experiences. It speaks to the temporary confusion or feeling lost, with a comforting reminder of the warmth of cherished memories, signifying hope and the possibility of joy reborn through reminiscence and the warmth of maternal love.

In essence, “Youth” by Glass Animals is a rich tapestry of hope, reminiscence, and a deep-seated wish for happiness. It’s a song that not only celebrates the vibrancy and potential of the young but also touches on the enduring nature of love and the legacy of joy that those who came before hope to pass on. It’s a track that resonates on multiple levels, speaking to the part of us that yearns for freedom, understanding, and above all, the simple, unadulterated happiness of being truly alive.

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