Of Monsters and Men released “I of the Storm,” which was a bonus track on their last album Beneath The Skin (Deluxe Version), which came out in June. If this track is any indicator (and past performance), you’ll definitely want to get the deluxe version. I suspect Of Monsters and Men feel like it has been in the eye of the storm since rocketing in the public eye in 2010.
The storm referenced in this song isn’t one of life’s general events. The song is about loss, but is it about loss of life, or loss of love? Like a number of their songs, including Crystals, the other song released from the album, this track presents us with multiple meanings.
Like Crystals, “I of the Storm” starts with a drum beat, but in this case, a relentless snare drum sounding almost as if it’s a tattoo for a military funeral. Time is marching forward in this song about loss. Is this about looking back at life with some regrets and wondering whether your life had an impact? Or is it, instead, simply focused on a broken relationship and the loss that ensues?
Let’s look at first stanza, when we hear Nanna’s voice kick-in for that quintessential Of Monsters and Men sound: “If I could face them / If I could make amends with all my shadows / I’d bow my head and welcome them / But I feel it burning / Like when the winter wind / Stops my breathing / Are you really gonna love me when I’m gone? / I fear you won’t” These lyrics seem to leave room for either interpretation.
Sonically, we hear the snare drum being overtaken with a tom-tom drum and piano, building to the first of two choruses: “And it echoes when I breathe / Until all you see is my ghost / Empty vessel, crooked teeth / Wish you could see.” Here, again, we see that either I am vessel emptied through death or I’m left empty through broken relationships.
Finally, what, then do you make of “And they call me under / And I’m shaking like a leaf / And they call me under / And I wither underneath / In this storm” Is this being called underground (death) or being dragged down into your inner demons, into a storm of emotion, due to the failed relationship?
I think the answer to both is yes. Indeed, this is part of the genius regarding Of Monsters and Men; an ability to produce multiple meanings within the same song. Clearly this is going to be a great album, both musically and lyrically. In these first two deliveries, “Crystals” and “I of the Storm”, they’ve set the bar high.