Oh, Hello: Soldier, Poet, King

November 19, 2020 ☼ blog postoh, hello seriessong analysis

Man in medieval chainmail holding a sword

Go to Soldier, Poet, King Song Go to Soldier, Poet, King Lyrics

Oh, Hello Everyone! From the title of the post, you can be assured that today, we’re talking about Soldier, Poet, King by The Oh Hellos. I chose this song for two reasons: it was the song that introduced me to the band, and this is probably the closest to mainstream the band has gotten thanks to Tik Tok.

When I first heard this song, I immediately felt like I was being whisked away to a Medieval fantasy land. I pictured a bustling village with a glowing pub bathed in firelight and smelling of sweet ale. I pictured children dancing in the town square, hearing tales of adventures they’d one day try to emulate. It was a transformative experience for someone like me who’s always dreamed of magic and adventure. Very few songs can create such a vivid ache for something I’d never known.

The instruments in this piece were lovely. I’m not always the best at recognizing the different sounds, but the guitar and drums felt like living things that were telling the story just as much as Maggie’s magnificent (that one wasn’t even on purpose) voice.

The lyrics of this song were another layer of beauty and depth. The first interpretation of the song outside of my Medieval fantasy daydream, was Biblical. Each of the characters (soldier, poet, king) represents Jesus’ role in our lives. He tears down the city of evil and oppression, he sleighs the bad in us with his words, and he’s the rightful ruler. I also read in the YouTube comment section that the song represents a toxic relationship and the journey to escaping it and finding something better. The soldier and poet tears us down with force and words, and the one that is truly for us is the ruler who puts us back together. Both are marvelous interpretations that fit extremely well. I happened to derive a third interpretation. To me, this song could also be about coming of age. Each character is a stage of life that you go through as you grow into who you’re supposed to be.

As a soldier, your wrecking down the walls of your safe haven. When I first heard that verse, I was confused. The music was so upbeat and it was worshipful in so many ways about your city being destroyed. But then, I realized that in many iterations of the coming-of-age story, the first step is to escape the place where you feel safe and to venture out into the unknown.

The poet sleighing you with his tongue, to me, means that everything you were told as a child begins to unravel as you see and experience the world. In many coming-of-age stories, the protagonists find out that a lot of what they know isn’t the full story, either because it was deliberately hidden from them, or because those around them didn’t have the full story either.

Finally, the king represents you finding out where you are supposed to be and what you’re supposed to do in life. You learn to forge your destiny and you take on your birthright, which is to be your authentic self.

At the end of the third verse, before the celebratory bridge/ending, the song repeats (He will tear your city down.” This refers to the coming-of-age journey being more like a loop than a linear process. You will never stop having to break down the walls of your safe haven, learning new things about your world, or discovering your purpose. This is a lifelong process that shifts and moves. The ending of the song celebrates this process as well as acting as a repeating symbol.

As you can probably tell by now, this song is dear to my heart. It’s multilayered and spiritually insightful while being down-to-earth and relatable. This song will always be a love of mine, even if I have other favorite Oh Hellos songs that are a bit higher on the list.

Curious about the next topic in the series? Well, you’re gonna have to wait until the next post. Until then 😊

Soldier, Poet, King Song

Click the link to here Soldier, Poet, King on youtube.

Soldier, Poet, King lyrics

There will come a soldier
Who carries a mighty sword
He will tear your city down, o lei o lai o lord
O lei, o lai, o lei, o lord
He will tear your city down, o lei o lai o lord

There will come a poet
Whose weapon is his word
He will slay you with his tongue, o lei o lai o lord
O lei, o lai, o lei, o lord
He will slay you with his tongue, o lei o lai o lord

There will come a ruler
Whose brow is laid in thorn
Smeared with oil like David’s boy, o lei o lai o lord
O lei, o lai, o lei, o lord
Smeared with oil like David’s boy, o lei o lai o lord

O lei, o lai, o lei, o lord
He will tear your city down, o lei o lai

Oh

O lei, o lai, o lei, o lai oh

O lei, o lai, o lei, o lai oh

O lei, o lai, o lei, o lai

O lei, o lai, o lei, o lai
Oh