June 5, 2012

Earworm Attack: Little Talks

Filed under: Music — DB @ 6:52 pm

Now that the Gotye/”Somebody That I Used to Know” earworm has dislodged itself (not that I’m over the song; I’m just not humming or singing it every waking moment of the day), a new little bug has slithered inside my head and is rapidly consuming my attention. If this one hasn’t come to yours yet, then proceed at your own risk. This song will fuse with your brain. If you’ve heard it already, then you know what I’m talking about.

The song is “Little Talks”, and it comes from an Icelandic band called Of Monsters and Men. I first heard it on KFOG nearly three months ago, while driving. I immediately noted the time, so that I could pull up KFOG.com when I got home and find out where this four minutes and fifteen seconds of goodness had come from. I didn’t hear it again for a while, and even an earworm as dastardly as this one requires more than a single listening to take hold. Before too long, a friend emailed it to me. That did me in. Having a link to click on resulted in my playing it with increasing frequency. Now I am its prisoner.

When you hear the female vocalist, you may be inclined to assume that it’s Björk. Because she’s a female singer. From Iceland. But it turns out there are other female singers from Iceland, and the gal you’re listening to in this song is one of them. Her name is Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir. It’s a mouthful, so really, unless your name is Griffin Mill, no one could blame you if you just choose to call her Björk. (By the way, 100 points to the first person who can explain that obscure Griffin Mill reference, which I felt compelled to make even though it has absolutely nothing to do with this topic.)

According to the band’s tumblr, the tale goes that Hilmarsdóttir was performing as a solo acoustic act when she teamed up with some other musicians for a one-time performance, and thought she made sweet music with male singer Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson. They began collaborating as songwriters, and with the other bandmates from that first show, christened themselves Of Monsters and Men. Things took off when the sextet won a Battle of the Bands competition in Iceland and started getting radio airplay. “Little Talks” soon migrated around the world, and now their star is on the rise. Their first album, My Head is an Animal, was initially released only in Iceland, where it hit number one before going global. It arrived stateside in April and is available on Amazon and iTunes. I’ve listened to a number of other songs from the album on YouTube, and I’m liking them all quite a bit. But it’s no surprise that “Little Talks” is the breakout. This thing is infectious as hell. Seriously, I defy you to listen to it three times in a row and resist exploding into a frenzy of jumping, dancing, bouncing or a misguided attempt at all three simultaneously by the time you’ve heard the chorus for the half-dozenth time. It’s an impressive feat, because while the jubilant performance makes you want to smile and float and shoot rainbows out of your fingertips, the lyrics are actually kinda sad. What devilry these confounding Icelanders have composed!

But enough of my build-up. You be the judge…

As if the song isn’t great enough, how cool is that video? Any clip that contains a multi-eyed Bantha-Direwolf hybrid in a Technicolor dreamcoat is pretty much gonna win my admiration, but I see all kinds of influences in this eye candy. It’s part Terry Gilliam, part Henry Selick, part steampunk Muppets, part Bollywood fantasy and all trippy shit. The piece was created by We Were Monkeys, who offer details on the making of the clip on their website. I gotta say that Hilmarsdóttir’s theatrical garb in this video is not helping her I’m-Not-Björk case, so we’ll just have to see if she shows up at next year’s Grammy Awards wearing a swan dress or frock of brightly colored feathers. In the meantime, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

The bands and singers I keep hearing about at the moment are Maroon 5 (or is it Train? Totally interchangeable…), Nicki Minaj, Fun., Carly Rae Jespin…well I’ve heard their singles, and none of them can touch this one. “Little Talks” is the first debilitating earworm of 2012. Resistance is futile.


  1. I’m surprised you said nothing about the forest containing baby Smoke Monsters from Lost at 2:11.

    Comment by David Z. — June 5, 2012 @ 8:08 pm | Reply

    • Ha, baby Smoke Monsters. I didn’t even catch that. Although looking at them now, they remind me more of disapparating Death Eaters.

      Comment by DB — June 6, 2012 @ 10:09 am | Reply

  2. Bryan has been playing that little gem since December, so it’s come and gone from my brain. With the accordion, it sounds enough like Irish music to pique my interest- almost worth the debilitation. Will is also a fan, but being a one year-old he thrives on repetition.

    My current (husband-inflicted) earworm, regrettably, is “Gold On The Ceiling” by The Black Keys. Ugh.

    Comment by Rachel M. — June 5, 2012 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

    • Interesting…I hadn’t picked up on the Irish influence, but I can see how it would evoke that for you. If a video ever exists of Young Will getting jiggy to this song, I must see it.

      Comment by DB — June 6, 2012 @ 10:11 am | Reply

  3. It is a catchy tune and the comparisons to Bjork are going to be unavoidable. This song has been coming up a lot on my Florence and the Machine Pandora station.

    Comment by tammypels — June 5, 2012 @ 10:58 pm | Reply

    • Ahhh, Florence and the Machine. I can see that. Both artists definitely have a fantasy element to their music.

      Comment by DB — June 6, 2012 @ 10:12 am | Reply

  4. Good find Burnce. Them crazy Iclandians! Did you see this: http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/but-you-didnt-have-to-cute-me-off.jpg

    Comment by bonstone — June 6, 2012 @ 9:57 am | Reply

  5. Nice link. That’s great.

    Comment by DB — June 6, 2012 @ 10:13 am | Reply

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