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Music / Glass Animals

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Cut back down to my knees, gotta get back, gotta get free.

Glass Animals are a Indie TripHop Band from Oxford, England that formed in 2012. They are made of friends vocalist Dave Bayley, guitarist Drew Macfarlane, bassist Edmund Irvin-Singer and drummer Joe Seaward.

They've made three albums to date: ZABA in June 2014, How to Be a Human Being in August 2016, and Dreamland in August 2020. They are most known for the songs Black Mambo, Gooey, Life Itself, Pork Soda, Youth, Your Love (Deja Vu), and Heat Waves. They were nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2017 for How to Be a Human Being.

Not to be confused with Canadian rock band Glass Tiger.


  • Leaflings (EP, 2012)
  • Glass Animals (EP, 2013)
  • ZABA (2014)
  • How to Be a Human Being (2016)
  • Dreamland (2020)
  • I Love You So Fucking Much (2024)

"Baby, don't go. I'll stop making tropes."

  • Album Intro Track: The title track on Dreamland is a mashup of this, a "table of contents" and a Setting Introduction Song: each verse asks a question that is answered elsewhere in the album, and it ends with:
    "Oh, it's 2020, so it's time to change that
    So you go make an album and call it Dreamland"
  • The Alcoholic: "Hazey" deals with a man shielding his daughter from his drunken wife.
  • All There in the Manual: All of the characters in How To Be A Human Being have backstories you won't notice in the songs themselves.
  • Age-Progression Song: "Youth" follows the waitress's son as she watches him grow up without her.
  • Age-Gap Romance: The protagonist in "Poplar St." thinks he's in this.
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: The "Cane Shuga" character is described as a "drug dealer for the elite" and businessmen.
  • Animal Motifs: In the album ZABA, several characters are described as fitting animals.
    • The narrator refers to the subject of "Gooey" as "Pooh Bear" to signify their childishness and naivety.
    • "Black Mambo" is about "Mr. Mole" as he faces off against "The Sloth" in an intense game of dominoes.
    • "Cocoa Hooves" is about a elderly man, described as an "old goat". He is unable to escape out of his comfort zone due to an implied heart surgery in the lyrics.
  • Anthology: HTBAHB is this in audio.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!:
    • Joey Bada$$ appears on the non-album single "Lose Control".
    • In Dreamland, Denzel Curry features on "Tokyo Drifting".
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: In the Surreal Music Video for "Space Ghost Coast To Coast", the dozens of naked men dancing throughout the city have no visible gonads.
  • Basement-Dweller: Chuck Rogers, the protagonist of "Life Itself", still lives with his mom due to his inability to find a job coupled with clinging to having been told he'd grow up to be special in the past.
  • BSoD Song: From How To Be A Human Being: the protagonists of both "Cane Shuga" and "The Other Side of Paradise" despair being left by their respective lovers, the former's breakup having occurred over his drug abuse and the latter's resulting in a suicide attempt.
  • Breaking Speech: "It's All So Incredibly Loud" according to Word of God
  • Break-Up Song: "Cane Shuga" is about the businessman having broken up with his girlfriend because of his cocaine abuse. Said girlfriend is the girl from "Season 2, Episode 3", who he described ruefully in that song as a "broken" and incorrigible stoner and who he accuses of "burn[ing] through [his] love, just like [her] drugs".
  • Character Blog: The cast of HTBAHB have ones that resemble the likes of GeoCities and Myspace pages.
  • Chess with Death: The titular "Black Mambo". But with dominoes.
  • Concept Album: Both ZABA and How To Be A Human Being. The former is inspired by the children's book The Zabajaba Jungle, while the latter consists of songs written about characters the band met and stories they heard in the process of making, promoting and touring to promote ZABA.
  • Concept Video: Youth, Life Itself, and Season 2 Episode 3 For How to Be a Human Being
    • Dreamland, Tokyo Drifting, Tangerine, Heat Waves and It's all So Incredibly Loud
  • Cover Version: Love Lockdown at the end of ZABA.
  • Connected All Along: In the music videos and "back-matter material." The drug dealer from "Cane Shuga" is the boyfriend of the subject in "Season 2, Episode 3"'s video, and Mrs. Moore from "Poplar St." kidnaps a boy whose mother is the waitress from "Youth". "Life Itself"'s video includes most of these characters, including the subject character and his mother, who is in turn the subject of "Mama's Gun".
  • Design Student's Orgasm: All of their album covers to date.
    • ZABA has artist Micah Lidberg draw a man and woman sleeping away from each other, among animals in a strange, jungle-like enviroment, fitting the albums's "setting" and themes.
    • How To Be A Human Being by Neil Krug has a very 70s-style aesthetic and an awkward family photo of a diverse group of people, each one a subject of the albums songs, respectively.
    • Dreamland's is heavily influenced by Vaporwave and Seapunk art, depicting Dave Bayley's head in their art styles.
  • Domestic Abuse: Domestic Bliss
  • Downer Ending: How To Be A Human Being ends with "Agnes", about a man possibly dying of a drug overdose.
  • Drugs Are Bad:
    • On ZABA, "Walla Walla" is a song to a drug addict from the point of view of his addiction, taking advantage of his frightened and depressed state after he's come down from his high to tell him to come to it for consolation; while "Hazey" is from the point of view of a spouse whose partner is an abusive alcoholic.
    • On How To Be A Human Being, the central characters of "Life Itself", "Season 2, Episode 3", "Cane Shuga", and the aforementioned "Agnes" each have issues with substance abuse. The first describes himself passing out in public while downing lean, the second spends all day getting baked to the point where she uncaringly eats mayo straight out of the jar, the third is a cocaine addict and dealer, and the fourth has fallen into issues with multiple drugs that may have led to his death.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: "It's All So Incredibly Loud". Dave Bayley has said it takes place in the three seconds.
  • Face on the Cover: A 3D model of Dave Bayley's face appears on the cover of Dreamland and its singles.
  • Gender-Blender Name: The eponymous character of "Agnes" is the man holding the camera in the How To Be Human Being album cover.
  • Growing Up Sucks: It appears to be a Central Theme in How To Be A Human Being. "Youth" is about being a parent unable to see your child grow up, "Life Itself" is about a stagnant young adult frittering his days away as an unemployed Basement-Dweller and misfit after having been told he'd grow up to be special, "Pork Soda" is about an old man getting dementia, "The Other Side Of Paradise" is about a woman's doomed relationship with a now famous basketball player, "Take A Slice" is about a young woman prostituting herself to pay for college, and "Agnes" is about losing your friend to time while seeing him fall into drug addiction and poor mental health. Fun stuff.
  • It's Snowing Cocaine: In "Cane Shuga", the narrator describes his consumption of the drug as not merely snorting it, but breathing it.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "Heat Waves".
    "You can't fight it, you can't breathe
    You say somethin' so lovin', but
    Now I gotta let you go
    You'll be better off in someone new
    I don't wanna be alone
    You know it hurts me too"
  • "I Want" Song: "Youth", from a parent's perspective.
    "I want you to be happy
    Free to run, get dizzy on caffeine
    Funny friends that make you laugh
    And maybe you're just a little bit dappy"
  • Lighter and Softer: Subverted. On the whole, the soundscape of How To Be A Human Being isn't anywhere near as dark and moody as that of ZABA - but lyrically, it's just as apt to dive into dark themes, and often does so even more bluntly.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: A recurring theme in How To Be A Human Being.
    • "Take a Slice": A cheerful, groovy indie-pop song about a college-aged Florida-bound prostitute who's turning to the line of work to pay for her tuition.
    • "Life Itself" is oddly up-tempo for a song about a strange outcast trying to fit in with society.
    • "Season 2, Episode 3" is a smooth bedroom-pop song about an extremely lazy stoner whose ways are portrayed not as "endearingly chill" so much as "concerning and alienating".
    • Dreamland's title track vaguely alludes to a school shooting, foreshadowing Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Deconstructed in "Season 2, Episode 3". The "Cane Suga" guy laments that his girlfriend is "broken, but she's fun".
  • Murder Ballad: In "Mama's Gun", the singer, who is suffering from schizophrenia, murders her husband at the behest of auditory hallucinations.
  • NEET: Downplayed in "Life Itself". Chuck lives with his mother because he can't get a job, but he laments taking a small amount of her money.
  • Old Flame Fizzle: In "The Other Side of Paradise", the narrator's boyfriend leaves for Hollywood to become a basketball player who falls in love with someone else, much to her chagrin.
  • Right on Queue: "[Premade Sandwiches]" describes people standing in an assortment of lines in illustration of the routine nature of modern city life.
  • Sampling: "Mama's Gun" samples "Mr. Gruder", originally made by The Carpenters.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: The narrator and his wife in "Pork Soda" are suffering from Alzheimer's, hence the "pineapples are in my head" lyric.
  • Shout-Out:
    • ZABA's title is inspired by William Steig's children's book, "The Zabajaba Jungle".
    • Take a wild guess what "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" is named after.
    • "Toes" is centered around an island full human-animal hybrids. The song also mentions a "Dr. Swango" the singer hallucinates. He is named after the real-life Dr. Michael Swango, who killed 4 to 60 people with arsenic.
  • The Stoner: The girl in "Season 2, Episode 3" is sung to have eaten cereal for lunch and a jar of mayo with a spoon while high on weed.
  • Spoken Word in Music: In "[Premade Sandwiches]", a voice rapid-fire raps about people in New York standing in line for superfood, drugs, luxury and sex, not unlike Ok Computer.
  • Stylistic Suck: Some pages of the band's website resemble Geocities and Myspace pages.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The school shooter in "Space Ghost Coast to Coast".
  • The Vamp: Mrs. Moore in "Poplar St." seduces young men like the protagonist, only to leave him for another lover.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Downplayed. Dreamland takes most of its inspiration from Dave Bayley's past.
  • Worldbuilding: The band has made moodboards for their albums, and centered their second, How to Be a Human Being, on a cast of characters with backstories that extend beyond the content of the songs that represent them.