Helplessness Blues

Album: Helplessness Blues (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • This is the title track and first single from the Seattle-based folk band Fleet Foxes' second album. The band's principal songwriter Robin Pecknold was inspired to write the song after interviewing Graham Nash of the super group Crosby, Stills Nash & Young. He explained to Mojo magazine: "He was part of all these unguarded protest songs that don't exist anymore. I thought it would be fun to write a protest song in that style but from my own perspective, hence you have the anti-protest song, 'Helplessness Blues,' ha."
  • The song finds Pecknold reflecting on how the self-centered individualism of his youth has influenced him as a white American adult. He explained to the UK newspaper The Independent: "I wanted that song to be a completely open opinion, with no kind of poetry, if you know what I mean. It's hard to articulate without it sounding really reductive, but I was born in the Eighties, a time of relative plenty in the United States, so I felt like the 'individual' thing was really emphasized when I was a kid, and I just don't know where that has left me. If everyone's just like this autonomous individual, y'know, to me it would be culturally..."

    He added: "I don't want to sound too political or anything, because this is just my personal thought, but I guess I feel like in being a white male from America, a member of the most privileged sect on earth, I have everything that people all over the earth are fighting for, and sometimes I just feel like I'm not really doing enough with that. That song is basically about that, the desire to cultivate something more than oneself."

Comments: 1

  • Bill from UsBefore I found out who Fleet Foxes were (thanks to this song) I thought this WAS Graham Nash, that explains it!
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