Wild Roses

Album: Fever Dream (2019)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Wild Roses" finds Of Monsters co-vocalist Nanna Hilmarsdóttir singing of painful circumstances. She sees the titular wild rose as a way of helping her deal with the sadness.

    Oh, roses, they don't mean a thing, you don't understand
    But why don't we full on pretend?
  • In Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, the Bard used a rose as a symbol of a detachment between name and object. In Act II, Scene 2 Juliet asserts:

    That which we call a rose,
    By any other word would smell as sweet


    The name is of little consequence; it does not affect the inherent qualities of the object.

    Though Hilmarsdóttir is yearning to be free from her painful reality, the singer acknowledges she has to go through the tribulations of slow healing. She explained to Billboard: "It's a sad song that talks about feeling a lot of things and not really knowing what to do with them but not avoiding them either. Just kind of leaning into your sadness."
  • The song was inspired by mythologist Joseph Campbell, who developed a concept of "the hero's journey" - the story of the archetypical hero who, through great suffering, achieves a heightened sense of being. In 1988, PBS broadcast a series of six documentaries, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, which were conversations between the mythologist and journalist Bill Moyers. A companion book for the series, The Power of Myth, was published at the same time.

    A serpent on a bed of leaves in the month of May
    What do you want me to say?


    Hilmarsdóttir explained to Billboard: "I was also very inspired by Joseph Campbell, who wrote The Power of Myths. There's this one story that talks about how you have to participate in life to say yes to the serpent - that's why I'm always talking about a serpent - which means going on this journey without knowing where it's going to lead. It might be a horrible journey, but you do it anyways because it's better than saying no and not living. That's where the inspiration from that song comes from."
  • The song's watery video finds Nanna Hilmarsdóttir performing extravagant dance moves while floating in a blood-splattered swimming pool. The visual was shot over a span of 12 hours by director Þóra Hilmars in an eerie pool in Hafnaförður, Iceland. The haunting clip was inspired by Scandinavian horror movies.

    "'Wild Roses' shows an introverted side to the album and is inspired by what it is like to lean into your sadness," Hilmarsdóttir told Rolling Stone. "We wanted to capture that feeling in a performance for the music video while bringing out a bit of uneasiness as well."

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