"Little One" as written by and Beck Hansen....
Go to sleep
We're so tired now
Altogether in a snake pit of souls
New days
To throw your chains away
To try to hang your hopes on the wind

Little one
Just a little way
Today all we need is waiting

Night rise
Like the evening prize
In a turnstile backwards we fly
Cold bones
Tied together by
Black ropes we pulled from a swing

Little one
Just a little way
Today all of the dreams are waking

Can't stand on crooked legs
I'm cross-eyed to the wall
In these harbor lights
Satellites explode

Drown, drown
Sailors run aground
In a sea change nothing is safe
Strange waves
Push us every way
In a stolen boat we'll float away

Little one
Hold on
All of the dreams are wasting

Lyrics submitted by saturnine

"Little One" as written by Beck Hansen

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Little One song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +1
    General CommentThis song has always remind me of the Dust Bowl, the period during the Great Depression when poor midewestern families would pack up and move everything they own to seek a better life out west.

    This song seems to be about the journey and the "little one" is the son or daughter orf the author.

    The opening lyrics are decidedly optomistic compared to the rest of the song:

    New days
    To throw your chains away
    To try to hang your hopes on the wind

    There is repeated encouragement for the "little on" in the second chorus when he says "Today all of the dreams are waking"

    This is a stark difference from the end of the song where he says
    "Hold on
    All of the dreams are wasting"
    It shows that he's gotten more desperate. The journey started out with hardship, but optomism, and now reality is starting to set in.

    I have no idea if the Dust Bowl actually inspired any of these lyrics, but if I ever did get to meet Beck, I would like to ask him.
    calvinit21on June 10, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti like to believe it is about a dream of breaking away, following your dreams through life, trying to hold onto them when everything is changing around you and pushing you further away. Maybe the "little one" is inside all of us, the part of us that holds these dreams so dear. or maybe i am just projecting :)
    replicant212on July 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment^ That is interesting, I never thought of that... I'm boring, but it always reminded me of someone being protective of a child, or someone with a emotional or physical problem. Like an older/more able person is at their side. Whatever it means, this song gets my vote for the prettiest Beck song... just beautiful
    Angry Saron February 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. It's steadily climbing up my favorite list by Beck.

    I don't know why more people have commented... this is such an excellent song. It's so... I don't know. Melancholic? Just the way it sounds. I love it.
    Tokabion May 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is such a sadly beautiful song, and a big part of why Sea Change is my favorite Beck album.

    My interpretation of the song agrees with calvinit21's for the most part. It's about someone who so desperately wants to protect their little one from the world, but they can't. They try to delude themself into thinking they can, but as the situation keeps getting worse, they have to finally admit they were a fool for trying.

    All they can say is "Little one, hold on..." and pray for the best, even when they know the worst is much more likely.
    YanYan108on May 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI see it as the opposite... It feels to me to be getting more optimistic as the song goes on.

    The first verse feels cold, tired - exhausted "Go to sleep now, we're so tired now"- someone defending another from the dark, and whatever is in it... Something unpleasant. It seems impossible - "Hang your hopes on the wind" ((The music video adds so much. They illustrate that beautifully, with a kite in the sky.)) A small spark of hope - A new day - comes, get out of what binds you. The chorus reassures whoever the narrator/singer is with, a child, someone younger, someone loved... Don't worry, we just go a bit farther, it's okay.

    The second verse feels much darker than the first, 'flying backwards', 'night', 'cold bones', 'black rope'. But the black rope is from a swing, something innocent (children playing on a swing), 'all our dreams are waking' could mean that they'll soon have everything they could need and want, if they get away.

    The bridge, 'can't stand on... explode' brings light, but in such a terrible way, with the 'satellites' - the stars and moon exploding, and they can't walk or move, perhaps to leave.

    The last verse, though, seems to finally bring hope - mixed with risk, of course. "Sailors run aground" - whoever keeps them chained, or perhaps just unfortunate bystanders have their wants diverted due to things far beyond their control - the sea change, but this misfortune brings fortune to narrator... 'In a stolen boat', pushed by 'strange waves', they 'float away' from whatever was the evil.

    The end repeats the reassurances, saying just a bit more, just hold on, we'll have everything we need and want once we're away from here, if we survive.

    Mine's a bit different... and it's probably due to how I first listened to it. I had put my songs into repeat for the night, so I'd hear all my music as I was sleeping... I sleep much better that way... And about 3 in the morning, I woke up, humming the song as I was listening to it. And that probably changed how I looked at it... But it does sound much more hopeful to me at the end rather than the beginning.
    HappySalmonFamilyon February 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is the final little song saying everything is okay in Beck's life. Sea Change really does follow a story of sorts. I think Little One may be a figurative character, or even Beck himself. Or possibly his love. There's a part in another song on Sea Change where he is asking his lost love if he could be her friend; I think this might be characterizing his struggles as her friend.

    I always thought of little one as a child, my dad used to call me that; but I just don't think that's what it means in this one. I'm surprised this song has so few comments on it. It's really the best song on the album, but I can see people passing up meaning for the one that's been played in all the shitty tv shows/movies Zach Braff is in.
    scarecrow826on August 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Sea Change"

    The phrase is a quotation from Shakespeare. It comes from Ariel’s wonderfully evocative song in The Tempest:

    Full fathom five thy father lies:
    Of his bones are coral made:
    Those are pearls that were his eyes:
    Nothing of him that doth fade
    But doth suffer a sea-change
    Into something rich and strange.

    Shakespeare obviously meant that the transformation of the body of Ferdinand’s father was made by the sea, but we have come to refer to a sea change as being a profound transformation caused by any agency.

    In Beck's case, he is referring to the transmutation of his life through the agency of painful endings. The last song on the album sums this meaning up beautifully:

    On a borrowed dime
    In a different light
    You might see what
    The other side looks like.

    What we are to become (or not become) cannot be seen from our current vantage point.
    ltchardeon April 16, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy take is its to himself from himself. End of the album, a "breakup" album and this is the climax of the somber previous tracks. Still somber, this gives us that final "hug" before ending.
    taverneron August 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoes anyone else have images from Where the Wild Things Are pop into their head when they hear these lyrics.
    beezballon January 28, 2010   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top