"Dirty Paws" as written by Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir and Ragnar Thorhallsson....
Jumping up and down the floor,
My head is an animal.
And once there was an animal,
It had a son that mowed the lawn.
The son was an OK guy,
They had a pet dragonfly.
The dragonfly it ran away,
But it came back with a story to say.

Her dirty paws and furry coat,
She ran down the forest slope.
The forest of talking trees,
They used to sing about the birds and the bees.
The bees had declared a war,
The sky wasn't big enough for them all.
The birds, they got help from below,
From dirty paws and the creatures of snow.

And for a while things were cold,
They were scared down in their holes.
The forest that once was green
Was colored black by those killing machines.
But she and her furry friends
Took down the queen bee and her men.
And that's how the story goes,
The story of the beast with those four dirty paws.


Lyrics submitted by Macuahuitl

"Dirty Paws" as written by Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir, Ragnar Thorhallsson

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Dirty Paws song meanings
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  • +14
    My InterpretationThis song is pretty literal in what it's saying

    When Spring starts, paper wasps create nests that grows while housing several generations of workers. At the end of Summer, the Queen produces eggs which will develop into insects that will leave the nest to mate and start the process over again next year.
    Once this generation leaves, those nest's life is basically over. This means anything left behind is ripe for picking, and crows seem to have the uncanny ability to know just when this time occurs to gobble up the larvae and bugs lying around.
    Of course, paper wasps also create nests in the ground as well. Just as the crows and jays do, coyotes, skunks, and foxes will dig up these nests to eat those protein-rich larvae as well. Coincidentally, coyotes, skunks, and foxes are known to eat grass as well.
    Once more: Dragonflies are carnivorous bugs that prey on other insects and have been known to eat bees and wasps.


    This song is about a young (I'll say Fox) growing up and having their own pup. Growing up a bit, the pup now hunts small bugs and berries but usually sticks to grass as it's the most abundant source for him around the area. While out searching for food, this pup spots a dragonfly and chases it around semi-playfully leading the fox to a nearby forest.
    As I've said before, Foxes will dig up nests and eat the larvae and whatever else after the next generation ups and flies away. Well, the pup loses interest in the Dragonfly and runs off to search for these nests. He wasn't alone, though. Birds and other animals alike were eating what was left of both the nests and bugs.
    They didn't get all the nests, though. Those left behind in the nests that were still intact didn't dare leave them (either due to self-preservation or just instinct since their duty was finished). Outside what few nests remained was a feeding frenzy of birds and animals; the most notorious one being the Pup that followed the Dragonfly. After most wasps (including the Queen) eaten or somehow killed, this story ends with that Dragonfly flying back to where the Pup first saw it.

    tl;dr It's a song about the feeding frenzy that occurs in forests over 'left-over' nests.
    Onimaruson September 14, 2012   Link
  • +6
    Song MeaningThis is my opinion but after listening to and reading the lyrics very closely I can safely say this is not about WWII. This song is most certainly about war, possibly one that occurred in Iceland (where the band is from) [Note: I have little knowledge of Icelandic History] or just in general.

    To return to WWII the song states that "Dirty Paws" (The title character), the creatures of snow, and the Birds killed the "queen bee and all her men". This is problematic for the WWII interpretation as the allies did not kill Adolf Hitler but rather he committed suicide. To further this thought: Iceland was neutral in WWII and actually protested against the British invading their territories.

    I think the most logical answer is that this is a simple story of the Bees declaring an unnecessary war and the friendship of the birds, the creatures of snow, and Dirty Paws battling with and ultimately winning against the Queen Bee and her men. Oh and of course the lovely intro about a Man/Woman and his/her son's dragonfly telling the story.
    jomo_1986on September 06, 2012   Link
  • +5
    Song MeaningThe song is a folksong about how it came to be that Iceland use to have no bees.
    The folk song is a story of how the bees were destroyed by a war between them and the birds and cats.
    Bees were introduced to Iceland from Norway.
    SniperCaton January 08, 2013   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThis song is not about WWII. It is obviously about nature vs. nature, with a hint of man vs. nature (forest colored black by killing machines; but I think that part was just a deferral in the animals' war). But it really is about animals preserving their territories against each other.

    I'd rather see it as a fun made up land of happiness and minimal feuds though; like they had a problem, solved it, and now it's over and happy again. Let's not think too much about it and just enjoy the wonderful sound :)
    howdidwegethereon October 20, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentEveryone is explicating this song as about a war between animals, with which I agree, but we can't look at it literally. The most important line of the song is the first line of the song, and the album, and it was important enough to be the album's title as well:

    Jumping up and down the floor, ~my head is an animal~

    THEN the story begins. We are being directed to look at the entire story through the lens of metaphor. Just my humble opinion :-)
    beregondon December 29, 2012   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI think that this song is about the war between mother nature and us humans. The son is most likely represents us humans. Mowing the lawn we are destroying our land. The rest of the song describes the animals and bugs mother nature used to fight back against us humans (we are the bees). "The forest that once was green" The land we've destroyed trying to please ourselves. In the end mother nature wins and destroys us, the bees.
    gschoener1on April 18, 2013   Link
  • +2
    My OpinionI believe songs are to be deciphered, translated, decoded, whether the artists meaning is the same or different, in our own way and according to our lives at the moment of reading or listening to the lyrics. Of course this only applies to music that has lyrics that are worth listening, and this band is one of those that know how to be successful on that point. I prefer listening to a song that means something and not about repeating the same words over and over with a mediocre rhythm and computerized voices to turn that horrible one into an average one. No one is wrong; everyone is right. The song will mean whatever you wish it to mean.
    TR33Son August 14, 2013   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationMy interpretation is quite simple:

    "Jumping up and down the floor" - who jumps up and down the floor? A child playing!
    It plays or imagines being an animal ("my head is an animal") or just imagines some scenes from lives of personificated animals.

    So everything is happening in the song (=child's imagination) and can be interpreted quite literally - a family of animals, who have a son, and a lawn, a pet dragonfly, there are magic trees, "bad" bees, furry friends, etc.
    TomekCon August 17, 2013   Link
  • +2
    My OpinionIn my opinion, some of you are over-thinking this. I don't think that they were trying to create some sort of parallel to another specific war in real life, but rather, create a cry of truth. Let me explain myself:

    Sometimes young minds romanticize the idea of war and being a hero. And sometimes it IS epic and fantastical, but sometimes (most of the time) it's tragic and devastating even for those who won. I think that this song is just stating that, or, in other words, saying: what is is, and what will be will be.

    That was probably super confusing, but oh well. :/ I have different theories about this song other than the one above, but this one was the most interesting to me.

    Anyways, that's just my two cents. Love this song btw - cuz you totally needed to know that ;)
    unillamaon September 23, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation"The forest that once was green/Was colored black by those killing machines" makes me think of deforestation and whatnot.
    It seems like a war between the birds and the ground animals, and the bees and possibly man. Could it mean a war between man and animals? Yeah I have no idea
    Delibirdon May 31, 2012   Link

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