Little black submarines
Operator please
Put me back on the line
Told my girl I’d be back
Operator please
This is wreckin my mind
Oh can it be
The voices calling me
They get lost
And out of time
I should’ve seen it glow
But everybody knows
That a broken heart is blind
That a broken heart is blind
Pick you up, let you down
When I wanna go
To a place I can hide
You know me, I had plans
But they just disappeared
To the back of my mind
Oh can it be
The voices calling me
They get lost
And out of time
I should’ve seen a glow
But everybody knows
That a broken heart is blind
That a broken heart is blind
Treasure maps fallen trees
Operator please
Call me back when it’s time
Stolen friends and disease
Operator please
Patch me back to my mind
Oh can it be
The voices calling me
They get lost
And out of time
I should’ve seen a glow
But everybody knows
That a broken heart is blind
That a broken heart is blind
That a broken heart is blind


Lyrics submitted by skatterbraind


Little Black Submarines song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +17
    General CommentInstant classic.
    jakeordieon December 05, 2011   Link
  • +14
    General CommentActually, while those are cool ideas, it is about depression. Little black submarines being dark thoughts that drag you under the sea of depression. I've lived this, so I know it. He told his girl he'd be back, but his mind is being wrecked by the dark thoughts, even though he wishes to be reconnected with reality and happiness and do right by her. Later it says "you know me, I had plans, but they just disappeared, to the back of my mind." Obviously because he had darker thoughts on his mind, such as stolen friends, and disease (most likely cancer took friends of his.) I could go deeper and do a blow by blow but I think you get my drift. Oh I will say though you were right about the "I should have seen it glow, but everybody knows, that a broken heart is blind" part. He should have seen the warning signs, but didn't because he was so deep in his depression. Also I think the overall gist of the song is that he let his girl down and lost her, much to his own dismay, because of this horrible depression he couldn't break. Sorry for being so redundant. Hope this helped some to understand, because I think he put it very artfully, much as I have myself in the past.
    Slater421on December 17, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI think this song is about a man who is either in some kind of coma or drug over dose drying to get back to his love and family again. ... Just hear me out.

    Little black submarines
    Operator please -- I believe this is an analogy for god
    Put me back on the line -- consciousness
    Told my girl I’d be back -- Love
    Operator please -- God
    This is wreckin my mind
    Oh can it be
    The voices calling me -- Friends or family
    They get lost
    And out of time -- He can't really sense them or how to get where the voices are coming from
    I should’ve seen it glow -- What he was looking for
    But everybody knows
    That a broken heart is blind
    That a broken heart is blind
    Pick you up, let you down
    When I wanna go
    To a place I can hide --- This and the above are the drugs or whatever happened to get him into this state --
    You know me, I had plans
    But they just disappeared
    To the back of my mind -- He had given up when this OD or accident happened
    Oh can it be
    The voices calling me -- Friend or family
    They get lost
    And out of time -- He can't really sense them or how to get where the voices are coming from
    I should’ve seen a glow -- What he's looking for
    But everybody knows
    That a broken heart is blind
    That a broken heart is blind
    Treasure maps fallen trees -- His mind
    Operator please -- God
    Call me back when it’s time -- Accepting his fate
    Stolen friends and disease -- Accepting his fate
    Operator please -- God
    Patch me back to my mind -- Make him conscious
    Oh can it be
    The voices calling me -- Friends and family
    They get lost
    And out of time -- He can't really sense them or how to get where the voices are coming from
    I should’ve seen a glow -- What he was looking for
    But everybody knows
    That a broken heart is blind
    That a broken heart is blind
    That a broken heart is blind
    DestinyProfoundon May 08, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentFirst time I heard this song, I wondered to myself, "I can't believe I'm listening to a song so amazing in 2011." Instant classic nonetheless.
    luisb723on December 08, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think the operator metaphor is about feeling disconnected with who you want to be with. The titke, little black submarines, is about how he feels in his head like he's inside a submarine and can't get out of inside of it. He hides there sometimes when things get tough and disconnects himself from reality.
    Alien8on December 08, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI believe that this song illustrates the want to find love again, but is lost in his past love(his heartbreak) that he can't get back to the reality that there is love right in front of him.

    like seeing the glow(new love), but his broken heart blinds him
    beanskimoon March 15, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSounds to me like it's just about being disconnected from yourself and the rest of the world... depression and negative emotions.. can't hear your friends and loved ones calling for you because your mind is on autopilot... themes of addiction and denial and out of control behavior covering up the pain of a broken heart which could range anywhere from romantic love to just disillusionment with life... anything more specific than that is conjecture. Great song..
    graceMazinon March 11, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the operator metaphor is about feeling disconnected with who you want to be with. The titke, little black submarines, is about how he feels in his head like he's inside a submarine and can't get out of inside of it. He hides there sometimes when things get tough and disconnects himself from reality.
    Alien8on December 08, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe first part reminds me a little of Dust in the Wind and the second part reminds me of Mary Jane's Last Dance. Not knocking the Black Keys or El Camino, but a lot of the album sounds ripped from the 70s/80s. Then again, what would the kids today know about those decades other than disco/hairmetal so it's new to them.

    Anyway, it's a good song, I think that little black submarines are a metaphor for the things in life that get us off track and can ultimately destroy us. Things that we either don't see coming or lying in wait beneath the surface(ie: submarine can mean to sink from under the surface).
    Badfishrmgon February 06, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation"Little Black Submarines"


    Little black submarines (perhaps some sort of delusion)
    Operator please (This could be talking about God, the "Operator" who tells you where to go.)
    Put me back on the line ("Give me some sense of direction -- I'm drifting.")
    Told my girl I'd be back (I really can't speak on girlfriends... I skip this line)
    Operator please
    This is wreckin' my mind ("I'm going crazy.")

    Oh can it be
    The voices calling me (Someone who isolates themselves from others may think he hears "voices" or may actually be more sensitive than others, and so really DOES hear voices. Maybe this person is hypersensitive to others' emotions. Or, this could be the push and pull of our own good and evil intentions and choices.)
    They get lost
    And out of time (After all of that, things just get messed up and I lose track of time = depression, definitely.)
    I should've seen it glow
    But everybody knows
    That a broken heart is blind (You really can't trust yourself when you're in love. Sometimes it's more like obsession than love. Love is complex, so you can't trust yourself to make the right choice if you are that overwhelmed. Sometimes you gotta just wait it out 'til you get better... if you get better.)
    That a broken heart is blind

    Pick you up, let you down (Ups and downs in life, some kind of tumultuous happening, either mental or part of his environment)
    When I wanna go
    To a place I can hide (He is now very reclusive -- he's in pain)
    You know me, I had plans
    But they just disappeared (Kind of like saying, "Fuck it." I lost the girl, why care about the future. Now that she's gone, who cares about the future?)

    To the back of my mind (I'm more focused on my situation than on my plans for the future.)
    Oh can it be
    The voices calling me
    They get lost
    And out of time
    I should've seen a glow
    But everybody knows
    That a broken heart is blind
    That a broken heart is blind

    Treasure maps, fallen trees (Childhood thoughts or ambitions, and then shattered dreams as one grows up, or perhaps personal failures and fumbles... the good and the bad.)
    Operator please
    Call me back when it's time (Ok, God, let me know when you need me to move on. Otherwise, I'm just going to wallow in my self-destructive pattern of thought and action.)
    Stolen friends and disease (Friends betrayed him, and he's lost dear ones to disease: physical, mental, spiritual... people change.)
    Operator please
    Patch me back to my mind (Make me sane again.)

    Oh can it be
    The voices calling me
    They get lost
    And out of time
    I should've seen a glow
    But everybody knows
    That a broken heart is blind
    That a broken heart is blind
    That a broken heart is blind
    Tandem713on January 09, 2013   Link

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