Meaning of “Animal” by Def Leppard

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

“Animal” is a rocking testament to unbridled desire. Through its powerful lyrics, it depicts an overwhelming passion that’s raw, wild, and primal. At its core, it’s about intense attraction and an almost uncontrollable lust. The song portrays love as something untamed, comparing it to the unpredictable nature of wild animals. It’s not just about a person, but rather the idea of being consumed by a feeling so strong that it makes you act instinctually, without restraint. Written during a time when the band was gaining significant popularity, it might also be seen as a reflection of their wild lifestyle and yearning for the next thrill.

Dive deeper into the untamed world of “Animal” and discover its secrets.

“Animal” Lyrics Meaning

Starting off with “A wild ride, over stony ground”, the song sets the tone of a journey that’s rocky and unpredictable, much like the nature of intense attraction. This line might suggest the roller-coaster emotions involved in such relationships.

“Such a lust for life, the circus comes to town” – Here, life’s tumultuous events are compared to a circus – chaotic, entertaining, and full of unexpected moments. Lust, in this case, isn’t just about physical desire but an enthusiasm for life’s thrills.

The chorus – “And I want, and I need, and I lust, animal” – is a direct admission of the singer’s primal desires. It’s raw and direct, emphasizing the instinctual, uncontrollable nature of these feelings. The repetition stresses the relentless intensity of this passion.

“I cry wolf, given mouth-to-mouth”. The imagery here plays on the idea of crying out in desperation and the life-saving act of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, symbolizing an intense need for connection.

As we delve into “I’m running with the wind, a shadow in the dust”, we get the feeling of someone on the chase, perhaps chasing their desires or being pursued by their own passions.

Towards the climax, “Cry wolf baby, cry tough. Going to hunt you like an a-a-animal. Going to take your love and run” – The predator-prey dynamic is evident. It’s a play on the chase, the game of love and attraction, and the balance of power in relationships.

Finally, the variations in the outro with “take me, tame me, make me your animal” further demonstrate the longing to be possessed, to submit to these wild instincts, and to become one with that primal energy.

Why Was “Animal” Written?

At the time when Def Leppard wrote “Animal”, they were at the height of their success, navigating the chaotic world of rock ‘n’ roll. The wild lifestyle, the constant touring, and the whirlwind of emotions could have influenced their writing. The song can be seen as a reflection of this tumultuous period in their lives.

Additionally, the raw energy and untamed passion described in the lyrics might have been a reflection of the band’s state of mind – hungry for more, constantly chasing the next thrill, and fully immersing themselves in the rock lifestyle. This state of being, where everything feels heightened and more intense, is perfectly encapsulated in the song’s unapologetic lyrics and roaring melodies.