Meaning of “Black Flies” by Ben Howard

Written By Michael Miller

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

“Black Flies” by Ben Howard is a song about the complexities of human connection and the struggle to find one’s place in the world. The lyrics depict a sense of isolation, longing, and the constant battle between individuality and the need for companionship. Ben Howard uses vivid imagery of black flies, winter, and rivers to symbolize the challenges and hardships in life. Ultimately, the song conveys the idea that while no one is an island, the journey to understand oneself and others can be a lonely and difficult one.

“Discover the hidden layers of emotion and meaning in Ben Howard’s haunting song ‘Black Flies.’ Dive into the lyrical landscape that explores the human desire for connection, the harshness of life’s challenges, and the quest to find one’s true self. Uncover the profound message behind this soulful composition that will resonate with your heart.”

“Black Flies” Lyrics Meaning

The lyrics of “Black Flies” take us on a journey through the intricate tapestry of human emotions and experiences.

Black Flies on the Windowsill: The opening lines introduce the image of black flies, symbolizing life’s bothersome challenges and distractions. These “flies” are a metaphor for the hardships and difficulties that we all face.

Winter Stole Summer’s Thrill: Winter represents hardship and loss, stealing away the warmth and joy of summer. This line conveys the idea of life’s unpredictable and sometimes harsh nature.

The Sky is No Man’s Land: The sky being “no man’s land” suggests a sense of emptiness and desolation. It’s a place where hope can be elusive.

Hope Needs a Humble Hand: This line emphasizes the importance of humility in finding hope amidst life’s challenges. It suggests that we must approach hope with a sense of modesty and openness.

No Man is an Island: This recurring refrain highlights the central theme of the song. It acknowledges the fundamental human need for connection and companionship.

Maybe You Were the Ocean: This metaphor suggests that someone else might have been a source of strength or depth in the speaker’s life when they were just a “stone” or an unformed individual.

Comfort Came Against My Will: This line reflects the idea that sometimes, we resist comfort or change, perhaps because it means leaving behind familiar pain.

I’ll Be a Traveler: The speaker expresses a willingness to keep moving forward, to face life’s challenges with the determination of a traveler.

The Road is Wearier: The presence of a “fool” in one’s life can make the journey more challenging, perhaps hinting at toxic relationships or distractions.

Why Was “Black Flies” Written?

Ben Howard wrote “Black Flies” to capture the essence of human struggle, the longing for connection, and the difficulty of finding one’s path in life. It is a reflection on the universal human experience of navigating through hardships, seeking companionship, and dealing with the complications that arise along the way. The song likely draws from personal experiences and emotions, making it all the more relatable to listeners.

In conclusion, “Black Flies” by Ben Howard is a lyrical masterpiece that delves into the profound complexities of existence. It reminds us that while we may not be islands, the journey to understanding ourselves and our place in the world can be a challenging and solitary one.