Meaning of ”Stubborn Love” by The Lumineers

Written By Michael Miller

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

“Stubborn Love” by The Lumineers weaves a poignant tale of love that’s riddled with pain and endurance. The song portrays the struggles of a tumultuous relationship, illustrated by metaphors of deceit, pain, and perseverance. It’s about the willingness to endure heartache, symbolizing the raw, unyielding nature of true love. This narrative is vividly detailed in the lyrics, depicting a partner who causes harm but is still deeply loved. The key message revolves around enduring pain and embracing love despite hardships, emphasizing that feeling pain is better than feeling nothing—the opposite of love’s indifference.

Dive deeper into the emotional layers and hidden nuances of this touching melody and unravel the thoughts and inspirations of The Lumineers as they penned down this lyrical masterpiece.

“Stubborn Love” Lyrics Meaning

Starting with the depiction of a flawed but fervently loved individual, the lyrics “She’ll lie and steal and cheat, And beg you from her knees,” convey the contradictory nature of love. The singer acknowledges the damaging behavior but admits an undying love regardless. This paradox mirrors real-life relationships, where love is tested but can prevail.

The chorus “When we were young, Oh-oh, we did enough,” seemingly reminisces about a time of innocence and sufficiency, a contrast to the ensuing hardships and colder, harder times reflected by “When it got cold, Ooh-ooh, we bundled up.” Here, the coldness could symbolize emotional detachment or struggles, yet the “bundling up” is an attempt to hold on, to face the challenges together.

The repeated lines, “Keep your head up, keep your love,” serve as a relentless reminder to maintain love and hope even in dire situations. They resonate as words of encouragement and resilience in the face of adversity. The mentioning of “the porch” and “the highway signs” seems to illustrate the distance and the longing, the eagerness to reach out and make amends, and the deep-rooted connection that surpasses physical barriers.

The notion, “It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all. The opposite of love’s indifference,” is particularly striking, as it encapsulates the entire essence of the song—embracing pain is a sign of love’s existence. The indifference or the absence of pain symbolizes a lack of love. This makes “pain” almost a validating feeling, ensuring that love is still alive and worth fighting for.

These layers of meanings and metaphors intertwined with the evocative melody make “Stubborn Love” a deeply moving and thought-provoking song that echoes the intricacies of human relationships and the enduring nature of love.

Why Was “Stubborn Love” Written?

Understanding the backdrop of “Stubborn Love” sheds more light on its profound meanings. The Lumineers, known for their emotive and storytelling songwriting style, often draw inspiration from personal experiences and observations. “Stubborn Love” seems to emanate from a space of contemplation about the duality of love, its capacity to heal and hurt simultaneously.

The song mirrors the emotions and contemplations that come with experiencing love in its multifaceted form. It reflects on the dichotomy of holding onto love amidst pain and challenges, suggesting an internal battle between enduring and letting go.

The Lumineers, through this song, also address the universal theme of human resilience and the relentless pursuit of love. The motifs and metaphors utilized paint a vivid picture of their introspections on love’s enduring and stubborn nature, offering listeners a musical journey through the myriad shades of human relationships.