What does Little Black Submarines mean?

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The Black Keys: Little Black Submarines Meaning

Song Released: 2011

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Little Black Submarines Lyrics

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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...


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    Sep 18th, 9:29pm report

    If you've never been dead and resuscitated then u might not understand the lines..Oh can it be
    The voices calling me they get lost and out of time...in my personal experience you hear the voices of ppl you've lost in life when ur drifting between this plane and the next and they do gt lost and out of time (sync)..usually because you're in the process of being brought back to this one..I wish everyone finds some kinda love in this life and that you never have to delve so deeply into drugs or depression that u truly overstand this. Peace and Abundance all you beautiful humans out there


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    Jan 8th, 2019 1:31pm report

    It's about a Navy Seal's radio communication on a fast capture or kill mission against a known terrorist stronghold. The song is the words of a Hero in the field. Little black Submarines are the teams' insertion method into deep hostile territory. The Operator is their forward command center. The Seal is radioing asking the Operator to correct his course several times because the subs guidance is out and manual course corrections are needed. Without them, he won't make it to the objective alive. The stealth subs are small, oxygen is limited, and he can't surface since detection is certain being right under hostile troops. The stress is eating at him causing him to consider turning away and he has lost track of plans to react because he knows he won't make it back to the love he's fighting for if the sub fails. His mind constantly fades back to his girl and it breaks his heart to know he might not make it back because of failed equipment. He blames himself for not seeing the malfunction light glow to switch to the backup systems but didn't notice with the stress of the guidance problem so radio transmissions are now also messed up. There are a few quiet beats of tense pause for final position to join the team and a sudden cut to uptempo instrumental guitar signals his landing and background engagements due to the teams' detection by hostile forces. The final verse is the last compressed coded radio call outs telling the Operator the treasure map (Intel is good, target is there) fallen trees (under fire) call me back when it's time (tell him when the extract is there) stolen friends (man down) the repeated broken heart is blind is stress taking control. This is signaling the Operator it's no longer a capture mission they've been compromised, all hostile forces are going down. Stepping away from the radio to go to work with the rest of his team the remaining notes are the sounds of a firefight. The first cords are a couple volleys of fire. Then the exchange picks up with every note of the broken riffs being a bullet incoming and outgoing. The final picks are the Seals coming out victorious as the final shots down the last remaining assailant. ...Fuck drugs, depressing junkies.


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    Jun 19th, 2016 6:25am report

    99% of the black keys' songs are metaphors about heroin addiction. .Under a microscope, heroin molecules in the bloodstream look like little black submarines. "Operator please put me back on the line" means he needs the fix. "Treasuremaps" is an old school reference for needle track marks, because they can resemble pirate- map type treasure maps in movies when they get bad., etc. There are always many interpretations, that what makes a popular song, but an experienced heroin addict can REALLY identify with these songs of depth and sorrow. The love and hate. The up and down. Figured I'd throw that out there. Appreciate the music but for the love of God stay away from heroin.


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    Sep 3rd, 2013 9:58am report

    Always heard him say, "should have seen it go" as in his mind exiting following in pursuit his mind. A "glow" is comparable, however in that it is just as likely incomprehensible as the certian path of the said "broken heart."


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    Apr 3rd, 2013 4:33pm report

    its about LOVE


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    Feb 22nd, 2013 2:32pm report

    It's about a guy in a coma. The operator is God and he's asking him to patch him back to his mind... The "voices calling me" are people trying to talk to him in the hospital.


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    Nov 8th, 2012 11:02am report

    It's about addiction

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