It's a very personal story, so I won't elaborate upon too much. Suffice to say, it was a situation in my life I wasn't very happy with or proud of... and sometimes when you can't describe a feeling with your own words, it's almost easier to express in a song. And then, when you get asked about the songs, it's quite difficult to explain. It's a conundrum – you don't want to seem self-indulgent explaining yourself; it's always awkward. Which is weird again, because it's never awkward actually singing them. I suppose the song should stand on its own and people draw their own interpretation from the words. But for me, personally, it's the lyrics that I listen to again and again in a song. I place specific importance on them. I can't write lyrics unless I really feel them and mean them, which can sometimes be quite frustrating – because if you're not feeling much at the time, you're stuck.
I guess the sound of it grabs you a little bit by the balls – it's quite an aggressive song, a bit more of a punch in the face. Or at least, for our stuff, anyway – a lot of our stuff isn't quite as hard-hitting as that. It felt like the right song to be the single because it represented the harder, darker side of what we do, and at the same time, the more folksy and punchy side.
"Little Lion Man" debuted on the UK Singles Chart on 20 September 2009 at number 72. The following week the single climbed eleven places to number 61. On 4 October 2009, the single climbed to number 47, before climbing into the Top 40 at a peak of number 24 on its fourth week in the chart. The single fell ten places to number 34 before falling to number 47 on 25 October 2009, meaning it only spent two weeks within the Top 40. The song found its biggest success in Australia, debuting at number 23 in October before eventually reaching a peak of number 3 in February 2010.
In the US, "Little Lion Man" entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated 28 August 2010, when it debuted at No. 98. It has since reached No. 61 but has re-entered at No. 45 after a performance at the Grammys. It has sold 2,336,000 digital copies there as of April 2013.