My Head Is an Animal

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My Head Is an Animal
My Head Is An Animal.jpg
Studio album by
Released20 September 2011 (In Iceland)
3 April 2012 (Internationally)
Recorded26–28 March 2011;
9–25 January 2012
StudioStudio Syrland, Vatnagarðar, Reykjavík[1]
Genre
Length59:38
LabelRecord, Republic
ProducerOf Monsters and Men, Aron Arnarsson, Jacquire King
Of Monsters and Men chronology
My Head Is an Animal
(2011)
Live from Vatnagarðar
(2013)
Icelandic release
Of Monsters and Men - My Head Is an Animal (Iceland).jpg
Singles from My Head Is an Animal
  1. "Little Talks"
    Released: 20 December 2011
  2. "Dirty Paws"
    Released: 12 April 2012
  3. "Mountain Sound"
    Released: 2 September 2012
  4. "King and Lionheart"
    Released: 3 March 2013

My Head Is an Animal is the debut studio album by the Icelandic indie folk band Of Monsters and Men,[2] released through Record Records in Iceland on 20 September 2011. After their success, topping the Icelandic charts with their debut single, "Little Talks", the band signed with Universal Music Group and the album was released internationally through Republic Records on 3 April 2012. The title of the album comes from the second line in "Dirty Paws".

Cover art[edit]

The front of the international release is a photograph that Brynjar's grandfather took of his friend. The original was black and white; Arnar Hilmarsson added the coloring. The back is a family photograph that Ragnar found in his family pictures.[3]

The pictures on the front and back of the Icelandic release depict men dressed for the Icelandic national sport of Glima.

Release and promotion[edit]

Singles[edit]

"Little Talks" was released as the debut single by the band, and the lead single from My Head Is an Animal on 20 December 2011,[4] after it had been released as a promo to radio stations in the US and Europe in July 2011.[5] The single propelled the band to nationwide popularity in the US, and has so far sold a million copies there.[6] The success of the single in the US led to the band's signing with Universal Music Group, and the single, along with a revised version of My Head Is an Animal was released in North America on 3 April 2012.[7] The music video for the song debuted in February 2012.

"Dirty Paws" served as the second single from My Head Is an Animal in the UK and Ireland. It was released on 12 April 2012, in the lead up to the album's re-release in Europe. A promotional single followed in June.[8]

"Six Weeks" was released as a promotional single from the album in the UK and Ireland. It was released as a digital download on 27 August 2012.[9]

"Mountain Sound" was released in the US as the second single from the album, and the fourth overall. Seeing a release worldwide as the follow-up to "Little Talks" as well, it was released on 2 September 2012.[10] A music video to accompany the single was released on 24 September.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic66/100[11]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[12]
Beats Per Minute81%[13]
Paste[14]
Rolling Stone[15]
Sputnikmusic[16]

The album received positive reviews from music critics. On Metacritic it currently holds a rating of 66/100, signifying generally favourable reviews.[17]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted in the United States at number six on the Billboard 200, selling 55,000 units in its first week alone.[18] This marked the best chart performance for an Icelandic musical artist in U.S. history.[18][19] The previous chart record was held by Björk's Volta, which peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200 in 2009.[18] In January 2014, the band announced via Facebook that the album had achieved platinum certification in the United States.[20] As of June 2015, the album has sold 1.1 million copies in the US.[21]

Track listing[edit]

All songs are credited to Of Monsters and Men, but were actually written by the band's individuals and/or others. The actual writers are listed alongside the tracks.[22]

Original Iceland release
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Dirty Paws"Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar Þórhallsson4:26
2."King and Lionheart"Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir4:35
3."Numb Bears"Ragnar Þórhallsson, Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson2:45
4."Sloom"Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar Þórhallsson, Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson4:42
5."Little Talks"Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar Þórhallsson4:24
6."From Finner"Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar Þórhallsson, Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson, Brynjar Leifsson3:41
7."Six Weeks"Ragnar Þórhallsson, Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson5:32
8."Love Love Love"Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir4:02
9."Your Bones"Ragnar Þórhallsson4:07
10."Lakehouse"Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar Þórhallsson, Brynjar Leifsson5:42
11."Yellow Light" (ends at 4:52; hidden song "Sinking Man" starts at 13:04)Ragnar Þórhallsson15:45
Total length:59:38
Universal Music Group re-issue
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Dirty Paws" 4:38
2."King and Lionheart" 4:33
3."Mountain Sound"Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar Þórhallsson, Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson3:35
4."Slow and Steady"Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar Þórhallsson, Hilmarsson, Árni Guðjónsson, Brynjar Leifsson, Kristján Páll Kristjánsson5:01
5."From Finner" 3:43
6."Little Talks" 4:26
7."Six Weeks" 5:34
8."Love Love Love" 3:58
9."Your Bones" 4:09
10."Sloom" 4:43
11."Lakehouse" 4:35
12."Yellow Light" 4:52
Total length:53:47
Universal Music Group re-issue; iTunes bonus tracks
No.TitleLength
13."Numb Bears"2:44
14."Little Talks" (music video)4:11
Total length:60:42
10th anniversary edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Dirty Paws" 4:38
2."King and Lionheart" (2011 Iceland release version) 4:44
3."Numb Bears" (2011 Iceland release version) 2:45
4."Sloom" 4:44
5."Little Talks" 4:26
6."From Finner" 3:42
7."Six Weeks" 5:32
8."Love Love Love" 3:57
9."Your Bones" 4:07
10."Lakehouse" (2011 Iceland release version) 5:56
11."Yellow Light" 4:53
12."Sinking Man" (2011 Iceland release version)Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar Þórhallsson2:49
13."Phantom"Ragnar Þórhallsson, Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir4:42
14."Sugar in a Bowl"Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar Þórhallsson2:48
Total length:59:50

Personnel[edit]

Music and lyric videos[edit]

All music and lyric videos (except for the "Mountain Sound" music video, filmed live in Iceland) were produced and directed by Canadian production firm WeWereMonkeys. To create the video series, WeWereMonkeys drew inspiration from Nordic Mythology, suggestions from the band members and lyrics of the songs, to which they listened "over and over". They also travelled to Iceland, where they studied the landscape, in order to get ideas for the videos' settings. Several techniques were employed in the production, from live action to CGI, from stop-motion to digital painting.[23][24] The videos were praised, with the "Little Talks" music video receiving a nomination in the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards for "Best Art Direction in a Video".[25][26]

Music videos[edit]

No.TitleMusicDate of releaseLength
1."Little Talks"The male members of the band portray a group of sky-sailors, who are joined by a female creature, played by Nanna, and together they travel across an Iceland-inspired fantastical landscape, facing difficulties and mythical creatures, before reaching their destination.2 February 20124:14
2."Mountain Sound"The official music video was filmed on 7 July 2012 and features the band performing live in Reykjavík.14 September 20124:00
3."King and Lionheart"The video follows the story of two royal siblings in a war-torn kingdom. After having been captured and separated by the invaders, they are rescued by two animal-like spirits, and try to reach out to each other. The video ends in a cliffhanger, with their sorts remaining unknown.12 April 20124:26

Lyric videos[edit]

No.TitleLyricsDate of releaseLength
1."Dirty Paws"The lyric video features a black-furred beast carrying a flag through a blizzard while mythical birds fly overhead.29 July 20144:34
2."King and Lionheart"The lyric video features the same setting of the official music video. The capital city of a prosperous kingdom being observed from distance by the future invaders. While the song plays a heavy rain starts to fall on the city.29 July 20144:29
3."Mountain Sound"The lyric video features horses galloping through a rocky landscape covered with snow.30 July 20143:31
4."Slow and Steady"The lyric video features a bird flying over a snowy landscape.31 July 20144:58
5."From Finner"The lyric video features a huge sea monster carrying a village on its back.31 July 20143:43
6."Little Talks"The lyric video features the same scenery of the music video, with the same airship carrying the six band members.2 August 20144:22
7."Six Weeks"The lyric video features a forest on a winter night with a giant occasionally walking past.3 August 20145:31
8."Love Love Love"The lyric video features a Minotaur on a boat, staring at the water, during a rainstorm while a sea dragon, beneath the surface, stares at him.4 August 20143:55
9."Your Bones"The lyric video features a boat made out of bones sailing away into the sunset and eventually bursting into flames.5 August 20144:07
10."Sloom"The lyric video features a swamp with various creatures occasionally breaking the surface.29 August 20144:41
11."Lakehouse"The lyric video features a very tall house with fur and eyes.7 August 20144:33
12."Yellow Light"The lyric video features beasts walking through a windy landscape at sunset, carrying other creatures on their back.8 August 20144:47
13."Numb Bears"The lyric video features an Anteater-like animal walking through what seems to be tall grass but at the end is revealed to be the fur on the back of an enormous Bull-like creature.9 August 20142:42
14."Sinking Man"The lyric video features Jellyfish swimming away from the camera as it sinks.29 August 20142:45

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Certifications and sales for My Head Is an Animal
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[67] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[68] 2× Platinum 160,000^
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[69] Gold 10,000double-dagger
Germany (BVMI)[70] Platinum 200,000double-dagger
Iceland 27,000[71]
Ireland (IRMA)[72] Gold 7,500^
Italy (FIMI)[73] Gold 25,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[74] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[76] Gold 270,347[75]
United States (RIAA)[77] Platinum 1,093,000[21]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

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