Lyrical Life Lessons: ‘Ho Hey’ by The Lumineers Teaches Us To Belong

The Lumineers are simply superb, which is the reason they are the focus of this installment of Lyrical Life Lessons. Seriously, listening to them makes me want to learn to play a unique, unappreciated instrument like the banjo and beg to be a part of their front porch-loving indie rock trio. All of their songs are insanely soulful and wonderful (‘Flowers in Your Hair’, ‘Stubborn Love’, ‘Classy Girls’), but recently I uncovered and I’ve formed a particular bond with their catchy, chart-topping hit ‘Ho Hey’. I have been doing a great deal of thinking about what truly makes us happy in life, and it just might be that The Lumineers have figured it out. Plus, when I play it really loud in my car with the windows down, I feel like I am living in the opening sequence of a romantic comedy – and who doesn’t want to imagine their life in cinematic sequence once in a while?

Ultimately, I believe ‘Ho Hey’ to most likely be about real-life love, what happens when soulmates who belong together end up apart, which I can respect. However, songwriters and bandmates Schultz and Fraites should know their words also have a much broader meaning. The entirety of the tune is based on belonging to someone, belonging together. As I listened to it on repeat for a few weeks straight, the stars aligned and I realized: at the end of the day, that is all any of us really want; each of us just wants to know that we belong.

Like the singers of the song, we’re all working hard, trying to get it right on a daily basis, and sometimes it can feel a bit lonely. Love and life are similar in that way; they make you work for all the happiness they have the potential to provide, toss you around in the process until you feel rather lost. The great equalizer is having that feeling of belonging to someone or something; knowing that we belong to a unit bigger than ourselves that can answer our hope for love when we need it most, help us make sense of the mess we sometimes make. All in all, our feeling of belonging is often times our greatest source of of joy, while doubling as the aspect of life that allows us to wade through the lesser times with a bit of grace.

As ‘Ho Hey’ has been on my playlist for months now, it has acted as the theme song to many a “Sunday Funday” and holiday road trips. On one particular afternoon, as I loudly sang along, I felt happier than I had in a long time. There was nothing extraordinary about the day or the events within those 24 hours, but I was sincerely happy. In the moment, I was living the very lesson this song taught me; I was finishing out an entire weekend spent with one of my best friends, a person who grants me the gift of always feeling like I have somewhere I belong. A similar feeling came over me while I was home for holiday and I let the lyrics sink in a little further while preparing for Christmas with my family. Whether it is your very best friends, your soulmate, your family or a place that you call home, each of us has an aspect of our lives that provides a sense of belonging. When we experience this, we experience the greatest joy in life. A weight is lifted as we realize we will always have a place in this world where we fit.

Now, on days where I am feeling a little lost or lonely, I play this song with a little extra volume behind is because I feel The Lumineers ultimately believe in the concept of belonging as well. You can hear it in their voices when they belt out my favorite lyrics with soul and heart in a way that only someone who believes can; it makes me truly thankful for those that I know I always belong to…

“I belong with you, you belong with me,

You’re my sweetheart.

I belong with you, you belong with me,

You’re my sweet.”

After all, we each just want to feel there is a person or a place out there to which we can run and belong. In the words of our beloved The Lumineers, “Love, we need it now; let’s hope for some.”

I also hope that the next time you play this song, you do so loudly and imagine yourself as the leading lady in the hit romantic comedy of 2013; it’s most certainly the best way to experience the lyrics!