The Rubberbandits: the true meanings behind the songs

The 'hardcore gangster rap' duo from Limerick explain the true meanings behind their songs

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  • © Steve Ullathorne

    Philosophical metaphors, or literal lyrics about ‘spastic’ birds and befriending children? We examine the theories behind the songs of plastic-bag wearing Irish duo the Rubberbandits, and ask the pair for the true meanings.

    Flick through the slideshow for theories and meanings behind 'Horse Outside', 'Spastic Hawk', 'I Wanna Fight Your Father', 'Black Man' and 'Spoiling Ivan', and to watch all the music videos.

  • 1. 'Horse Outside'

    The theory
    Many believe this song is about Ireland’s socioeconomic situation. The cars mentioned – Honda Civic, Subaru, Mitsubishi – represent the materialism and overspending that caused the recession. The protagonist rejects this in favour of a horse and a lady; organic, earthy themes that reflect a yearning for simpler times.

    The Rubberbandits say
    ‘There simply weren’t enough songs about horses in the charts – we wanted to bring equine song back on the radio. We don’t know nothing about economics.’

    1. 'Horse Outside'
  • 2. 'Spastic Hawk'

    The theory
    The hawk represents the outcast, tormented by his feathered friends for being different, eventually gaining freedom by fleeing the cage, which is a metaphor for teenage suicide.

    The Rubberbandits say
    ‘We have pet hawks to keep our enemies at bay. Anyway, one was a spastic, and the others rejected him. We felt sorry for the poor cunt so we let him free. In the song he manages to fly away. In reality, he didn’t. A spastic hawk cannot survive in the wild.’

    2. 'Spastic Hawk'
  • 3. 'I Wanna Fight Your Father'

    The theory
    A modern take on the Montagues and Capulets. The ‘father’ the protagonist wishes to ‘fight’ is capitalist class structure.

    The Rubberbandits say
    ‘Again, this is based on a true story. Our friend Benylin was kissing this girl on the couch in her house. He took off his clothes, but the girl’s father walked in, so he stood up and asked her Da outside for a fight, while he was naked, with a condom on. We left out the bits about the boner so TV stations would show the video during the day.’

    3. 'I Wanna Fight Your Father'
  • 4. 'Black Man'

    The theory
    A cold analysis of racial stereotypes. The song asks the listener to consider abandoning tribal thinking in favour of cultural unification.

    The Rubberbandits say
    ‘We wanted to put together one of those gangs you see in ’80s films. You have to have at least one black lad or else it’s not a proper gang.’

    4. 'Black Man'
  • 5. 'Spoiling Ivan'

    The theory
    One theory suggests that this song poses questions about the moral panic surrounding pederasty in today’s society. However, another theory suggests that the protagonist is befriending his own inner child in order to become a complete adult.

    What the Rubberbandits say
    ‘This song is another true story, and it’s about being best friends with a six-year-old child that we’re not related to.’

    5. 'Spoiling Ivan'

© Steve Ullathorne

Philosophical metaphors, or literal lyrics about ‘spastic’ birds and befriending children? We examine the theories behind the songs of plastic-bag wearing Irish duo the Rubberbandits, and ask the pair for the true meanings.

Flick through the slideshow for theories and meanings behind 'Horse Outside', 'Spastic Hawk', 'I Wanna Fight Your Father', 'Black Man' and 'Spoiling Ivan', and to watch all the music videos.


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