There is an old-wives/Farmer's Almanac weather adage that says March “comes in like a lion, out like a lamb.” As residents of Southern California, we are pretty much disqualified from every saying about weather ever, although a few days ago we actually experienced gusting winds that fittingly sounded like the creepy roar of a lion. Scary as the idea is of a blood-thirsty lion pounding at your window to rip you apart, lions are also cultural symbols of bravery, sex, love, and ultimate life mastery. This dichotomy between instinctive violence and beautiful strength is why musicians have been using the symbol of the lion as a musical metaphor for decades, gifting us with our Favorite Songs About Lions.
10. Singapore Kane– ” target=”_blank”>”Lion Tamer”
A relatively unknown, Jamaican-born, Boston-based Singapore Kane is taming the over-produced, auto-tuned hip-hop beast with his stylish, old-school flow and laces of Caribbean rhythm. Kane literally just dropped his album Wrath of Kane a couple of days ago. Let's see if he can do what he brags he can, like “in the circus, some niggers' clown/I tame lions control my destiny instead of name blame crying.”
9. Animal Collective–” target=”_blank”>”Lion in a Coma”
Neo-psychedelic tripsters Animal Collective have single-handedly dominated the musical niche of weird, wonderful, and animal-related. The druggy boing-boing jangle of “Lion in a Coma” is a great complement to Animal Collective's somewhat solemn lyrical reminder that because of the repetitive grind of modernity, our primal souls can be trapped like “lion in a coma, lion in a coma/who wants to smell the fine aroma/lion in a coma, lion in a coma/who wants to run but cannot roam/a lion in a coma, lion in a coma/who wants to use his aching bones.” And we should do something about that.
8. Lauryn Hill–” target=”_blank”>”The Conquering Lion”
Soulful chanteuse Lauryn Hill has been simultaneously resurrecting and killing her career softly with her diva-ish lioness ways. We may be put off by her pride, but we certainly cannot underestimate the power of her roar. During her MTV Unplugged show, Hill sang Rastafarian classic, “The Conquering Lion,” her raspy voice emotionally declaring, “The conquering lion shall break every chain/Give him the victory again and again and again and again.”
7. One Day As A Lion–” target=”_blank”>”One Day As A Lion”
Rage Against The Machine's Zack de la Rocha and Mars Volta's Jon Theodore's punk-rap side project of lionhearted politicos, One Day As Lion's song by the same title is exactly what you would expect from the talented, angry, and hungry for justice. De la Rocha emotes an animalistic growl as he mocks the “system,” warning “after dark my city's a fuse/One day I say today we live as a lion/And when our cubs grow/We'll show you what war is good for.”
6. Iron & Wine–” target=”_blank”>”Lion's Mane”
Singer-songwriter Sam Beam of Iron & Wine has a way of turning even one of the most vicious creatures of the jungle into a soft, sad plaything. In “Lion's Mane,” Beam elaborates on the different ways love can manifest itself, whether as happiness, sadness or tentative courage: “Love's the best sensation/hiding in the lion's mane.”
5. Kid Cudi–” target=”_blank”>”Heart of a Lion”
Kooky, addiction-addled alternative rap star Kid Cudi is still in his “lion cub” stage and hasn't yet killed the alpha males trying to dominate his musical pride. But according to his song “Heart of a Lion,” he's utilizing a reservoir of courage wide as an African jungle: “At the end of the day, day you cant regret it if you were trying if you were trying/at the end of the day I'm walking with a heart of a lion.”
4. Bob Marley–” target=”_blank”>”Wounded Lion In A Jungle”
While reggae king Bob Marley is known for his lion song, “Iron Lion Zion,” we argue that his best “lion” song is an obscure reggae rarity from 1979 called “Wounded Lion In A Jungle.” Gritty and lo-fi, Bob Marley's voice creaks passionately over his lyrical call for a revolution, equating the state of his courageous, yet injured soul to “a wounded lion in the jungle.”
3. Lil Wayne & Birdman–” target=”_blank”>”Stuntin' Like Mufasa” (Mash-Up By DJ DoYou)
Really, this isn't a lion song, just a clever mash-up of Lil Wayne & Birdman's “Stuntin' Like My Daddy” with “Circle of Life” from Disney's The Lion King. Visualizing Simba with a grill and face tatts while grinding on Nala appeals to the perversity of our increasingly twisted imaginations.
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs–” target=”_blank”>”Gold Lion”
Karen O's shrieky croon on the slightly gothic post-punk parable “Gold Lion” reminds us that despite the infectious quality of the song, we have never decided what exactly the “gold lion” is and why it's “gonna tell me where the light is.” But we still can't help being brainwashed into mindlessly chanting “gold lion gonna tell me where the light is” anytime the word lion or gold is mentioned.
1. Mumford & Sons–” target=”_blank”>”Little Lion Man”
While there are plenty of other contenders for Top Lion Song that haven't even made this list (including The Tokens' “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”), “Little Lion Man” is currently one of the most pervasive tunes about lions on mainstream radio. Couple sublimely poetic lyrics like “tremble little lion man/you'll never settle any of your scores/your grace is wasted in your face/your boldness stands alone among the wreck/now learn from your mother or else spend your days biting your own neck” with Marcus Mumford's banjo-kickdrum-tambourine-singing-dimple-flashing talents and you're reminded why the lion isn't just the king of the jungle, he's also the lustful lover that spawned an entire pride of future competition. Which could easily be a metaphor for the inevitable multi-instrumentalist Mumford & Sons knock-offs which are bound to ensue.