If you’re here because your grandma collects little glass sculptures of animals, you’re in the wrong place. But, if you’re looking for the band Glass Animals, and especially the best Glass Animals songs of all time – welcome!
This UK-based group is the brainchild of musician and songwriter Dave Bayley (vocals, guitar, keys), with a band made up of his friends Drew McFarlane (guitar, keys), Edmund Irwin-Singer (bass, keys), and Joe Seaward (Drums, percussion). They play an interesting mélange of Indie Rock, Pop, Psychedelic, and Electronic music that truly has its own unique aesthetic.
While they started playing together in 2010, they really picked up steam in the past few years. And they have even picked up a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. So, Glass Animals is a band to keep on your radar. For now, let’s look at the best songs by Glass Animals.
Top 55 Best Glass Animals Songs of All Time
Cocoa Hooves (2012)
The first thing that got this band noticed was their 4-song Leaflings EP which they put out in 2012. This was the record that introduced their sound to the world. “Cocoa Hooves” is the first track from this EP and easily the most interesting. This song has an incredible atmosphere, and it’s hard to believe that it was self-produced by Bayley.
Bayley’s voice is strong and smooth on this track. It stands out well against the background of squidgy beats and wet synth sounds that create a dream-like atmosphere. Simple guitar strumming and a minimalistic bass line outline the track. But it’s also full of odd sound effects and electronic sounds. The backing vocals and layering of the lead vocals really add to the creation of a dreamscape.
What’s it about?
Like most of Bayley’s lyrics, this song is artsy and poetic, and, therefore, open to interpretation. Here’s a sample for you to pick away at – “Why don’t you play with bows and arrows? – Why don’t you dance like you’re sick in your mind? – Why don’t you set your wings on fire?”
To follow up on the interest generated by their Leaflings EP, the band put out their self-titled Glass Animals EP in 2013. This record was another short release with just four tracks, but they were all new and interesting. I think “Psylla” is the best track from this EP. And it was later re-released on the deluxe edition of their first full-length album.
“Psylla” opens up with a very cool minimal but sort of tribal beat with drums and a tambourine. It’s chilled out and slow but still makes you want to shake it.
This beat is sexy…
Bayley’s voice comes in as he chants more than sings the lyrics. As with the previous track, an atmosphere is created here by layering vocal tracks and adding in electronic noises and samples. The bass is also thick and full, giving the track a thick cinematic atmosphere.
There’s also tension here, especially in the lyrics. Bayley sings, “I wanna make it right – I wanna make you cry,” creating an image of really conflicted feelings, even if he sings this line quite sweetly.
In 2014, the band put out some new material in the form of their Pools EP. This recording was a single song but mixed into four different versions. That song was “Pools,” which was also added to the band’s first album, Zaba.
This track has some of the same lyrical art and tension created by Bayley’s somewhat hard-to-crack lyrics. He sings, “I smile because I want to,” in the first verse. But, at the end of the song, this changes ever-so-slightly to “I smile because I won’t do,” creating a very different meaning.
The rest of the song is a collection of emotionally laden images rather than any clear narrative. You can get all sorts of meanings out of this one song.
The music is more poppy and catchy in this song…
The beat sounds like an intentionally retro, over-produced, funky tribal jam. It’s no doubt danceable and perfect for dark clubs in the late, late hours of the night. Once again, there’s a ton of atmosphere here. The song is full of different arpeggios and electronic sounds that weave an interesting texture and make this song dreamy and captivating.
The song that got this band noticed was the single “Gooey,” which they released in 2014. It was also included in their first full-length album, Zaba, which was released later that same year. This song shows off Bayley’s great songwriting skills. As well as his production talent, and really brought Glass Animals into the spotlight.
This song is a chilled-out, Electro-Pop jam that’s smooth, sexy, and dreamy…
Once again, we see the use of a chill, sparse, and simple beat to provide the backbone for this song. Synth sounds and single bass notes build a lush background. At the same time, a chiming, almost steel drum-like keyboard sounds keyboard part dances around over top. The vocals are sung high and quietly, with an almost whispering quality.
The lyrics are, as always, dripping with imagery. Lines like, “While my naked fool – Fresh out of an icky gooey womb – A woozy youth – Dopes up on her silky smooth perfume” paint a picture with loaded adjectives that Bayley seems to love. As a result, it’s one of the best Glass Animal songs of all time.
This next song, “Hazey,” also comes from the 2014 debut album Zaba. And there’s a lot of similarity in style between this track and Glass Animals’ hit song, “Gooey.” It has a similarly smooth and minimal beat. The atmosphere of this song is built up with thick keyboard chords and smooth bass.
This background is then overlaid with bright pings and pongs, dark chords and tones, and weird cricket-like sound effects. Then, some Indian percussion rhythms add to that, bringing in even more funkiness. The whole thing is smooth and sexy. And, if you end up adding this track to your “Getting Down” playlist, I wouldn’t blame you in the slightest.
For once, the lyrics are fairly clear in this song. It’s more direct and romantic than the band’s earlier tracks. For example, the lines “Come back, baby, don’t you cry – Don’t you drain those big blue eyes – I’ve been crawling – Come back, baby, don’t you cry – Just you say the reason why – I can calm you.”
Lose Control featuring Joey Bada$$ (2015)
Between their two full-length albums, Glass Animals worked on a collaboration with Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$. This work produced the single “Lose Control.” It was the first of several interesting collaborations and forays into the Hip-Hop world by this genre-crossing band. This track also highlights Dave Bayley’s production skills and his ability to create beats that can work with all sorts of styles.
This track combines the best of both artists…
The beat here is minimalistic but still something you can move to. While there’s a thick bass bottom here, the rest is composed of retro drum machine sounds.
Synth tracks and vocal layering are used to build up an atmosphere and create a sort of darkness to the track. Joey Bada$$ lays down some mad rhymes over top, and a chorus of voices gives the track energy and power. This makes for one very interesting collaboration, and one of the best crossover songs by Glass Animals.
Life Itself (2016)
In 2016, Glass Animals came back with their second full-length studio album, How to Be a Human. This album includes 11 tracks, with each one written from a different perspective. The songs were inspired by people and stories that the band collected while on tour for Zaba. The lyrics for these songs are a little less obscure and a little more story-like than the band’s previous efforts.
“Life Itself” is a song from the perspective of a young woman facing a life of struggle in the modern world. Her character sings, “I can’t get a job so I live with my mom – I take her money but not quite enough – I sit in the car and I listen to static – She said I look fat but I look fantastic.”
The beat here combines electronic drum sounds and Indian classical rhythms to create something very funky. Synth sounds make up the music. As usual, Glass Animals layer lots of vocals to create a sort of choral sound in the chorus to make this track thick. This song is poppy, funky, and downright fun. That’s why it’s such a popular Glass Animals song.
“Youth” is another track from the 2016 album How to Be a Human. This time, the song comes from the perspective of a mother talking to the son she left behind when she died. So, there’s an over-arching melancholy to this song. But, at the same time, there’s a feeling of warmth, love, and celebration here as well.
She sings, “Fly – Feel your mother at your side – Don’t you know you got my eyes? – I’ll make you fly – You’ll be happy all the time – I know you can make it right.” You can feel sadness but also the comfort of a mother’s love so beautifully here.
The beat is slow but bouncy. And, big wide synth chords paint the lush background while chirpy and pinging sounds combine with laughter-like vocal sounds to bring a childlike vibe. This track is beautifully composed and dripping with feeling.
Season 2 Episode 3 (2016)
The next character in the Glass Animals’ How to Be a Human saga is a girl who stays home and does nothing all day. The title isn’t all that significant, except that it refers to sitting on the couch binge-watching TV series.
Bayley paints a picture of a girl who is lazy and a bit damaged. He talks about her eating “Leftover breakfast cereal for lunch – She’s broken, but she’s fun – My girl eats mayonnaise – From a jar while she’s getting blazed.”
This track is weird and wonderful. It has a sort of Jazz-Funk feel as its foundation. But, as usual, there are all sorts of electronic and vocal sounds that add texture here. The best of these is a strange video-game arpeggio and a female choir of background singers. Somehow, it all just works to paint a great picture.
Pork Soda (2016)
Think “Pork Soda” is a weird enough title for a song? Well, trust me, you need a pretty weird name for this very weird song. This is easily one of the most mixed-up and strangest Glass Animals songs yet. But it’s also pretty darned fun!
The song is sung from the perspective of a character dealing with alcoholism and a failing relationship. The chorus, “Pineapples are in my head (When you were fun) – Got nobody ’cause I’m brain dead (You made me run),” is both weird and illustrative of a very mixed-up state of mind.
The beat here is thick and fun, and the song is very bouncy. The best part is probably the weird, high-pitched vocals in the chorus, which are cute and funny, too. If you want a unique introduction to the best Glass Animals songs of all time, this one is it.
This track is sung from the perspective of someone talking to a woman named Agnes who is struggling in her life. In it, the singer sees that Agnes is in trouble and in need of love and safety that they would happily provide. You can see this in lyrics like, “That trembling tender little sigh – And so it goes – A choking rose back – To be reborn – I want to hold you like you’re mine.”
This song is very Pop-based and different from the band’s other work. The beat is very straightforward and heavy, which is different for Glass Animals. And the music is a lot simpler than what they normally produce.
However, there is still that classic layered and full atmosphere here, so you know it’s their song. Still, it works to create a sweet, sad feeling I think we can all easily relate to – feeling for a friend who is hurting.
The Other Side of Paradise (2016)
The last song from the How to Be a Human album we’ll look at is “The Other Side of Paradise.” Lyrically, this song is interesting because it’s written from two different perspectives that are woven together to tell both sides of a story. These two people were in a relationship, but one left to pursue fame and fortune while the other was left behind. This is “the other side of paradise,” the song’s title is about.
This story comes through in lyrics like, “Bye bye baby blue – I wish you could see the wicked truth – Caught up in a rush, it’s killing you – Screaming at the sun, you blow into.”
The music is more Hip-Hop and Electronica influenced than most of the band’s other songs. It’s driven by a basic beat and a pulsing synth tone. There’s also a cool sort of vocal bark that adds power to the song. The lead vocals sound fragile and contrast perfectly with the strength of the song, helping to illustrate the story being told.
Heat Waves (2020)
A big gap between the band’s 2nd and 3rd albums gave them time to explore new songwriting techniques and musical styles. Drummer Joe Seaward was nearly killed in a biking accident during this period and had a long, difficult recovery.
Frontman Dave Bayley also worked with a lot of other artists during this period and learned a lot about autobiographical songwriting. Therefore, the resulting album, 2020’s Dreamland, was a much more personal and autobiographical record. The track that really took off from this record is “Heat Waves.”
This song has a big Hip-Hop influence…
But it also combines a lot of elements of Dance-Pop. The vocals here sound a bit like Maroon 5, and you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a song of theirs. But, the ambient sounds here are distinctly Glass Animals.
The lyrics are very sentimental, remembering a relationship from the past. “Sometimes, all I think about is you – Late nights in the middle of June – Heat waves been fakin’ me out – Can’t make you happier now.”
All the elements of a hit song are here – great beat, full, atmospheric sound, and personal lyrics. This song blew up the charts and is the most successful Glass Animals song to date by far.
Waterfalls Coming Out of Your Mouth (2020)
The track “Waterfalls Coming Out of Your Mouth” also comes from 2020’s Dreamland. And, so it should. This song has a truly airy, dreamy feel to it. It has a strong kick, but the rest of the beat here is moist and drip-droppy, like some of the group’s early work. Layering vocals and fat synth sounds build the soundscape that we’ve come to know and love in the greatest Glass Animals songs.
The vocals are sung high and airy. But some heavily detuned backing vocals give a great contrast here. This song is about memories from youth, especially of people talking big loads of B.S. with very little in their actual minds.
With lines like, “Cheap booze – Pepsi Blue – You got bottles in from 2002 – Hot glue – Vape juice – Hit undo, how the hell are you so cool?”, this song is a tribute to posers everywhere. And that’s why I had to include it among the best Glass Animals songs of all time.
Tokyo Drifting featuring Denzel Curry (2020)
Remember when there were just three Fast & Furious movies? Tokyo Drift came out back in 2006 when the Internet was still young and (somewhat) innocent. This song is a throwback to that time, with all sorts of references to that era. Bayley sings/raps with a lot of effects on his voice to give it a sort of weird and creepy sound.
And, when Rapper Denzel Curry comes in, he brings his Florida flow to this track to provide a strong Hip-Hop vibe to contrast nicely with the Glass Animals aesthetic.
He lays down bars with that throwback theme. We get lines like, “You know that I get it, I’m on it, I’m in it – If you try to take it, the clip get extended – I’m back on my bullshit, like Jordan on Pippen – If this is my life then I’m Tokyo drifting.” The song has a strong Hip-Hop beat with killer bass, and all sorts of weird and wonderfully processed sounds swirl and blend to make a truly unique sound.
Dreamland, the album, is, of course, the home of “Dreamland,” the song. And this track is some of the group’s dreamiest work to date. While many of their new songs have taken on a lot of Pop and Hip-Hop influences, this one goes back to their roots. You have to listen very closely to even realize there’s a beat here. It’s so faint and minimal, but it is there in at least part of the song.
Swirling, lush keyboard chords provide the cinematic sound to this track. And the layers of vocals here simultaneously disorient you and provide a very sweet, dreamy feel to this song. This is a track about processing your dreams and your memories, the things that build you as a person.
Lyrics like, “You were ten years old, holdin’ hands in the classroom – He had a gun on the first day of high school – You want something bizarre, old conceptual cars – You want girls dressed in drag, you want boys with guitars” illustrate the strange mix of dream and memory that make this track so interesting.
I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance) (2020)
The last track on my list of the best glass Animals songs of all time didn’t make it onto the latest album Dreamland. Not originally, anyway. But it was later added as a bonus track. “I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance)” is a much happier and brighter song than you’ll normally get from this group.
The music, anyway…
There’s a strong dance beat through this song, so you can do what the name says and shake your tail. There are other elements of Electro-Pop here. But it still has the trademark thick atmosphere of a Glass Animals song.
The lyrics are a little less positive than the music. This song is about getting away from and over bad memories, and they even talk about just dancing until you forget.
But they’re also full of snippets of the beautiful lines Bayley is known for. Such as “We kissed in the morning on a summer day – You taste like cigarettes and hurricanes – There’s a warning written in the corners of your face – Whiplash and you left me in a vapor trail.” Yes!
Black Mambo (2014) by Glass Animals
Helium (2012) by Glass Animals
Walla Walla (2014) by Glass Animals
Cane Shuga (2014) by Glass Animals
Mama’s Gun (2014) by Glass Animals
The Other Side of Paradise (Twin Shadow Remix) (2017) by Glass Animals
Poplar St (2017) by Glass Animals
Pineapples Are the Best (2018) by Glass Animals
Tangerine (2019) by Glass Animals
Space Ghost Coast to Coast (2019) by Glass Animals
Your Love (Déjà Vu) (2020) by Glass Animals
Melon and the Coconut (2019) by Glass Animals
Domestic Bliss (2020) by Glass Animals
Heat Waves (Stripped Back) (2021) by Glass Animals
It’s All So Incredibly Loud (2021) by Glass Animals
Dreamland (Twin Peaks Version) (2021) by Glass Animals
Waterfalls Coming Out of Your Mouth (Local Natives Remix) (2021) by Glass Animals
Tokyo Drifting (Glass Animals Remix) (2021) by Glass Animals
I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance) (Stripped) (2021) by Glass Animals
Golden Antlers (2021) by Glass Animals
Boom Boom (2021) by Glass Animals
Daylight (2021) by Glass Animals
It’s a Good Day (2021) by Glass Animals
Lime Juice (2021) by Glass Animals
Sun Comes Up (2021) by Glass Animals
Half a Man (2021) by Glass Animals
Hold Me Tight (2021) by Glass Animals
The Great Escape (2021) by Glass Animals
Going Backwards (2021) by Glass Animals
Peanuts (2021) by Glass Animals
2000 Miles (2021) by Glass Animals
Running Water (2021) by Glass Animals
Moonlight (2021) by Glass Animals
Everybody Wants to Be Famous (2021) by Glass Animals
Nightfall (2021) by Glass Animals
Rhythm of My Drum (2021) by Glass Animals
Black Gold (2021) by Glass Animals
Psylla (Rework) (2021) by Glass Animals
Need Some Groovy Music to Add to our Library?
If so, check out our thoughts on the Best Funk Songs of All Time, the Best Hip Hop Songs Of All Time, the Best 2000s Dance Songs, the Best Pop Songs of the 2000s, the Top Songs with a LOT of Bass for more great song selections.
Of course, you’ll need to listen to them. So, take a look at our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Bass Earbuds, the Best Headphones for Hip-Hop, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Headphones with Volume Control, the Best iPhone Earbuds, and the Best Headphones Under $200 you can buy in 2023.
Best Glass Animals Songs of All Time – Final Thoughts
You might have your favorites, but I think this list hits on the best Glass Animals songs put out so far. They include sexy atmospheric tracks, Pop songs, electronic influence, and even Hip-Hop adventures. This is truly a band that is unwilling to be pigeonholed. Instead, they work across genres while still maintaining a very unique sound.
Glass Animals have matured and changed over the years. In their early years, they focused on building atmosphere in their songs and did it well enough to get noticed. In their latest efforts, their songwriting has become more direct and easily digestible, but also more personal and relatable. I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited to see where this fascinating group is going to go from here.
Until next time, happy listening.