Knee Socks by Arctic Monkeys: Lyrics Meaning and Interpretation


Knee Socks is a song by the English band Arctic Monkeys. It featured on their massively successful 2013 album, AM. It was not released as an official single.

AM received both critical and commercial acclaim. Dabbing in genres such as hard rock, psychedelic rock, blues rock and indie rock, the album produced many hit singles. Songs like R U Mine, Do I Wanna Know, Arabella, Why’d You Call Me When You Are High and Snap Out of It experienced much success on the music charts worldwide.

Before exploring the Knee Socks lyrics meaning, you should know the intent behind its title.

Title – What does it mean?

“Knee Socks” is an image created within the song. Typically worn in the cold winter months, the visual of knee socks adds a sense of melancholy, romance and sensuality. This song explores the possibility of love after the physical urges have been exhausted.

Now that the title of the song has been explained, it is now time to understand the Knee Socks lyrics meaning.

Verse 1 – What does it mean?

You got the lights on in the afternoon

An’ the nights are drawn out long

Since this is a romantic, feel-good song, the narrator talks extensively about his love interest. The girl in question probably lives in a poorly lit place, which requires electric lights during the day for visibility. But the next line suggests that this girl is active during night. So she goes to bed in the morning and wakes up in the afternoon. Could she be a prostitute? You will find out.

And you’re kissin’ to cut through the gloom

With a cough drop coloured tongue

The girl in this song seeks physical intimacy to cope with her depression. Clearly, she is suffering from some deep-seated emotional damage. This could explain why she is out all night, unable to sleep.

If she is not a sex worker, she is definitely a party animal. This girl could be spending her nights hopping from one club to another. Perhaps she even has multiple sexual partners.

She is also a drug abuser. The phrase “cough drop” refers to certain brands of cough medicine which contain the chemical dextromethorphan. When consumed in large doses, this chemical can have psychoactive effects on the user. It is one of the ways this girl manages her emotional pain, the other way being sex (“kissin’ to cut through the gloom”).

And you were sittin’ in the corner with the coats, all piled high

And I thought you might be mine

In a small world on an exceptionally rainy Tuesday night

In the right place and time

When you are sad you can feel oddly cold. The metaphoric lack of warmth in your life manifests itself in a real body temperature drop. This girl is sad and depressed. Thus the imagery of being piled under layers of coats reflects how desperately she seeks the warmth of love.

The narrator really likes this girl. He believes he can cure her sadness with his affection. He hopes she “might be mine”. Perhaps the present rainy day is the perfect time for him to make his move and earn her trust.

What does the chorus mean?


When the zeros line up on the 24-hour clock

When you know who’s callin’ even though the number is blocked

In depression, time seems to slow down to extremes. The imagery of “zeros” lining up on “the 24-hour clock” highlights how mundane everything seems. It could also show how much the narrator loves this girl. He thinks about her “24-hour” around the clock.

It is possible that the narrator and the girl are already in a relationship which is falling apart. They meet and separate frequently. The girl has even blocked his number, yet he keeps calling her. Perhaps they only meet to have sex.

When you walked around your house wearin’ my sky blue Lacoste

And your knee socks

These lines prove how close the narrator and the girl were. She still wears his “blue Lacoste” T-shirt. The narrator remembers a visual of this girl wearing the Lacoste shirt with nothing else but winter knee socks. It is a nice, melancholic image of a pretty girl in cold weather.

The chorus beautifully reflects the mood of the Knee Socks lyrics meaning.

Verse 2 – What does it mean?

Well, you cured my January blues

Yeah, you made it all alright

I got a feelin’ I might have lit the very fuse

That you were tryin’ not to light

It is not just the girl who is sad. The narrator bears his own burden of “January Blues”. The month of January is the coldest period of winter, which reflects the intensity of his sadness.

It is possible that both the narrator and the girl wanted a purely physical relationship. But now this girl “lit the very fuse” of romance. This could be the beginning of a sweet relationship.

You were a stranger in my phonebook I was actin’ like I knew

Cause I had nothin’ to lose

When the winter’s in full swing

And your dreams just aren’t comin’ true

Ain’t it funny what you’ll do?

When the narrator and the girl first got involved, they were almost strangers. Neither shared any feelings for the other. But in their own way they were both hungry for love. What was supposed to be a temporary relief from sadness now seems to be budding into something truly beautiful.

What does the Post-Chorus mean?

The late afternoon, the ghost in your room

That you always thought didn’t approve of you knockin’ boots

Never stopped you lettin’ me get hold of the sweet spot

By the scruff of your knee socks

The “ghost in your room” could refer to the girl’s former lover. She is not completely over him. In fact, the reason why she wasn’t moving on was because she did not want to hurt him. But she is anyway “knockin’ boots”, which is slang for having sex.

But the narrator seems to be winning her over. He is getting “hold of the sweet spot”. Although this started out as a platonic relationship, both of them are now finding real comfort in each other’s company.

Bridge – What does it mean?

You and me could have been a team

Each had a half of a king and queen seat

Like the beginning of Mean Streets

You could be my baby (Could be my baby)

You and me could have been a team

Each had a half of a king and queen seat

Like the beginning of Mean Streets

You could be my baby (Could be my baby)

The narrator fantasizes a life together with this girl. They would be happy together, functioning like a team, looking out for one another. It would be a relationship of equals – a king and a queen sharing the same limelight.

He goes on to reference the song “Be My Baby” from the opening of the 1973 film, Mean Streets. All is not lost. This could still become a reality. If only they could learn to trust each other and let go of the past to embrace a better future.

All the zeros lined up

But the number’s blocked

When you’ve come undone

Knee socks

Knee socks

Will the girl move on and find happiness with the narrator? Or will she block his number again and become “undone”. It would seem that she is ready for happiness.

Hope you have now understood the Knee Socks lyrics meaning.


This is a sweet, melancholic song about finding love in unlikely places. To not give up hope, even when your heart is broken, is the real message behind the Knee Socks lyrics meaning.

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