#960: ‘I Was Born (A Unicorn)’ – The Unicorns

The Unicorns were a Canadian indie-rock group that existed between 2000 and 2004, and then again briefly in 2014. Only making a small number of recordings, they never really received much mainstream recognition, and their humorous, playful nature was at odds with a lot of the more ‘serious’ indie-rock groups of the time. With that, we’ve pretty much covered everything you need to know about The Unicorns.

Apart from ‘Jellybones‘, ‘I Was Born (A Unicorn)’ remains the group’s best known song. It’s a playful 3 minute track about believing in Unicorns (sort of), and basically serves as the group’s theme song (which is basically evident through the line “We’re The Unicorns, and we’re people too.

From the start of the track, the opening lines of “I was born a unicorn, I missed the ark but I could’ve sworn you’d wait for me” sets off a rather somber tone. However, as is relatively common with The Unicorns, the sad nature of the lyrics is at odds with the upbeat music, and in most cases is pretty misleading, especially if you consider that all that is really being accomplished here is the asking of the question “Why aren’t there unicorns around the place?”

As the song (and by extension, the album) progress, we get to see an overarching theme of addressing failure. This makes us start to wonder whether or not the titular unicorn isn’t exactly a physical unicorn, but rather a metaphor for someone special. This of course helps to put the line “I was born a unicorn, I could’ve sworn you believed in me. Then how come all the other unicorns are dead?” into context.

As we continue, the group’s three members share vocals, giving into some back and forth between verses before closing off with “We’re the unicorns, and we’re people too,” finishing off the track with a statement about who the group is, and if the theme is to be continued, a statement about how the unique people in everyday society are also people, not the strange folks many perceive them to be.

A positive message delivered by some sad-sounding unicorns. Never thought I’d put those words into a sentence again.

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