Olympia – Smoke Signals

Smoke Signals was released in March 2016 by Australian singer-songwriter Olympia, who is also a guitarist. It's the fourth single release from her debut album Self Talk.

Official Music Video

Acoustic version of Smoke Signals

Olympia performs an acoustic version of her song Smoke Signals in her studio.

Song info

  • Month of release: March 2016
  • Type of music release: Single
  • From album: Self Talk
  • Genre: Art pop, Indie rock
  • Label: Universal Music Australia
  • Lyrics interpretation

    These are possible interpretations of some lines from the lyrics of Smoke Signals. Please note that these are only approximations of the lyrics and these interpretations do not claim to be correct. It is possible that the interpretations do not reflect the intention of the songwriter Olympia. See it only as an attempt at interpretation.

    Right at the beginning of the lyrics comes the resolution of what the song title Smoke Signals is most likely about: cigarette smoke.
    Olympia sings about another person inhaling a cigarette, i.e. the smoke of a cigarette, between his/her teeths at the same time as this person is speaking.

    Along with the smoke signals, white flags also come into play at the beginning of the lyrics. The white flags could mean surrender, but it is not clear who is surrendering here.

    There are also several signs of heartbreak in the lyrics of Smoke Signals. For example, Olympia sings from a first-person perspective that she loves the other person and that this person should not be so cold.

    The protagonist also knows that the other person's car has turned twice. The other person may have wanted to visit the protagonist, but has changed its mind.

    What music magazines wrote about 'Smoke Signals'

    The Interns

    In an article about her album Self Talk, the Australian music blog The Interns you can read what musician Olympia said about Smoke Signals. The song Smoke Signals is partly inspired by the Japanese controversial TV reality show Susunu! Denpa Shōnen (Sweepstakes Life). Susunu! Denpa Shōnen was broadcasted from January 11, 1998, to September 29, 2002, on the Nippon TV network. In the TV show, an audience of millions watched as the mental state of the main protagonist Nasubi, who took part in the competition, gradually deteriorated and he became more and more emaciated. After all, the song is about the inner turmoil in a person's mind that is invisible to others.
    Smoke Signals is, according to The Interns, perhaps the best single from the album Self Talk.[1]


    The British music magazine Clash wrote in high terms about the song:
    "New cut 'Smoke Signals' is fast becoming a breakout moment, a stunning piece of pop music dominated by that heart-stopping vocal."[2]


    [1] Murphy, S. (2016, March 8). Olympia Preps Debut Album, Drops The Simmering “Smoke Signals.” The Interns. https://www.theinterns.net/2016/03/08/olympia-preps-debut-album-drops-the-simmering-smoke-signals/

    [2] Murray, R. (2017, April 26). Olympia Turns ‘Smoke Signals’ Into An Acoustic Gem. Clash Magazine Music News, Reviews & Interviews. https://www.clashmusic.com/music-videos/olympia-turns-smoke-signals-into-an-acoustic-gem/

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