The Bedouin Dress Songfacts reports that Helplessness Blues has a reoccurring theme running through it of familial duty and responsibility. This song finds frontman Robin Pecknold singing about "the borrower's debt is the only regret of my youth". "I think that and a few other songs on the record are dealing with the same thing," Pecknold told UK newspaper The Independent. "With the idea of how much are you taking, and how much are you giving back – just generally, in relationships and so on. Like for me, I've just been really focused on music, and there were times when there was just no room in my head for anything or anyone else – so the people around me were giving themselves, and I wasn't giving much back because I was focused on the record. That started really bothering me! "
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