Awolnation’s “Sail” Lyrics Meaning

Awolnation’s “Sail” is based on some kind of ideological change the singer wants in his life. He desperately desires to “sail” away from the issues he currently faces. And these problems seem to manifest themselves externally, as well as their being an undeniable internal component. And even though the issue isn’t confronted directly, it is insinuated that his disposition is having unfavorable effects on the relationship between he and the addressee, whom he refers to as his “baby”. Thus it is also implied that the is addressing a romantic interest.

Most notably in this narrative is that the singer is the victim of a strong inescapable depression. A depression so severe that he even contemplates taking his own life. And he attributes the entire situation to his “own sick pride”. He also strongly believes that another cause of this state is the fact that he is a victim of ADD (attention deficit disorder), which is a mental disease. Moreover, he concludes that perhaps his naturally “different” personality is to blame for what appears to be an inability to conform.


This all brings us back to the titular desire to “sail” away.  The destination is seemingly a symbolic one, as in “into the dark”.  And he also wants to bring the addressee with him on this voyage. So despite being unsatisfied with his life and being tempted to take drastic actions as a method of relief, one thing is clear. And it is that the singer would like to remain close to the addressee.

Lyrics of "Sail"
Official music video for “Sail”

“Sail” and US Billboard Hot 100

“Sail” has an interesting history as part of the Billboard Hot 100. It initially charted at the humble position of number 89 in September 2011, before eventually falling off the list completely in January 2012.

It then reentered the Hot 100 in the middle of 2013, over a year after it had dropped out. During its second appearance, it remained on the chart for 79 weeks. At the time, 79 weeks was the second-longest duration any song had ever spent on the list.

Moreover, unlike its first showing, this time “Sail” peaked at number 17, during its 56th week. And in doing so it became the first song ever to reach its highest position after spending an entire year on the Hot 100.

Furthermore, it was the first song to debut outside of the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 yet still spend an entire year on the list.

What caused its re-ascension in the Hot 100?

The re-ascension of “Sail” was largely due to its heavy usage in pop media. For instance, cable-television network History Channel helped blow it up in using the track to promote one of their shows. Moreover fan-made videos and the usage of “Sail” by popular YouTubers helped peak audience interest in the song.

This is the track’s unofficial music video made by YouTube creator Nanalew (Tessa Violet). Despite not being the official video clip for the song, it went on to garner more views and success than the official one made by Awolnation.

Performance of “Sail” around the World

Outside of the US, the track also charted in Canada, Oceania and throughout Europe. For example, it peaked at number 17 in Britain.

A multi-platinum Hit

“Sail” also went multi-platinum in Canada, Sweden and the United States, being credited with putting Awolnation on the map.  Indeed its conception is what compelled the band’s frontman, Aaron Bruno, to form the group. 

When was “Sail” released?

“Sail” was released as the first single from Awolnation’s debut album “Megalithic Symphony” on 8 November 2010.

The label behind the song’s release was Red Bull Records. And FYI, this is the same company that produces the Red Bull energy drink.

Who wrote “Sail”?

This song was written exclusively by Aaron Bruno.

And whereas he admits that he penned it during a precarious era of his life, at the same time he has admitted that the “(idea came) out of nowhere”.

Aaron Bruno also contributed to the track’s production along with Jimmy Messer alongside Brian West.

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