Modest Mouse’s “Float On” Lyrics Meaning

“Float On” highlights the concept of surviving all kinds of negative situations with a hope that things will pan out for good in the long run.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Modest Mouse's Float On at

The writer depicts instances where unfortunate incidents occur without any repercussions, as well as instances where unfortunate events are simply inevitable. He talks about hitting a cop’s car and getting away with it because it was a lucky day, implying that life goes on irrespective of the unwise decisions one makes.

In the second verse however, the singer talks about being defrauded and learning a lesson from that. He also mentions that he and his friends lost their jobs on the same day, implying how unlucky they are at that time. Instead of being beaten down by these unlucky incidents, he is hopeful that they will soon recover from these.

Looking at life from this perspective for the narrator means that one should be conscious of the fact that both good and bad things happen to all. He suggests that the best reaction is to know that they are all temporary and things will always get better.

Release Date

In 2004, Modest Mouse released their Grammy nominated “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” album. Three singles were issued in support of this album. One of them was “Float On”.

Upon its release, “Float On” entered three Billboard charts. It reached positions 1 and 68 on the “Alternative Airplay” and “Hot 100” respectively. It also charted in Canada and Australia.

“Float On” is nominated for a Grammy

At the 2005 Grammys, “Float On” was nominated for a Grammy. It battled with 4 other songs for the “Best Rock Song” award. However, only one of them emerged winner. And that was “Vertigo” by U2. The following are the other contesting songs:

Who wrote “Float On”?

The writing of this song is credited to the following Modest Mouse members:

  • Isaac Brock
  • Dann Gallucci
  • Eric Judy
  • Benjamin Weikel

The first name (Brock) on the list is recognized as the song’s primary author. And he did so making a conscientious effort to come out with something more jovial than the usual Modest Mouse’s fare.

The producer of “Float On” is Dennis Herring.

More Facts

“Float On” was indeed a huge success for Modest Mouse. In addition to being their most successful track in the US, it also the song that put Modest Mouse on the map.

NME found it particularly delightful that they placed it on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time ranking in 2014. 

Amongst the notable usages of this track since its release has been Lupe Fiasco sampling it on his 2010 single “The Show Goes On”.

This track is not to be confused as a cover of the classic slow jam “Float On” by The Floaters, which came out in 1977.


Float On highlights the importance of being optimistic even in the worst situation life presents.

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    The ultimate things will get better soon song man I wish I could go to a concert but this dumb virus

  2. SMF says:

    This song addresses varying unfortunate situations that could take place in a person’s life while promoting the notion that people should still see the good in every situation and they’ll be just fine. The subsequent verses sees the writer describing events such as accidentally bumping into a police car, being scammed and getting fired at his job. His response is that in those bad situations, he learns his lessons out of them and strongly holds on to the hope that good news will soon come his way. The entire song encourages his listener to react the same in the most burdensome events by floating on and being optimistic of the brighter days ahead.

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