Ocean Breathes Salty – Navigating the Depths of Existence and Mortality


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Modest Mouse's Ocean Breathes Salty at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Eternal Cycle: Living Inside the Waves of ‘Ocean Breathes Salty’
  5. Confronting the Inevitable Departure: The Hidden Meaning Behind The Lyrics
  6. The Existential Echoes: Wasting Life and Death, a Dichotomy
  7. Time Bends and Life Blinks: Exploring the Song’s Universal Reverberations
  8. Behind the Beat: The Musical Alchemy of Modest Mouse’s Maritime Muse

Lyrics

Your body may be gone, I’m gonna carry you in
In my head, in my heart, in my soul
And maybe we’ll get lucky and we’ll both live again
Well, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, don’t think so

Well, that is that and this is this
You tell me what you want and I’ll tell you what you get
You get away from me, you get away from me
Collected my belongings and I left the jail
Well, thanks for the time, I needed to think a spell
I had to think awhile, I had to think awhile

The ocean breathes salty, won’t you carry it in?
In your head, in your mouth, in your soul
And maybe we’ll get lucky and we’ll both grow old
Well, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I hope so

Well, that is that and this is this
You tell me what you want and I’ll tell you what you get
You get away from me (you get away from me)
You get away from me
Collected my belongings and I left the jail
Well, thanks for the time, I needed to think a spell
I had to think awhile (I had to think awhile)
I had to think awhile

Well, that is that and this is this
Will you tell me what you saw and I’ll tell you what you missed
When the ocean met the sky (you missed)
You missed when time and life shook hands and said goodbye (you missed)
When the earth folded in on itself (you missed)
And said “good luck, for your sake I hope heaven and hell
(You missed, you missed) are really there
But I wouldn’t hold my breath” (you missed, you missed)
You wasted life, why wouldn’t you waste death? (You missed, you missed)
You wasted life, why wouldn’t you waste death?

The ocean breathes salty, won’t you carry it in?
In your head, in your mouth, in your soul
The more we move ahead the more we’re stuck in rewind
Well, I don’t mind I don’t mind
How the hell could I mind? Huh

Well, that is that and this is this
You tell me what you want and I’ll tell you what you get
You get away from me (you get away from me), you get away from me

Well, that is that and this is this
Will you tell me what you saw and I’ll tell you what you missed
When the ocean met the sky (you missed, you missed)
You wasted life, why wouldn’t you waste the afterlife?

Full Lyrics

In the midst of the eclectic and often philosophical discography of Modest Mouse, stands ‘Ocean Breathes Salty’—a contemplative anthem mixing the salt of the sea with the essence of human existence. This track from their 2004 album ‘Good News for People Who Love Bad News’ garners attention not just for its melodic magnetism, but for its complex poetic introspection.

Diving into the song’s evocative lyrics, listeners are taken on a surreal journey through life, death, and the enigmatic space in between. Engaging the metaphysical and the mundane, Modest Mouse crafts a narrative that’s as deeply personal as it is universally resonant, prompting fervent discussion and interpretation among fans and critics alike.

The Eternal Cycle: Living Inside the Waves of ‘Ocean Breathes Salty’

Frontman Isaac Brock serves as our sorrow-laden yet steady guide into the undulating world of ‘Ocean Breathes Salty’. At the heart of the song lies the notion of the cyclical nature of life. The ocean’s breath—a sustaining, constant force—is positioned as a metaphor for perpetuity and the inescapable movement of time. To ‘carry it in’ is to internalize and accept the weight of existence, to allow it to permeate the very fabric of one’s being, despite the knowledge of the world’s inherent transience.

While the song alludes to rebirth and the hope of living again, the repetition of ‘I don’t know’ echoes the uncertainty that haunts human consciousness. The track plays out like a mental tide, ebbing and flowing between hope and resignation, aligning the listener with the rhythm of Brock’s introspective tide, grappling with the unknowns that linger just beyond the tangible world.

Confronting the Inevitable Departure: The Hidden Meaning Behind The Lyrics

The visceral opening lines, ‘Your body may be gone, I’m gonna carry you in,’ immediately confronts listeners with the image of loss and the aftermath of death. The song delves into the profound impact of carrying the memory of the departed, enshrined within the living. This act of remembrance is a rebellion against the finality of death, a modest attempt at immortalization through thought and feeling.

The ‘jail’ from which the narrator collects his belongings symbolizes a departure from a state of confinement or past struggles, be they mental or physical. The need ‘to think a spell’ suggests a pensive phase of transition, introspection, and ultimately, a form of liberation. The song’s allegorical prison breaks represent the struggle to find resonance and balance between the need for freedom and the confrontation with finite existence.

The Existential Echoes: Wasting Life and Death, a Dichotomy

Among the song’s most memorable lines, ‘You wasted life, why wouldn’t you waste death?’ operates as a chilling rhetorical question that taps into the core of human fears and desires. It’s a critique of passivity, a call to action—a challenge to make the most out of life’s fleeting moments. Brock’s lyrics suggest a confrontation with an apathetic approach to living and a provocation to ponder the way we might confront our demise.

This stark focus on the waste of both life and death forces a reconsideration of what it means to fully experience our existence. The juxtaposition implores the listener to reflect on the legacy we leave behind, our individual impact on the world, and how we navigate life’s ultimate certainty. It’s a lyric that lingers long after the song’s last note, stirring the soul and questioning societal norms surrounding ambition and meaning.

Time Bends and Life Blinks: Exploring the Song’s Universal Reverberations

When illustrating the moments where ‘the ocean met the sky’ and ‘time and life shook hands and said goodbye’, Brock paints a scene of monumental change—where earth-shattering events and existential realizations collide. This imagery evokes a sense of expansive contemplation, an acknowledgment of pivotal points in one’s life where perspectives shift and paradigms are altered.

It’s in these verses that Modest Mouse encapsulates the universal human experience, our shared encounters with transformation and the bittersweet acceptance of the temporal nature of all things. Audiences find a comforting solidarity, knowing others too stare into the distance where the sea meets the sky, pondering their place within the grander scheme.

Behind the Beat: The Musical Alchemy of Modest Mouse’s Maritime Muse

Beyond the intricacies of its lyrics, ‘Ocean Breathes Salty’ is a rich auditory experience, a layered composition that mirrors its thematic depth. The song’s vibrant instrumental arrangement underscores the emotional weight of the lyrics. The juxtaposition of buoyant guitar riffs and Isaac Brock’s earnest vocal timbre creates a sonorous dichotomy that animates the sobering contemplations of the text.

The melodic persistence feels like the ocean’s waves—sometimes comforting, sometimes overwhelming, always in motion. This dynamic landscape crafted by Modest Mouse is emblematic of their ability to synthesize sound and substance, making ‘Ocean Breathes Salty’ as much an auditory odyssey as it is a lyrical exploration of life and its oceanic vastness.

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