Oceania – Unraveling the Mystical and Ecological Lyrical Journey


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Björk's Oceania at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Ocean’s Serenade: An Allegory of Birth and Being
  5. Metamorphosis in Melody: Every Boy, Snake, and Lilly
  6. A Cartographic Choreography: Children Show the Way
  7. Hidden in Harmonies: The Unspoken Warning
  8. Ethereal Echoes: Memorable Lines that Linger

Lyrics

One breath away from mother Oceanðòa
Your nimble feet make prints in my sands
You have done good for yourselves
Since you left my wet embrace and crawled ashore

Every boy, is a snake is a lily
Every pearl is a lynx, is a girl
Sweet like harmony made into flesh

You dance by my side
Children sublime

You show me continents
I see the islands
You count the centuries, I blink my eyes
Hawks and sparrows race in my waters
Stingrays are floating across the sky
Little ones, my sons and my daughters

Your sweat is salty
I am why
I am why
I am why

Your sweat is salty
I am why
I am why
I am why

Full Lyrics

Björk, the enigmatic Icelandic singer-songwriter, has always woven a tapestry of sound that defies the limitations of conventional music. Her song ‘Oceania’, originally crafted for the 2004 Athens Olympics, serves as both an anthem and an introspective voyage into the heart of nature and human evolution. Björk’s allegorical prowess coupled with her knack for creating ethereal soundscapes sets the stage for a deep dive into the song’s intricate layers.

Peeling back the layers of ‘Oceania’, listeners find themselves engulfed in a world where Björk plays the anthropomorphized ocean, nurturing and observing the human race with a curious yet maternal eye. The song oscillates between the celebration of life’s continuous cycle and a poignant reflection on humankind’s connection with the natural world.

The Ocean’s Serenade: An Allegory of Birth and Being

Within the folds of ‘Oceania’, Björk’s voice emerges as the personification of the ocean itself – vast, ancient, and life-giving. The opening line, a single breath away from Mother Ocean, sets the tone for this immersive narrative, where water is not only the cradle of life but also a symbol for the boundless and interconnected nature of existence.

‘Your nimble feet make prints in my sands’, sings Björk, calling attention to the evolutionary leap from sea to land, echoing sentiments of progress and transformation. Her celebration of humanity’s achievements comes tinged with a hint of nostalgia, as if the ocean fondly remembers nurturing us in its ‘wet embrace’.

Metamorphosis in Melody: Every Boy, Snake, and Lilly

‘Every boy, is a snake is a lily, Every pearl is a lynx, is a girl.’ These lines mirror the cyclical and metamorphic themes present in nature and in human understanding. Björk encapsulates the complex and often overlooked continuities among different life forms, suggesting that within the vast taxonomy of life, threads of commonality bind us all.

Here, the metaphor extends to pearls and lynxes, invoking images of preciousness and predation, innocence and experience. The delicate dance of opposites reflects the intricate balance of ecosystems, where every being plays a vital role, whether visible on the surface or lurking beneath.

A Cartographic Choreography: Children Show the Way

In a reversal of roles, Björk sings of how children, the subsequent generations, lead the way for the oceanic narrator to discover continents and islands. There’s a dual sentiment present: a pride in the exploratory spirit of mankind and a subtle commentary on how human perception shapes our understanding of the natural world.

With a tapestry of movements, such as the ‘hawks and sparrows race in my waters’, the ocean assesses humanity from a perspective that is fluid and free. The song evokes a sense of wonder for both the minute and majestic creatures that populate ‘her’ waters while pointing to the surreal, stretched reality Björk so often conjures.

Hidden in Harmonies: The Unspoken Warning

Buried beneath the surface of this mesmerizing lyrical exploration lies a warning. As much as ‘Oceania’ seems to exalt the symbiosis between nature and human achievements, there’s an undertone that bridges the gap between reverence and caution. The celebration tinged with reminders of our origin story also serve as a caveat against straying too far from the natural world.

Even as Björk’s ocean sings of unity and shared ancestry, the repeated line, ‘Your sweat is salty, I am why, I am why, I am why’, reads like a genetic memory, urging listeners not to forget their intrinsic connection to the earth’s waters, lest they lose their way amidst the chase for progress.

Ethereal Echoes: Memorable Lines that Linger

It’s not just the overarching theme of ‘Oceania’ that captivates, but the haunting beauty of specific lines that linger long after the song has ended. Björk’s poignant poetry manages to nestle itself into the consciousness, beckoning for contemplation and reiteration.

‘Little ones, my sons and my daughters,’ she croons, in a tender moment that encapsulates the sense of the ocean as a universal progenitor. The personalization of the sea elevates the song from an abstract meditation on nature to a heartfelt lullaby that sings of the enduring bond between her waters and the life that emerged therefrom.

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