Submarines – Diving into the Depths of Perception and Belief

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Lumineers's Submarines at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. An Ode to the Outcast: The Lyrical Landscape of ‘Submarines’
  5. Peering through the Periscope: The Lumineers’ Commentary on Truth
  6. Sonic Depth Charges: The Music that Underscores the Message
  7. Caught in the Currents: Unpacking the Hidden Symbolism
  8. Memorable Lines: Lyrical Hooks that Anchor


I believe submarines
Underneath deep blue seas
Saw the flags, Japanese
No one will believe me

Ran back to the town bar and
I told the people how
I had seen a submarine
And everyone laughed aloud

I did spy a periscope
Dead of night on the eastern coast
The police made them jokes
Told me I’d seen a ghost

Everyone thinks I’m a liar
No one knows the truth
If it was a bigger fire
I would be on the roof

Ships will rust in Baldwin Bay
(Let me go)
No one trusts what I say
(I don’t know)
Oh my God, no one paid
Overnight my hair turned gray
(Oh oh oh)

In the end, it boils down to credibility
I had none, so I will die with the secrets of the sea

(Can’t find me)
Submarine, hey


Full Lyrics

In an era of music often clustered with neon beats and auto-tuned choruses, The Lumineers’ ‘Submarines’ emerges as an undiluted narrative that dives beneath the surface of reality and perception. With its haunting melody and earnest lyrics, the track off their self-titled debut album resonates like a folkloric tale whispered through generations, touching upon themes of credibility, isolation, and the haunting nature of truth.

The lure of the song doesn’t merely lie in its melancholic strumming but also in the profound loneliness it encapsulates–the story of a solitary voice, yearning to be heard amid a sea of disbelief. ‘Submarines’ is not just a piece of music; it’s a vessel carrying the heavy cargo of existential musings presented by The Lumineers.

An Ode to the Outcast: The Lyrical Landscape of ‘Submarines’

At its core, ‘Submarines’ is an anthem for the discredited, the individuals whose truths are drowned by the cacophony of the crowd. The protagonist sees something extraordinary, a hidden threat lurking beneath the waves, but is met with ridicule instead of concern. We find ourselves adrift in his narrative, navigating the choppy waters of his psyche, as he grapples with the insurmountable task of proving his sanity in an incredulous town.

The song paints a picture not just of physical isolation – the ‘deep blue seas’ and the ‘eastern coast’ – but also of intellectual solitude. It’s this deep sense of not being believed, of the internal claustrophobia, that The Lumineers masterfully capture in their lyrics. Every verse tugs at the universal fear of being dismissed, anchoring the listener to the emotional core of the piece.

Peering through the Periscope: The Lumineers’ Commentary on Truth

Truth, in the landscape of ‘Submarines,’ is not just a matter of being right or wrong; it’s a commodity as valuable and elusive as the air one might find in an actual submarine. By sharing the protagonist’s desperation to be taken at his word, The Lumineers create an environment where truth is a breath held underwater, where the subjective becomes the only reality that matters.

The song subtly raises questions about the mutability of truth in a societal context. Can truth exist unequivocally when belief is its lifeblood? ‘Submarines’ hints at the idea that without the communal acceptance of an idea, even the most verifiable facts can evaporate like mist. The Lumineers echo the sentiment that when it comes to human credibility, seeing is not necessarily believing, and perception is rarely reality.

Sonic Depth Charges: The Music that Underscores the Message

Musically, ‘Submarines’ evokes the incessant ebb and flow of the ocean itself – a repeated piano refrain serves as the waves against which our protagonist’s tale is set. The Lumineers utilize a restrained musical palate, allowing the haunting simplicity of the composition to amplify the urgency and isolation of the lyrics.

The tonal shifts in the melody mirror the narrative’s oscillation between hope and resignation, a lifeline throbbing within the chords. It’s this very musical understatement that gives ‘Submarines’ the power to resonate deeply with its audience, creating a submersible of sound that is equal parts revealing and concealing.

Caught in the Currents: Unpacking the Hidden Symbolism

When delving into the subtle symbolism of ‘Submarines,’ one cannot ignore its wartime nuances. Japanese flags and Baldwin Bay speak to historical echoes, perhaps suggesting the protagonist’s personal battle is not just with his town but with the ghosts of conflicts past. His struggle for truth, then, is also a struggle for peace – personal and historic.

The hidden meaning also stretches to the realm of existentialism. Is it better to know and be alone with that knowledge, or to be ignorant and embraced by society? The Lumineers nudge us to contemplate whether our protagonist is the submarine itself, submerged and concealed from understanding, navigating the darker waters of existence.

Memorable Lines: Lyrical Hooks that Anchor

The potency of ‘Submarines’ is encapsulated in lines that resonate beyond the confines of the song. Phrases like ‘No one trusts what I say’ and ‘I had seen a submarine and everyone laughed aloud’ echo in the collective consciousness, reverberating with a nuanced pain rooted in the human condition.

These lines become anchors, grounding the song’s abstract themes in tangible angst. They’re memorable not because they’re catchy or clever, but because they exude raw and unvarnished truth – a beacon for anyone who’s ever felt unheard or unseen in the vast ocean of existence.

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