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View Full Version : Divers - the lyrics, what's getting your interest or moving you?



baroquepopfan
10-25-2015, 06:52 PM
Here's my first...

A Pin-Light Bent
My life comes and goes
My life comes and goes
Short flight, free rows:
I lie down and doze

My life came and went
My life came and went
Short flight; free descent
Poor flight attendant
(continues....)

It's extremely striking, particularly with the portentous harp arrangement. On a lyrics website someone mentioned the poem Falling, by James L. Dickey. It's about a stewardess who leans against a cabin door, accidentally opening it and falling to her death. And guess what... the word diver is used 4 times! The unnamed stewardess may be one of the Divers of the album's title. Too much of a coincidence?



I think Mr Dickey may be getting some new readers!
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171431

Andrew
10-25-2015, 10:03 PM
^I've been trying to figure it out. I think there's something crucial about how time gets totally jacked in the second half of that song - she longs for 'temporal infidelity' as 'lights stream by', and then she's suddenly metamorphosing from a newborn to a parent and then again to someone's young daughter. I'm not sure what that means for the album entirely yet, but it absolutely makes for the most viscerally emotive little sequence. It's the way she packs together all those little details and phrases we associate with our longest held memories and longest loved people, it's richly, overwhelmingly nostalgic. I get this almost photographic image of my first childhood home.

This has been killing me:


If I have the space of half a day,
I'm ashamed of half the things I say.
I'm ashamed to have turned out this way,
and I desire to make amends.

But it don't make no difference, now,
and no-one's listening, anyhow,
and lists of sins and solemn vows
don't make you any friends.

There's an old trick played,
when the light and the wine conspire
to make me think I'm fine.
I'm not, but I have got half a mind
to maybe get there, yet.

because SAME.

just owls
10-25-2015, 11:36 PM
Too many lyrics on this album hit close to the bone. The Things I Say is like the depression theme song, but not depressing.



I am still unpacking the meaning of this song, but I really am just so so moved by this part of the song that it makes me cry every time. The music is also so beautiful. It's a very dense song, and I think the most Ys-like on the record, which is a good thing.

That part is so moving and brilliant. And maybe I'm dense, but all I can think of is that part being about death. I see death everywhere on this album. ;l

This part of 101st is getting me at the moment:

Make it stop, my love!
We were wrong to try.
Never saw what we could unravel,
in traveling light,
or how the trip debrides—
like a stack of slides!
All we saw was that Time is taller than Space is wide

Andrew
10-26-2015, 12:03 AM
"Waltz" is the song that had me poring over the lyrics right away! It's so clever.

'I have got half a mind/to maybe get there yet' is the lyric that... ugh, Too Much, Joanna. It's almost accusatory.

PoorMatty
10-26-2015, 12:26 AM
In "Anecdotes," Rufous Nightjar and Poorwill (There are also Star-spotted and Sickle-winged Nightjars) are both in the nightjar family of nocturnal birds. They're sort of the evolutionary link between owls and hummingbirds, and have extremely complex, detailed, cryptic plumage patterns. When they sit in leaf litter on the ground or on a branch, it's very difficult to pick them out (hence, I assume, "It ain't about how rare you hard, but how hard you are to see"). Not sure how that plays into what the song is ultimately all about, but I'm sure it's a key somewhere.

ETA: Come to think of it, re: "till we hear the telltale boom," some nightjar species making a sort of booming noise with their wings when they dive for prey.

just owls
10-26-2015, 02:22 AM
^ And Nightjar is mentioned again in "Time, As A Symptom", which loops back to "Anecdotes".

Andrew
10-26-2015, 02:05 PM
"It ain't about how rare you hard, but how hard you are to see"

Speaking of cryptic, I love this little fragmentary conversation -- it's so odd ('when are you from?') and enigmatic, like it holds the key to the entire album. And all the birdwatching allusions in that song are really entertaining.

I've been getting into all the sci-fi wibbly-wobbly time-travelly stuff in general, it seems to permeate every song. Even one as straightforward and grounded as "The Things I Say" carries those elements: 'did he die, or does that man endure somewhere far away?' is a heartbreaking image of regret and doubt but could also literally refer to the branching out of alternate timelines and parallel universes.

Dan
10-26-2015, 03:41 PM
Goose Eggs is hitting me hard.


And it hurt so bad when I got the news
That you'd got that call and could not refuse
This exact thing has happened to me quite recently with my best and dearest friend, who left the country because he couldn't find work here. There was nothing I could do (and not for lack of trying) to help him in that sense. I was there when he got the call, but I wasn't sure what it was about and then he told me, and luckily I managed to refrain from ugly crying until I got home. I'm a bit better now, but I was a mess for quite a while, as except for fucking, we used to do pretty much everything together. So obviously, I had a rather strong reaction to this song.

take_offs
10-26-2015, 04:29 PM
Speaking of cryptic, I love this little fragmentary conversation -- it's so odd ('when are you from?') and enigmatic, like it holds the key to the entire album. And all the birdwatching allusions in that song are really entertaining.

I've been getting into all the sci-fi wibbly-wobbly time-travelly stuff in general, it seems to permeate every song. Even one as straightforward and grounded as "The Things I Say" carries those elements: 'did he die, or does that man endure somewhere far away?' is a heartbreaking image of regret and doubt but could also literally refer to the branching out of alternate timelines and parallel universes.

I love the sci-fi stuff too! Waltz is my favorite song on the album. This bit from the allmusic review (http://www.allmusic.com/album/divers-mw0002868616) is very interesting:


"Waltz of the 101st Lightborne," in which time-traveling soldiers end up fighting their own ghosts, highlights Divers' sci-fi undercurrent, which is all the more intriguing paired with its largely acoustic sounds.

I love that interpretation of the song. The Lightborne attempt to colonize a parallel dimension? Wow. It adds some dramatic irony to the album's theme, like Time cannot be conquered.

Ime Achoo Dooa
10-27-2015, 06:25 PM
Beneath the pale sky,
beside the red barn,
below the white clouds,
is all we are allowed.

Yeah, I know lots of flags are red, white, and blue, but I can't help but read this (and a lot of the song) as some sort of skepticism about or exhaustion with "freedom".

Ime Achoo Dooa
10-27-2015, 06:38 PM
The reason I love The Things I Say is because of the ending:


Our lives come easy and our lives come hard.
And we carry them like a pack of cards:
some we don't use, but we don't discard,
but keep for a rainy day.

Reading it as a song about depression, one of the worst things about having it (and one of the things that can keep the cycle of negative thinking going, I guess) is this feeling like, I'M NOT LIVING MY LIFE, I'M WASTING IT BEING SAD AND ISOLATED, I WILL NEVER GET ANY OF THIS TIME BACK...but these lines refute that and it's almost like she's saying, "Forgive yourself. Those 'wasted' days are still your life, and they're not in vain."

Andrew
10-27-2015, 07:34 PM
Yeah, I know lots of flags are red, white, and blue, but I can't help but read this (and a lot of the song) as some sort of skepticism about or exhaustion with "freedom".

Oh, good catch! And you totally unlocked the ending to "The Things I Say" for me.

Ryan
10-28-2015, 01:39 PM
There is a lot of war imagery on this album, or am I the only one picking up on that? It's not just in Waltz but in several songs. There's lots of military jargon.

Sansa Spark
10-28-2015, 05:11 PM
OMG Time, As a Symptom. The whole thing. So beautiful.

Hannah.
10-28-2015, 06:06 PM
For some reason I always tie "the moment of your greatest joy sustains" in Time, As a Symptom back to the last "and daughter..." stanza in Anecdotes. I always hear "now hush little babe, you don't want to be down in the trenches remembering with me" as the narrator not wanting to indulge in nostalgia because it's bittersweet - the idea of never getting that moment back is too painful. (The ending of Anecdotes gives me a lot of Emily vibes too in the way she represents home and family.)

grapefruit_is_winning
10-30-2015, 11:06 PM
These lyrics are startlingly powerful:

"We seek our name.
We seek our fame, and our credentials
(paned in glass, trained to master incidentals).
Bleach our collar, leech our dollar from our cents:
the longer you live, the higher the rent."

Fucking wow. Oh, I am a sucker for a turn of phrase that works on multiple levels like that last line, each of them bearing more than a grain of truth.

Adam
10-31-2015, 06:55 PM
Genius.com has some great interpretations of songs from the album. You guys should check it out. However, there are things that people have really figured out ( like Sapokanikan is totally nailed down) so if you like searching for the meaning behind the references on your own, I'd be cautious.

I'm still really trying to wrap my head around the ending of Anecdotes. I know that the song combines human warfare and the rituals of Nightjars seamlessly, but like you guys have said, what exactly is happening at the end? Did the person born in Time get reborn as a Nightjar in Anecdotes? Is the narrator a soldier, bird or both? Who is the daughter? Is it the missing daughter from Baby Burch? It's all very complex and I wonder if even Joanna knows exactly what is going on there or if it's just set up to raise questions but not answer them?

ETA: I'm astounded by how she crafted this album. SO MUCH THOUGHT went into this. Like in the interview where she explained that there was a song where she declared "Love is a symptom of time" and then stated that she was wrong in Time but left that song off.

grapefruit_is_winning
11-04-2015, 02:56 PM
"Our lives come easy
And our lives come hard.
And we carry them like a pack of cards
Some we don't use
But we don't discard
But keep for a rainy day"

Divers, The Things I Say, and Leaving the City at all really hitting me now.

pepiux
11-12-2015, 03:44 PM
I dream it every night:
The ringing of the pail, the motes of sand dislodged, the shucking, quick and bright:
The twinned and cast off shells reveal a single heart of white


<3 <3 <3

This is my favorite part of the song!