"Play Crack the Sky" as written by and Jesse Lacey....
We sent out the SOS call
It was a quarter past 4 in the morning
When the storm broke our second anchor line
Four months at sea 4 months of calm seas to be pounded
In the shallows off the tip of montauk point
They call them rogues they travel fast and alone
One hundred foot faces of God's good ocean gone wrong
What they call love is a risk

Cause you will always get hit out of nowhere by some wave and end up on your own
The hole in the hull defied the crews attempts to bail us out
And flooded the engines and radio and half buried bow
Your tongue is a rudder

It steers the whole ships sends your words past your lips
Or keeps them safe behind your teeth
But the wrong words will strand you
Come off course while you sleep

Sweep your boat out to sea or dashed to bits on the reefs
The vessel groans the ocean pressures its frame
Off the port I see the lighthouse through the sleet and the rain
And I wished for one more day to give my love and repay debts
But the morning finds our bodies washed up thirty miles west
They say that the captain stays fast with the ship through still and storm

But this ain't the Dakota and the water is cold
We won't have to fight for long this is the end
This story's old but it goes on and on until we disappear

Calm me and let me taste the salt you breathed while you were underneath
I am the one who haunts your dreams of mountains sunk below the sea
I spoke the words but never gave a thought to what they all could mean

I know this is what you want
A funeral keeps both of us apart
You know that you are not alone
Need you like water in my lungs
This is the end


Lyrics submitted by BrandNew1208, edited by Deafcat

"Play Crack the Sky" as written by Jesse Lacey

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Play Crack the Sky song meanings
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  • +5
    Song MeaningI saw Brand New last night on their Canadian tour and when Jesse introduced this song, he said "This song is about death". The crowd cheered and then he joked "kinda funny to be thanking me for a song about death, isn't it?"

    The solemnity of the song makes it easy to see how it's more about the death of a friend more so than a "death" of a relationship. I believe the death he is alluding to is a suicide. I'd say it's about someone who drowned themselves, but that seems a little too obvious.

    at first there's the SOS call which right away tells us something terrible is happening or about to happen, then

    "Four months at sea 4 months of calm seas to be pounded"
    - everything was smooth sailing (haha) but then there was a disturbance out at sea, something that shook up his life/the ship he's on.

    "What they call love is a risk / Cause you will always get hit out of nowhere by some wave and end up on your own"
    - this tells me that he maybe wasn't in this ship alone but the storm (depression, perhaps) made these waves that stole the other person away from him, by destroying the ship or sending the person steering the ship to be doomed and to drown. The [relation/friend]ship is also damaged (due to the other half being dead) and now Jesse is doomed to sink too.

    "Your tongue is a rudder / It steers the whole ship sends your words past your lips / Or keeps them safe behind your teeth"
    - This is one of my favourite lines. I think it may represent the other person saying things like "i'm okay" when they weren't or keeping silent. It also points out that the other person is the captain on this ship. The movement of words represents the ship's course:

    "But the wrong words will strand you /Come off course while you sleep / Sweep your boat out to sea or dashed to bits on the reefs"
    - seeing as their ship, well, fucked, the "wrong words" may have something to do with their outcome - perhaps a fight, or a suicide note? Maybe the other person isolated themselves which resulted in his/her demise.

    "And I wished for one more day to give my love and repay debts / But the morning finds our bodies washed up thirty miles west"
    - he sees the lighthouse, which is a beacon of hope for him on this boat that may not make it through the storm stirred up by his friend/lover. The captain of the ship didn't see it apparently, because instead of trying to get to the lighthouse it cuts to an image of them both dead, but since Jesse is talking about in retrospect, it can be implied that he ended up surviving, unless his dead being is telling the story (highly improbable).

    "They say that the captain stays fast with the ship through still and storm / But this ain't the Dakota and the water is cold / We won't have to fight for long this is the end"
    - This part is another one of my favourites. He's saying that the captain isn't supposed to abandon ship and stay with it til the last minute, but this isn't the Dakota - the steamship that crashed into a reef and everyone evacuated the ship casualty-free because it was so close to shore - they're in cold waters that will kill them quickly; they won't have to fight death for much longer. This is the end.

    SO THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE SO FAR: a ship stirred by person x, calm seas, a storm out of nowhere and him referencing to ending up alone, the person failing to get them to safety, them stuck in cold water about to die (very titanic-esque) and their bodies washing up on shore. Since he is able to tell this story we must assume that he is alive and person x is dead. Since person x was the captain of the ship, they are to blame for this.

    "This story's old but it goes on and on until we disappear / calm me and let me taste the salt you breathed when you were underneath"
    - referring to this story and the memory which will exist until they're gone - completely gone, dead and with no memory of them left.

    "I am the one who haunts your dreams of mountains sunk below the sea / I spoke the words but never gave a thought to what they all could mean"
    - Now, I feel like this part is from person x's point of view - he/she haunts Jesse's dreams of a world underwater. He DID nearly drown so he has dreams/nightmares of that moment and sees person X in them. Person x acknowledges that he or she is the one who sunk the ship by admitting that she/he said things without thinking about the consequence - and we already know that this person's "tongue steers the whole ship".

    and then we're back to Jesse's POV
    "I know that this is what you want"
    This is evidence that if this song is about death, the death is a suicide. Person X wanted to drown/kill themselves, which is why the calm seas were like the calm before the storm, and person X is said to be stirring the ship. There's an unaddressed reason as to why Jesse survived and why the person intended it to be that way.
    "A funeral keeps both of us apart"
    - if they were both dead, they'd be together (think Romeo and Juliet) but the funeral keeps them apart meaning that one is dead and the other isn't. He wants them to be together which is why the line
    "Need you like water in my lungs"
    - No one needs water in their lungs unless they want to die. Alas, he wants to be with person x who is dead which says that he wouldn't mind dying to be with this person. Need you/need death to be with you/need you like I need death/need you like water in my lungs. It's especially heartbreaking because the person drowned, at least in a metaphorical sense.

    I think the tone of this song is a lot like Poison Oak by Bright Eyes. I really don't think it's about a romantic relationship ending, though it's always possible it's about a lover's suicide.
    youreacunton August 13, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Commentjust a bit more info on the band Crack The Sky...one of the songs on their first album (1975) is called A Sea Epic. This song is a tongue-in-cheek story about a wreck at sea with only two survivors, and some conversations with God as it happens. Just so you know.
    dave53on November 13, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI thought this song was about loving someone who was a drug addict:
    The title says: "play crack the sky" aka crack cocaine... I also made some comments after some of the stanzas.

    Sent out an SOS call, it was a quarter past four in the morning
    When the storm broke our second anchor line
    Four months at sea, four months of calm seas
    To be pounded in the shallows off the tip of Montauk Point

    The person was doing well- maybe in recovery, and then in the middle of night, they relapsed

    They call them rogues, they travel fast and alone
    One-hundred-foot faces of God's good ocean gone wrong
    What they call love is risk, 'cause you always get hit out of nowhere
    By some wave and end up on your own

    the person relapsed and it was seemingly out of nowhere

    The hole in the hull defied the crew's attempt to bail us out
    Flooded the engines and radio, half-buried bow

    there is nothing anyone can do to help them, they had a team of people working, maybe doctors to help the addict get better, but it failed...

    Your tongue is a rudder, it steers the whole ship
    Sends your words past your lips and keeps them safe behind your teeth
    But the wrong words will strand you, come off course while you sleep
    Sweep your boat out to sea or dashed to bits on the reef

    the person lies and claims they are clean/sober but eventually they can't hide that they are using drugs again

    The vessel groans, the ocean pressures its frame
    To the port I see the lighthouse through the sleet and the rain
    And I wish for one more day to give my love and repay debts
    The morning finds our bodies washed up thirty miles west

    Things are going downhill, and the worst part is that you can see how everything would be fine if they just stopped using drugs. Also, i'm probably looking too much into the song, but if you look at a map, W is to the left, which suggests that the person is going backwards, not forwards. They are 30 miles back from where they started (before the relapse).

    They say that the captain stays fast with the ship through still and storm
    But this ain't the Dakota, and the water's cold
    Won't have to fight for long

    The addict's body is the ship and their mind is the captain, and but their mind will go down with the ship.

    (This is the end)
    This story's old but it goes on and on until we disappear

    the addiction and watching the addict suffer is getting old, but it doesn't ever go away, because you love them and that is the nature of addiction.

    (This is the calm)
    Calm me and let me taste the salt you breathed while you were underneath

    It is "while you were underneath" implying the singer was not there for that part of the journey. Also, the singer breathing salt, aka maybe snorting cocaine...

    (We are drowning)
    I am the one who haunts your dreams of mountains sunk below the sea
    (After the storm)
    I spoke the words but never gave a thought to what they all could mean
    (Rest in the deep)
    I know that this is what you want, a funeral keeps both of us apart

    The addict is "dead" in that they want to do their drug and it is keeping the two people apart

    (Washed up on the beach)
    You know that you are not alone, I need you like water in my lungs

    The addict is not alone in their battle with their addiction, but the singer knows that it is toxic

    (This is the end)
    This story's old but it goes on and on until we disappear
    (This is the calm)
    Calm me and let me taste the salt you breathed while you were underneath
    (We are breathless)
    I am the one who haunts your dreams of mountains sunk below the sea
    (After the storm)
    I spoke the words but never gave a thought to what they all could mean

    I'm reaching here, but maybe the singer had told the addict that this was the last time and that if they relapsed again they would be dead to them- this is why a "funeral" would be keeping them apart and also, why they "spoke the words but never gave a thought to what they all could mean" aka. they didn't fully think about what would happen if the person did in fact relapse again- do they go back on their word or stick to it?

    (Rest in the deep)
    I know that this is what you want, a funeral keeps both of us apart
    (Washed up on the beach)
    You know that you are not alone, I need you like water in my lungs
    (This is the end)
    sierra1688on October 13, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commentmy favorite line is

    I am the one who haunts your dreams of mountains
    sunk beneath the sea

    this line has such a powerful image that goes with it and i wonder every time i hear this song if someone else gets this empty feeling in them like i do.
    drowndpoeton July 11, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti'm looking at this song totally different than a lot of you, check this out. the end is the big mystery it seems cause it goes "i know that this is what you want, a funeral keeps both of us apart;you know that you are not alone;need you like water in my lungs; this is the end"
    basically, i think he's deading someone who mistreated him in some way, a best friend, a girlfriend, a family member. the funeral is a metaphor for him being dead to this person, though he's really alive. this person knows they're not alone(has more friends he feels are more important) and that's why they felt they could treat him like shit in the first place. saying that he knows "this is what you(they) want" suggests that he feels they just really didn't care anyway. oh, one other thing...when your lungs are filled with water, you're drowning. he needs this person now as he needs to struggle to the bottom of the sea and DIE. this is the end of a relationship with someone who wasn't so great. "but the wrong words will strand you..."
    Atemporalon June 30, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment.Ver.ti.go.16. may be wrong on where the title came from, but I have a tough time believing that what he mentioned was a coincidence. I could just see Jesse thinking of this song as though he was the man on that ship that wished for everyone else on the ship to be saved, but not himself.

    I can't help, but think this was the song he wrote to explain the feeling of how when you love someone more than yourself and their happiness is more important to you than your own you have no choice but to accept the "funeral" or death of the relationship. I'm thinking of his issue with his girlfriend and John from TBS. The issue I'm sure sent shockwaves through their friends and, now I'm speaking from experience he lashed out at his friends because they couldn't do anything to help him or stop it from happening.

    In my view the guy in the song talks about how he said he'd do anything for the girl, but never really realized how true it actually was until things fell apart. Now however he is powerless to show her because all she wants is a funeral. She wants him to die out of her life, but he knows if she'd just give him "one more day to give his love and repay debts" to her he is positive he could show her how perfect they are. Once she refuses to do so he is willing to die just to save her and make her happy. But at the same time he is fighting with the fact that if he is willing to disappear from her life to make her happy there is nothing he wouldn't do and he feels that if that's the case there is no way they shouldn't or couldn't be together.
    ABrandNewRPhon January 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm pretty much going to summarize this song line-for-line so if you're reading this right now and didn't assume that this was some correction of the lyrics, go you.
    Let me preface this by saying that I feel that this is about a first love. It is often said that it's about summers in Long Island (I believe) which would make sense as to why the writer (maybe Lacey) alluded to all things beachy.

    Sent out an SOS call
    It was a quarter past four in the morning
    When the storm broke our second anchor line
    Four months at sea
    Four months of calm seas
    To be pounded in the shallows off the tip of Montauk Point

    Four seems to be a common number in the first verse. Not only does he say he sent out the "SOS call" at that time but he also goes on to say that he spent "fourth months at sea". It seems that this love affair lasted only four months and it is ironic that it suddenly went wrong at 4 am. I'm assuming that his girlfriend left him at this time or he didn't acknowledge her absence until that time. The SOS call is his utter urgency to see her or know where she is. It seems that before this leave of absence, the relationship was sailing smoothly. The reference to Montauk Point strengthens my Long Island theory. It also leads one to think of the movie The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is a mere coincidence, as the movie was released in 2004 while this album was released a year earlier. In no way are the two directly connected.


    They call them rogues
    They travel fast and alone
    One-hundred-foot faces of God's good ocean gone wrong
    What they call love is risk
    'Cause you always get hit out of nowhere
    By some wave and end up on your own

    A rogue, by definition, is a dishonest person. His mistress was perhaps a nomad in that she couldn't stay with one person/one place for too long. "One-hundred-foot faces of God's good ocean gone wrong" alludes to the employment of big waves, breaking up God's intended serenity of the ocean, which alludes to the disbanding of the writer and his mistress."'Cause you always get hit out of nowhere" this portion shows love in the sense that it is unpredictable and you can easily be out on your own at any given moment despite the amount of love your relationship bears.

    The hole in the hull defied the crew's attempt
    To bail us out
    Flooded the engines and radio
    Half-buried bow

    Here he is compairing their love to that of a boat's safety. It harbors them safely but once stormy waters are reached, the safety of it becomes encrippling to the two involved. 'Hulls' are the bodies of boats, showing that one little thing ruptured their otherwise perfect relationship. "Flooded the engines and radio" refers to the inner workings of the relation. The "engine" represents what makes a relationship run while the "radio" is the communication between the two. Therefore, a miscommunication was committed and thus ended their relationship.

    Your tongue is a rudder
    It steers the whole ship
    Sends your words past your lips
    Keeps them safe behind your teeth
    But the wrong will strand you
    Come off course while you sleep
    Sweep your boat out to sea
    Or dashed to bits on the reef

    The beginnning of this verse clears up the confusion in the last. That she left due to something he said. In this verse he is repenting for what he said and sees that it completely demolished their relationship.

    The vessel groans
    The ocean pressures its frame
    To the port I see the lighthouse
    Through the sleet and the rain
    And I wish for one more day
    To give my love and repay debts
    The morning finds our bodies washed up thirty miles west

    Implies that they are nothing without their love.

    They say that the captain stays fast with the ship
    Through still and storm
    But this ain't the Dakota
    And the water's cold
    Won't have to fight for long

    Refers to the SS Dakota of which sank years ago. He alludes to the wellknown tradition of captains dying within their sinking ships. He can either be saying that he will not uphold to dying as love dies or figuratively dying as love dies, as in not experiencing life anymore or taking anymore risks in fear of being hurt again.


    (This is the end)
    This story's old but it goes
    On and on until we disappear

    The dying of love is an archetypal theme that has happened before them and will happen after them.

    (This is the calm)
    Calm me and let me taste the
    Salt you breathed while you were underneath

    Suggests she drowned. Really means that she feels the sting of his words. "Calm me and let me taste" suggests that he wants one more kiss to feel how she feels in reference to his words.

    (We are drowning)
    I am the one who haunts your
    Dreams of mountains sunk below the sea

    Refers to her "resting place" or life without him that she pretends to feel will be better without him. However, he haunts those dreams by being a constant in her thoughts.

    (After the storm)
    I spoke the words but never
    Gave a thought to what they all could mean

    He is either referring to his mean words that got them into this horrid entanglement or said "I love you" but never really gave it a second thought as the truth but now sees that he did in her absence.

    (Rest in the deep)
    I know that this is what you want
    A funeral keeps both of us apart

    Metaphorically, she died while underwater and a funeral is hosted in her honor. However, it truly means that the death of their love is keeping them apart.

    (Washed up on the beach)
    You know that you are not alone
    I need you like water in my lungs

    He's reassuring her that she is not alone in being angry/hurt. "I need you like water in my lungs" sounds kind of sarcastic but could be taken as a phrase of endearment in the sense that he needs her in order to get his breath back again.

    (This is the end)
    This story's old but it goes
    On and on until we disappear

    (This is the calm)
    Calm me and let me taste
    The salt you breathed while you were underneath

    (We are breathless)
    I am the one who haunts your
    Dreams of mountains sunk below the sea

    (After the storm)
    I spoke the words but never
    Gave a thought to what they all could mean

    (Rest in the deep)
    I know that this is what you want
    A funeral keeps both of us apart

    (Washed up on the beach)
    You know that you are not alone
    I need you like water in my lungs

    (This is the end)
    paige-eon May 26, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSierra, I had someone in my immediate family die about 2 weeks ago with a drug addiction... sounds to me like you nailed to meaning. I mean it does describe the exact feelings. Brand New is amazing.
    Supurman202on April 27, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningSo, as to the question of the title, since I think the lyrical meaning is well-worn territory, with the all-but-certainly intended meaning rehashed a billion times on these pages...

    I'm not sure I buy the assertion someone made that "Play Crack the Sky" is a reference to lightning. I also tend to think there's no way it refers to the rock band named Crack the Sky.

    However, there is a song (and album) of that title released in '87 by this guy named Mylon LeFevre. The lyrics run thus:

    "Sometimes at night I close my eyes and wish,
    Sometimes I wonder if I'd ever be missed if you came for me,
    If you came for me.
    I've never asked you for a whole lot of things,
    I've never begged you for the riches of kings,
    But I've one request and I hold it up to you...

    Come on and crack the sky for me,
    Come on and crack the sky and take me home,
    Take me home,
    Come on and crack the sky for me,
    Come on and crack the sky and take me home,
    Take me home tonight.

    I know you've got me where you want me to be,
    I know you've got a plan to use in me but I long for you,
    I long for you.
    So, now I'll work until you're ready for me,
    I don't know if I can guarantee that I'll never cry, never try to get to you.

    Come on and crack the sky for me,
    Come on and crack the sky and take me home,
    Take me home,
    Come on and crack the sky for me,
    Come on and crack the sky and take me home,
    Take me home tonight."

    So, I'm thinking that's what the title alludes to. It kind of applies to the literal level of the narrative given by the lyrics; sailors who are facing their death. All that's left for him is for God to "crack the sky and take me home tonight." "Play 'Crack the Sky'" in particular, to me is sort of like a dying wish, the song he would want played at his funeral, or the song he would like to hear as he dies.

    Utmost apologies if all of that has been gone through before, there are so many comments for this that I could never read them all to see. And of course that interpretation of the title is up for debate. But it makes way more sense to me than any other attempts I've seen to nail down what Lacey meant with it.
    whisperingstarson September 16, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI barely ever comment on here but I had to, to clear it up.

    Anyways, the song is called play crack the sky because of a joke — he and his friend went to a concert and recognized one of the singers in a band from a previous band in which he had a cool song called crack the sky. Jesse and his friend — being the only ones at the concert — got a kick out of it, and his friend yelled “Play crack the sky!” to the guy on stage.

    Most of their song titles are jokes in disguise. I watched many interviews on youtube in which they let this slip.

    More briefly, this song is about death. More specifically, I believe it’s about his father, who was a fisherman (I believe). This song is immensely personal, I’m not sure we can really get a concrete meaning, but that’s the basic interpretation.
    brandnewdcon January 28, 2013   Link

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