Oh, there’ll be time to get by
I get dry after the swimming pool
Oh, there’ll be time to just cry
Or wonder why it didn’t work out
Oh, there’ll be time to fish fry
For letters by yours truly
Yours truly

Someone in my dictionary's up to no good
I never find the very special words I should
And so I have another party with a water glass
And I sit on all your actions, it’s a birthing game

And I bet he needs a shower 'cause he’s just like me
But the soldiers in the painting know your secret face
Well your parrot told me just how I can make you smile
'Gonna let you do your thinkin' if you need a while

But what I gave you made him get mad
A little bit funny how a thing like that
Could travel through one mouth in through another
And the next thing you know you gotta hear it from your brother

And the words they sting, like a stump of old wasps
Do you remember when I said, "Go throw the rock in there"
And we ran through the woods to our good house
But you forgot about the things that he could say like

"I don’t think that I like you anymore
Well I found new feelings at the feeling store
And I can't find you at our kissing place
Well I’m scared of those new pair of eyes you have"

So I duck out, go down to find the swimming pool
Hop the fence, leave the street, and wet your feet to find the swimming pool
'Cause when I'd snuffed out I doubt I’d find the swimming pool
Hop the fence, leave the street, and wet your feet to find the swimming pool

But I don’t wish that I was dead
Now, a very old friend of mine once said
That either way you look at it
You have your fits, I have my fits
But feeling is good

Confusion's not a kidney stone in my brain
If we’re miscommunicating, do we feel the same?
'Cause either way you look at it
You have your fits, I have my fits
And feeling is good

So I duck out, go down to find the swimming pool
Hop the fence, leave the street, and wet your feet to find the swimming pool
'Cause when I'd snuffed out I doubt I’d find the swimming pool
Hop the fence, leave the street, and wet your feet to find the swimming pool

If you give a little
you can get a little bit


Lyrics submitted by FuneralCatering, edited by smuckersje, sortilegus, foompd

Banshee Beat song meanings
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91 Comments

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  • +13
    General CommentI am about to completely dissect this, (a) because i'm tipsy and (b) for some of the misconceptions I have read in the comments. Not to say that I could interpret perfectly or "better" (duh) or anyone is wrong, you can kind of interpret the song anyway that makes you like it more. Which is a big plus about Animal Collective's songwriting or just the band in general. Yeah, yeah everyone knows this blah, blah.

    I read an interesting view in the comments about the song being viewed in the eyes of young children in love. Referring to the lyrics about the "kissing place" and throwing rocks in a house (I'm assuming). Which is brilliant because it basically expresses the simplicity of the concept at a young age. With that said, I would say the lines are referring more to the idea of time, how it used to be for him and her (or more so how he wished it would be again). As I think this song is not about falling in love, it is about losing it and moving on past it in a healthy non-self-destructuve way.

    Someone in my dictionary's up to no good
    I never find the very special words I should
    So I have another party with a water glass

    -Essentially his conscious mind never finding the "special" words he needs it to in order to express his feelings under the pretense of his uncertainty or nervousness towards the girl to which he is referring, which is where the "water glass" comes in. I'll quote a line from a Circa Survive song as example, "...just keep drinking water and you'll be alright." Hopefully it kind of sums up the point.

    and I sit on all your actions its a birthing game
    and I'll bet he needs a shower cause hes just like me

    -Here we are given the information that there is "someone else". Which will eventually result in his departure from her to a pool. In the comments someone speculates this is the "brother" who is mentioned later in the song. I disagree but we'll get to that. Not exactly sure how to interpret the "birthing game" the only thing I can come to is that he is essentially waiting ("sitting on her actions") for her to change ("birthing game") or (maybe) more specifically, for a new person/personality to be born. It could also just be referring to the lengthy-ness of that process.
    He also views the "other" and himself as the same type of person. Possibly, both tired (or exhausted, maybe) from her miscommunication.
    It could also just be a very simple idea stated above about being the same type of person or a million other things... moving on.

    and the soldiers in the painting know your secret face
    Well your parrot told me just how I can make you smile
    Gonna let you do your thinking if you need awhile
    but what I gave you made him get mad

    -Only something around her all the time (that can't judge, or chime in) could know what her "secret face" looks like, which we can assume means she can't or doesn't always express her true feelings. So he would need the "parrot". Which is symbolic for use of surveillance. Hence the only way he could find out what made her happy. Which all in all represents her indecisiveness. He's going to let her think over her decision (between him and the other) and the feelings he gave her made the other get upset. Pretty self-explanatory.

    A little bit funny how a thing like that
    Could travel from one mouth in through another
    and the next thing you know you gotta hear it from your brother and
    The words they sting like a stump of old wasps

    -Her feelings about "Avey" were apparently expressed amongst others and spread around and here is where I disagree with the "brother" idea mentioned above. I like to think the idea of the "brother" is used as a concept for the idea he lays out about things "traveling from one mouth into another". (Example: the news about the good medicinal weed on the street is spreading from one person to another and eventually spreads all the way to your mom. Yeah, it's some pretty good shit.) Where it eventually reaches her brother and they essentially discuss what her decision is going to be, or to say he gives her "the hard truth" and the words "sting like a stump of old wasps".

    Remember when I said go throw the rock in there
    and we ran through the woods to our good house

    -Brilliantly the songwriting brings us right into a nostalgic memory that represents the decision making where she remembers when they threw rocks in... a house? and ran back to their "good house". (ala Good, simple times.) Since she has made everything terribly complicated (kind of like what I'm doing to this song. It is hilariously quite simple.)

    You forgot about the things that he could say like
    I dont think that I like you anymore
    Well I found new feelings at the feeling store

    -Right back to reality, engulfed totally in her conflict she forgets that anyone could possibly not want to be with her and forgets about "the things he could say like, I don't think I like you anymore". Once again, self-explanatory. Im assuming Avey is referring to the others mentality about getting over her, "I found new feelings at the feelings store." Which is pretty brilliant.

    and I cant find you at our kissing place
    and im scared of those new pair of eyes you have

    -It seems Avey is expecting things to be like the days of their youth now that they can be together without conflict. However, he can't seem to find her at her "kissing place" which goes back to the idea of the simplicity of young love and secretively expresses how it will never be like that again amongst the various complications with the situation and how it has now become worse because he see's now that she Resents (Big R) Avey for the entire situation. "I'm scared of those new pair of eyes you have."

    So I duck out and go down to find the swimming pool
    Hop a fence, leave the street and wet your feet I'll find a swimming pool

    -Of course we reach the most staggering part the entire song where Avey decides to leave her as well in the best interest of himself and his happiness. One of the more brilliant things about the whole "swimming pool" is that it precisely works Literally and Conceptually. Many interpret the "swimming pool" is a place in Avey's mind where he goes to "get away", and it's not wrong. Swimming in a pool does exactly that and that's why I would take it in the most literal sense. The pool is a place he can relieve stress and clear his mind, a place he psychologically finds more comfortable and free.

    One of my favorite interpretations I found in the comments refers to the next line, specifically "wet your feet" (I would like to mention that the lyric listed on the site is wrong, it is not "my feet" it is "your feet" and there really is a big difference.) as her shedding tears over the fact he left and that the tears wet her feet as she chases to find the pool where he now resides. This is a fantastic interpretation, pretty spot-on.

    Cause when I'm snuffed out I doubt I'll find a swimming pool

    -He defines his actions. Which is essentially, cause when I'm dead I doubt I'll find a swimming pool. Another comment mentions "carpe diem", this is exactly what the line is expressing. He is not choosing to dwell in complications but rather just swimming because he can.

    But I don't wish that I was dead
    A very old friend of mine once said
    that either way you look at it you have your fits
    I have my fits but feeling is good

    -Heading towards the beautiful ending of the song, Avey places us in his new "carpe diem-esque" mindset. There is some debate in the comments about weather the line used is "old" or "little". I personally hear "little" but it doesn't matter because they both represent the same idea. I believe the debate may have been because "little" doesn't make sense but a comment does explain "little" meaning the voice inside his head that sits on his shoulder. I found that to be the best interpretation and brilliantly "old" can work in the exact same expression. "Old" in terms of the voice in his head that has been there since the day he was born. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. (You have your problems, I have mine, but at least we have SOMETHING.)

    confusions not a kidney stone in my brain
    but if were miscommunicating do we feel the same?


    -Confusion doesn't haunt his psyche but if they are both unclear of each others intentions does that mean they feel the same way?

    This literally took me almost 3 and a half hours to write, and no one will probably even read this but regardless understanding the simple (yet heavy) ideas of entrapment and individuality are something I wanted to express because incredible song-writing like this should not go unnoticed (not that it has). Not exactly sure if those points are evident but I hoped breaking it down would help seeing it more clearly. Not to mention just how far you can take interpreting one song from a group with about 60+ just like it, which essentially separates Animal Collective from any other type of group and recognizes an entirely different and intelligent way of music creation which of course, in ways, makes them superior to others. This is an unquestionably crucial Animal Collective song in the discography and certainly one of the most powerful.


    ludeon November 11, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI think this is about losing a love but not giving up on feelins like everyone tends to do. Like there is still hope so don't become numb. Or I'm wrong.
    birdablazeon January 12, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI can't believe no one has commented on this amazing song. It is definitely the quintessential AC song. It peaks like a fine orgasm.

    Edited by evanreyes on April 28 2007, at 12:39AM

    FiberOpticJesuson November 05, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThere is also a sense of carpe diem. Note the atheistic pessimism of the line "So I duck out and go down to find the swimming pool" and the following line "Cause when I'm snuffed out I doubt I'll find a swimming pool."
    couldBanyoneon November 04, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti think ita bout a relationship on hold.. and there's a third person in the picture also, like an ex girlfriend that u still talk to and have feelings for but they have a new boyfriend, but the relationship is not completely over and you're both talking to other people about it, and its getting back to the two

    i like this
    peacenlove1239on April 08, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis is the most positive breakup song of all time, but i look at it more abstract as the best song ever for dealing with any form of negativity, depression or overall 'bummed-out mood'

    and even though i got the fact that 'swimming pool' represented some kind of inner peace and several other profound realizations throughout the song -- this time lyrically without a doubt the whole thing clicked on such a cohesive level.

    the song starts off with the realization or advice from a friend to not worry about this. they'll be time to cry, to go over all the letters and to wonder why. but for now, let's just go swimming.

    like that is so beautifully simple i feel like crying right now. its so metaphorical for so many things i feel in life. but anyways continuing:

    the song then goes into a very poetic and abstract stream of consciousness tangent for basically a pretty easily explainable concept. its just all the inner conflict and reasoning felt by whomever just got broken up with by whomever, basically. once you realize that you can see specific examples in every single line.

    even the repeating chords to me representing a constantly shifting mentality. going back and forth from positive to negative (when the chords progress upwards to when the regress downwards)

    but anyways after that long section the character realizes that its not worth thinking about and to go out and go swimming. because if he's depressed (snuffed out) and just worrying about this he's definitely not going to go swimming. you can obviously parallel this to any form of depression in your own life with the swimming pool being your own mental center / inner peace.

    then finally he's had a complete shift in mentality. he admits that he no longer wishes that he was dead (melodramatic etc) and reminds himself that even though people hit lows in their life -- they are lucky to feel those lows. we all have our fits. and specifically to the relationship, there might actually be hope -- because confusion's a natural emotion and they both are feeling it. so if they are miscommunicating, doesn't that mean that above anything else they are both human? (oh and the final two lines are basically more advice that applies to both the breakup/relationship and really life itself when you parallel it to your own ideas)
    AndrewVSon May 21, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI have to say I was a bit surprised to not see any interpretations similar to my own on the symbolism of the swimming pool. To me, the most important motifs in the lyrics are time (especially in terms of the transition from adolescence to adulthood) and water, which pops up in a few different contexts.

    I think the song is about two childhood friends that only realize their romantic feelings for each other later in life, after having been in relationships with other people. The swimming pool has a double meaning. First, it represents the nostalgia of the friends' childhood days spent running through the woods, swimming/skipping or throwing rocks in lakes, finding abandoned houses or shacks to call their own secret spot, and just being innocent kids discovering life together. Second,it describes what we continually return to after failed relationships, the pool of potential romantic interests, all the OTHER fish in the sea if you will.

    The two friends come to realize their mutual feelings for each other, but the timing is bad because the girl is already involved with someone else. The narrator kisses her anyway, complicating things for both of them. The girl's boyfriend knows that something is wrong because of the "new eyes" she has for her childhood friend and gets mad, loses interest in her quickly and gossips about what happened.

    This presumably leaves the narrator and his friend in a place where they can be together in bliss right? But for whatever reason (the narrator is still pondering) it doesn't work out.

    Possible reasons: swimming in the pool of people and sex and relationships for too long has corrupted both parties' sense of trust and longevity as a long term possibility, leading to paranoia about the relationship that makes the narrator "need a shower" or want to just "duck out and find the swimming pool". In other words, he saw himself how easily a relationship could fall apart when he kissed his friend and made her go astray from her current interest, so why couldn't it happen again? so then why go through all this pain just to reach that result again after so much has been invested?

    Do we extend ourselves romantically just because "feeling is good"? because we're driven by biological needs for companionship and sexual expression? do we compromise and "give a little" just for the sake of getting "a little bit"? and what exactly is the point if in the end it's only temporary, and we'll end up burning all the letters and notes and reminders of past lovers along with our connections to them? of course any time AC says "fry" i have to assume there's more than one meaning there haha

    I am reminded of the "guy who tosses typewriter" scene from Richard Linklater's film Slacker where the pissed off ex-boyfriend quotes James Joyce's Ulysses:

    "If he had smiled why would he have smiled? To reflect that each one who enters imagines himself to be the first to enter whereas he is always the last term of a preceding series even if the first term of a succeeding one, each imagining himself to be first, last, only and alone whereas he is neither first nor last nor only nor alone in a series originating in and repeated to infinity."
    poopsmcgee567on March 23, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMusic at its finest, if not a little bit dark for AC
    alec-eiffelon December 05, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe ultimate summer song.
    doloreaestheticon February 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAfter some additional listens I thought this might be interesting to add. The "wet YOUR feet" (this is the real lyric) represents the young boy deserting his love with her scary "new pair of eyes" and running to the swimming pool, or the one place he feels happy. Going back to the wet your feet, I believe this refers to the tears that she sheds for his leaving that fall on her feet and "wet" her shoes.
    couldBanyoneon February 17, 2006   Link

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