"Swans (Life After Death)" as written by and Andrew Balent Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky....
Swans
Swans
Swans sing songs
All night long
Who knew how warm the islands were

While the frogs look on
It's what the birds prefer
And it's still warm after the sun has gone

I woke up thirsty the day I died
And the tide was swirling
My mouth is so dry
And all I see is sea to shining seas

Swans
Swans
Swans sing songs
All night long
Who knew how warm the islands would be

And who knew just how much
The sky covers me
It makes you forget what it means to be free

I climbed into the blowhole
In the ribs I found you
With a wick we lit a flame
Now look at the smoke that it blew

The mouth is so wide
Yet all I see is sea
And azure sky
A little wave and ebb tide

Rivers leak
Salt seeps in
Heals wounds
Winds pry apart

Rivers leak
Salt seeps in
Heals wounds
Winds pry apart

Rivers leak
Salt seeps in
Heals wounds
Winds pry apart

Swans
Swans
Swans sung songs
'Til the morning dawned on us
And the sun-smudged peach moon still hung loose

Bones
Bones
Bones
Groan
The sparrows in the trees we leave them for
They love the marrow

I'm thankful for my life
I'm thankful for my life


Lyrics submitted by fabulousj

"Swans (Life After Death)" as written by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Andrew Balent

Lyrics © CARL FISCHER, LLC

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Swans (Life After Death) song meanings
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22 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentOk my theory on Swans / the album as a whole:

    Swans is the overture. A person (nick) wakes up on an island the day he was supposed to die (see: who will cut our hair when we're gone?) It covers all the action of the album (waking up, going into a whale, cannibalism etc..)

    Humans: they're running out of food, resort to cannibalism

    don't call me whitney, bobby: after the cannibalism, he's regretful and talks to the skeleton as his only friend on the tropical island

    Rough Gem: doesn't really fit in except the "who lives in those lights.." verse. That verse can be thought of as "wow look there are lights.. we should go there because it's people"

    Tsuxiit: traveling music

    Where there's...: Get into a whale.. hanging out in a whale.. traveling in a whale.. fun times

    Jogging Gorgeous Summer: Having met people inside the whale and eaten a few, the hero falls in love.

    Volcanoes: Their island is a volcano. Lots of people die because they think they angered the gods. Alaska melts.

    If: getting tired of the person that the hero is with, he threatens that if they're not sweet to him, he'll "salt you to make you savory", implying he'd eat them, too

    Ones: depressed about the whole thing, the hero retreats into his mind.


    please note that half of this is sarcastic, the other half i believe.
    yanquiUXOon March 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is just fantastic. it's amazing that they open their album with a nine-and-a-half minute track.
    evanreyeson February 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentinteresting thoughts!
    I don't really have any ideas as to what it could mean, but goodness gracious is this song amazing. I love it. and I can't wait to see them on Saturday in Philadelphia.
    sincronizziamoreon March 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, there seem to be several Unicorns references in here.. I'm sure Islands are tired of hearing about the Unicorns, but regardless:

    The intro- the guitar here is in a Unicorns song, "Thunder and Lightning"
    "I woke up thirsty the day I died"- Similar to a line in "Ready to Die"
    "sun-smudged peach moon"- line from "Peach Moon"

    So, similar to what yanquiUXO said, WWCOHWWG had a lot of death themes, and Nick, as a Unicorn was supposed to die... but he didn't, and now he's moving on..? I guess someone who knows more about Islands and the Unicorns would be able to go further with this/prove me completely wrong.
    soupcanson March 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCorrections from liner notes:

    a. and all i see is sea
    two shining seas*

    b. and who knew how much the sky'd cover me?

    c. bones bones bones
    grown homes
    with the sparrows in the trees
    we leave them for
    they love the marrow
    Airdogon May 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI knew I recognized that guitar sound from a Unicorns song. The first time I heard it was live and I thought for a minute that they were playing a Unicorns song. Thank you for pointing that out soupcans.
    iamianon May 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is my favorite song on the album. I think of it as being about dieing and waking up in a strange, surreal afterlife. I love the part about climbing into a whale and lighting a fire while looking out of it's mouth.
    Wrapidon May 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love it when he tthey sing this line "And the sun-smudged peach moon still hung loose"

    unicorns all over!
    decay.on August 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's a well known myth that swans don't sing until the day they die, at which point they sing a beautiful song.

    The silver Swan, who living had no Note,
    when Death approached, unlocked her silent throat.
    Leaning her breast upon the reedy shore,
    thus sang her first and last, and sang no more:
    "Farewell, all joys! O Death, come close mine eyes!
    "More Geese than Swans now live, more Fools than
    Wise."
    -Orlando Gibbons

    Just thought I'd point that out.
    coolcroweon October 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is just a group of unicorns refrences

    I woke up thirsty the day I died
    And the tide was swirling
    My mouth is so dry
    And all I see is sea
    Two shining seas

    Ready to die

    The mouth is so wide
    Yet all I see is sea
    And azure sky
    A little wave and ebb tide

    Ebb Tide, Azure Sky

    Swans
    Swans
    Swans sung songs
    Till the morning dawned on us
    And the sun-smudged peach moon still hung loose

    Peach moon.

    And I am sure there are many others that aren't as obvious.
    NinjaBoberton October 05, 2006   Link

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