"Yer Not the Ocean" as written by Robert Baker, Gordon Downie, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois and Gordon Sinclair....
Again I'm talking to the lake, I'm standing on the rocks
You're not the ocean, I'm better to watch
Britney Invisible or The Stranger In Myself
Than a wall of water just hitting the shelf

You're not the ocean, you're up to my toes
You're not the ocean, you're not even close

Though you're so real and you're more youth every day
And you can think and feel and get out of your own way
And though I'm nothing, you are just a lake
Made to take it and take and take and take

You're not the ocean, I'm standing on my toes
You're not the ocean, you're not even close
You're not the ocean, you're up to my chin
You're not the ocean, you're not coming in
You're not coming in, you're not coming in, you're not coming in

You're not the ocean, you're up to my chin
You're not the ocean, you're not coming in
You're not coming in, you're not coming in, you're not coming in


Lyrics submitted by mootinator

"Yer Not the Ocean" as written by Gordon Sinclair Gordon Downie

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing

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Yer Not the Ocean song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationAgain, as with much Hip writing, what Gordon Downie is writing about-You're Not the Ocean is either about strained Ameri-Canuck relations or about the shameful obsession we have with Celebrity/Makeover/Reality culture that Monsieur Downie wants absolutely no part of. Go figure. Or it could be about the divisive issue we have in the World System that we call diversity-or something to that effect! The Tragically Hip are a brilliant Classic Rock band-huge in Canada-unknown everywhere else. And I am their biggest American fan. Only Rabbit Leopold can claim that! Better than that, You're Not the Ocean asks "Pourquoi? Why Can't We all just get along for once?"
    rabbitbunnyon October 22, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is metophorically amazing! I think this song is about breaking up with someone or even just falling out of a friendship and realizing that he or she was never good for you in the first place and that you shouldn't let them get you down. The lake in my opinion just means that someone was only a small part of your life and the real thing which is represented by the ocean. Goddamn it i dont even know why i'm getting in to this song because the singer sounds extremely wasted but it's annoyingly entertaining lol.
    stevo33on April 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, he may sound wasted, but that's just Gord Downey's style.

    I too believe the song is about a breakup but as the song progresses, the protagonist realizes that his ex is more complex then he would like to admit!
    gf85on May 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe lyrics are ambiguous, and the music video is just as bad.. Still, I read this song as the last, desperate attempt of someone to convince himself that he is OK when in fact he isn't. I see the "you're not coming in" phrase as directed to the water rushing through his mouth and nostrils as he drowns. He is talking down this obstacle (the lake), yet he has found himself defeated by it. Damn lakes.. sneak up on you when you least expect them.
    towelcheckon June 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just saw them in concert (FUCKING AWESOME) and as they walk on stage he says This is a song about Lake Ontario and arena pretty much explodes as they start playing this song.
    Tragically-Hercon July 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLooks like we have some pretty unacquainted listeners here, which is awesome.

    "The lyrics are ambiguous, and the music video is just as bad"
    -Welcome to Gord Downie's writing style... this one is a easy analysis in comparison to a lot of them.

    It seems to be literally decipherable (it actually is just about a lake) but metaphorically is much more interesting. "You're not coming in" refers to the tides etc. Also, the Great Lakes all look like oceans and you've got to regularly remind yourself that the are in fact lakes.

    Metaphorically it does seem to be about a friendship/relationship, but I think the most telling line is "you're up to my chin" near the end. It contrasts with "you're up to my toes." This suggests he's underestimated the impact of this person. It turns the entire song into a possible denial of this person's effect on the narrator. Perhaps he/she isn't the ocean, but their effect is suddenly close to smothering.

    And yeah he can sound obnoxious sometimes, but I call it dynamic.
    wackakapowon August 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti take this song as over coming any obstacle is life. finally realizing that whatever your vice is it can be overcome if you want to overcome it
    sheena1983on August 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti don't so much see it as "overcoming" something. i agree with the metephor for "the ocean" being an individual. like wackakapow said, i see it as denial, while the "impact" grows through the song. "up to my toes, standing on my toes" and by the end "up to my chin" Kinda saying "you don't mean as much as you think" but slowly he realizes this "person" means more.
    Hetter27on December 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhen i first heard this song i was flying over the ocean for the first iime and it was kind of intimidating, and now whenever i think about it im reminded of myself sitting on the plane letting this song calm me and help me overcome my fear of the plane crashing into the ocean. YOUR NOT THE OCEAN
    rammsteingirlon December 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think there are three possible interpretations of this:

    One, it is in fact Lake Ontario, one of the biggest sources of fresh water in the world and horribly polluted, and this is just a tongue-in-cheek shot at the neglect and ignorance that led to its current state by pretending to be a justification of our attitude. It doesn't matter if we're destroying you. I'm a popstar (Britney Invisible) and you're just a lake, not the ocean.

    Two, it could be Canada talking to the United States.

    Three, it could be the United States talking to Canada. I think this is perhaps more likely with the "I'm better to watch," "Britney Invisible," and "you can think and feel and get out of your own way" parts, as well as a few other similar lines.
    nerdsupremeon November 02, 2009   Link

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