"House by the Sea" as written by and Samuel Ervin Beam....
There is a house by the sea
Two jealous sisters, they're waiting for me
And one is laid on the floor
And one is changing the locks on the doors
And I've been buying the time on my knees
And I've been selling their blankets to bleed (on)

Around the house by the sea
The scent of roses and raspberry leaves
And there is smoke in my clothes
Too much time with just smoke in my nose
And I've been making the meaning they lack
And I've been burning that book they come back too

There is a house by the sea
And an ocean between it and me
And like the shape of a wave
The jealous sisters will sing on my grave

And I've been living to run where they led
And I've been dying to rise from their bed
And I've been sparing my neck from their chain

And they've been changing the sound of my name
And I've been swimming to them in my sleep
And I've been dreaming our love and our freedom

Lyrics submitted by sethbrown

"House by the Sea" as written by Samuel Ervin Beam

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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House by the Sea song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this the "jealous sisters" are sirens, given that they live by the sea and seem to be tempting the singer. Around the "house by the sea" there are beautiful nectars and the temptation of smoking. They've been changing the sound of his name, calling him by repeating his name slowly as if to say "come here." He's torn between giving in to their temptation, "swimming to them in my sleep," and resisting it, "sparing my neck from their chain."
    jwknov29on August 30, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the jealous sisters may represent the politcal parties: Democrat and Republican. 'One is laid on the floor': the democrats doing nothing. 'One is changing the locks on the door': in the context of the song this seems to mean that while the Republican administration has sent the soldiers out, their welcome home is something less than they expected.

    The smoke references in the second verse strike me as the smoke of the battlefield. Smoke in his nose as opposed to the scent of roses and raspberry leaves back home. As a soldier the narrator represents the ideals of our democracy in a way that the posturing of the fat cats in washington grossly distorts, hence 'making the meaning they lack'.

    'Like the shape of a wave, the jealous sisters will sing on my grave.' They will lament his senseless death seemingly oblivious that it was their inequities that caused it.

    'Living to run where they led' = following orders as a soldier
    'Dying to rise from their bed' = implying they are asleep and people are dying for it.
    saranwrapfanaticon September 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentActually, I just checked, they lived in Bethany, which is about 12 miles from the Dead Sea. So not too close...but still, the rest seems to fit.
    bird_girlon October 22, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe imagery really harkens back to older trad music. There's also some interesting parallels with the Audrey Niffenegger story, "Three Incestuous Sisters" in which a set of sisters who live by the sea take in this man who two of them fall in love with him... its worth checking out.
    roanokevlpon June 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti kind of know what you mean, mantooth - on carousel, the vocal effect adds something that might actually take away from the intended effect. i think, however, that the new sound enhances this song. i love the fuller sound; it really sounds like he had a good time layering instruments on quietly but numerously, like he has with his voice on previous tracks.
    phizzalon July 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti'm as in love with folky acoustic guitar iron & wine as anyone. and i'm not disappointed at all with this album, its sounds, its music, its lyrics. these songs are every bit as emotional and haunting as anything sam has written. he can't do wrong, and i'm continually stunned.
    smallwonderroboton July 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that he has changed, for certain, but who doesn't? and if he didn't, his style would get old, and people would be bored. I'm not saying one style is better than the other, just that change is necessary. And also, the thematic material of this album is drastically different from previous albums, and he sings to be targeting subjects of a global scale, as opposed to the quiet, intimate themes that he has tackled in the past, such as love, life, feminism and mortality. The music fits the message here, as always.
    coolcroweon July 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentexactly ^. people may not be liking the new direction he took, but another "sam 'n' his banjo/guitar/etc" album would've gotten boring quick. if you don't like his approach on TSD then listen to his older albums? i'm thinking he would've experimented with his sound sooner or later anyway, if not on this album. anyways, this is probably one of my favorite songs on the new album including wolves and boy with a coin.
    vulgaron September 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti'm a big fan of the new cd. this song is just an example of the potential and genius of sam beam. this new album is perfect live and sets you in an awe to see all the talent that produces this great music.
    rockisgroovyon October 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree. Artists grow, and every album (should) sounds different. If they don't grow and evolve they're not very good musicians.
    Same with Sam. And I must say, I really like his new sound
    hippieladyon October 03, 2007   Link

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