"Lost Coastlines" as written by and Will Robinson Sheff....
Packed and all eyes turned in, no one to see on the key.
No one waving for me just the shoreline receding.
Ticket in my hand and thinking wish I didn't hand it in.
Cause who said sailing is fine?
Leaving behind all the faces that I might replace if I tried on that long ride,
Looking deep inside but I don't want to look so deep inside yet.

Sit down, sit down on the proud wave bye,
There might not be another star, farther on the line.
Look out, look out at each town that glides by,
And there's another crowd, to drown in crying eyes.
And see how that light you love now just won't shine,
There might just be another star, that's high and far in some other sky.

We sing, is that marionette real enough yet to step off of that set
And decide what a dance might mean to it.
Ruining the place where the ensuing may lay escape.
We packed up all of our bags the ship's deck now sags
From the weight of our tracks as we pace beneath flags
Black and battered rattling our swords in service of some fated, foreign, war.

And Jonathan says we sail out on order of him
But we find that the maps he sent to us don't mention lost coastlines.
Where nothing we've actually seen has been mapped or outlined
And we don't recognize the names upon strange signs.

And every night finds us rocking and rolling on waves wild and wide,
Well we have lost our way, nobody's gonna say it outright.
Just go


Lyrics submitted by error_to_brain, edited by dvorax, sugarnum, bfreeby, inverarity, Kozumou, promachos

"Lost Coastlines" as written by Will Robinson Sheff

Lyrics © WORDS & MUSIC A DIV OF BIG DEAL MUSIC LLC

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Lost Coastlines song meanings
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33 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentso.
    fucking.
    great.
    this album IS amazing.
    will sheff is one of the most eloquent humans on earth.

    "ENSUING MELEE ESCAPE"

    my god.

    and they did something with this album that tilly and the wall EPIC FAILED at.
    they modified their sound and at the same time STAYED TRUE TO OKKERVIL RIVER.

    thye're fucking great.
    laviebonneon August 12, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI want to become the tambourine player for Okkervil River. just sayin
    seaandthesaltybreezeon December 01, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI suspect JoeF is right about this (although in an incredibly smug and arrogant manner it has to be said).

    Just a couple of thoughts to add:

    What if Lost Coastlines refers more specifically to the unsuccessful search for Weapons of Mass Destruction In Iraq?

    Then - "We sail out on orders from him but we find the maps he sent to us don't mention lost coastlines" - relates to those who were sent by Bush and Blair on a wild goose chase.

    Maybe I'm reading to much into it but that would be clever songwriting in my humble opinion.

    Not being American, I'm not sure how much influence or authority (if any) Condeleeza Rice had in the decision to send weapons inspectors but if she did play an important role then could she be our "marionette".

    And, when we've finished serving and volleying semantics, it's a great song and it's a big universe so I rather suspect it doesn;t matter:-)
    Houxty1on December 10, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentbest song on the album, hands down.
    stars&satelliteson July 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat a song.
    against_me44on August 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI somewhat agree with you WillG about the unexpected turns in life and setting forth through doubt...but what I think you're missing is Johnathan Meiberg's (sp?) leaving Okkervil to focus on his band Shearwater. This is really the only true duet btwn Will and John...and I think that the intent is to show that this split is on good terms and that neither knows what will happen with their respective bands in the future...or if there may ever be an Okkervil "reunion"

    Great song...just pre-ordered the new album and will be seeing them in NYC this October.
    censored by laurieon August 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMaybe I'm just a dog but this song sounds to me like the guys in the band dealing with their misgivings over indulging in the pleasures of the road.

    The "Lost Coastlines" refer to their moral boundaries disappearing as a result of constant travel (i.e. never having to remain in a place long enough to deal with the consequences of their actions).

    And who here hasn't found themself in the middle of "waves wild and wide" deliberating whether or not they should give in to their lustful side? Anyone? I didn't think so. Sometimes you just have to say La, La... La, La, La...
    asoson September 10, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Is that marionette real enough yet to step off of that set to decide what her dance might be doing? Ruining the play to, in the ensuing melee, escape?"

    You can tell that this is what he's really singing, and it's also the way the lyrics are listed in the cover insert.

    Incredible song.
    InTheBetweenon September 29, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationSit down, sit down on the prow to wave bye
    There might not be another star further on the line

    We sing
    Is that marionette real enough yet to step off of that set
    To decide what her hands might be doing
    Ruining the play to, in the ensuing melee, escape

    We packed up all of our bags
    The ship's deck now sags from the weight of our tracks
    As we pace beneath flags black and battered
    Rattling our swords in service of some (faded/fated) foreign lord

    We sail out on orders from him but we find
    The maps they sent to us don't mention a lost coastline
    Where nothing we've actually seen has been mapped or outlined
    And we don't recognize the names upon these signs
    yamahasixstringon November 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI hate to nitpick, but these three things need to get fixed:
    1. key = quay
    2. proud = prow
    3. may lay = melee
    Imposs1bleon July 27, 2008   Link

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