"Another New World" as written by and Josh Ritter....
The leading light of the age all wondered amongst
Themselves what I would do next
After all that I'd found in my travels around
The world was there anything else left?
"Gentlemen", I said, "I've studied the maps"
"And if what I'm thinking is right"
"There's another new world at the top of the world"
"For whoever can break through the ice"

I looked round the room in that way I once had
And I saw that they wanted belief
So I said "All I've got are my guts and my God"
Then I paused,"and the Annabelle Lee"
Oh the Annabelle Lee, I saw their eyes shine
The most beautiful ship in the sea
My Nina, My Pinta, My Santa Maria
My beautiful Annabelle Lee

That spring we set sail as the crowd waved from shore
And on board the crew waved their hats
But I never had family just the Annabelle Lee
So I didn't have cause to look back
I just set the course north and I studied the charts
And toward dark I drifted toward sleep
And I dreamed of the fine deep harbor I'd find
Past the ice for my Annabelle Lee

After that it got colder the world got quiet
It was never quite day or quite night
And the sea turned the color of sky turned the color
Of sea turned the color of ice
'Til at last all around us was fastness
One vast glassy desert of arsenic white
And the waves that once lifted us
Sifted instead into drifts against Annabelle's sides

The crew gathered closer at first for the comfort
But each morning would bring a new set
Of the tracks in the snow leading over the edge
Of the world 'til I was the only one left
After that it gets cloudy but it feels like I lay there
For days maybe for months
But Annabelle held me the two of us happy
Just to think back on all we had done

We talked of the other worlds we'd discover
As she gave up her body to me
And as I chopped up her mainsail for timber
I told her of all that we still had to see
As the frost turned her moorings to nine-tail
And the wind lashed her sides in the cold
I burned her to keep me alive every night
In the lover's embrace of her hold

I won't call it rescue what brought me here back to
The old world to drink and decline
And to pretend that the search for another new world
Was well-worth the burning of mine
But sometimes at night in my dreams comes the singing
Of some known tropical bird
And I smile in my sleep thinking Annabelle Lee
Has finally made it to another new world


Lyrics submitted by hammerjack, edited by brianspade

"Another New World" as written by Joshua Ritter

Lyrics © DUCHAMP, INC

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Another New World song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentThese are the lyrics that are on the final cut of the album:

    The leading lights of the age all wondered
    amongst themselves what I would do next
    After all that I've found in my travels around
    the world was there anything left?

    "Gentlemen," I said "I've studied the maps
    and if what I am thinking is right
    There's another new world at the top of the world
    for whoever can break through the ice"

    I looked round the room in the way I once
    had and I saw that they wanted belief
    So I said "all I got are my guts and my God
    and I paused, and the Annabel Lee"

    Oh the Annabel Lee, I saw their eyes shine,
    the most beautiful ship in the sea,
    My Nina, my Pinta, my Santa Maria,
    my beautiful Annabel Lee

    That spring I set sail as a crowd waved from shore
    and on board the crew waved their hands
    But I never had family just the Annabel Lee
    so I didn't have cause to look back

    I just set the course north, and I studied the charts
    and towards dark I drifted towards sleep
    and I dreamed of the fine deep harbor
    I'd find past the ice for my Annabel Lee

    After that it got colder the world got quiet
    it was never quite day or quite night
    and the sea turned the color of sky
    turned the color of sea turned the color of ice

    Till at last around us was vastness,
    one vast glassy desert of arsenic white
    and the waves that once lifted us sifted
    instead into drifts against Annabel's sides

    And the crew gathered closer at first for comfort
    But each morning would bring a new set
    of tracks in the snow leading over
    the edge of the world till I was the only one left

    After that it gets cloudy, but it feels like
    I laid there for days and maybe for months
    But Annabel held me the two of us happy
    just to think back on all we had done

    We talked of the other new worlds we discovered
    till she gave up her body to me
    And as I chopped up her main sail for timber
    I told her of all that we still had to see

    Then the frost turned her moorings to nine tails
    and the wind lashed her sides in the cold
    I burned her to keep me alive every night
    in the loving embrace of her hold

    And I won't call it rescue what brought me back
    to the old world to drink and decline
    And pretend that the search for another new world
    was well worth the burning of mine

    Sometimes at night in my dreams
    comes the singing of some unknown tropical bird
    and I smile in my sleep thinking
    Annabel Lee had made it to Another New World

    Yeah sometimes at night in my dreams
    comes the singing of some unknown tropical  bird
    And I smile in my sleep thinking
    Annabel Lee has made it to Another New World
    matthewconteon April 24, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAmazing song. Saw him perform it live and was intrigued; after finding a recording, I'm awestruck. I love when Josh writes maritime songs - it's fascinating, what with him being from Idaho and all.

    There's a clear association between this song and Edgar Allan Poe's poem "Annabel Lee", which is about a narrator's love for a girl named Annabel Lee. Their love is so strong that the angels grow envious, and send a wind, 'chilling and killing my Annabel Lee'. Full text here:
    en.wikisource.org/wiki/…

    Not only do the name and the themes correspond, the meter and the style of repetition that Josh uses evoke Poe's poetic style. The waltz count that underlies Josh's fingerpicking (ONE two three, sounds more like one-and-a-two-and-a-three-and-a in this song) is reminiscent of the trochaic rhythm (Stressed-unstressed-unstressed) in Poe's poem, and indeed in the name 'Annabel'.
    hammerjackon April 29, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commentmatthewconte is correct about the lyrics, except that the final line of the last two verses should be:

    "Annabel Lee's finally made it to Another New World"
    JEHensonon April 27, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTo me, this song is a masterpiece. It is perfectly constructed in respect its musical quality, its lyrical rhythm, and story that ties it all together. The music sounds like the way it feels to lose something of great importance, which matches the theme of the story. The music also evokes the steely power of nature over man's inherent curiosity and delusions of interminability. The explorer is mistaken to think that he and Annabel Lee are impervious to the forces of nature, and he pays dearly for it. The music matches that feeling perfectly toward the end, and evokes the memory of how it feels to find yourself in a situation wherein you are forced to sacrifice a part of yourself to save what will be left of your life. In summary, I think this piece is gorgeous, and I am so thankful to the artist for working so hard to perfect it. Truly an inspiring work.
    poecooperon June 19, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentRidiculously brilliant song–you could publish the lyrics as a poem and they'd be brilliant on their own, and the music adds immeasurably.

    The part that always stands out to me is the line "And pretend that the search for another new world was well worth the burning of mine." We have this old explorer who's clearly been all over the world, and he wants to discover something new, this other new world, but he doesn't realize that doing so will cost him the only thing he loves. And that's something I think a lot of people can relate to: we charge forward, seeking something new and exciting, only to realize after it's too late that this new pursuit requires us to sacrifice things and people we love. And is it worth it? The narrator doesn't think so.

    It reminds me a bit of Tennyson's Ulysses: the aged adventurer grows restless and wants to set out again on a new voyage, to "sail beyond the sunset . . . until I die" (which has always bothered me–that he can leave behind his wife and his son so easily). The difference is that the poem ends before the journey begins, and now, listening to Another New World, I wonder if Ulysses, like the unnamed explorer in the song, will ever feel that the search for another new world was not worth the burning of his.
    larousse1981on April 13, 2012   Link
  • +1
    MemoryWhen i saw Josh live at the Town Hall in NYC a few months ago, he performed this (along with most of the new album actually) and before the song started, Josh invited the actor Michael Shannon out. Michael read Edgar Allen Poe's "Annabel Lee" so i think it's safe to say Josh was very inspired by the poem to write this wonderful song.

    If you're wondering who Michael Shannon is, just go see "Revolutionary Road." He was nominated for an oscar for his performance and it's wonderful, as was his reading of Annabel Lee.
    Aparanoidandroion September 26, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningWith a tip from my sister (thanks), I think there is an added wrinkle to this masterful song. The connection with Poe's poem Annabel Lee is very apparent, but the story of the sailor's ambition to reach another new world by going north is very reminiscent of the Greely Expedition led by Adolphus Greely in the late 19th century. The desperate fate met by that crew is almost identical to Josh's tale, but the way he tied in the love story between captain and ship as Poe did in the original poem makes it even more intriguing to me. I would have likely missed this song altogether if not for the Punch Brothers performing it live , but I give full credit and then some to Josh for the creative genius that he showed here. Wow, this is truly a fantastic song- I would be glad if it became a standard. It gives me hope to know that things like this are still being crafted in America.
    slidemanon February 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationIn my opinion, the song has a much deeper meaning than just an explorer travelling around the world.
    Almost all songs are about love, drinking, break-ups, etc. and this song is no different.
    This song is about a man who has found the girl of his dreams.
    The adventure they go on is, of course, getting married.
    Then, he ends up tearing up the marriage, yet he knows it.
    "After that it got colder, and the world got quiet. It was never quite day or quite night.
    And the sea turned the color of sky turned the color of sea turned the color of ice."
    They started fighting, or something similar to that. Or even both of their success tore them apart, it doesn't matter, that's your interpretation.
    Then, when he end's up getting "rescued" meaning, that they split up, and the girl ended up living on with her life and "making it to another new world." So that means that she ended up living on her dreams, etc.
    I learned this in my music class, just an amazing song, with more meaning behind what people make it look like.
    jade9697on February 15, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBest thing I heard in a while... Devastating too....
    The poem is great as a standalone but with the music it just reach perfection for me. As with any other great work of art, every heart will find its own meaning... that's probably the measure of how 'good' an artwork is: should be as infinite as the angles from which you can look through a well polished gem!

    Regarding references, just wanted to add a bit: The text is obviously influenced by Poe, the reference to Annabel Lee is more than explicit but I'd like to recall a second one: Arthur Gordon Pym. Mix the two together and you have all the good old Poe in this recipe. Nonetheless: hats off to Ritter and his mastership! ...Really moving song......
    j102870715on October 12, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow has no one commented its relation to Rime of the Ancient Mariner? Both are tragedies of mariners who barely survived their adventure across the oceans in a (assumed) similar time period. Its been a while since I read the poem, so I can't remember too many specific connections, but it definitely makes me want to look into it. Anyone else see that connection?
    pandoracat3on May 23, 2016   Link

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