We salute at the threshold of the North Sea of my mind
And a nod to the boredom that drove me here to face the tide and swim.

I swim. Oh, swim.

Dip a toe in the ocean. Oh, how it hardens and it numbs.
The rest of me is a version of man, built to collapse and crumb.
And if I hadn't come now to the coast to disappear
I may have died in the land-slide of rocks and hopes and fears.

So swim until you can't see land.
Swim until you can't see land.
Swim until you can't see land
Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?
Swim until you can't see land.
Swim until you can't see land.
Swim until you can't see land
Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?

Up to my knees now, do I wade? Do I dive?
This sea has seen my like before though it's my first and perhaps last time.
Let's call me a baptist, call this the drowning of the past.
She's there on the shoreline throwing stones at my back.

So swim until you can't see land.
Swim until you can't see land.
Swim until you can't see land
Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?
Swim until you can't see land.
Swim until you can't see land.
Swim until you can't see land
Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?

Now the water's taller than me and the land is a marker line
All I am is a body adrift in water, salt and sky.

So swim until you can't see land.
Swim until you can't see land.
Swim until you can't see land
Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?
Swim until you can't see land.
Swim until you can't see land.
Swim until you can't see land
Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?


Lyrics submitted by CraigLindsay, edited by gargoyle85, Motoko

Swim Until You Can't See Land song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI think (as others do) that this song is about making efforts to forget the past, most likely a past relationship.

    "We salute at the threshold of the North Sea in my mind
    And a nod to the boredom that drove me here to face the tide and swim."

    I think this is the formal acknowledgement of the ending of the relationship and him realizing it's time to move on (or "swim").

    "Dip the toe in the ocean. Oh how it hardens and it numbs.
    The rest of me is a version of man, built to collapse into crumbs.
    And if I hadn't come down to the coast to disappear
    I may have died in a land-slide of the rocks, the hopes and fears."

    I think dipping a toe in the ocean is a metaphor for "testing the waters" again after the relationship, which can be difficult. I think a large part of him wanted to stay in the relationship and if he hadn't made up his mind to move on that he may have lived out his days in a relationship that didn't work.

    Swimming until you can't see land I believe is simply representing taking the steps necessary to forget a significant other. The man v. bag of sand (as pointed out above) I think means do you have the guile to push forward and separate yourself from your ex or are you going to let them drag you down/back to them?

    "Up to my knees now, do I wait? Do I dive?
    The sea has seen my like before though it's my first and perhaps last time.
    Let's call me a baptist, call this the drowning of the past.
    She's there on the shoreline throwing stones at my back."

    He has made a few steps forward - should he keep going or turn back to the girl? He's been single before but perhaps never like this (after a difficult breakup). The baptism line to me is transparent - getting rid of the past and starting anew. The shoreline reference is probably that the girl is either close enough to turn back to (within a stones throw) or that she is taking active steps to prevent him from leaving (throwing stones at him).

    "Now the water's taller than me and the land is a marker line
    All I am is a body adrift in water, salt and sky."

    I think this is a success story. He is officially over the relationship (he is out of the shallows and the shore is distant/almost out of sight) and he is separated from his ex or anyone else ("all I am is a body adrift in water, salt and sky").


    thebot108on April 30, 2010   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThe song seems easy enough to interpret. I reckon he's going with the theme of the album. It's much more uplifting. It's about letting go of the past, everything in the world. All his hopes and fears which might have been to much to live with:

    "And if I hadn't come down to the coast to disappear
    I may have died in a land-slide of the rocks, the hopes and fears."

    It's optimistic, he's going to fight and move on with everything he knows. Move into the unknown(the future) and not let it overwhelm.

    It seems he's also moving on from a relationship as he refers to "she".

    I could go into each line but I think it all makes sense if you look at it from the positive spin.

    The beauty about Frightened Rabbit is you can take their lyrics in what ever way you like. Some quality song writing. There amazing live as well.
    AndyM88on August 08, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyoutube.com/…

    At one point he pretty much describes the meaning of the song. He was inspired but a scene in a movie called "The Wackness".
    befamous7on May 20, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI personally think this song is all about ambition, and doing what you actually need and dream of doing every night.

    "if I hadn't come down to the coast to disappear
    I may have died in a land-slide of rocks and hopes and fears." the hopes of being where you're not now and fears of what will happen if you try can be suffocating, and I think the rocks symbolize the metaphorically violent way loved ones, your wallet and other things grind you into you're current stand point.

    The "she" he mentions are the memories and the worries that make him look back sometimes. And the ending is extremely hopeful in my interpretation. All he sees is endless water, salt and sky, and he can go anywhere, but land is still in view, it did not cease to exist.
    blehejoon November 28, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a beauty. I love how different the feel is compared to the acoustic version Scott did for Off the Beaten Track, much dreamier.
    I do have a few corrections on the lyrics though.

    And the nautical board-man that drove me here to face the tide
    I hear as;
    And a nod to the boredom that drove me here to face the tide

    And the rest of me is a burgeoned man, built to collapse into crumbs
    I hear as;
    The rest of me is a version of man, built to collapse into crumbs

    Small differences I know, but marked up for the sake of (potential) accuracy.
    lockonandfireon October 31, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI absolutely love this song, and I love Frightened Rabbit.
    TTgurl007on November 13, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcould anyone tell me where i can listen to this song?
    tollyon November 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is beautiful. Frightened Rabbit just get better and better every time I hear them. I love the Midnight Organ Fight and based on the strenght of this song, I've got high hopes for The Winter of Mixed Drinks!! I think the songs about someone who just wants to get away from it all coz all of the 'hopes and fears' are beginning to overwhelm him. Scott is a fantastic vocalist and lyricist!
    BetterOffWithoutYouon January 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is absolutely amazing, especially the last bridge and the lead into the last chorus. I think it's just about someone who is breaking away from the boredom of the everyday in order to survive.
    DeathsRoseon January 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow! What an amazing song! The past is past, and although it may yell for attention sometimes, it doesn't control you!


    Let's call me a baptist, call this the drowning of the past.
    She's there on the shoreline throwing stones at my back.



    Love that line so much! I'll bet a lot of people have someone "on the shoreline throwing stones at [their] back."
    Mwasa254on March 25, 2010   Link

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