Well this is just a simple song
To say what you've done
I told you about all those fears
And away they did run
You sure must be strong
And you feel like an ocean being warmed by the sun

When I was just nine years old
I swear that I dreamt
Your face on a football field
And a kiss that I kept
Under my vest
Apart from everything, but the heart in my chest

I know that things can really get rough when you go it alone
Don't go thinking you gotta be tough, and play like a stone
Could be there's nothing else in our lives, so critical
As this little home

My life in an upturned boat
Marooned on a cliff
You brought me a great big flood
And you gave me a lift
Girl, what a gift
When you tell me with your tongue
And your breath goes in my lungs
And we float over the rift

I know that things can really get rough when you go it alone
Don't go thinking you gotta be tough, and play like a stone
Could be there's nothing else in our lives, so critical
As this little home

Well this would be a simple song
To say what you done
I told you about all those fears
And away they did run
You sure must be strong
When you feel like an ocean being warmed by the sun

Remember walking a mile to your house
Aglow in the dark
I made a fumbling play for your heart
And the act struck the spark
You wore a charm on the chain that I stole
Especial for you
Love's such a delicate thing that we do
With nothing to prove
Which I never knew


Lyrics submitted by Konversekid, edited by SoWhy, bassmaster


Simple Song song meanings
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25 Comments

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  • +6
    My InterpretationI actually have to disagree with you on this one joyce,

    James Mercer has said in interviews that this is about him and his wife and partially about the old members being let go.

    For the most part, I think this song is simply and purely unabashed joy. It's full of romantic expressions of his love with little to nothing countering it. I'm only ankle deep here, but the overall mood of the song and imagery (which both are used with great importance in The Shins' songs) speak of happiness.
    Ryuhzaon March 04, 2012   Link
  • +4
    Song MeaningFrom Q Magazine, James Mercer says "I wrote it on the living room floor of my apartment when my wife and I were newlyweds... So it was kind of this song about my wife, our relationship and this whole new life we have ahead of us." He then says, "I'll admit, Simple Song is in part about Jesse Sandoval and Marty Crandall leaving the band."
    llscienceon January 28, 2012   Link
  • +4
    Song Meaning“‘Simple Song’ is the love song. I mean, it’s that feeling that I’ve gained a lot of confidence, and a lot of it is because of my wife and the strength that she gives me. That strength that you get from a real strong love.”

    magnetmagazine.com/2012/03/26/magnet-web-exclusive-the-shins-james-mercer-on-the-new-port-of-morrow/
    kwakubmon November 02, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentGreat song. As others referenced, Mercer has said in an interview that he wrote this song about his wife when they were newlyweds. So its a love song- although we can guess that from the lyrics.

    "I told you about all those fears/ and away they did run."

    When you tell someone your fears, they seem to lose their power and run away. Especially if you love and trust the person you tell.

    The author also talks about being stranded on a cliff before his girl comes along. She rescues him from being "stuck" and not moving. "Girl what a gift." Indeed, that is a great gift someone can give to another.

    There are also some great imagery here when the author recalls a romantic past: walks in the dark to her house; her wearing his charm; him making "plays" for her heart on the field.

    The song ends with some more powerful lines. "Loves such a delicate thing that we do/ with nothing to prove/ which I never knew." She has taught the author about love. That it is delicate. Also, that it is a "thing that we do." This implies action. Love is revealed through words and deeds. Finally, there is "nothing to prove." Love doesn't require us to prove ourselves or be someone else.

    Great song, beautiful lyrics, and a great message.
    ThickSudson March 12, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationOn the lyrics, is anyone else hearing:
    "Your shore must be strong, and you feel like an ocean being warmed by the sun"
    rather than "sure"?

    Love this song, and the story about the song being about him and his wife, just beautiful.
    lmm999on March 09, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe more I listen to this song, the more I love it.

    One of my favorites from The Shins for sure.
    Ryuhzaon March 10, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentReally impressed that someone wrote out the lyrics w/o use of a jacket. Sweet song. Reminds me of junior high and all the times I was hit with snowballs and chunks of ice by boys who liked me. It was a very innocent, yet painful time:)
    justanothergurlon March 10, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commenttest
    ThickSudson March 12, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit's really neat that this references Weird Divide from Oh, Inverted World:

    Several days a month you made
    The mile to my house,
    And had me do a stroll with you.

    Just a little touch that makes the whole thing resonate a bit more. It's funny that people hear that one as a breakup song or a bit of wistful nostalgia for something lost, but in light of this song it would seem that it's more a fond remembrance of the start of the same relationship.
    AlbertGatoron April 04, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI do think he was still reeling from his friends being dropped by the band when he wrote this song but I honestly can't find a trace of it in the lyrics. This is a love song about his wife, pure and simple.

    "Well this is just a simple song to say what ya done
    I told you about all those fears, and away they did run
    You sure must be strong, and you feel like an ocean being warmed by the sun"

    Right off the bat, he dedicates it to his wife. I don't think he's talking about any fears in particular but rather all those he's confessed to his wife over the years and how she helped him get over them. He admires her and enjoys the feeling he gets by being around her.

    "I know that things can really get rough when you go in alone
    Don't go thinking you gotta be tough to bleed like a stone
    Could be there's nothing else in our lives so critical as this little home"

    His wife is an independent woman and tries to take a lot on by herself but he wants to be there for her. He wants her to ask for help when she needs it and to not be so tough all the time. Then he reminds her that the matters which trouble her the most are trivial. Building their little family is the one thing that truly deserves their attention.

    "When I was just nine years old, I swear that I dreamt
    Your face on a football field and a kiss that I kept under my breast
    Apart from everything, but the heart in my chest"

    Not sure if they knew each other as children or he's just implying that he's been dreaming about her his whole life. Right after high school football games, family and friends shuffle onto the field to greet the players and coaches. He probably saw her after a game and they kissed. Since then, he's been in love.

    "My life in an upturned boat, marooned on a cliff
    You brought me a great big flood and you gave me a lift
    Girl, what a gift when you tell me with your tongue
    And your breath goes in my lungs and we float over the rift"

    His life was a mess before his wife came along and she saved him. The gift he's talking about is when she kisses him. She uses her tongue, breathes into his mouth, and together, they get lost in their passion.

    "Remember walking a mile to your house aglow in the dark
    I made a fumbling play for your heart and the act struck the spark
    You wore a charm on the chain that I stole especial for you"

    He's recalling a favorite memory with her; a night where they were walking back to her house. They were "aglow;" either drunk on alcohol or just drunk on love. He made a move and, despite him being nervous, she reacted well and it kick started their relationship. He took a necklace from her that night to cherish.

    "Love's such a delicate thing that we do with nothing to prove
    Which I never knew"

    Love comes naturally for them. It's delicate in the fact it can't be faked or augmented by their own will. It's not inspired by a desire to prove something to one another. It just is.
    DanielRogerson March 23, 2014   Link

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