"The River" as written by Daniel Coulter Reynolds, Benjamin Arthur Mckee and Daniel Wayne Sermon....
In the latest midnight hour
When the world has gone to sleep
You gotta get up
When doubts begin to rise
And the world is at your feet
You gotta get up

Reach, it's not as bad as it seems
I cleanse in the river for somebody else
For anyone but myself

I'm not a selfless man
I'm not a man of wealth
If I had all the world,
Probably give it to myself
But the trees begin to walk
And the ground begins to talk
And myself

Reach, it's not as bad as it seems
I cleanse in the river for somebody else
For anyone but myself

Hold my place
Don't you give up on me
Hold on, hold on

Reach, it's not as bad as it seems
I cleanse in the river for somebody else
For anyone but myself

Reach, it's not as bad as it seems
I cleanse in the river for somebody else


Lyrics submitted by danzero

"The River [*]" as written by Daniel Coulter Reynolds Benjamin Arthur Mckee

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The River song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentI think it's about him admitting that he's often been selfish (like in the second verse) but trying to make a change, hence the chorus: "I cleanse in the river for somebody else, for anyone but myself", meaning that he finally wants to do something for others rather than himself. Perhaps it's a symbolic cleansing, as in atoning for his selfishness, which would explain why he's doing it "for somebody else" - because others would benefit from him becoming selfless.
    UWSGuy2on September 30, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe main idea of the song is cleansing: It's not only that the speaker tries to wash away someone else's sins he has not committed. He perceives his cleaning as senseless as he notices that he washes away his sins only for the purpose of rising in other peoples' favor. Essentially, his sins are just sins in the eyes of the others.
    Aideron April 27, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI always believe tat this song has ecological meaning, it's clear to see. Cleaning the river is really a selfless act and it wouldn't bring you anything (materially) but it might saves lives.
    AnthroFanaticon February 09, 2014   Link
  • -1
    My InterpretationI've always felt that this song is about depression and how difficult it is to get out of it, even when "reaching" out to someone else. Far too often you try and get better, but not because you want to, but because everyone around you does. It's a bit of a paradox with the "not a selfless man" part, but from the perspective of someone who struggles with depression it makes perfect sense - you beat yourself up all the time, thinking you're selfish when you see your condition hurt the ones you love, so you try and "cleanse" and wash it all off, for them. But unless you do it purely for yourself, you can't leave it behind you.
    xuniapon June 16, 2014   Link

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