"Submarines" as written by Wesley Schultz and Jeremy Fraites....
I believe submarines
Underneath deep blue seas
Saw the flags: Japanese
No one will believe me

Ran back to the town bar
And I told the people how
I had seen the submarine
And everyone laughed aloud

I did spy periscopes
Dead of night on the eastern coast
The police made them jokes
Told me I'd seen a ghost

Everyone thinks I'm a liar
No one knows the truth
If it was a bigger fire
I would be on the roof

Ships will rust in Baldwin Bay
(Let me go!)
No one trusts what I say
(I don't know!)
Oh my God, no one paid
Overnight my hair turned gray
(Oh oh oh!)

In the end it boils down to credibility
I had none, so I will die with the secrets of the sea

(Submarine! Can't find me!)



Lyrics submitted by mike, edited by ronadair78

"Submarines" as written by Wesley Schultz Jeremy Fraites

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Submarines song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI'm pretty sure the submarine is just a metaphor for a bigger problem in life. Like noticing the signs of someone's drug problems but no one believes you. I absolutely love this song no matter what the meaning, along with their entire debut album!
    ronadair78on October 09, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is a song about Wesley Schultz's great grandfather. He had many interesting and exciting stories which no one believed. One of which was that he had seen a Japanese submarine in the bay (which I believe was in New Jersey).
    Schultzeeon February 15, 2013   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningSounds like someone is predicting the attack on Pearl Harbor?
    Baldwin Bay is in New York (Long Island), so not sure how that connects...unless they kept US Navy ships there, and its refering to the fact that they wont be coming?
    mermy96on September 26, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song is about someone who acts nice to most people but is really up to no good. The person seems as peaceful as the deep blue sea, making people to believe he/she is harmless. But under that sea is an enemy submarine and when the Wesley notices the malicious intentions of this person, nobody will believe him because they all think the person is harmless.
    devans504on October 22, 2012   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI think its as simple as its written, nothing metaphorically - just a powerfully written 'boy cried wolf' when the people would not listen that he saw something that lead him to believe the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor. the boats in the harbor sat and would just collect rust ??

    Why they chose Baldwin Bay is where i'm confused, it would have settled with me more had it been Kaneohe Bay.

    Or his metaphor at the end, is that he had been trying to tell someone something because the signs were there and they just wouldn't listen.
    ' In the end it boils down to credibility
    I had none, so I will die with the secrets of the sea '
    HOLLS5on January 16, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhile it's very possible that Schultzee is correct in their interpretation (Perhaps they heard this story from an interview with the band or during concert banter) the story in this song very closely follows a short segment in Woody Allen's Radio Days (1987.) I'm sure there is more information on IMDB, or it may be possible to find the clip on youtube if you are interested.

    In any case, Radio Days is full of interesting vignettes that were inspired by experiences that Woody Allen had as a boy growing up in New York in the 30s and 40s. One of the vignettes describes a group of boys searching for Japanese submarines, based on a report they heard on the radio. One of the boys is convinced that he saw a submarine, but others refuse to believe him.

    Whether this was something that actually happened to Woody, or was a story that he heard from someone else I don't know.... but it seems possible that The Lumineers were inspired by this film. Though perhaps they encountered the story somewhere else, the georgraphical details and other elements in the song strongly suggest that the film could be the inspiration for the lyrics.

    It's not my favorite Woody Allen film...but it's worth watching. I'm interested to hear if anyone else agrees with me in my interpretation of the song.
    RainKing38on March 13, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHere's what I always think. The guy in the song has been known to have zero credibility all of his life, so when he claims to see submarines and tries to warn everyone, no one believes him. It stresses him out ("overnight my hair turned grey"). But there is nothing he can do about it because "in the end it boils down to credibility" and he has none. Perhaps the submarines bring danger, and perhaps not, but either way it doesn't really matter because he will die knowing what no one else knows and what no one else will believe.
    RosesAndRuffleson July 29, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMany here miss the mark by NOT knowing their history. The US Coast Guard sunk MANY submarines off the east coast during WWII. Many German (and I assume Japanese, too) sabatours and spies came into the US via Submarine. There are several local legends all along the Eastern Seaboard (and I assume, western, as well) about people seeing enemy submarines and even capturing German spies... Many of these subs are still down there and accesable to divers...

    U-701 and U-352 off Capa Hateras, NC
    U-869 off New Jersey coast
    U-550 of Cape Cod, Mass.

    History, today, always makes it seem as if WWII was "over there." It wasn't! It was right here, too!
    johnnycatton April 20, 2014   Link

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