"The Watchmaker" as written by and Steven John Wilson....
The watchmaker works all day and long into the night
He pieces things together despite his failing sight
Though all the cogs connect with such poetic grace
Time has left its curse upon this place

Each hour becomes another empty space to fill
Wasted with the care and virtues of his skill
The watchmaker buries something deep within his thoughts
A shadow on the staircase of someone from before

This thing is broken now and cannot be repaired
Fifty years of compromise and aging bodies shared
Eliza dear, you know, there's something I should say
I never really loved you, but I'll miss you anyway

Well, you were just meant to be temporary
While I waited for gold
We filled up the years and I found that I liked
Having someone to hold
But for you I had to wait
Until one day it was too late

Cogs and levers mesh
We are bound in death
Melt that silver down
I'm still inside you

Cogs and levers mesh
We are bound in death
Melt that silver down
I'm still inside you

Cogs and levers mesh
We are bound in death
Melt that silver down
I'm still inside you


Lyrics submitted by jedilink, edited by strashilol, Sephian

"The Watchmaker" as written by Steven John Wilson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Watchmaker song meanings
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  • +9
    General CommentIn Steven Wilson's own words:

    “Another adventure. This is the story of the watchmaker, the guy who is meticulous about his craft, but he never has any kind of emotional outburst, nor does he express violence or any extreme emotions whatsoever.

    “It’s the idea of a couple who have been together for 50 years or more, purely because it was convenient and comfortable. There’s a line that says something like ‘You were just meant to be temporary while I waited for gold.’ So it’s the idea that they got together almost because they didn’t want to be in a situation where they weren’t dating somebody, and they’ve ended up together for 50 years, even though there was never a strong feeling of love between them.

    “If you allow yourself, life can pass you by. Time is tick, tick, ticking away. If you’re not careful, you can find that your whole life has gone by, with this idea of ‘Maybe I’ll do this one day...’ It’s a very sad sentiment of regret, of what should have been and what could have been. Sometimes that feeling of comfort can be a real drug.

    “The watchmaker ends up killing his wife and burying her under the floorboards of his workshop. But, of course, she comes back, because she’s been with him for 50 years; she’s not going to leave him now. So again, it’s the idea of death not making any difference in a situation. You can kill me, chop me up, bury me, but I’m still not leaving.

    “At the very end, it’s very dark, and the wife comes back to take him with her, which is another classic ghost story, in a way.

    “Musically, the beginning section is very much inspired by the way Genesis used acoustic guitars early in their career. I was never a big fan of Genesis; I never listened to them as a kid. But I’ve started listening to them more recently because I’m good friends with Steve Hackett. One thing I love about their early records is the chiming quality of the 12-string acoustic guitars. That became the inspiration for starting off The Watchmaker.

    “I like the idea of intertwining harmony vocals, two or three lines that work in a counterpunctual way. It’s something I learned from guys like Brian Wilson but also Crosby, Stills & Nash and Todd Rundgren — anyone who has fabulous, multi-part harmonies.

    “We got some great bass sounds on the album, thanks to Alan. There’s kind of a bass solo on this song, but it’s one that I wrote out and planned meticulously. In the past, there haven’t been a lot of opportunities for me to explore that. In my solo work, however, I’ve backed off heavy guitar stuff, which has opened up all of this space for things like keyboards and woodwinds but also this big, upfront lead bass sound. Think Geddy Lee or Chris Squire of John Entwistle.”
    Elvenraadon February 10, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn the last part of the song when the wife's ghost comes back to take the Watchmaker, the only thing that isn't clear to me is what the line "Melt the Silver Down" at the end of the song refers to. Any ideas?
    BigRed97on March 03, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song sounds like if Jethro Tull did a cover of Shine On You Crazy Diamond. And it's fuckin wonderful.
    Deka7X9on November 26, 2016   Link

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