"Black Sun" as written by Christopher Walla and Benjamin Gibbard....
There is whisky in the water
And there is death upon the vine
There is fear in the eyes of your father
And there is "Yours" and there is "Mine"
There is a desert veiled in pavement
And there's a city of seven hills
And all our debris flows to the ocean
To meet again, I hope it will

How could something so fair
Be so cruel
When this black sun revolved
Around you!

There is an answer in a question
And there is hope within despair
And there is beauty in a failure,
And there are depths beyond compare
There is a role of a lifetime
And there's a song yet to be sung
And there's a dumpster in the driveway
Of all the plans that came undone

How could something so fair
Be so cruel
When this black sun revolved
Around you!
How could something so fair
Be so cruel
When this black sun revolved
Around you!

There is whisky in the water
And there is death upon the vine
And there is grace within forgiveness
But it's so hard for me to find

How could something so fair
Be so cruel
When this black sun revolved
Around you!
How could something so fair
Be so cruel
When this black sun revolved
Around you!


Lyrics submitted by feelingeverfine, edited by emotionalxangela, kindacute

"Black Sun" as written by Benjamin D Gibbard

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Black Sun song meanings
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  • +9
    My InterpretationThis song seems to very clearly be about Ben Gibbard's divorce from wife Zooey Deschanel. Below are the lyrical give-aways:

    "There is whiskey in the water/And there is death upon the vine"
    This line points to the withering and death of their relationship.

    "And there is 'yours' and there is 'mine' "
    This line suggests that there is no longer an "us", but instead only the separation of the two.

    "There is a desert veiled in pavement/And there's a city of seven hills/And all our debris flows to the ocean/To meet again I hope it will"
    The desert veiled in pavement refers to the hometown of Deschanel: Los Angeles (Santa Monica). The city of seven hills is a term associated with Seattle, Washington, the home of Ben Gibbard. The following two lines suggest that their lives have been torn apart and separated, but that he hopes they will come back together some day.

    "How could something so fair/ Be so cruel/ When this black sun revolved/ Around you"
    A translation of this chorus could be "How could something so beautiful be so cruel when my life revolved around you". Ben Gibbard is often referred to as a dark soul. He even considers himself to be a dark person. This would make it very easy for him to consider himself a "dark sun". He could not simply state that he was a "sun" revolving around her, because that would be too bright and happy to describe himself.

    "There is a role of a lifetime/ And there's a song yet to be sung"
    This lyric seems to refer to Deschanel's acting career taking off at the same time as Ben Gibbard gaining wider success with his music. The "song yet to be sung" lyric could also refer to Deschanel's musical career.

    "And there's a dumpster in the driveway/ Of all the plans that came undone"
    This line seems to speak very literally about their separation as a couple, causing them to move apart from each other and throw away mementos and memories from their lives together.

    "And there is grace within forgiveness/ But it's so hard for me to find"\
    This line seems to speak to Gibbard attempting to find a way to forgive Deschanel for leaving him, but finding a major struggle in this effort. It is known that Deschanel is the one who filed for divorce, so it is easy to see that Ben is the one that feels betrayed.

    These lyrics are not as simple as people seem to think.
    gk10on February 09, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA black sun also has the same shape as a camera lens which ties into the metaphor of Zooey's Tv career.
    Ozymandias25on February 25, 2015   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningGibbard paints a picture with very broad strokes, in line with the stuff he's been writing since Codes and Keys and devoid of the typical specificities he'd put in his songs before that.

    Metaphors about pollution, unharvested potential and ownership make it almost too easy to point at his failed marriage. There are also spiritual / religious undertones, such as the city of seven hills and the cyclic nature of things, contrasting with the harsh 'desert veiled in pavement' which seems to refer to LA.

    All in all this wide-eyed imagery seems to be about trying to reconcile with the past, coping and forgiving (hard things to do, evidently). The connecting figure lies obviously in the chorus, where the addressed person is even bigger/scarier than the black sun (both an occult sign and a stand-in for a black hole) revolving around it.
    kindacuteon January 27, 2015   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis is about Ben Gibbard's Divorce from Zooey Deschenel.

    "Something so fair" is a reference to Zooey, or possibly to the character she plays. The "Black Sun" that revolves around her is her TV career.

    At least, that is the implication of the video that accompanied the song. In the video, the filming "revolves around" setting up a shot for a young actress. The stunt man gets hit by a stunt driver three times so that they can get the shot the director wants. At which point the actress takes her position in the car. Which is a not so subtle reference to the fact that everything revolved around Zooey's TV show, and that it ran over everything else.

    The other lines are references to their respective lives. "A desert veiled in pavement" is L.A. which is where she is from, while the "City of Seven Hills" is Seattle where Ben is from. The runoff from both cities leads to the same current in the Pacific Ocean, so "all our debris flows to the ocean, to meet again." "The role of a lifetime" represents her career, and "songs yet to be sung" represents his.

    "There is death on the vine" might be a reference to "Grapevine Fires". I actually hope it's not because the thought is almost too depressing to consider. But "Grapevine Fires" came out in 2008, which is the year the two were engaged. And it's clearly a song about love overcoming despair ("And she laughed and danced through the field of graves; There I knew it would be alright.")

    Which, if true, might explain why "there is grace within forgiveness; But it's so hard for me to find."
    jah1976on February 24, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"There is a role of a lifetime
    And there's a song yet to be sung
    And there's a dumpster in the driveway
    Of all the plans that came undone"

    I appreciate the juxtaposition of Zooey's and Ben's aspirations against the lousy concrete reality of what was actually happening and that they would not share their future achievements together. Very poignant.
    GenerationXon December 09, 2017   Link

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