"Binary Sea" as written by and Benjamin Gibbard....
Oh Atlas could not understand
The world was so much smaller than
The one he used to hold before
But the weight it brought him to the floor
As you watched him struggle to his feet
You took photos capturing his defeat
And messaged them to all your friends
And we all laughed at his expense

Ooh ooh
Ooh ooh

Oh come my love and swim with me
Out in this vast Binary Sea
Zeros and ones patterns appear
They'll prove to all that we were here
For if there is no document
We cannot build our monument
So look into the lens and I'll
Make sure this moment never dies

Ooh ooh
Ooh ooh
Ooh ooh
Ooh ooh

Oh Atlas could not stay engaged
Was more distracted every day
You slowly fell into disarray
Just trying to think of something to say
For if there is no document
There cannot be a monument
So lean in close or lend an ear
There's something brilliant bound to happen here


Lyrics submitted by reecesPiecezz

"Binary Sea" as written by Benjamin D Gibbard

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Binary Sea song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI love this song - especially the line

    "For if there is no document,
    We cannot build our monument"

    which I think is referring to everyone's need to share their every move on social media. People feel like something can't be special or enjoyed unless they have several pictures of it and they share it with their friends on the internet in some way.

    "Oh Atlas could not understand
    The world was so much smaller than
    The one he used to hold before "

    Atlas is a figure in Greek mythology - he's said to be holding the planet (or all of "the heavens", the celestial spheres) on his shoulders. The world has gotten "smaller", as in people have become so confined to their technological devices that they aren't experiencing things fully and really immersing themselves in the joys of life because they're so busy making sure everyone knows what they're doing and how great it is.

    "the weight, it brought him to the floor
    As you watched him struggle to his feet
    You took photos capturing his defeat
    And messaged them to all your friends
    And we all laughed at his expense"

    As people become more self-involved and socially inept and lack the ability to communicate face to face and enjoy simple conversation, the world becomes heavier and crumbles, but all anyone is concerned about is getting a good picture of the collapse and sending it to their friends.
    photoperituson March 29, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song returns to a lot of old Death Cab themes, particularly those of their album The Photo Album, which basically tried to musically emulate a photo album. The songs were really just a collection of different moments, and they would usually begin by describing in detail the situation and then going in and analyzing it.

    One song off the Photo Album is called "Information Travels Faster," and it was about how alienating new technology was to Gibbard and how the days seemed to be slower despite the technology. One lyric off of "The New Year" has a similar meaning; "I wish the world were flat like the old days, then I could travel just by holding a map. No airplanes or speedtrains or freeways. There'd be no distance that could hold us back." Even though technology advances, people seem farther apart.

    Oh Atlas could not understand
    The world was so much smaller than
    The one he used to hold before
    But the weight it brought him to the floor

    This repeats the theme about how the world seems to be larger the more interconnected we are.

    This extended metaphor about the photo harkens back to their songs "The Photobooth" and "No Room in Frame." In Photobooth, Gibbard refers to the printout he is given.

    And this is all that's left:
    Scraping paper to document.

    In Binary Sea, he says:

    For if there is no document
    We cannot build our monument
    So look into the lens and I'll
    Make sure this moment never dies

    This all explains the metaphor in "No Room in Frame," how not being allowed to be part of someone's "document" is so upsetting.

    Binary Sea in the end is about trying to swim in a "binary sea" of an ever-changing world and about preserving memories. I really think that this is what Death Cab is all about: documenting moments and making monuments to them and trying to communicate in a world that makes connecting so easy and so hard at the same time. Amazing lyrics and really rewarding for Death Cab fans who know their older stuff, easily my favorite song off the album.
    epicandy5on April 16, 2015   Link

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