"Swan Dive" as written by and Ani Difranco....
I'm cradling the softest, warmest part of you in my hands
Feels like a little baby bird
Fallen from the nest
I think that your body is something I understand

I think that I'm happy
I think that I'm blessed
But I've had a lack of inhibition
I've had a loss of perspective

I've had a little bit to drink
And it's making me think
That I can jump ship and swim
That the ocean will hold me

That there's got to be more
Than this boat I'm in
They can call me crazy if I fall
All the chance I need

Is one-in-a-million
And they can call me brilliant
If I succeed
Gravity is nothing to me

I'm moving at the speed of sound
I'm just gonna get my feet wet
Until I drown
I teeter between tired

And really, really tired
I'm wiped out and I'm wired
But I guess that's just as well
'Cause I've built my own empire

Out of car tires and chicken wire
And now I'm queen of my own compost heap
And I'm getting used to the smell
I've had a lack of information

I've had a little revelation
I'm climbing up on the railing
Trying not to look down
I'm going to do my best swan dive

Into shark infested waters
I'm going to pull out my tampon
And start splashing around
'Cause I don't care if they eat me alive

I've got better things to do than survive
I've got the memory of your warm skin in my hands
And I've got a vision of blue sky and warm land
I'm cradling the hardest, heaviest part of me in my hands

The ship is pitching and heaving
Our limbs are bobbing and weaving
I think this is something I understand
I think I need a couple vaccinations

For my far-away vacation
I'm gonna go ahead and go boldly
'Cause a little bird told me
That jumping is easy

And falling is fun
Right up until you hit the sidewalk
Shivering and stunned
They can call me crazy if I fall

All the chance I need
Is one-in-a-million
And they cal call me brilliant
If I succeed

Gravity is nothing to me
I'm moving at the speed of sound
I'm just going to get my feet wet
Until I drown


Lyrics submitted by aur0ra

"Swan Dive" as written by Ani Difranco

Lyrics © A SIDE MUSIC LLC D/B/A MODERN WORKS MUSIC PUBLISHING

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Swan Dive song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI think the song is about fitting as many beautiful and ugly metaphors as you can, into one song. This song should be one of many templates for aspiring songwriters.
    stephiphanyon January 05, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is my favorite Ani song among many amazing songs. This song inspires me to go all in. If given a one in a million chance, I will succeed! And I won't succeed by just surving or getting by day to day. I will succeed by going in head first and calling the sharks on. I find it tremendously inspiring and try to live my life by it.
    Swandive208on June 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about being fearless, about those moments in time when you glimpse the endless power we all possess when we relax and give up the restrictions of time and body. we all die, so being afraid is useless...as toni morrison says in song of solomon: when you surrender to the air, you can RIDE it.
    Benny-Xon September 25, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti don't think this is about wanting to kill yourself... it's about realizing you're strong and can do anything and can handle life as it comes at you.

    » there's got to be more
    than this boat i'm in «
    i think she means she's been sheltered all her life, but now she's ready to get out and take control...

    » because i built my own empire
    out of car tires and chicken wire
    and i'm queen of my own compost heap
    and i'm getting used to the smell «
    she's basically saying she created something from nothing...

    » 'cause i don't care if they eat me alive
    i've got better thing to do than survive
    i've got a memory of your warm skin in my hand
    and i've got a vision of blue sky and dry land «
    she knows the only way you can be happy is by taking chances... she knows that it's OUT THERE SOMEWHERE... and that's what she's gonna hold onto...
    sapphireskieson April 10, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Swan Dive is about taking the plunge (or swan dive) into a relationship that she feels people will disapprove of.

    I wonder if she was anticipating the reactions from others about her relationship and marriage with Andrew Gilchrist at the time. I think Ani had some fans that took her songs way too literally, and believed in a rigid form of feminism that almost resembled patriarchy (I have been an Ani fan since Puddle Dive came out and I have seen her audience change over the years). I always thought Ani's songs represented humanist ideals from a particular feminist's perspective. Some fans that I spoke to did not agree. They thought I had no place speaking about such things because I'm a man.

    I could be way off about the meaning of this song, but this is what it makes me think about. I think she had come to a place in her life where she was beginning to feel the effects of living life under the microscopes of many rabid fans who couldn't accept the growth in her songs and life (all of which I absolutely loved and still love - isn't LPC a great album??).

    I think in Swan Dive, she's saying the hell with what others think - "they can call me crazy". I love this song because it is so 'in-your-face'. Great guitar riff too. Did anyone else see her perform it solo on Sesssions at West 54th years ago? Gave me chills. What a great song (even if I don't have it right).
    mickzzzzzzon July 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhenever she talks about this album, she says that a lot of the songs on it were inspired by her frustration with her career at the time, and with how people treated her ambition and her self-made business. This song definitely references that.
    androgybunnyon March 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this song is about being at that point just before you give up. and you realise that you dont have to. 'they can call me crazy' i love this line.
    it sends a shiver down my spine. 'i built my own empire out of car tires and chicken wire, im queen of my own compost heap and im gettin used to the smell.' really says, maybe all this sh**s good, cause its my sh**.
    its about taking a chance and falling into the unknown, cause 'jumping is easy, that falling is fun
    up until you hit the sidewalk, shivering and stunned'
    but thats just the way i look at it.
    xjenixon June 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoes anyone know what the "softest warmest part of you in my hands" is? I have an idea, I think its of a mans "jewels." It feels like a baby bird fallen from the nest... I dont know, I may be sick but that sounds like a perfect analogy. I think this song is about taking chances because you cannot succeed unless you are willing to fail.
    city212girlon June 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favourite Ani song.

    Cuz I don't care if they eat me alive
    I've got better things to do than survive
    I've got the memory of your warm skin in my hands
    and I've got a vision of blue sky and dry land.

    That's pretty much my philosophy of life.
    justinevon March 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti saw ani in nashville in oct 03 and just before she played this song she said it was for anyone who has ever been in love.
    dorytoeson March 08, 2007   Link

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