"The Ocean Doesn't Want Me" as written by and Tom Waits....
The ocean doesn't want me today
But I'll be back tomorrow to play
And the strangles will take me
Down deep in their brine
The mischievous braingels
Down into the endless blue wine
I'll open my head and let out
All of my time.
I'd love to go drowning
And to stay and to stay
But the ocean doesn't want me today
I'll go in up to here
It can't possibly hurt
All they will find is my beer
And my shirt
A rip tide is raging
And the life guard is away
But the ocean doesn't want me today
The ocean doesn't want me today.


Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira

The Ocean Doesn't Want Me song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentCoolness. I love his sense of humor. Dark sarcasm is the best! Throughout this whole album, he talks about death in a semi-comical sarcastic, yet serious and dark tone. I think it's Tom's most focused album, and it's personally my favorite. I love how the dark brooding shadowy echoes and the troglodite, caveman-esque, junkyard crashing/banging percusion compliment each other. The lyrics are a genious. Like the world doesn't have enough room for his mortal slag heap of excriment, and his soul wanders forever. It sounds creepy or comical, but what underlies that tone is a work of art. Great Job Tom Waits!
    Phrogexon January 29, 2005   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI sort of assumed that the song was about the narrator trying to commit suicide (by drowning) - but being held back by his own ambivalence...
    ludovicaon August 06, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song begins exactly as the letter leaved by Ettore Majorana just before his disappearance. Ettore Majorana was a brilliant italian physicist that work with Enrico Fermi and defined as a genius by Fermi himself. On 27 March 1938 Majorana disappeared in mysterious circumstances. He leaved a letter that begins with the words:

    "Il mare mi ha rifiutato e ritornerò domani all'albergo Bologna,..."
    "The sea has rejected me today, I'll be back tomorrow at the Bologna hotel"

    Several possible explanations for his disappearance have been proposed: suicide is the one supported by some of his friends and colleagues.

    I can't say if Waits took inspiration from Majorana letter but I think it's a nice fact to post.
    bobbylongon January 04, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn my opinion, Bone Machine is Tom Waits best album. This song, however, doesn't quite make it in my book. While there is something endearing about the goofy "strangels"/"braingels"-wordplay, it doesn't work well within the context of a song about someone contemplating suicide.
    Prunesqualloron December 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat is it that he's saying at the very beginning?
    chickenpiggieson July 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionIt kinda reminds me of that bit from Seinfeld where he's talking about how the ocean is like a nightclub that's always trying to throw you out.
    distopiandreamguyon July 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt isn't about suicide as far as I'm concerned, It's just about somebody wanting to be at one with the sea. Being an avid open water/sea swimmer I can totally relate to the joy of being at one with the ocean, it's a Pisces thing.

    The line about the lifeguard is brilliant because they can be such spoil sports, a veritable beach-gestapo. The ocean doesn't want him for it's own reasons, maybe the tide is out.
    BarnabyHugheson October 07, 2015   Link

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