I wanna be the fish.
I like the way he swims.
I bend my arms to fins.
Ego scales my skin.
I grab a sharp stick
And I cut my gills.
The water rushes in
I'm too young to live this life.
I wanna be the fish.
I like the way he swims.
I grab a sharp stick.
I'm too young to live inside this life
They want me to stay.
This life I cannot feign.

Lyrics submitted by ByrdsBoot

Learning To Swim song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentThis is a really cool song when Manson was underground and they were only known as the Spookey Kids. It shows that he was still good in his early days

    I think it might be about a kid who wants to be someone else and then kills himself. I could be completely wrong and it really could be about a guy who turns into a fish. Only one man knows for sure
    River Wolfon April 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMaybe a guy turning into a fish, or a kid trying to be someone he'll never be and kills himself in the process. Who knows?
    Ehrstabkon December 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about a person who tries to be someone else and ends up either accidentally killing himself or commiting suicide. I love the metaphors in this song.
    Anthraxon March 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLearning to Swim is a song that is far more complex than it's given credit for. I feel this song is about when Manson first came to the realization that he was a "rock star". I interpreted the lyrics as follows:

    "I wanna be the fish.
    I like the way he swims."

    This is a retrospective statement from his childhood. The "fish" is a rockstar. Maybe David Bowie (someone he idolized in his youth). He wants to live or "swim" like he does.

    "I bend my arms to fins.
    Ego scales my skin."

    This is about him going through an outward and internal transformation. He probably felt this was necessary to be a rockstar. When he "bends his arms to fins" he is saying that he looks the part. When he says "ego scales my skin" he's describing his new found confidence. Something that he never had before.

    "I grab a sharp stick
    And I cut my gills."

    These two lines can be interpreted to ways. Manson is known for cutting himself on stage. Particularly around his ribs. This could be his way of describing this act.

    Another more philosophical interpretation could be that he feels that a certain amount of pain must be endured before he becomes the person he wants to be. This idea parallels with the teachings of Friedrich Nietzsche, someones who's teachings are prevalent in much of his work (especially Antichrist Superstar).

    "The water rushes in
    I'm too young to live this life."

    This is the point when his dream becomes a reality. The "water" is meant to symbolize the fans. The fans "rush in" like water and give him (the fish) the life that he always wanted.

    "I'm too young to live this life."

    This is pretty much self explanitory. Manson started the band in 1989, so he was about twenty years old. This is just past the threshold between adolescene and adulthood; therefore, he is saying that everything is happened much faster than he anticipated. He probably didn't expect such success until later in life. This is why he feels that he is too "young".

    "They want me to stay.
    This life I cannot feign."

    These two lines are the most important in that they signify that the transformation has been complete. The life he choose probably stood in stark contrast to his previous life; for this reason, he probably seemed like a different person to those who knew him before he was famous. They probably want him to "stay" the way he is but he proclaiming that he never was the person that they percieved him to be. Because of this he no longer can "feign" the existence that he grew up accepting.

    Altogether the song is somewhat of a condensed version of the revolutionary message Manson tried to convey with the Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals, Holywood trilogy. I hope this review helps his fans look at this song in a different way.
    xb00042on June 07, 2008   Link

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