We spotted the ocean at the head of the trail
Where are we going, so far away
And somebody told me that this is the place
Where everything's better, everything's safe

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

And half an hour later we packed up our things
We said we'd send letters and all those little things
And they knew we were lying but they smiled just the same
It seemed they'd already forgotten we'd came

Now we're back at the homestead
Where the air makes you choke
And people don't know you
And trust is a joke

We don't even have pictures
Just memories to hold
That grow sweeter each season
As we slowly grow old

Lyrics submitted by rabidpenguin

Walk on the Ocean Lyrics as written by Randal Guss Dean Dinning


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Walk On The Ocean song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI'm an introvert. And more than a little self-centered. So naturally, I took this song as describing the arc of an introvert who once had and lost a group of friends.

    "We spotted the ocean
    at the head of the trail
    where are we going
    so far away?"

    "We" meaning not so much a split/multiple personality as meaning a kind of gaining control of unsettled emotion. Because our hero is already tense about what is to come, as indicated by his asking the question before the journey begins. Think of "we" as reassuring one's self: "We're gonna get through this"

    And what is the ocean? It is vast, beautiful, and dangerous - like humanity. Especially to one so far from it as an introvert would be (at the head of the trail).

    "Somebody told me
    that this is the place
    where everything's better
    everything's safe"

    "Somebody" is not a trustworthy soul, necessarily. "Somebody" sounds like the mysterious "they" who perpetuate rumors, at least it does in this context. The unspoken addition to this stanza: "I don't know whether I believe that."

    And introverts are notorious safety-seekers, right? They don't socialize because they have an inherent fear of it, right? Well, "somebody" sold the ocean to our hero as "everything's safe". We all know humanity, for all of its virtues, can be very dangerous.

    "Walk on the ocean
    Step on the stones
    flesh becomes water
    wood becomes bone"

    The chorus is temptation beseeching our hero to give it a try. Do it! Walk on the ocean! Step on the stones (complete your journey)! Flesh becomes water (the great reward for your journey, the pleasures of the flesh, will be commonplace)! Wood (the forest you live in now) becomes bone (petrifies and dies, unlike the eternal ocean)!

    Sounds like a deal, right?

    "Half an hour later
    we packed up our things
    said we'd send letters
    and all of those little things"

    Half an hour not being literal of course, but a symbol of how fleeting the oceanic experience was. We packed up our things? Emotional baggage, anyone? Our hero brought it with him to his oceanic destination and never let it go. Promising to keep contact? When friends part for good without rancor, they never say goodbye, even when it's obvious that this is the end. At least, that was true in my experience.

    "They knew we were lying
    but they smiled just the same
    it seemed they'd already
    forgotten we came"

    They knew our hero was retreating into his safe little world, but didn't talk him out of it. And, our hero imagines, they were prepared to go on as though nothing really happened.


    "Now back at the homestead
    where the air makes you choke
    people don't know you
    trust is a joke"

    Solitude isn't as great as it used to be, even if it's familiar. And of course no one knows our hero - the only people he bothered with in the first place aren't his friends anymore. Naturally, after a brief fling with friendship which didn't end so well, our hero is more paranoid than he was previously.

    "Don't even have pictures..."

    I have to stop right there. I personally have no mementos of my old "gang". So we're still on theme:

    "...Just memories to hold
    grow sweeter each season
    as we slowly grow old."

    Time of course has a way of weeding out the bad stuff, and of course on occasion I remember the good times. But I'm young enough where the bad stuff is very much still in my head.

    Significantly, on the album cut, the song ends RIGHT THERE - there is no reprise of the chorus as in the radio edit.

    So. Whaddaya think?
    dark_nationon August 11, 2011   Link

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