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Lyrics submitted by kevin, edited by Moh

Boat On The River song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI think it talks about death
    "Take me down to my boat on the river" : it talks about river Styx (as the band name) which in ancient Greece was the river where dead passed it to go to underworld (Hades).

    Also he is looking forward for that journey, because he is disappointed by his life, or he is in pain: "I need to go down, I need to come down", "And I won't cry out any more", "And all roads lead to Tranquillity Base
    Where the frown on my face disappears"

    Ofcourse this is only what it means to me, because we're talking about art and everyone makes his own interpretations.
    delxpezon May 31, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have no clue what this song means but it sure is catchy. Love Styx, love all their songs.
    FreddieIsMyIdolon January 17, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about none of the above. Tommy Shaw wrote this in 1979 and there are several influences behind it. The music is inspired by a trip to France; the lyrics refer to the need to get away from it all. Tranquility Base was the name of the 125 acre farm he lived on in Niles, Michigan. At that time, Styx was one of the top bands in the U.S. after a relatively quick rise to superstardom; "Boat on the River" was Tommy expressing his need to be able to get home and get away from all the pressures and craziness.

    PS to the above comment: "Lights" is not a drug song, just the joys of being onstage in the glare of spotlights. "Snowblind" is an anti-drug song, written from the point of view of a user (which Tommy was at the time, pretty heavily).
    cassiemay10on March 05, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's always surprised me how many people have not heard this track. It's such a simplistic, yet beautiful, song. It's peaceful and calming. Whenever I listen to it I 'feel' the slow rocking of my grandmother's wooden row boat when I was a young girl and I'd take it to the middle of the pond, lie down on the seat, and look up at the sky...allowing the current to bring the boat back closer to shore. It was so freeing. This song is very special to me.
    IllToast2Thaton April 09, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Oh the river is wide...The river it touches my life like the waves on the sand...And all roads lead to Tranquillity Base...Where the frown on my face disappears." Where do you all get the death angle? There's no mention of a leaking or sinking boat. Have you not ever gone to the water's edge or out on a boat alone just to think. What's wrong with you people! If you want to really really relax, go out on the water at dusk (alone) and look up at the horizon as you listen to the soft waves lap against the wooden hull. It's almost spiritual.
    ComeOnEileenon December 30, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIs this part correct?

    "I need to come down."

    Or is it "I need to calm down." ??

    Anyone knows for sure?
    TayfunRaideron May 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSadly, I think this song is about getting stoned. I love Styx, I have since Paradise Theater came out in 1980. I think Tommy Shaw is using the "boat on the river" as metaphor for the feeling of serenity that he gets from being high. Generally, I don't like drug songs but we need to keep this song in the context of other Styx songs like "Lights" and "Snowblind".
    pklocekon August 13, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDeath and drugs??? He's simply searching for peace. It's a GREAT song. I played the Styx album to death (like the Boston one it lost some of its ridges:) and this has always been my favorite song by the band.
    ComeOnEileenon October 08, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMan, still no additional comments? This is Styx's BEST. I could listen to this song daily regarless of my mood. Just heard it this morning and still love it.
    ComeOnEileenon December 30, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThank you for your thoughts about this actually marvelous song.
    You should als try the live version (Caught in the Act).

    Personally, my initial understanding was also into lethal or even suicidal directions, but cassiemay10 sounds quite convincing.

    Did you know by the way, that "Tranquility Base" is also the landing point of Apollo (N.Armstrong & Co.) on the moon?

    Also note that there is a Wikipedia article on this song, it is missing any kinds of interpretation yet.

    @cassiemay10: Do you have any sources / references for your information about Tommys farm?
    teashawon June 20, 2013   Link

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