Author’s note: Click on the song title and band’s name at the end of this post to listen to this song in its entirety and to visit a Web site dedicated to the band.

All songs are open to many different interpretations and This is the Sea is no exception.  I have always thought of this song as epic in scope and atmosphere, portraying the protagonist of the song as someone at a crossroads trying to run away from what seems to him at the time monumental problems, oblivious to the narrator’s warning that the current situation may seem dire and out of control, but this is nothing compared to what he will face if he tries to outrun his problems instead of facing them.  The future will just bring bigger and harder problems piled on to the issues from the past that were never resolved.

-B

river tethered  sea1

These things you keep
you better throw them away
Turn your back
on your soulless days
Once you were tethered
now you are free
Once you were tethered
now you are free
That was the river
this is the sea

If you’re feeling weary
maybe been alone too long
or else you’ve been suffering from
a few too many plans that have gone wrong
and you’re trying to remember
how fine your life used to be
running around banging your drum
like it’s nineteen-seventy-three
Well that was the river
this is the sea

You say you’ve got trouble
You say you’ve got pain
You say you’ve got nothing to hold on to
nothing to trust, nothing but chains
You’ve been scouring your conscience
and raking through your memory
scouring your conscience
and raking through your memory
But that was the river
this is the sea

I can see you wavering
as you try to decide
You’ve got a war in your head
and it’s tearing you up inside
You’re trying to make sense
of something that you just don’t see
You’re trying to make sense now
and you know you once held the key
But that was the river
this is the sea

Now I hear there’s a train
It’s coming down the line
It’s yours if you hurry
you’ve got still enough time
and you don’t need no ticket
and you don’t pay no fee
You don’t need a ticket
You don’t pay a fee
That was the river
this is the sea

 –The Waterboys, This is the Sea 

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