Beat is powered by Vocal creators. You support Nathaniel Reidhead by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Beat is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

Underlining Message in "Open Water" by Thrice

An Interpretation

Thrice- "Open Water"

 “Open Water” was written by Dustin M. Kensrue, Edward C. Breckenridge, James R. Breckenridge, and Teppei Teranishi and was released in their fifth studio album known as the Alchemy Index Vol. I & II in October 2007 and April 2008. The Alchemy Index is a concept album with two discs containing six songs each. The first set of six songs in Vol. I would represent the classical element fire and the other six songs on Vol. II would represent the classical element of water. Of course the same concept applies to the Alchemy Index Vol. III and IV album disc set; Vol. III representing Air and Vol. IV representing Earth.

The song starts with a soft melodic rhythm that reminds me of moonlight reflecting off the surface of water and onto the sides of a boat; the ocean water calm. The first part of the song lyrics is an ode to the many men who lost their lives at sea and now “sleep” with Davy Jones referring to Davy Jones Locker, a euphemism for being shipwrecked or an idiom for the bottom of the sea. It goes as such:

“Ten thousand men sleep down with Davy Jones

with stolen treasure they tithe.”

The lyrics imply that the men who lost their lives were quite possibly pirates. The “tithe” or they pay the ocean with the treasure they have stolen. The word “tithe” insinuates they paid only with a tenth of the treasure they have stolen. The second part then declares:

“The open water chills me to my bones

but it's the only place that I feel alive.”

The singer is chilled by the ocean or is afraid or creeped out by it but the singer is so discontent with his life that the only place that makes him feel alive is the place that frightens him most. The ocean eludes to mystery. One thing that humans hate or fear most is the unknown. Perhaps the singers is more afraid of the unknown and at the same time he desires the exhilarating feeling of uncertainty. The next part of the song says:

“The ocean floor begins to disappear

I sense that terrible depth.”

These next lyrics eludes to sailing off and watching the ocean floor become farther and farther away from them. The ocean water becomes deeper and the singer can feel distance between the ocean floor (the known) becoming farther from them. Perhaps this is a metaphor that means everything he has known has become deluded into a mass of unknown and secrecy. As though he has been lied to the whole time and the terrible truth is out there. He can sense, feel, how wrong and abominable it is. Continuing with the song:

“The open water is my only fear

but I'll sail as long as I still have breath in me.”

The singer admits his fear of the ocean, or rather, of the unknown, but he’ll continue to sail as long as he still has a breath. This doesn’t say that he’ll search for the truth or that “terrible depth” that was read in the last stanza. No, that would imply sinking. Perhaps continuing to sail means as long as he is alive, he will choose to fear the unknown but ignore the truth because what fears him even more than not knowing is knowing the terrible truth itself. The next part of the song eludes to something else entirely:

“I'm starting to believe the ocean's much like you

cause it gives, and it takes away.”

“Open Water” is a ballad or a love song. The ocean is a metaphor for someone the singer has fallen in love with. That someone whom the singer loves can be loving and cruel because that someone “gives and takes away.” More than that, these words completely change the meaning of the very first stanza of the song. The “ten thousand men who sleep down with Davy Jones,” was the men who had once loved this same someone and “died.” The stolen treasure they paid to “the ocean” or that someone the singer loves was the hearts or the love of other men or woman (Ten thousand men sleep down with Davy Jones with stolen treasure they tithe). The singer can sense something about this person he loves that frightens him or makes him feel uneasy (The open water chills me to my bones but it's the only place that I feel alive). The singer thought they knew the person that he loves but it turns out that his person he loves has a secret (The ocean floor begins to disappear I sense that terrible depth.) The next part of the song after that reads:

“Between the devil and the deep blue sea

I stare into the abyss.

The open water is an awful thing

but I'm anxious till the anchor is aweigh.”

This next part exclaims that the singer can see something vile, something evil, inside the ocean; inside of this person that the singer loves. He can see that the secret is an awful thing and he will be anxious about it until the anchors are aweigh or dropped. I believe this is a metaphor for death. Again, the last few stanza’s repeat the lines:

“I'm starting to believe the ocean's much like you

cause it gives, and it takes away.”

This is a reminder that the singer believes the person that he loves is much like the ocean. I believe despite his willingness to ignore the terrible truth that the person he loves possesses, he figured it out and he’s telling us what it was. His lover has been killing all the people who has been cheating on her. A crime of passion. 

Now Reading
Underlining Message in "Open Water" by Thrice
Read Next
Literacy — Musical Dreams