The last song on ‘New Wave’ began like most of the other songs on this short album, the unexpected duet with Tegan Quin being the exception. It’s a good album, and it gets better with more listens, but by that point in the first play, I was somewhat distracted and only half-listening. Here’s what caught my attention, and made me restart the song:
If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman
My mother once told me she would have named me Laura
I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her
One day I’d find an honest man to make my husband
This, in my opinion and experience, is one of the bravest statements ever recorded, due mainly to the genre of hardcore punk this band is classified under. These are not the kind of lyrics male audiences sing along with, and definitely not ones that sell records.
The first half of the song deals with the ubiquity of the waters of the earth; it clearly and concisely describes how everyone, regardless of location or social status, is touched. It hopefully envisions ultimate safety and happiness as exclusive of no one. Almost subversively, it seems to want this knowledge to not be obvious, but to be discovered, to be ‘hidden’ in plain sight.
The second half gives words to the simple yet fulfilled dream life desire that I must assume most people vaguely share. The dichotomy of a man voicing the visualizations of his female alter ego forces introspection, but the details after ‘husband’ are all unisex.
I have listened to this powerful song six or seven times now, and each time I hear it, I feel as if the song, not the band, not the singer, is reaching out with both hands, gathering fistfuls of my shirt, pulling me in, staring me directly in the eyes, and saying, “You are undeniably a part of the human race, of the earth. The connections you feel and want are natural, and are necessary. Go out and find more.”
Against Me! - The Ocean (special thanks to JB for help on posting this.)
Lyrics in story form, as published by the band on their website.
If I could have chosen where god would hide his heaven, I would wish for it to be in the salt and swell of the ocean. Carried by the currents to all continent’s shores. Reaching into depths where the sun’s light has never shown. Mixed with algae and coral. Breathed in by sharks and dolphins. Sailed by tanker ships, private yachts, swam in by tourists. Working its way up through inlets, lakes, and rivers, swamps, and estuaries. Down through limestone into the aquifer. Purified by the county, pumped through pipes and out faucets. Filled into a glass to meet the thirst of our children.
If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman. My mother once told me she would have named me Laura. I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her. One day I’d find an honest man to make my husband. We would have two children, build our home on the Gulf of Mexico. Our family would spend hot summer days at the beach together. The sun would kiss our skin as we played in the sand and water. We would know we loved each other without having to say it. At night we would sleep with the windows of our house left open. Letting the cool ocean air soothe the sunburned shoulders of our children.
There is an Ocean in my soul where the waters do not curve.