Song of the Day #1,522: ‘Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967’ – John Mayer

Some frequent readers of this blog might consider it appropriate that I’m posting a John Mayer song on September 11 — one painful experience commemorating another, or something like that.

I know Mayer has many detractors, but he also has legions of fans, a surprising number of which are critics. He’s the rare lightning rod who seems better respected by serious music critics than serious music fans.

I find the guy talented as hell, though he can get a little maudlin at times. But you can say the same about Billy Joel (another artist who gets very little respect, even in critical circles).

He’s a guitar virtuoso with a gift for melody — a perfect representative of my ‘Pure Pop’ category, though he also dabbles in jazz and blues. I don’t see him fitting into any of my other categories, though, so he becomes my sixth one-timer.

As to today’s SOTD, there is much debate on the interwebs over the ultimate fate of Walt Grace. Is he alive or dead at the end of the song? I vote for alive… what do you think?

Walt Grace, desperately hating his whole place,
Dreamed to discover a new space,
And buried himself alive,
Inside his basement, tongue on the side of his face meant
He’s working away on displacement,
And what it would take to survive.

‘Cause when you’re done with this world,
You know the next is up to you.
And his wife told his kids he was crazy,
And his friends said he’d fail if he tried,
But with a will to work hard,
And a library card,
He took a homemade, fan-blade, one-man submarine ride.

That morning, the sea was mad and I mean it,
Waves as big as he’d seen it,
Deep in his dreams at home.
From dry land,
He rolled it over to wet sand,
Closed the hatch up with one hand,
And peddled off alone.

‘Cause when you’re done with this world,
You know the next is up to you.
And for once in his life it was quiet,
As he learned how to turn in the tide,
And the sky was a flare,
When he came up for air,
In his homemade, fan-blade, one-man submarine ride.

One evening,
When weeks had passed since his leaving,
The call she’d planned on receiving,
Finally made it home.
She accepted,
The news she’d never expected,
The operator connected,
A call from Tokyo.

‘Cause when you’re done with this world,
You know the next is up to you.
Now his friends,
Bring him up when they’re drinking,
At the bar with his name on the side,
And they smile when they can,
As they speak of a man,
Who took a homemade,
Fan-blade, one-man submarine ride.

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,522: ‘Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967’ – John Mayer

  1. Dana says:

    I don’t see a link or video for the song. That won’t stop me from trashing Mayer again though, as I simply find him too packaged and vapid for steady consumption. And the fact that he may have been a big ass to Taylor Swift make my decision not to listen to him all the more easy. 🙂

  2. Clay says:

    Oops, song is now posted.

    Come on, if getting on Taylor Swift’s bad side was a dis-qualifier, you’d have to write off half the men in show business!

  3. pegclifton says:

    I’m guessing he is not alive but drowned somewhere off the coast of Tokyo.

  4. eringorah says:

    I stumbled upon this blog when I was looking up information to see if this was a true story. I realize that it isn’t, and that John Mayer made Walt Grace up, but I cannot help but wonder what happened to Walt Grace. The song leaves it very unclear, and I suspect that is intentional, but I’d like to imagine that he actually made it to Tokyo. Alive. And starts a new life there. What are your thoughts?

  5. Clay says:

    I think he lives.

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