Song of the Day #3,252: ‘The Ocean’ – Dar Williams vs. Fiona Apple

Just yesterday I was discussing the tough road female artists have had in Round One of Montauk Madness, thanks to the luck of the draw in the matchups. Here’s another example, where two very talented women have to face off against each other (the first such battle, unless you count Lucinda Williams taking on the Shirley Manson-led Garbage).

Dar Williams is a relatively obscure artist who has quietly released almost a dozen albums of literate folk pop. She is a master lyricist and knows her way around a melody, and she’s responsible for one of my very favorite songs, ‘When I Was a Boy.’

But Fiona Apple is on another level entirely, one of my pantheon artists, a true genius whose only drawback is how seldom she blesses us with her work (just four albums in 21 years!). She takes this round easily, and I hope many more to come.

When I went to your town
On the wide open shore,
Oh, I must confess, I was drawn,
I was drawn to the ocean.
I thought it spoke to me,
It said, “Look at us
We’re not churches, not schools
Not skating ponds, swimming pools
And we have lost people, haven’t we though?”
Oh, that’s what the ocean can know of a body,

And that’s when I came back to town
This town is a song about you
You don’t know how lucky you are
You don’t know how much I adore you
You are the welcoming, back from the ocean

I went back to the ocean today
With my books and my papers
I went to the rocks by the ocean
But the weather changed quickly
Oh, the ocean said, “What are you trying to find
I don’t care, I’m not kind
I’ve bludgeoned your sailors
I’ve spat out their keepsakes
Oh, it’s ashes to ashes, but always the ocean”

But the ocean can’t come to this town
This town is a song about you
You don’t know how lucky you are
You don’t know how much I adore you
You are the welcoming back from the ocean

And the ones that can know you so well
Are the ones that can swallow you whole
I have a good and I have an evil
I thought the ocean, the ocean thought nothing
You are the welcoming back from the ocean

I didn’t go back today,
I wanted to show you
That I was more land than water.
I went to pick flowers.
I brought them to you
Look at me, look at them, with their salt up the stem
But you frowned when I smiled and I tried to arrange them

You said, “Let me tell you the song of this town”
You said, “Everything closes at five
After that, well you just got the bars

“You don’t know how precious you are
Walking around with your little shoes dangling
I am the one who lives with the ocean
It’s where we came from, you know
And sometimes I just want to go back
After a day, we drink ’til we’re drowning

Walk to the ocean, wade in with our workboots
Wade in our workboots, try to finish the job
You don’t know how precious you are
I am the one who lives with the ocean
You don’t know how, I am the one
You don’t know how, I am the one.”

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,252: ‘The Ocean’ – Dar Williams vs. Fiona Apple

  1. Dana says:

    Easy pick for me as well. I’m not as passionate about Apple as you are, but her talent cannot be denied.

  2. Amy says:

    If I knew any one Fiona Apple song as well as I know — and adore– “When I Was a Boy,” I would likely fall in line to give Apple the vote she likely deserves. That said, I don’t. If ever a single song could catapult an artist into a person’s heart, this is the song, the artist and the heart.

  3. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    I voted for Fiona Apple. I do love the one Dar Williams song you mentioned, “When I Was a Boy”, that song is in a class of its own. However, the rest of Dar Williams’ discography falls into this same folk sort of style and doesn’t deviate much and though I give much respect to that, in terms of artistry, Fiona Apple has her beat. She is one of the most unique, talented female artist in the music industry and she rarely gets the recognition she deserves, so here of all places, she should get the chance to move forward.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s