Song of the Day #3,894: ‘Philly Sinks’ – Aimee Mann

Hard to believe it’s already two years since Aimee Mann released her last album, the gorgeously melancholy Mental Illness. This was the sweetest, saddest Aimee Mann album an Aimee Mann fan could ever hope for.

Mann’s lyrics are always beautifully evocative even when they’re maddeningly inscrutable. Today’s SOTD, ‘Philly Sinks,’ appears to be about a man who abuses both alcohol and women, but that’s just a guess.

Your guess is as good as mine (or probably better) when it comes to the meaning of lines like “the animatronic bloodhounds bark, the wind-up mockingbirds sing.”

The bridge before the final chorus contains the song’s best lines, using a rowing metaphor to describe the futile attempt to break through to a person in a downward spiral.

It’s always locusts, or floods, or drought
And then it’s parties or prayer
He picks a girl he can live without
And puts her down over there

Philly thinks, and when he thinks he can’t feel anymore
Philly drinks, and when he drinks, all the drunks hit the floor
Philly sinks, and when he sinks you go down
And when you do, you both drown

Congratulations, you hit the mark
You got the bird on the wing
The animatronic bloodhounds bark
The wind-up mockingbirds sing

Philly thinks, and when he thinks you can’t feel anymore
Philly drinks, at least he did when you knew him before
Philly sinks, but now the glass is a girl
But now the girl is a frown

Well, you can put in your oar
But you’re hoping for more
Like the gulls and the freighters they follow around
And if the rowing gets dull
Just knock a hole in the hull
And let the ocean swallow you down

Philly thinks, and when he thinks he can’t swim anymore
Philly drinks, until the tide pulls away from the shore
Philly sinks, and when he sinks you go down
And when you do, you both drown

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,894: ‘Philly Sinks’ – Aimee Mann

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Beautiful, and such a departure in style…not!😊

  2. Peg says:

    When I first saw the song title I thought it was about Philadelphia 😊

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