Swan Dive (Ani DiFranco)

Swan Dive (1998)

Although much of DiFranco’s material is autobiographical, it is often also strongly political. Many of her songs are concerned with contemporary social issues.

This song is about taking a chance and trying to succeed in life. It starts with someone depressed who wants to go out and do more, but it’s hard. One in a million succeed, and she’ll be labeled brilliant if she becomes a success. She goes on about how little she has in her life and climbs the railing in order to do her swan dive. She sees sharks (competitors) in the waters below but doesn’t care, since she has nothing to lose. She has a vision of better things and she wants to go for it. She says she’s going to prepare (vaccinations) for this journey and she’s going to go boldly because a little bird (America?) told her it’s easy. Next she paints a visual of diving into the sidewalk instead of a pool of water, which could signify how unlikely it is to achieve success.

Source: Song Facts

Excerpt from song:

They can call me crazy if I fall
All the chance I need
Is one-in-a-million
And they can call me brilliant
If I succeed
Gravity is nothing to me
Im moving at the speed of sound
Im just gonna get my feet wet
Until I drown

I teeter between tired
And really, really tired
Im wiped out and Im wired
But I guess thats just as well
Cuz Ive built my own empire
Out of car tires and chicken wire
And now Im queen of my own compost heap
And Im getting used to the smell

Ive had a lack of information
Ive had a little revelation
Im climbing up on the railing
Trying not to look down
Im going to do my best swan dive
Into shark infested waters
Im going to pull out my tampon
And start splashing around

Cuz I dont care if they eat me alive
Ive got better things to do than survive
Ive got the memory of your warm skin in my hands
And Ive got a vision of blue sky and warm land
(…)
Im gonna go ahead and go boldly
Cuz a little bird told me
That jumping is easy
And falling is fun
Right up unitl you hit the sidewalk
Shivering and stunned

They can call me crazy if I fall
All the chance I need
Is one-in-a-million
And they cal call me brilliant
If I succeed
Gravity is nothing to me
Im moving at the speed of sound
Im just going to get my feet wet
Until I drown

Listen to song here

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