Walt Grace's Submarine Test January 1967
John Mayer Lyrics


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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 when,
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.

Overall Meaning

The lyrics to John Mayer's "Walt Grace's Submarine Test January 1967" tell the story of Walt Grace, a man who is unhappy with his current life and is looking to escape it. He dreams of discovering a new space and, after burying himself alive in his basement, begins working on a one-man submarine that he hopes will take him there. His wife and friends dismiss him as crazy, but he is determined to succeed.


The song speaks to the universal desire to break free from the constraints of everyday life and pursue a dream or passion. Walt Grace is willing to take risks and make sacrifices in order to achieve his goal, even in the face of ridicule and doubt from those around him. The line "when you're done with this world, you know the next is up to you" hints at the idea of death and the afterlife, and suggests that Walt Grace is on a journey to discover something beyond this world.


The lyrics are accompanied by an upbeat melody and instrumentation that add to the sense of adventure and excitement in the song. Overall, "Walt Grace's Submarine Test January 1967" is a story of perseverance, determination, and the pursuit of a dream.


Line by Line Meaning

Walt Grace, desperately hating his whole place,
Walt Grace hated his life and his surroundings and was searching for something more.


Dreamed to discover a new space,
He desired to find a new place or situation to escape from his current reality.


And buried himself alive,
He secluded himself and devoted his time to his project.


Inside his basement, tongue on the side of his face when,
He was engrossed in his work in his basement, often sticking his tongue out to concentrate.


He's working away on displacement,
He was figuring out the necessary displacement needed for his submarine to work properly.


And what it would take to survive.
He was calculating how he would survive in his homemade submarine.


'Cause when you're done with this world,
After death, there could be another world.


You know the next is up to you.
One has control over their own afterlife, whether it exists or not.


And his wife told his kids he was crazy,
His wife believed he was insane and relayed this message to their children.


And his friends said he'd fail if he tried,
His friends didn't believe in him and thought he would fail.


But with a will to work hard,
Despite the discouragement, Walt was determined to succeed.


And a library card,
He used resources available to him, including a library card, to make his submarine.


He took a homemade, fan-blade, one-man submarine ride.
Eventually, he successfully went on a solo ride in his homemade submarine using a fan-blade for power.


That morning, the sea was mad and I mean it,
The sea was extremely turbulent the day Walt went on his ride.


Waves as big as he'd seen it,
The waves were the biggest he had ever seen.


Deep in his dreams at home.
Walt often dreamed of his adventure while still at home.


From dry land,
Walt began his journey on dry land.


He rolled it over to wet sand,
He moved the submarine to the water's edge to launch it.


Closed the hatch up with one hand,
Using one hand, he sealed himself inside the submarine.


And peddled off alone.
He set off on his solo journey pedaling the fan-blade for power.


One evening,
After Walt had been gone for some time,


When weeks had passed since his leaving,
Several weeks had gone by since Walt had left.


The call she'd planned on receiving,
Walt's wife finally received a phone call she had been expecting.


Finally made it home.
The call was from Japan and it confirmed that Walt had secured a patent for his invention.


She accepted,
His wife accepted the news with disbelief.


The news she'd never expected,
The news that Walt had succeeded was not something she ever thought would happen.


The operator connected,
The phone operator connected the call to Walt's wife.


A call from Tokyo.
The phone call was from someone in Tokyo, where Walt had secured the patent.


Now his friends,
Now that his friends have seen he succeeded,


Bring him up when they're drinking,
They bring up Walt's accomplishment when they get together and drink.


At the bar with his name on the side,
They go to a bar that is now named after Walt and his accomplishment.


And they smile when they can,
They are happy for Walt's success and smile when they talk about him.


As they speak of a man,
They share stories of Walt and his homemade submarine.


Who took a homemade,
Referring to the fact that he built the entire thing himself.


Fan-blade, one-man submarine ride.
He took his homemade, fan-blade powered submarine on a successful solo ride, proving everyone wrong.




Lyrics © REACH MUSIC PUBLISHING
Written by: JOHN MAYER

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comments from YouTube:

Chinmay Sati

+maexle01 - Indeed.. Basically the song means Taking the first step would always seem hard and the world would try to discourage and give you common reasons why you'd definitely fail (according to them). But when you finally make it, people respect you and always remember you as the one who stood out.
It's a beautiful song. And for those who are not a Mayer fan may enjoy the music and a cute story of a man. But those who know Mayer would know the deeper meaning embedded in every lyric of this song.

For example - The sky was aflare,
when he came up for air
in his homemade, fan blade on man submarine ride.

These lines express that Little first taste of success after you finally went against all the odds and were nervous whether you took the right decision or not.
The flared up sky stands for the brightness that you witness for the first time in the pursuit of your dreams.
Coming up for air stands for the Moment when you take a pause and witness where you have landed, with an ambiguity in your head whether you've landed in the right place or not.

The song is full of such little things that make me wonder how simple lyrics he uses, containing such big meaning.



pattygq

I totally get it.

Walt Grace is a pseudonym for John. The first 4 lines explain the entire story about to unfold.

Inside his basement refers to his ability to perfect his craft.

When you're done with this world, the next is up to you is an obvious line. Move on with life (Movin' on and gettin' over? lol)

Friends doubting his will.

The line about the wife could refer to someone he was close to at the time and the kids could just be a pseudonym for his friends as the lyrics refer to the kids as "his kids".

A homemade, fan-blade one-man submarine ride means he did it all on his own. He built his vehicle and rode it into the sunset.

The line about the sea, him deep in his dreams at home, and peddling off alone probably means the world was turning on him and he thought he was in a good spot but left due to others opinions about him. The line about dry land to wet sand means he made that commitment to leave. Probably did this without telling anyone as the words suggest he was alone in the morning when he left.

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 could mean he was out there driving all alone in peace, and then suddenly everyone jumped on him.

The line about the girl and her receiving that unexpected call when he got to Tokyo sounds like she was not expecting him to be halfway around the world. She expected him to be predictable but he wasn't.

The song cycles back to the hook, reiterating the fact that you need to do what makes you happy regardless of what other people say.

The last few lines about how his friends bring him up when they're drinking is more than likely a reference to his old friends from way back when looking at him now and saying, man that kid had drive, determination, he's made something of himself. The fact that they're talking about him amongst themselves while relaxing shows how proud they are of him.

But did he eventually find what he was looking for?


Maybe one day John will read these comments and give a yay or nay as to my hypothesis. If you're reading this, I salute you my friend, for probably paying real close attention in English class lol. There hasn't been a song of his that didn't tell an intricate story that hides itself in just the right light.



All comments from YouTube:

kaseigunsou

Fun fact : John revealed during the live event he did in MT this year that the clock time on the B&R artwork actually has a meaning. The pocketwatch on the artwork is set at 10:38 am. If you take the average lifespan of a human being and turn it into a twenty four hours clock, Mayer was at 10:38 of his life when he released this album. Now he's at about noon. He said, as soon as you start thinking of your life as a 24h clock, you realize you got to enjoy every day because it moves so fast, you find energy to live and make the best out of the time you got left.
May it be another inspiration to everyone listening to this amazing track and album.

Isaac Possobom

In my point of view, Mayer isn't at noon, he's at fourteen to eleven A.M., I guess

Lori Brownstein

This was the last song my dad sang to me before he passed away. I miss him so much. This song means so much. The rest is up to you

Miram McKay

Remember his love. Much comfort to you.
God Bless you 😢

justech

So many people wondering if he lived or died-- that fact alone shows how well written this song is, and how captivating the lyrics. My opinion-- he lived. "The call she planned on receiving, finally made it home"-- she was expecting a call regarding her husband who had disappeared into the ocean. "She accepted the news she never expected, the operator connected, the call from Tokyo"-- she never expected him to succeed (she told his kids he was crazy), therefore he succeeded. Bam.

opencoke

not just that, it also appease to all listeners because every listener can have their own interpretation.

evolvejaz

CanWeGoBackRIPhiphop Lmao 😂

justech

Also, who names a bar after a failure?

Valmo86

@justech who names a bar In Memoriam?

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Cereal Elegance

Hands down one of the best songs ever written.

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