Theme From the Bottom
Phish Lyrics


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I feed from the bottom, you feed from the top
I live upon morsels you happen to drop
And coffee that somehow leaks out of your cup
If nothing comes down then I'm forced to swim up
On the way upwards, the colors come back
But all along the bottom is blue, grey, and black
The darkness is cold and perception goes wrong
And the night seems to go on incredibly long

So I ask you why if I'm swimming by,
Don't you see anything you'd like to try?

Pantomime mixtures of heaven and earth
Jumbled events that have less than no worth
Time in the forest to dig under rocks
Or float in the ocean asleep in a box

Or sink just below all the churning and froth
And swim to the light source or fly like a moth
So toss away stuff you don't need in the end
But keep what's important and know who's your friend

So I ask you why if I'm swimming by,
Don't you see anything that you'd like to try?

If I'm swimming by

From the bottom, from the top
From the bottom, from the top
From the bottom, from the top
From the bottom, from the top

From the bottom, from the top
From the bottom, from the top




From the bottom, from the top
From the bottom, from the top

Overall Meaning

Theme From the Bottom is a song by Phish with lyrics that express a sense of longing for a more meaningful life. The opening lines highlight how the singer feels like they are just getting the scraps in life, feeding from the bottom while others are getting the best. The reference to coffee leaking out of a cup adds to the imagery of wasted opportunity that the singer feels. But despite all this, the singer still sees potential for a more fulfilling life, symbolized by swimming up to the surface where the colors are brighter.


As the song continues, the lyrics become more surreal, describing a world where there are mixtures of heaven and earth, and time to float in the ocean in a box. The imagery of sinking below the churning froth and swimming towards the light source is a powerful metaphor for finding meaning in life. The final verse brings everything full circle, advising us to toss away what we don't need, keep what's important, and know who our friends are.


Overall, Theme From the Bottom is a song about finding meaning and purpose in life despite feeling like you're getting the short end of the stick. It's a call to action to take control of your destiny and seek out the things that make life worth living.


Line by Line Meaning

I feed from the bottom, you feed from the top
I rely on the scraps you leave behind, while you enjoy the best of everything


I live upon morsels you happen to drop
I survive on the small bits and pieces of your abundance that fall my way


And coffee that somehow leaks out of your cup
Even the seemingly insignificant things that you discard are useful to me


If nothing comes down then I'm forced to swim up
If you hold everything to yourself, I am forced to struggle and try to reach the surface on my own


On the way upwards, the colors come back
As I rise to the surface, my perspective changes and I start to appreciate the beauty of life


But all along the bottom is blue, grey, and black
The depths of despair are dark and gloomy, filled with sadness and uncertainties


The darkness is cold and perception goes wrong
The darkness of despair numbs the senses and makes it difficult to see things clearly


And the night seems to go on incredibly long
The pain and agony of despair can feel endless and unrelenting


So I ask you why if I'm swimming by, Don't you see anything you'd like to try?
As I struggle to survive, I wonder why you don't seem to notice my efforts, or why you don't try to help me


Pantomime mixtures of heaven and earth
I fantasize about a world where the boundaries between the physical and spiritual are blurred


Jumbled events that have less than no worth
The chaos and confusion of life events makes it hard to see any meaning in them


Time in the forest to dig under rocks
Sometimes one must look below the surface to find hidden opportunities


Or float in the ocean asleep in a box
Sometimes surrendering to the forces of life can provide peace and tranquility


Or sink just below all the churning and froth
Escaping from the chaos, one can find solace by going deeper


And swim to the light source or fly like a moth
Finding the light at the end of the tunnel, or chasing one's dreams, can lead to a sense of fulfillment


So toss away stuff you don't need in the end
Prioritizing what is really important, and discarding the rest, can lead to a simpler and more fulfilling life


But keep what's important and know who's your friend
The true distinction between what you need and what is extraneous is knowing who are the people who truly care about you


So I ask you why if I'm swimming by, Don't you see anything that you'd like to try?
As I struggle to survive, I wonder whether you are oblivious to my struggle or whether you simply don't care


If I'm swimming by
Despite being unnoticed by others, I persist in my struggle for survival


From the bottom, from the top From the bottom, from the top From the bottom, from the top From the bottom, from the top
Repeating these phrases emphasizes how the disparity between those with plenty and those with very little permeates every part of life




Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing
Written by: ERNEST ANASTASIO, JONATHAN FISHMAN, MICHAEL GORDON, PAGE MCCONNELL, TOM MARSHALL

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

Matt Clinton

One of those more subtle, gentler jams that grows on you each time you listen. I like how Trey doesn’t hog the floor… when he does play it doesn’t overshadow the others and there is good balance in the band. I’ve noticed this more this tour and I’m really digging it.. light and fluffy jams like this are great to play at work or in the car

Dan Kachelries

Well I glad you found phish. The other part, I’m not sure what you mean. Maybe I’m “that” elitist ahole that’s seen over a hundred shows but it’s never about overplaying another member. Does Trey play too many note? Ask Cactus lol… but seriously, glad you jumped in, waters nice.. now go listen to a S&SS for that nice balance

Missy Templeman

🙂

Shane Rabideau

My new favorite Theme...it took many many years to be able to make this statement but this Theme...wow! Beautiful

Ribrack TV

Probably one of the most under rated songs from the tour

herbythechef

I was there for this one, it was certainly an awesome vibe for this jam. Everyone around me was passing joints around and people were just grooving to it. Its a moment i wont forget

Billy

This was a feeling

Bee

Please come to Peru 🇵🇪

Starwind

I’m loving these larger melodic themes Treys been bringing into these explorations. Turn on the MIDI and it’s psychedelic heaven

David Lawrence

All I want when I see Phish is that they jam and I get one beloved song. Mission accomplished.

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