Swan Dive

Album: Little Plastic Castle (1998)

Songfacts®:

  • 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.
  • DiFranco crates a rather shocking visual with the line, "I'm gonna take out my tampon and start splashing around," meaning she's going to call on the sharks with her blood from the tampon and the noise. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    daniel - new orleans, LA, for above 2

Comments: 1

  • Elizabeth from Akron, OhInteresting theory that by "tak[ing] out [her] tampon and start splashing around" means her menstral blood is going to attract sharks. Because when a woman goes into water of any kind, her period stops automatically. Kind of like a natural defense. I'll admitt, even though I'm a fan of Ani DiFranco, I've never actually heard this song but I just read the lyrics. It doesn't mean she's going to 'call on the sharks with her blood from the tampon and the noise' - it means she's brave. It means she can trust her own body and her own instincts. She's not worried about survival, she wants to experience life fully and to do so, she's willing to take risks. This artist is a bisexual feminist icon, the only shocking visual that was created by that line was that she's not afraid. PLUS...sharks are attracted to low-frequency pulsed sounds, similar to those wounded or ill prey would emit. Most attractive sounds are in the frequency range of 25 to 100 Hz. Some sharks are attracted to sound sources from distances as great as 250 m (820 ft.). To quote Jesse Pinkman, "Yeah, science, bitch!"
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jello BiafraSongwriter Interviews

The former Dead Kennedys frontman on the past, present and future of the band, what music makes us "pliant and stupid," and what he learned from Alice Cooper.

Steven Tyler of AerosmithSongwriter Interviews

Tyler talks about his true love: songwriting. How he identifies the beauty in a melody and turns sorrow into art.

Dr. JohnSongwriter Interviews

The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.

Facebook, Bromance and Email - The First Songs To Use New WordsSong Writing

Do you remember the first time you heard "email" in a song? How about "hater" or "Facebook"? Here are the songs where they first showed up.

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.

N.W.A vs. the WorldSong Writing

How the American gangsta rappers made history by getting banned in the UK.