Album: Abacab (1981)
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  • Too big to fly,
    Dodo ugly so dodo must die.
    Dog go, with fear on its side;
    Can't change, can't change the tide.

    Dog baiter, agitator,
    Asking questions, says he wants to know why.
    Ain't no reason that money can't buy.
    Mink, he pretty, so mink he must die,
    Must die, must die.

    Sun, he giving life in his light,
    Part of the system.
    Friend to man and friend to the trees,
    No friend to the snowman.

    Where does he go? What does he do?
    Does he meet with the mole, the stream, the cloud,
    And end up at the bottom of the sea?

    Fish, he got a hook in his throat,
    Fish, he got problems.

    Where does he go? What does he do?
    Does he hope he's too small, to poor a haul,
    Who'll end up bein' thrown back in the sea?
    I'm back in the sea.

    Caretaker, horror movie,
    Only one eye, only needs one boot.
    Sweet lady, she know she looks good.
    Vacuum coming for the bright and the brute.

    Big noise, black smoke,
    So pig-headed, couldn't see the joke.
    But it ain't funny, ask the fly on the wall.
    It's only living, it don't matter at all,
    At all, at all.

    Pimp, he make you drool and grunt,
    He got an answer.
    One, he got a dream of love
    Deep as the ocean.

    Where does he go? What does he do?
    Will the siren team with Davy Jones
    And trap him at the bottom of the sea?
    I'm back in the sea.
    I'm back in the sea.
    I'm back in the sea. Writer/s: Anthony George Banks, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 12

  • John from CaI think in the Dodo segment there is an underlying theme of relationship issues and being "back in the sea." This would mirror Phil's martial problems at the time and possibly feeling like an animal that's been cast aside, despite it's worth. "Mink he pretty, so Mink he must die." Also the struggles of single life and other relationships. "Fish he got a hook in his throat, fish he got problems." I may be projecting...
  • Rich from CtI believe the answer to this riddle is wide open to individual interpretation. Not that I am on the mark, but I choose Admiral Hyman Rickover and his legacy. An Annapolis graduate (Class of '22), and the "Father of the Nuclear Navy," he is a match for the anthropormorhic part of this verse: Clothes of Brass, Hair of Brown...And a heart of stone...A fear of fire and water See and ...And his Nuclear Navy, specifically the submarine force, addresses the remaining lines: Seldom need to breathe...Don't need no wings to fly: Works for me, but please, someone argue my likely myopic assertion.
  • Jacques from UsaSorry, submarines and bullets miss the mark ;-)
    Who am I? The Lurker is a Man.
    Clothes of Brass - He's in old fashioned diving suit with a brass helmet.
    Hair of brown - Pretty straight forward!
    Seldom need to breath - He can stay under water for some time in the suit.
    Don't need no wings to fly - He can fly in machines.
    And a heart of stone - This metaphor fits with the theme of the song.
    A fear of fire and water - Both can be deadly to a man.
    Now, doesn't that seem a more likely answer!
  • Westal from Dallas, TxDeath is central point of song - especially man-made death

    I think Jim and Dale sum it up pretty well. It's a bullet, not a submarine. The heart of stone is gunpowder (flintstone scrapings). Man-made death.
    Seldom need to breathe - just needs that one initial breath of ignition
    It's also referenced in "big noise, black smoke" - "see the joke" (riddle).

    Reference to a fly on the wall - fly often used to gauge a humanitarian who wouldn't find humor in man-made death (wouldn't hurt a fly).
    Even the sun's life giving rays die - at the bottom of the sea. Even they bring death - to snowman.
    "Vacuum coming for the bright and the brute" - death will find beauty or beast, indiscriminately.
  • Jim from Pleasant Hill, CaI always thought this ENTIRE song was about anthropocentric arrogance toward non-human life.

    Most of the lyrics are about animals being cast aside or dying for human entertainment & profit. They keep coming back to the theme of "'s only living, it don't matter at all..."

    The section with "caretaker, horror movie" and "vacuum coming for the bright and the brute" seems to depart from the main theme, but it could be symbolic or an inside joke.

    The interpretation of a submarine in the final lyrics seems a bit contrived, but better than most other guesses. Whatever it means, it should be taken in context with all the preceding lyrics. It could represent Man's callous mechanization and mass killings vs. nature's former equilibrium.

    "Heart of stone" has always summed up this song for me. Think about what that term usually means. It's a stretch to see it as uranium powering a submarine reactor. Besides, uranium is a metal, not a stone.
  • Dale from Los Angeles, Ca"Lurker" is not about a submarine. It describes a bullet as the shell is the "clothes of brass" and the bullet is brown. Also, submarines are not made of brass and they don't fly, bullets do ("don't need no wings to fly"). A bullet would more likely have a "heart of stone" and would be used to kill a "Dodo" dodo.
  • Jim Ellis from Lemon Grove, Caa great example of how incredible this band's music can be. and how completely meaningless their lyrics. they lost so much of the lyrical majesty when Peter left. dodo!
  • Jude from Toronto, Qcthis song is one of the best i think
  • Sam from Lincoln, NeCompared to such crap as "Invisible Touch", "Paperlate", and "Misunderstanding" this isn't such a bad song. The live version of this song on "Three Sides Live" is one of the best Genesis tracks I've ever heard...and I've listened to all their stuff.
  • S.d. from Denver, CoApparently, the "Lurker" segment is about a submarine. Thanks, Kevin, for the exhaustive deconstruction of the lyrics.

    For anyone who may be interested, the "Dodo" segment is about killing animals for human aggrandizement and the resulting extinction of species.
  • Joshua from La Crosse, Wi"Submarine" appears on the Archive Vol. 2 boxed set. It is actually a slow and eerie instrumental piece.
  • Ian from Kansas City (british Ex-pat), MoSurely the most abbysmal rubbish ever recorded by this once great art-rock band.
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