20 Songs About The Sea And Oceans

The ocean has always been my go-to for relaxing and feeling better. When I jump in, my worries disappear.

I soon realized that many others also find solace in the ocean, like surfers, swimmers, and happy kids. It’s like medicine for them too.

The sea also has a special meaning in our lives, and songwriters often use it to create songs that many people can connect with.

In this playlist, let’s set sail through the world of music and discover 20 great songs about the sea and oceans.

20 Songs About The Sea And Oceans

1. “Sea Of Love” By Phil Phillips

“Sea of Love” is a 1959 song by Phil Phillips from his album of the same name. It’s his only hit and has been covered by various artists, including Cat Power.

In the song, a man invites his lover to join him in the metaphorical “sea of love,” as he sings, “Come with me, my love, to the sea, the sea of love.” This symbolizes a deep and solitary love, with lyrics that evoke images of tropical vacations and romantic sunset cruises.

Interestingly, Phillips wrote this song to impress a girl, although he didn’t win her over. However, the song’s popularity led to his discovery, and it reached the #2 spot on the US charts. 

2. “Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish

“Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish, from her album “Don’t Smile At Me,” delves into the concept of falling for someone through the intensity of their eyes.

The lyrics describe a man with mesmerizing ocean-blue eyes, singing, “Can’t stop starin’ at those ocean eyes,” emphasizing the captivating power of his gaze. The song paints a picture of emotional turmoil and danger with lines like “Burning cities and napalm skies.”

The speaker acknowledges her fear of these newfound feelings, admitting, “I’m scared, I’ve never fallen from quite this high.” It’s a love that both intrigues and terrifies her, making her apprehensive about the depth of her emotions.

3. “Dead Sea” by The Lumineers

“Dead Sea” by The Lumineers, from their 2012 self-titled debut album, portrays a person who feels lost and adrift in life, searching for a sense of belonging, as they sings, “I stood alone, upon the platform in vain.”

The lyrics depict the narrator who’s in a place of uncertainty and instability, like standing alone on a platform in the rain, to seeking a more genuine and trustworthy connection.

The song introduces a significant metaphor of being like the Dead Sea, with the lyrics emphasizing, “Like the Dead Sea, you told me I was like the Dead Sea.” The Dead Sea’s high salinity makes everything more buoyant, preventing people from sinking.

In the same way, the person the narrator meets feels safe, secure, and comfortable with them, likening their presence to the buoyancy of the Dead Sea.

4. “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles

“Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles is a children’s song from their 1966 album, Revolver. The lyrics describe a simple story of living in a yellow submarine under the sea, as they sing, “We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine.”

The song talks about a man from a town who sailed to sea and told others about his life in submarines. He sings, “We all live in a yellow submarine, And our friends are all aboard, Many more of them live next door.”

Some fans have interpreted the song differently, suggesting that the yellow submarine represents the hotel rooms where The Beatles stayed as they became famous.

However, the band itself stated that there’s no deeper meaning to the song; it’s just a fun, simple tale of life in a yellow submarine.

5. “Beyond The Sea” by Bobby Darin

“Beyond The Sea” by Bobby Darin, from his 1959 album “That’s All,” is a romantic song about a long-distance relationship and the anticipation of reuniting with a loved one who is far away, as the lyrics express, “Somewhere beyond the sea, my lover stands on golden sands.” The song is based on the original French song “La Mer” but is best known in Darin’s version.

The lyrics describe the singer’s deep longing for his lover, who is waiting for him beyond the sea, and his yearning to be with her, singing, “If I could fly like birds on high, then straight to her arms I’d go sailing.”

The song conveys a sense of hope and romantic yearning as the singer imagines their reunion, where they’ll meet beyond the shore, share a kiss, and be “happy beyond the sea,”

6. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” By Otis Redding

“(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” by Otis Redding, from his 1968 album of the same name, conveys a sense of loneliness and depression in its lyrics.

The singer describes sitting by the bay from morning until evening, watching ships come and go, as he sings, “Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun, I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes.” He feels like he’s wasting time, just observing the world moving around him, suggesting a lack of purpose.

The lyrics reveal that the singer left his home in Georgia and headed for San Francisco, but the despair he was trying to escape still haunts him.

He sits on the dock, watching the tide roll away in his solitude, because he’s not able to find meaning or fulfillment in life, as expressed in the lines, “I’m just gon’ sit, at the dock of the bay, Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh yeah.”

7. “Octopus’s Garden” by The Beatles

“Octopus’s Garden” by The Beatles, featured on their 1969 album “Abbey Road,” is a whimsical and lighthearted song that expresses a desire to escape from the world and find solace under the sea in an imaginary octopus’s garden. The song was written by Ringo Starr and was one of the two songs he contributed to the band.

The inspiration for the song came from a boat trip where Ringo Starr learned that octopuses often create gardens by collecting rocks and shiny objects.

In the lyrics, the speaker longs to be under the sea, in the shade of an octopus’s garden, where the octopus would welcome them in and provide a safe and peaceful refuge, as they sing, “I’d like to be under the sea, in an octopus’s garden in the shade, We would be warm below the storm, In our little hide-away beneath the waves.”

8. “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)” by Enya

“Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)” by Enya, from her album “Watermark,” is a captivating song that celebrates the idea of embarking on a journey, following the currents of the world and allowing them to carry you to unexplored and wonderful places, as the lyrics express, “Sail away, sail away, sail away.” 

The title of the song, “Orinoco Flow,” references the Orinoco River in Venezuela, which eventually empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The lyrics mention various locations, reflecting the global and adventurous nature of the journey, as Enya sings, “From Bissau to Palau, in the shade of Avalon.”

Enya also mentions key figures in the music industry, like producer Rob Dickins, which reflects the hope for success and recognition in the music world, as heard in the lyrics, “We can steer, we can near, with Rob Dickins at the wheel.”

9. “Don’t Fight The Sea” by Al Jardine

“Don’t Fight The Sea” by Al Jardine featuring The Beach Boys is a mellow and reflective song that imparts a message about accepting the forces of nature and the inevitability of change and fate.

In the lyrics, the singer recounts being out on a boat when the wind starts blowing, emphasizing the idea that when faced with powerful and uncontrollable forces, it’s futile to resist. Instead, the song encourages a sense of surrender and going with the flow, as heard in the refrain, “Don’t fight, don’t fight the sea.”

The song was originally not included in any of The Beach Boys’ albums but gained renewed significance in 2011 when the band collaborated with Al Jardine to re-record it.

This effort aimed to raise money for those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, turning the song into a symbol of hope and moving forward in the wake of tragedy.

10. “Astronaut In The Ocean” By Masked Wolf

The song “Astronaut In The Ocean” by the Australian rapper Masked Wolf explores the feeling of being out of place and struggling with depression. The lyrics use the metaphor of an astronaut under the ocean to describe this emotional state, as the singer asks, “What you know about rollin’ down in the deep?”

It’s a depiction of a time when one’s brain feels numb and overwhelmed, and when people talk too much, the singer wants to “put that shit in slow motion” to find a sense of calm.

Masked Wolf draws from his own experiences of facing hardships in the music industry and trying to succeed despite the challenges. He believes in himself and his abilities, as he confidently declares, “I believe in G-O-D (ayy) / Don’t believe in T-H-O-T.”

11. “Lost Sailor” By Grateful Dead

The song “Lost Sailor” by the Grateful Dead, featured on their 1980 album “Go to Heaven,” narrates the tale of a seasoned sailor who has spent a considerable time at sea.

He’s weathered it all, from turbulent gales to tranquil seas, as the lyrics reflect, “Somedays the gales are howling, sometimes the sea is still as glass.” Yet, after an extended absence from the shore, it beckons to him.

However, his return won’t be straightforward, for he has become a wanderer, and his freedom has given way to a sense of isolation, captured in the line, “You’re a lost sailor, been away too long at sea.”

12. “Oceans” By Pearl Jam

“Oceans” by Pearl Jam, featured on their 1991 debut album “Ten,” presents abstract and cryptic lyrics that use the sea both literally and metaphorically.

The song’s background is rooted in Eddie Vedder’s love for surfing, which inspired him to write it. He initially joked that it was a love song for his surfboard, but later clarified that it was dedicated to Beth Liebling, whom he would marry years later.

The lyrics in “Oceans” compare love to the ocean, suggesting that there may be times of physical or emotional separation and distance from a partner. However, just like the currents of the ocean, if you hold on and relax, you will eventually be brought back together with your loved one, as expressed in the lines “Hold on to the thread, The currents will shift, Glide me towards you.”

13. “Only The Ocean” By Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson’s song “Only The Ocean,” featured on his 2010 album “To the Sea,” serves as a heartfelt tribute to his late father, the renowned surfer Jeff Johnson. The song reflects the deep connection between father and son through their shared love of the sea. Johnson dedicates the song to his father, who found his final resting place in the ocean, a fitting tribute for a lifelong surfer.

The lyrics convey a sense of time passing and memories fading, with references to seasons changing and decisions made. It speaks to the enduring bond between the ocean and the protagonist, with lines like “After all of this time, after all of these seasons, after your one decision, to go to the water for reason, it’s only the ocean and you.”

The lines and memories, like the tides, come and go but leave an indelible mark, as the lyrics state, “And all of these lines will all be erased soon, they go out with the tide, and come back with the waves soon.”

As the sails go up and the world fades away, the person finds peace and freedom in the vastness of the ocean, as expressed in the lines, “When this world’s too much, it will be, only the ocean and me.”

14. “Across The Sea” By Weezer

The song “Across The Sea” by Weezer is rooted in lead singer Rivers Cuomo’s personal experience. It centers around a Japanese fan who sent him a letter expressing her curiosity about his life and interests after hearing him on the radio. Cuomo openly acknowledges using some lines from her letter in the song.

In the lyrics, Weezer addresses an eighteen-year-old girl from a small city in Japan who reached out to him. He describes her desire to learn everything about him, from his hobbies to his favorite food and birthday. The singer expresses frustration about being “way across the sea” from her, highlighting the physical and cultural distance that separates them.

The singer is torn between wanting to connect and realizing it might not be possible. As he sings, “I could never touch you, I think it would be wrong,” he’s curious about the girl’s life and experiences. However, he also recognizes the vast ocean that separates them.

15. “Binary Sea” By Death Cab For Cutie

The song “Binary Sea” by Death Cab for Cutie, closing their 2015 album “Kintsugi,” offers a commentary on the modern digital age and the impact of technology on human connection and perception.

The song uses the metaphor of the “Binary Sea” to equate the digital realm to an ocean, deep and murky, with countless “fish” representing the multitude of online users.

It comments on the quest for validation and authenticity in the digital world, where people seek to prove their existence and identity through online interactions, as expressed in the lines, “Oh come my love and swim with me, Out in this vast Binary Sea, Zeros and ones patterns appear, They’ll prove to all that we were here.”

16. “Trains Across The Sea” By Silver Jews

“Trains Across The Sea” is a song by Silver Jews from their 1994 album, Starlite Walker. In the abstract and cryptic lyrics, the speaker expresses his inability to stand seeing someone crying at home.

The song mentions a dream where the speaker meets a lady named Shady Sides, and she remarks on the perpetual evening and how something so old can feel so wrong.

The lyrics reference sin and gravity pulling the speaker into sleep and dreaming of trains crossing the sea, with the lines, “Sin and gravity drag me down to sleep, to dream of trains across the sea, trains across the sea.”

17. “Bathysphere” by Cat Power

“Bathysphere” by Cat Power is a song from her 1996 album, “What Would the Community Think?”

The lyrics tell the story of a seven-year-old child who passionately desires to be taken to the bay and placed on a ship to live inside a bathysphere, a deep-sea submersible. She expresses this desire with lines like “Take me to the bay and put me on a ship” and “I want to live in a bathysphere.”

However, the child’s father opposes the idea because the child cannot swim, which shatters her dream of the sea, as indicated by the lyrics “But you can’t swim” and “And I never dreamed of the sea again.”

18. “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel

The song “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel is a contemplative and introspective piece that reflects on the impermanence of life, accepting the inevitability of death, and finding beauty and meaning in the fleeting moments of existence.

The lyrics begin by describing the discovery of a beautiful face and a dream that feels ephemeral, emphasizing the transitory nature of life.

However, the song takes a philosophical turn as it acknowledges the reality of mortality, with the imagery of ashes flying from an aeroplane over the sea symbolizing the return to where we came from, as conveyed by the lines, “And one day we will die, and our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea.”

The sea serves as a metaphor for the cycle of life and death, suggesting that one day, all of us will return to our origins.

19. “Captain Kennedy” by Neil Young

“Captain Kennedy” by Neil Young is a song inspired by the real-life Captain Louis Kenedy, whom Neil Young met in the 1970s. The lyrics tell the story of a young sailor who is preparing to go to war.

He reflects on his family and the significance of the journey ahead, as expressed in lines like “I am a young mariner headed to war, I’m thinking about my family and what it was for.”

The song’s background is rooted in the story of Captain Kennedy, who was the father of the singer. Captain Kennedy had a wooden schooner that was sunk by a German U-Boat during World War II, causing embarrassment among his peers

This incident is referenced in the lyrics as the singer remembers his father and the humiliation he endured with lines such as “My father was a sailor named Captain Kennedy, He lost his wooden schooner to the Germans on the sea.”

When Neil Young met Captain Kennedy in Nassau in 1971, he was already aging. Despite that, he was determined to continue working hard to purchase another wooden schooner and sail it independently, as described in the lyrics, “He worked until his fingers wore to the bone, To buy that wooden schooner and sail on his own.”

20. “How Far I’ll Go” by Auli’i Cravalho

“How Far I’ll Go” by Auli’i Cravalho gained popularity as a single from the Disney movie and soundtrack for Moana in 2016. The song is a reflection of Moana’s inner conflict and her journey of self-discovery.

Moana, a chief’s daughter, has always felt a deep connection to the sea, despite warnings to stay away from it. The lyrics convey her longing to understand why she is drawn to the water and her desire to be the perfect daughter, even though she always returns to the sea.

Moana’s inner struggle is depicted as she realizes that every path she takes leads her back to the sea, a place she cannot resist. The line “See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me” represents her strong yearning to explore beyond the horizon and discover her true identity.

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