Reviews for The Downeaster "Alexa" LyricsPerformed by Billy Joel
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just on the Vineyard | Reviewer: Wheezy | 12/28/11
I have always thought the Vineyard he refers to, is Martha's Vineyard.
He talks about heading to Nantucket which would make sense with Martha's Vineyard and there is some decent swordfish in that area as well.
a little clarification... | Reviewer: firstname.lastname@example.org | 12/22/11
Being a man who works on the water, fishes, and has many buddies who fishes, I can pretty much decipher anything in this song. Also Billy himself has told what it's about. He wrote it to bring awareness to the lack of money left in commercial fishing.
The "bayman" you are all refering to, is not a bayman. Has he says he "was a bayman". Most fisherman start out as bayman. They drag for clams and such. The main character of this song is a swordfishing captain. They are far from bayman, as they fish open ocean.
The vineyard many of you believe is a metaphor for heaven is actually a place, and island off massachusettes(I think that's the state it belongs to don't quote me) where many fishing boats visit/pass by. Marthas Vineyard is the full name "the Vineyard" for short. The area next to it is called "Vineyard Sound". The song is very straightforward, it was meant to tell the real tale of a fisherman.
Not a song from the grave | Reviewer: Elise | 12/6/11
The Bayman in the Downeaster Alexa is definately not dead, considering that Billy Joel himself owns the Downeaster Alexa, it cannot be considered as a song from beyond the grave. The lyrics are Joel's tribute to the Baymen who spend their lives trying to make ends meet in this world of increasing uncertainty. He sings as the Bayman himself, lamenting the loss of his livelihood and telling those who would hear just how hard his life is but he how still trys to support his family doing the only thing he knows how, day after day. I live in Australia and even I can understand that he is singing about real places he passes on the way to his fishing grounds. A bit of internet research folks, is all the is needed if you really have to unravel what the words mean. Or simply enjoy them, the beautiful longing lyrics and sounds that make up The Downeaster Alexa.
Alive... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/17/11
The "Vineyard" is not a metaphor for heaven...it's Martha's Vineyard. It's near Nantucket.
"Trawling Atlantis"...at first, yes, I thought he was referring to myth. He's not. He's referring to the Atlantis Canyon, a geographical area in the Atlantic Ocean.
The song is not about the death of the fisherman, but the inevitable demise of his livelihood.
not dead | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/5/11
The bayman definately DID NOT die. I know this because in the lyrics he says,
"if you see my downeaster alexa and you work with the rod and reel"
when he says "and you work with the rod and the reel" he is obviously referring to a fisherman, tell me how would a fellow fisherman see his downeaster alexa if it is at the bottom of the ocean, under water radar my show a sunken ship but unless you go down to the wreckage there is no telling who's ship it is
also how could his hands be on the wheel if he is dead and his ship sunk?
the sad undertones of the song are not suggesting that he is dead rather, they are describing the increasingly difficult lifestyle of a fisherman in the northeast
Bayman had passed on | Reviewer: Quintin | 7/7/11
Hi there music lovers.
I honestly think this Bayman had passed away. He says his course is plotted for the 'Vineyard' i.e. Heaven, but tonight he is Nantucket bound i.e. died at sea near Nantucket.
If anyone saw sees his vessel, they should tell his wife his trawling Atlantis i.e. his boat sank near Natucket.
Well I'm on the Downeaster "Alexa" | Reviewer: sylvia | 7/6/11
Lovely song.I fell in love with lyrics.Very touchy and catchy.
I was a bayman like my father was before
Can't make a living as a bayman anymore
There ain't much future for a man who works the sea
But there ain't no island left for islanders like me
How well written. Yeah i fell in love with Billy joel's voice.Damn sexy
deadliest catch | Reviewer: Anno Nymous | 6/13/11
hearing the song first time in hangover2 i had to have it. So much power in vocals and story. reminded me immidiately on deadliest catch and as a non fisherman it rly captures the essence of what these fishers have to endure just to keep their legacey.
I'm pretty certain he is NOT dead... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 5/26/11
I believe the line:
"Tell my wife I am trawling Atlantis
And I still have my hands on the wheel"
means that he wants his wife to know that he has not given up on providing for them, and the he searches far and deep for fish to take home. His hands still on the wheel signifies that he believes he is still in control of their fate.
Re: Last Post | Reviewer: mpc | 3/14/11
The official lyrics of the line you are referring to are "A good captain CAN'T fall asleep." Besides, all the other lyrics refer to the present - a person who is alive. The reference to Atlantis speaks to the difficulty he faces - that it's almost myth that there are fish in those waters; that is is like almost myth that a man can make a living that way anymore.
Downeaster is even more poignant. | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/12/11
I don't understand why all the posts about this wonderful song ignore that the the Bayman who's singing it, with Billy Joel's voice, is doing so from beyond his watery grave. Yes, he's DEAD.
The line of lyrics that's often seen on internet postings ''...a good captain can't fall asleep,'' in incorrect. If you listen carefully to the song, the line is actually ''...a good captain CAN fall asleep.'' This is not only from the absence of an audible apostrophe t sound at the end of the word ''can,'' but also because the audible word ''can '' is sung with an ''a'' sound as in the word ''and,'' which is consistent with the word ''can,'' rather than with the sound of the ''a'' in the word ''ant.''
The line means that he considers himself a good captain, but he's had to travel so long and hard searching for fish that he still fell asleep at the wheel.
That's why he asks the listener to the song to tell his wife he is trolling Atlantis, and he still has his hands on the wheel.
The legendary Atlantis was a continent in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean which sank to the bottom of the sea (some believe it actually existed and was sunk by seismic action.) To be trolling Atlantis, the singer's boat is most likely at the bottom.
Now those who love the song, as I do, but didn't realize the captain's demise, can shed some additional tears.
BTW, the empirical fact that the waters now contain insufficient fish to support the historical numbers of Baymen may show that the fishing regulations imposed, at least in part, may well have been a necessity without which the fish population would soon be virtually zero, destroying the fishing communities even more effectively than without them.
Downeaster Alexa | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/25/10
The places specified by Billy Joel are not important. We have to "willfully suspend our disbelief" to appreciate the song. The point of the song: fishermen can no longer make ends meet. Fishes are not abundant anymore. And they need to travel further to get some catch. The rise of luxury resorts or condos have eroded the islands "aint no island left for islanders like me". Song is very true.
Awesome | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/28/10
I've had this song stuck in my head for weeks now, I'm not a native Long Islander or anything, but I truly appreciate the lyrics in this song. Billy Joel's music is truly inspiring to me, and this song of his especially is just perfectly put together in my mind, though my brother says the drummer is intensely boring.
To "A Native Rhode Islander" | Reviewer: email@example.com | 8/16/10
Are you dumb? ... If you go by "shoreline" Alaska has us all beat by far... over 6,000 miles of shore line. If you go by COASTLINE Florida kills almost everyone (BECAUSE IT IS ONE GIANT PENINSULA). The only states that even really get close are California and, again Alaska... There is some argument about which is actually "longer" because not everyone measure the coast INSIDE a Bay, or an Inlet, they simply cut across the inlet in a straight line.
As for the lyrics, I would ask you the same question. Yes, we know where Block Island Sound is. And yes he "charted" to Martha's Vinyard.. but he is heading for Nantucket... BUT HE DIDNT LEAVE FROM THERE... ITS WHERE HE IS SAILING THROUGH... HE LEFT FROM LONG ISLAND!!! ... They picked up diesel in MONTAUK (yesterday haha) and "LEFT FROM THE BELL IN GARDINER'S BAY" ... Gardiner's Island is in between the north and south forks on Long Island... you know... WHERE MONTAUK POINT LIGHT HOUSE IS!!! It is kind of famous... It was commissioned by the 2nd Continental Congress in 1792 under a little guy named GEORGE WASHINGTON... (Construction was started and completed in 1796) ...
Billy Joel is a LONG ISLANDER, he has like 4 houses here... He gets drunk here... and CRASHES HIS CARS HERE!!!
I am not saying it'd be impossible for him to write a song about another location... but by VAST majority... he mentions locations on or around long island/New York in well over 75% of his songs... Think about the Lyrics to NEW YORK STATE OF MIND... or Miami 2017 ... or Scenes from and Italian Restaurant... THAT'S why so many people who post comments talk about LONG Island and not RHODE Island...
Besides... your Pizza SUCKS anyway...
To "A Native Rhode Islander" | Reviewer: Anonymous | 7/19/10
You said that Rhode Island has more coastline than any state in the country. That is totally false. Perhaps you meant to say that it has the most coastline percentage-wise. However, I'm fairly certain that Alaska holds the record for most coastline, and if not Alaska, then California.
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