Music is one of the few things that has the power to connect people from different backgrounds all over the world. There’s just something about a good song that can touch people where nothing else can. Australian singer/songwriter, Vance Joy, knows a thing or two about the power of music. Over the course of his career, he’s touched the hearts of countless people all over the world. Although he’s released quite a few popular songs, his 2013 single “Riptide” has become one of his most memorable songs. Between the lyrics and the music itself, “Riptide” is the perfect combination of heart and soul. But while the song’s lyrics mean a lot of things to a lot of people, there are many who don’t know the significance it holds for Vance. Let’s talk about why Vance Joy’s “Riptide” lyrics are so meaningful.
The History Of “Riptide”
Lyrics aside, every great song has an interesting backstory regarding how the idea came about; “Riptide” is no exception. Even though the song came out in 2013, the writing process actually began several years before in 2008. During the recording process in 2012, Vance got the idea to combine new ideas he was working on with the original “Riptide” draft that was written in 2008. The title of the song was inspired by a motel of the same name that Vance used to stay at with his family when he was younger.
During an interview with American Songwriter, Vance said, “One day I just picked up the guitar and started playing the chords for the verse. I had the first two lines but really didn’t think much about it. I kind of shelved them. At that point I only uncovered a small portion of the song, so it wasn’t clear to me where it was going to go.”
The song was released as a track on Vance’s debut EP, God Loves You When You’re Dancing and it quickly started to gain traction. It eventually went on to reach the top 10 of several charts including number one spots on the UK Indie (OCC), the US Rock Airplay (Billboard), and US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)”.
The Significance Of The Song’s Lyrics
“Riptide” is one of those songs that sounds beautiful even if you have no idea what the lyrics are. However, when you actually stop to pay attention to the words the song has a whole new meaning. Vance’s words are beautiful, haunting, and intriguing all at the same time. But what is the meaning behind the lyrics? Like most good songs, “Riptide” is partly biographical. Vance told American Songwriter, “When writing, you just spurt things out without being too conscious of it. “Dentists in the dark” sounded right, especially because of the alliteration. Plus, it’s also true in my childhood as well. The “pretty girls” line is me for sure, I was a shy kid.”
He also added, “I think at first you write these words without really thinking if they make sense or not. In my mind it’s the ocean, but my whole awareness of that word existing is staying at a motel called Riptide. That’s why it was in my head since it’s not the most commonly used expression. And for that reason, the word has a special significance and a special memory for me.”
The overlap between the lyrics and Vance’s life don’t stop there, though. The line at the end of the first verse that goes “You’re the magician’s assistant in their dreams” actually refers back to a real-life magician’s assistant whom he had an encounter with. While talking to ABC News Radio, Vance revealed, “I went out one night and I was with friends, and I was speaking to a girl and she was a magician’s assistant, and she was gorgeous, as I think magician’s assistants [are]…it’s kind of like a prerequisite. And…I was [working] as gardener [at the time], and I was like, ‘Oh, wow. You’re such a mythical creature to me,’ y’know, this magician’s assistant.”
With his blend of imagination and authentic experiences, Vance’s “Riptide” has elements that are relatable to almost everyone who hears it.
Does Vance Joy Have Plans To Release Another Album?
After the success of his debut EP, there were lots of people who were excited to follow Vance’s musical journey. He followed up the project with his first album, Dream Your Life Away, which was released in 2014. His second album came out in 2018, but since then he hasn’t released any other projects. Recently, he was featured on a song called “You” by Benny Blanco. However, we didn’t find anything to indicate that he is working on another project. Hopefully, though, doesn’t plan on keeping his fans waiting much longer.