What does The Navesink Banks mean?

The Gaslight Anthem: The Navesink Banks Meaning

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Album cover for The Navesink Banks album cover

The Navesink Banks Lyrics

"all hope abandon, ye who enter here"
said the sign i read that was hanging above her bed
and the sirens over wailing
but a man cant ignore the signs
you gotta keep a good eye
on the winding road ahead
and my first sin was a young american...

  1. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 19th 2011 !⃝

    All hope abandon, ye who enter here.
    Said the sign I read that was hanging above her bed.
    And the sirens were wailing,
    But a man can ignore the signs.
    Gotta keep a good eye on the winding road ahead.
    My first sin was a young American girl.
    My first sin was a young American girl.

    A boy (as we later learn) meets a girl and despite the warnings that despite his love for her it will all end terribly and will never happen. Yet he still ignores the warnings signs, and sirens. he is optimistic that she will reciprocate his love. She is his first real crush, his high school crush. He can't see past her, see a life with out her. His desire to be with her is his first sin.

    And I spent time 'neath the trestles,
    With the punks and the dimestore saints.
    I kept faith and a switchblade tucked beneath my coat.
    And I ran with dirty angels,
    Slept out in the rain.
    We were scared and tired and barely seventeen.
    My first sin was the fear that made me old.
    My first sin was the fear that made me old.

    He despite his faith and good nature is different than she. He hangs with the "punks and dimestore saints" meaning in other terms he does not have the same beliefs or faiths that she does. Nor does he live the same lifestyle. yet he, the seventeen year old boy still can relate to her on the most basics of human teenage emotions, fear and weariness. Fear that she will not except him, fear of what the future holds. Fear that will force the boy to become a man.

    Now I walk down by the shipyards,
    Near the place where I was born.
    Sayin', "Ah, Maria, if you'da known me when..."
    But she only smiles,
    By the light on the Navesink Banks.
    Sayin', "Listen, baby, I know you now."
    Then steps into the river,
    And I just stand by the moon.
    Thinking 'bout a ghost,
    I hear at night.
    And she says, "Your first sin was a lie you told yourself."
    "Your first sin was a lie you told yourself."

    He goes to her, attempts to persuade her to be with him telling of what he could be to her. She rejects him and he tells himself and her that he can change into something he once was. Can go back to before he became a man, back when he was ignorant of the fear and anger of the world. But it is too late. She does not realize the things he knows. She is still a young american girl and he a young american man. So she leaves his life but he can't forget her. Can't forget what she told him. That anything they thought they had, their friendship, romance, relationship, was a lie. None of it was real, and more importantly seemingly didn't matter. It was all a lie he had told himself.

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