He compares his lover to several bodies of water – a docile stream, a glassy bay, a vast and open sea. And though his lover and the element may share qualities, “my tired fleet abides in your gentle breeze,” the heat of their connection changes their form, “Once this spark met kindling / forgets its gentle ambling / becoming heat, becoming steam.”
It’s not so much a rejection of the notion of separates, but the acknowledgment of a union. When they’re together, they combine into something different. “You and I and a flame make three” is the repeated line, the consummate vow, the orgasmic cry (“little deaths envelop thee” – the french term for orgasm is “le petite mort,” which translates to “the little death”).
The consonance and assonance of the e, n and en sounds gives the lyrics an easy flow, much like that of its metaphoric title. It’s set over a simple drum beat and stifled electric guitars, but it’s the shaker that gives “River” it’s tropical flare – the tropics recalling the combination of heat and water.
It’s one of the poppier songs Akron/Family has written, and a solid choice for a single from Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free, due out May 5th.