Prepping myself for the experience that was Gravity, I drove to the theater listening to Pink Floyd’s “Echoes”, the abridged version from the two-disc set of the same name. Driving home with some minor hearing loss due to the soundtrack’s volume, I started to piece together how this movie matches the lyrics to the song. Of course, the song doesn’t last the length of the film and there’s no “Dark Side of the Rainbow” effect but the majority of the lyrics describe different parts of the movie out of order. Again, the majority of the lyrics have a visual link unless otherwise noted. Spoilers ahead as I talk about parts of the movie.
“Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air“
The spaceship floats in space. Simple enough.
“And deep beneath the rolling waves in labyrinths of coral caves”
I would insert a comma after “beneath” as it would better describe the Earth below them.
“The echo of a distant tide comes willowing across the sand”
This lyric is a stretch. Replace “distant tide” with “mission control” or “Houston”. “…billowing across the sand” is more or less equivalent to “through the airwaves.”
“And everything is green and submarine”
No translation available.
“And no one showed us to the land and no one knows the where or whys”
I read “no one” to mean “George Clooney’s ghost.” He told Sandra Bullock how to get home (“the land”).
“But something stirs and something tries”
“Something” is Sandra Bullock’s character. That’s not to say George Clooney is a nobody in real life but in the context of the movie, he has died and Sandra is still alive. After the encounter with the ghost, Sandra gathers the motivation to go home instead of dying in space. She stirs and tries.
“And starts to climb towards the light”
“The light” is the last pod. Again, a bit of a stretch but she moves towards it.
“Strangers passing in the street by chance two separate glances meet”
Obviously there is no street in space. In two separate points in the film, Clooney and Bullock glance at each other and make comments about eye color.
“And I am you and what I see is me”
The encounter in the pod with Clooney’s ghost.
“And do I take you by the hand and lead you through the land”
The “I” in this instance is Clooney after the first crisis as he tethers Bullock and takes her throughout space to get to the space station.
“And help me understand the best I can”
The “I” here is Bullock’s character when Clooney tells her how to get home, both dead and alive.
“And no one calls us to move on”
“And no one forces down our eyes”
Now, depending on how you feel about the metaphors presented in the film, they may seem a bit spoon-fed. Again, a matter of personal opinion.
“And no one speaks and no one tries and no one flies around the sun”
“No one”=Clooney’s ghost.
“Cloudless every day you fall upon my waking eyes”
No translation available.
“Inviting and inciting me to rise”
The motivation to get home.
“And through the window in the wall come streaming in on sunlight wings a million bright ambassadors of morning”
The pod window showing stars.
“And no one sings me lullabies”
Here, the “no one” refers to the unknown person (a somebody to others) on the radio singing the lullaby.
“And no one makes me close my eyes”
Sandra resigns to die and closes her eyes in the pod. Then Clooney comes in (the “no one” from other translations).
“And so I throw the windows wide and call to you across the sky”
Sandra goes from pod to pod. She calls for help during different crises.
Also, the pinging at the beginning of the song is echoed in the scene where Sandra throws a fit when she finds out that there is no fuel in the pod.