Caravan - song meaning

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jordanmoore
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Caravan - song meaning

Post by jordanmoore » 17 May 2015, 10:51

This is easily one of my favourite Blur songs, it's so atmospheric and it certainly wouldn't feel out of place on the masterpiece that is 13.

I've been studying the lyrics and there is a definite metaphor working throughout the song "Caravan is lost"... "Caravan comes back for me", "When it comes you'll feel the weight of it". There are a few theories on songmeanings.net implying that this could refer to his relationship with Graham (although I imagine it was written before the sessions in Morocco), some think caravan is a metaphor for his place in society. I think it might be about his relationship with heroin "I tried to quit, but my heart won't buy it" and beating himself up about it "I've got family".

Any other insights or interpretations?

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101reykjavik
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Re: Caravan - song meaning

Post by 101reykjavik » 17 May 2015, 18:51

I really don't know, but if I had to guess I'd say the last of your suggestions seems most plausible. Heroin would make more sense than something about a relationship I think.
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Jason
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Re: Caravan - song meaning

Post by Jason » 18 May 2015, 02:01

I haven't thought much about the lyrics but looking at them it might be the band's situation. I'm not super familiar with what was going on at that time though, so this might be totally off.

"Caravan is lost, In the sun and the dust" The band is lost
"No-one loves you, When you are lost" The public and the music industry have no use for you if you're not producing.
"Yeah I've been a clown, Trying to pull my whole world down" Damon wanting to get away from Blur and disassemble the blur machine and blur lifestyle.
"I thought I was strong, But you are the one" he thought he could get through blur winding down. Perhaps Graham was the strong one for actually quitting.
"And when it comes, you'll feel the weight of it" After thinking about it for so many years, when the time comes that blur is actually ending, he feels the weight of it.

"Sometimes everything is easy" After being stuck in blur and not bringing himself to do the difficult task of ending it, blur ends by itself.

"I try to quit, But my heart won't buy it" He wants to get out of blur but his heart doesn't buy it.
"I got family, The caravan comes back for me" The family might be the rest of blur and the blur people, who he both wouldn't see as much, and who would also be unemployed, if he left. The caravan (the blur machine (could even more literally be the blur tour caravan (buses, etc.))) is an unwanted obligation that keeps on dragging him back, even though he wants to move on, but he can't quite bring himself to it.

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sara-m-a
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Re: Caravan - song meaning

Post by sara-m-a » 18 May 2015, 14:01

Just like Jason I also think it has to do with the band/Graham leaving
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beatfloh
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Re: Caravan - song meaning

Post by beatfloh » 18 May 2015, 18:49

Same here, the Caravan itself might be the metaphor for a struggle together, through heat and wind, so you can't just leave in the middle of the desert

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Legless Owl
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Re: Caravan - song meaning

Post by Legless Owl » 19 May 2015, 15:20

Alex about the meaning of Blur's lyrics, in NME:
To be honest, I just assume they’re about Graham unless I’m told otherwise!
Ben Hillier about Think Tank:
A lot of the songs on that record are about Graham. Damon channeled his feelings into that album
And later in Q:
I think [Graham and Damon] realized what they need each other for. Half the lyrics on Think Tank are about Graham. There’s a lot of sadness in them

So I guess there's a high chance for Caravan to be about Graham. Well, I've always assumed it was anyway.

Then I'm not quite sure about the exact meaning.

Here's my interpretation (but I probably have too much imagination :lol: )

First it depends on which meaning you give to "Caravan".

A caravan can be the vehicle you pull with your car to go camping with. But it also can be a long line of vehicles or animals.

Personally, each time I listen to the song, I imagine a caravan of camels crossing the desert. I don't know, it's the atmosphere of the song (the rythm of the intro itself gives me the impression of a camel walking!!), "in the sun and the dust", Damon's voice seems "weary", just like he'd had travelled for too long in the sun.

Then, from interviews and documentaries, it always looked like Damon was very protective of Graham. Maybe he thought that Graham needed him more than he needed Graham and realised this was wrong when Gra left. Would explain the "I thought I was strong but you are the one."

"I've been a clown, trying to pull my whole world down" : I see it as him apologizing to Graham. Realising he has not always treated him good.

The absence of Graham leaves him lost. Maybe he considered to throw in the sponge and quit the band ("I try to quit"), but he "got family" (the "family" being the band. Here, Alex and Dave, as Gra has left)

"The caravan comes back for me" : maybe he felt a kind of pressure to "rejoin" that caravan. The caravan can be the society, or just what people expects from him. He has to go with the flow, or he'll stay alone and lost.

Graham has left the caravan, but Damon has to keep travelling, even if it's travelling through the desert (a quite hostile place)... Life without Graham is difficult, it's like crossing the desert, yet life goes on and Damon must carry on...



That said, I think each song (i'm not only talking about Blur here. That also could be about poems and all) can be interpreted in different ways, unless the author explains the meaning himself (ie on Think Tank, Damon clearly said he had written Sweet song after looking at a pic of Graham and missing him) and your heroin interpretation makes sense too.
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jordanmoore
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Re: Caravan - song meaning

Post by jordanmoore » 20 May 2015, 14:55

Legless Owl wrote:Alex about the meaning of Blur's lyrics, in NME:
To be honest, I just assume they’re about Graham unless I’m told otherwise!
Ben Hillier about Think Tank:
A lot of the songs on that record are about Graham. Damon channeled his feelings into that album
And later in Q:
I think [Graham and Damon] realized what they need each other for. Half the lyrics on Think Tank are about Graham. There’s a lot of sadness in them

So I guess there's a high chance for Caravan to be about Graham. Well, I've always assumed it was anyway.

Then I'm not quite sure about the exact meaning.

Here's my interpretation (but I probably have too much imagination :lol: )

First it depends on which meaning you give to "Caravan".

A caravan can be the vehicle you pull with your car to go camping with. But it also can be a long line of vehicles or animals.

Personally, each time I listen to the song, I imagine a caravan of camels crossing the desert. I don't know, it's the atmosphere of the song (the rythm of the intro itself gives me the impression of a camel walking!!), "in the sun and the dust", Damon's voice seems "weary", just like he'd had travelled for too long in the sun.

Then, from interviews and documentaries, it always looked like Damon was very protective of Graham. Maybe he thought that Graham needed him more than he needed Graham and realised this was wrong when Gra left. Would explain the "I thought I was strong but you are the one."

"I've been a clown, trying to pull my whole world down" : I see it as him apologizing to Graham. Realising he has not always treated him good.

The absence of Graham leaves him lost. Maybe he considered to throw in the sponge and quit the band ("I try to quit"), but he "got family" (the "family" being the band. Here, Alex and Dave, as Gra has left)

"The caravan comes back for me" : maybe he felt a kind of pressure to "rejoin" that caravan. The caravan can be the society, or just what people expects from him. He has to go with the flow, or he'll stay alone and lost.

Graham has left the caravan, but Damon has to keep travelling, even if it's travelling through the desert (a quite hostile place)... Life without Graham is difficult, it's like crossing the desert, yet life goes on and Damon must carry on...



That said, I think each song (i'm not only talking about Blur here. That also could be about poems and all) can be interpreted in different ways, unless the author explains the meaning himself (ie on Think Tank, Damon clearly said he had written Sweet song after looking at a pic of Graham and missing him) and your heroin interpretation makes sense too.
Wow, I think you're bang on the money with that interpretation. Thanks for taking the time to write it up - I'm listening again to it now through this lens, I can't get enough of this track - 12 years later and I still haven't grown tired of it :)

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