"Carousel" as written by and Samuel Ervin Beam....
Almost home
And I miss the bottom stair
You were braiding your grey hair
And it's grown so long
Since I've been gone

Now the perfect girls,
By the pool, they would protest
With crosses 'round their necks,
But our sons were overseas,
And we all know about the hive and the honey bees.

Almost home
With an olive branch and a dove
You were beating on a Persian rug
With your Bible and your wedding band
Both hidden on the TV stand.

And the cruel wind blew
Every city father fell
Off the county carousel
While the dogs were eating snow
All our sons had sunk in a trunk
Of no one's clothes

Almost home,
We got lost on our new street,
While your grieving girls all died in their sleep,
So the dogs all went unfed,
A great dream of bones all piled on a bed

And the cops couldn't care,
When that crack head built a boat
And said, "Please, before I go
May your only honor bought
Be the kinship of the kids in the riot squad."


Lyrics submitted by Sussex, edited by Crimson_King73

"Carousel" as written by Samuel Ervin Beam

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Carousel song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentRight on, Kareyn. There are definitely a number of oblique references to the war in the Middle East. So riffing off your interpretation.. Let's say this is about the Iraq war:

    (Persian rug being the most obvious one that focuses on this particular conflict.)

    The bible and the wedding band hidden by the TV stand is slyly pointing out that both religious aversions to war as well as the bonds of marriage that should keep men and women together have been subverted by a war promoted by the television. (IE, people have forgotten their true values thanks to the propaganda of the talking heads.)

    The girls by the pool would be protesting the crosses their wear (ie they would be out fooling around, not being celibate) but the men their age aren't around, so they aren't tempted. (Again, typically values like lust ("honey") have been subverted by the cause of war.)

    City fathers falling off a carousel is suggestive to me of the lack of leaders anymore. All those who pushed for war (C. Powell, Rummy, etc.) have fallen and are gone. But the events they set in motion ("cruel wind") continue to unfold (blow.)

    Trunk of Noah's Clothes is unusual. Not sure what to do with this one, but it's obviously important, or he'd have picked something that fit his meter better. We get a second dose of Noah as a crackhead building an ark a moment later...

    "Only honored bone ... Kinship of our kids and the riot squad" is suggestive to me of our collective national memory of Vietnam War protests. Here, Beam could be pointing out that while the memory of those anti-war protest days in the late sixties are writ large in our national consciousness, they are dead; a bone. (The girls aren't protesting, they're lounging around the pool, they're dying in their sleep.)

    At least, that's one way of reading this beautiful song...

    -tf
    tfieldson September 24, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI agree that the song is about war, specifically the Iraq War. Going off of thejilar's comment that the olive branch is related to the story of Noah...I agree, and thought that it might be saying that even when the dove returns with the olive branch signaling that there is "safety"(we pull out of Iraq/troops come home), the world isn't the same. I think it just emphasizes all the negative repercussions of war...far more than just the immediate death tolls.
    albinomooseon November 12, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentA lot of this song is referential of the story of Noah and the Flood, and I think that's a direct metaphor for being overwhelmed by destruction, the end of the world, that sort of stuff. It's definitely about the modern times, most notably so, the war. The dove and olive branch reference, I hate to disagree with everyone, doesn't speak "peace" to me. In the story of Noah, he releases two doves, and one brings back an olive branch, which is proof that the Flood has subsided enough for trees to be uncovered again. The trunk of Noah's clothes and the crackhead building a boat are also referring to Noah and the Ark (obviously, I would think).

    What it all means, I'm not sure, but a lot of the imagery is from the story of Noah and the Flood, so I'd start there if I were to explore this song's meaning.
    thejlaron September 28, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBeautiful song, but there are too many errors in this transcription. Here's a correct version:


    Almost home
    When I missed the bottom stair
    You were braiding your gray hair
    It had grown so long
    Since I'd been gone

    And the perfect girls
    By the pool, they would protest
    The cross around their necks
    But our sons were overseas
    And we all know 'bout the hive and the honey bees

    Almost home
    With an olive branch and a dove
    You were beating on a Persian rug
    With your bible and your wedding band
    Both hidden on a TV stand

    And the cruel wind blew
    Every city father fell
    Off the county carousel
    While the dogs were eating snow
    All our sons had sunk in a trunk
    of Noah's clothes

    Almost home
    We got lost on our new street
    While your grieving girls all died in their sleep
    So the dogs all went unfed
    A great dream of bones all piled on the bed

    And the cops couldn't care
    When that crackhead built a boat
    And said, "Please, before I go,
    May our only honored bone
    Be the kinship of the kids and the riot squad"
    pervnerveon July 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentManikay, that's not a bad interpretation, but this song is probably the most directly influenced by the Iraq war than any of the others on the new album. I really feel that the "olive branch and a dove" is being carried by a soldier back from the war, and is an offering of peace and a rebuttal to the continuing violence in the Middle East.

    Overall, I think this song is illustrating the separation between the male and female halves of our country's consciousness, and that we've emphasized war over peace and compassion, and misused our religion to justify the war. Hence the wedding band and the bible hidden on the tv stand.
    kareyn01on September 12, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI would agree with Kareyn.

    And with the underwater theme and the Noah passage, I think the verse about the trunk of Noah's clothes is a reference to the Flood. Which originally was caused because their was too much evil on the earth. I think Sam is suggesting that we have forgotten love with all this war.

    With the lines "With your bible and your wedding band
    Both hidden on a TV stand" he uses two symbols of love. It shows how quick we are to forget this because of our television shows and the hyperbole on such shows.

    Also I think the title carousel shows how war and peace are a cycle that humans always fall into. As seen by the reference to past wars.
    JapandaBearon December 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think most posts are right on this one, but a couple of things confused me and I might have some ideas... The Noah references may be suggestive of the old bush team, in that they A) made claims to superior moral judgment, (Bush has said that god speaks to him directly) and superior knowledge (WMD's etc.)and B)were aggresively trying to get everyone "on board" with the war (ha ha, pun intended). With the "return home" theme the Ark becomes a troop transport, and our "sons sunk in a trunk of Noah's cloths" makes me think of how our troops were commited to this war by the posturing of politicians, i.e. the "clothes" that the Bush Admin wore. Both are going down together. the clothes are lies, and our children are dying.
    The more I think about it the more scathing the last verse becomes, where the "crackhead" Noah requests that the only remebrance is the "kinship of the kids and the riot squad". In other words: "Your chidren, that we have taken and killed in an unjust war will only be remembered as soldiers." As if the rest of the humanity of these troops is swept away, and they will only be honored as part of the propaganda.
    Maybe I'm overstating, but maybe not! Great song.
    legsaregoingon December 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti thought the line was "when the cruel wind blew" but i'm not positive.

    the song is too new to me to form an opinion on its meaning, but it is beautiful to say the least.
    HeathroBonkon June 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't really understand this song yet, but the many religious references are undeniable...
    coolcroweon July 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmoment of epiphany, or maybe this is the first time i've thought of it seriously....

    the "almost home with an olive branch and a dove" shows the return of the central character, and how he's coming back to the ones he loves after a spat, or something of that nature. hence the olive branch (a sign of a truce) and a dove. (another sign of peace, and possibly love in this case) his return home is to someone who's A) abandoned their Faith and B) their faith in a relationship, which i'd guess is (in this case) her marriage with the central character. this is symbolized through the bible and the wedding band hidden on the TV stand, which also goes to show that it's not an overt abandonment, just something the "wife" has chosen to do unilaterally. the fact that she's out beating on a rug rings to me as if it's a show of how life seemingly continued as normal, still not sure of it's Persian significance.

    and that's all i seem to have right now....oh, i might add. the "wife" is interchangeable with any significant female relative one might have...mother/sister/daughter, they all fit the plot...
    manikayon August 22, 2007   Link

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