If I was young, I'd flee this town
I'd bury my dreams underground
As did I, we drink to die, we drink tonight

Far from home, elephant gun
Let's take them down one by one
We'll lay it down, it's not been found, it's not around

Let the seasons begin, it rolls right on
Let the seasons begin, take the big king down

Let the seasons begin, it rolls right on
Let the seasons begin, take the big king down

And it rips through the silence of our camp at night
And it rips through the night

And it rips through the silence of our camp at night
And it rips through the silence, all that is left is

Lyrics submitted by somersault, edited by tuesdaymush

"Elephant Gun" as written by Zach Condon

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Elephant Gun song meanings
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  • +6
    Song MeaningAlright folks, I've finally figured this out! If you care to know the meaning, do read the entire deliberation. Enjoy!


    If I was young, I'd flee this town -
    I'd bury my dreams underground
    As did I - We drink to die,
    We drink tonight.

    1: [I believe youth in this sense is referring to more of spirit than age. The character of this song appears pessimistic, as the later lines "We drink to die," and "I'd bury my dreams under ground" suggest.
    The burying of the dreams hasn't been performed yet (It is the subjunctive-conditional expounding a future desire: I would bury my dreams), thus this person who wishes to flee is implying that could he move, the remnants of that which he used to want to accomplish would be meaningless - a new life would emerge.
    The "As did I," seems to be random, however the words are establishing he did already bury his dream despite the fact that his old life still plauges him and he, in fact, didn't flee. Although nothing has altered regarding location, his dreams have diminished.
    "We drink to die," represents the acknowledgement of defeat. The figure realizes that all things else matter not if there is nothing to strive for, nothing to atttain. The days of which used to bear value are now afar and the despair has left him with only a penchant for intoxication to lift his misery and eventual death.
    "We drink tonight," evinces the urgency of the previously stated desire; he wants the result of deleterious habits to occur immediately.]


    Far from home, elephant guns
    Let's take them down one by one
    We'll lay it down, it's not been found
    It's not around

    2: [Far from home is quite the metaphor, but a significant one. Home is regarded as a place of great comfort, somewhere in which one may feel familiar. As explained in 1, the man is very disconcerted and depressed. Therefore, "far from home" is a subtle manner of saying the individual is far from who they used to be and have become an empty shell.
    "Elephant Guns," stand in place for a defense. Guns often allude to power and control, and "elephant" can be taken both as an adjective to colloquially explain the magnitude of the gun (and further is self-protection), or literally as a compound noun, which still shows the strength of the gun, ergo the amount of effort put forth into is defense. Here, as dejected as this man is, he wards himself powerfully, and tries to pass as courageous and sound to others. He then uses defense as offense as illustrated next:
    "Let's take them down, one by one." The man hopes to rid himself of such antipathy, he has grown tired of the enervating affliction.
    "We'll lay it down; it's not been found, it's not around." He's expecting this new determined sensation to eliminate his woe, yet he can't quite isolate the source of his rue. (hence, the "not been found, not around")


    Let the seasons begin
    When love was right to roam
    Let the seasons begin
    Take the big game down.

    3: ["Let the seasons begin when love was right to roam." Seasons are often representational of some personal vicissitude - a change in condition, circumstance, or fortune. The instilled zest for change has consumed the man, and he presents the eager anticipation of "hunting" his pain. Even the tone of the song - how soft it begins, yet here, the climax - further supports the shift, that shift composed of despondence to confidence. Here we also find evidence of what has caused the man so much anguish: "When love was right to roam." This individual was jilted and his wounds are still exposed. Further evidence are the "elephant guns" which he uses to "lay [and] take down one by one" the burdensome persistent problems.
    "Let the season begin; take the big game down." Now knowing that heartache is the culprit behind the morose lines in stanza 1, we may correct state that the "big game" is love. Also, the latter of this line is perhaps the most obvious, as love is often referred to as a "game." (Here, the game is referred to as the "elephant.")


    Let the seasons begin
    When love was right to roam
    Let the seasons begin
    Take the big game down.

    4: [Saying nothing different than stanza 3, the iteration establishes this is something that the person does not take lightly. He is furious that time is swollen his heart and cause it to form so callously, thus he reaffirms what that his mission is to eradicate his distress.]


    And it rips through the silence
    Of our camp at night
    And it rips through the night.
    5: [Here, the situation temporarily quells, the character's focus stalls. Attention to the music is essential to extrapolate the action of what is happening. The pace of the drums pauses, and quite abruptly at that. This silence is significant both in relation to the lyrics (as the silence is stated) for dramatic effect and to the "beat" of the individual and his goal to "take down" the "elephant." Upon the actual confrontation of the "elephant," or rather, his emotional toil, "it rips through the camps." These lyrics are very strong and deliberate: Camps, here, are symbolic of safety, for they are similar to a home - a place where one may rest at easy and relax. The "it" in the context refers to the "elephant;" the ripping asserts the elephant rampages through the camp, or, that his emotions are too disorderly and out of control so he fails to manage them.
    "And it rips through the night." Again, the tone of the music and of the singer's voice must be taken into account. As he approaches the end of this line, his voice dies down. The fading cadence inspires the listens with almost a mournful reaction, for the incoherent language which follows is that which is comparable to the indeterminable babble one makes while lamenting. The totality of this line creates the sad truth that the man begin to understand: he will never recover from what has happened, this "elephant" shall roam without worry of subjugation - his experience has ruled him. The claim that he will never overcome this capitulation is given in the words "through the night," for the ulterior meaning is a perpetual activity with no definitive end.


    And it rips through the silence
    Of our camp at night
    And it rips through the silence
    All that is left is all I hide.

    6: [Again, reiterating a stanza clarifies that the man is deeply affected by a revelation - the revelation being nothing in him has changed, nor will it. Now, the second utterance of "it rips through the silence" is indicative of something more. The person whom the suffering is doled has understood the fact that things will remain how they are, (that is what the "silence represents [a certain calmness about things]) yet, again, the animal rips through the camps. The last foray upon his heart leaves the man destitute; all the man is able to keep is the elephant itself, i.e., the very feelings which he attempted to conquer.

    L112on October 23, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Commentso beautiful. I was actually lucky enough to be in the music video! He gave us free pizza and a mini-show. simply amazing.
    shainorobotoon January 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe first time I read the lyrics I thought this could be about the Holocaust. I think I'm reading too much into the European vibe though.
    turisa00on January 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI thought it was kind of a song about the Columbine shooting. Taking them down one by one, and taking the big kings down both echo that, plus toasting/celebrating their own death. Imagining that it will cause a change forever, resulting in the 'seasons,' or that it rips through everyone's perfect lives (the silence) trying to say something also kind of fits to me. Plus - 'Elephant' is also a film loosely based on Columbine. I could be totally off, that's just the feel I got.
    JeesumCroweon February 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm thinking the lyric "Take The Big King Down," is incorrect and says "Take The Big Game Down," which would also add to the songs title Elephant Gun which in fact is used to take big game down such as tigers and elephants when hunting exotic big game was legal and the sport of the rich.
    But Personally I think it's a song about a man who is old now, and stuck in this town, and wishes he left when he was young to go hunting in the wilds of some far off country, or that could be a metaphor for leaving and just experiencing the world, I get images of British Ruled India,

    It's a very lovely song.
    Fierce_Bearon April 28, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is about the life and times of its writer and performer, Zach Condon. He ran away from home at a very young age, a drop-out, he traveled central europe.
    His experiences there influenced his style of music.

    Beautiful Song
    Ufamismon June 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have a feeling it is nothing more than a song expressing the hopelessness of an old drunk. looking back on how he lived and did many grand things in his time but at the end of his life what does he have but wine and memories? it is fatalistic in the sense that the singer has come to the end of his rope and sees nothing but his death through the bottom of a wine glass. he has naught else to live for because he is too old to live as he did. its just about nostalgia and retrospection and romanticism. like an old drunken bard singing in a pub

    tragic but beautifully written and composed
    OliverCarleon August 01, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI get the India vibe too, but I just finished reading a book about India in the twenties, so that could have something to do with it...
    anyway, as Silver025 said, Condon doesn't really care too much about lyrics (at least he says he doesn't, but they really are so beautiful in all his songs, i don't know how he can't think about it a bit), but when people write the subconsciously put things about themselves in there. this song always struck me as kind of being about him, especially leaving home when he was 17 (I think? any one know?) to got tour Europe with his brother. he's talked about how he lived with gypsies for a while, and they used to play music all the time, which could be the 'rips through the silence of our camp,' bit. and he apparently does like wine a lot....

    final bit, possibly my favorite song he's done to date, absolutely breath taking.
    Temperanceon June 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFor me, this is about being young and discontent, growing old and being discontent. Throughout life you take down your "elephants" one by one (to paraphrase). For me, this song is heavy with disillusionment and disenchantment with friendships, relationships and dreams.

    Is there something better out there if you abandon what people expect from you? Here's to finding what that better something is.
    cara_donnaon September 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've always thought it's about memory. In the music video, a moustachioed Condon sings in a room papered with old photographs and memorabilia, and he and his dancers pirouette with a host of ever-changing young women. Towards the end, when he is wading along the coast, he has lost his moustache - become a younger man, you could say - and the decoration of the room slowly fills in the image of the coast behind him. I see this as developing memories, memories that surround you and entrap you.

    Not to mention the fact that elephants are rumoured to have terrific memories, amirite?
    wredfearnon February 23, 2009   Link

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