Well is it such a sin to linger with the magazines?
I want a chocolate bar, maybe something sweet
I want a stranger with your face
So I followed her to this place
It's been so long, I been around the world

I say hello to Howie, say hello to Spike
'Cuz the canals in Camden are filled with bottles tonight
(I put them there!)
To watch the ripples fade away
To feel the rain upon my head
So I could say I been around the world.
And how I wish I was in your apartment tonight
To hear the rain come down, down upon your roof
To see your clothes beside, clothes beside your bed
To lie and listen to your breath
Instead I been, I been around the world

And how I wish I was in your bed tonight
To taste the salt upon, the salt upon your neck
To feel your body press, pressing down on me
Instead I been, I been around the world
Yeah I been around, I been around the world
Yeah I been around, I been around the world

Lyrics submitted by descendent

Been Around The World song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favorite Cracker song - nice mellow song with introspective lyrics. As a rock star you get to see the world. But your world doesn't come with you. Drink (bottles in the canals) and strange women (the stranger with your face he followed) are substitutes, but they don't quite compare. I'm not sure if he thinks being around the world (i.e., being a rock star) is a good trade-off or not. What do you think?
    descendenton March 24, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of my all-time favorite Cracker songs.

    Central to the song is the woman he loves. The details are so intimate - the salt on her neck, the clothes by her bed, the rain drumming on her roof, the sound of her breath. And yet, he left her.

    But why did he leave? As he would have us believe, it's so he could say he's been around the world. But that's a total lie. He keeps insisting he's been around the world, but he hasn't: he's been drinking alone along the canal in Camden New Jersey, and now he's going to hang out with these two dudes he knows. The way they're introduced - by first name alone - implies that he's familiar with them, sees them on a regular basis. The singer never left his New Jersey town.

    The singer is alone because he can't man up to the difficulty of authentic relationships, and he knows it. The first verse walks a fine line between confession and defiance. When he says "I want a chocolate bar made of something sweet," he's confessing his desire for instant gratification. When he sings "Is it such a sin to linger with the magazines? ... I want a stranger with your face" he's talking about porn and easy women - he's settling for the easy, physical image of a relationship, even while he longs for the depth of a true connection. And his inability to enter into a meaningful relationship has led him farther and farther from the woman he loves. This is the real meaning of "been around the world." It's a bitter expression of how he can be so physically close to his true home - that apartment with the rain drumming down on the roof - and yet be so desperately far away. As such,his constant insistence that he's been around the world is the height of sarcasm. The clue he gives us is that first line: "Is it such a sin...?" He knows his actions have led to his loneliness, but he can't face it. So he questions the sinfulness of it - there ain't no law against jacking off, after all. And in doing so, he can validate his choices, and try to show that he can do as he pleases and go "be around the world" and that's ok. But while he sings, "To feel the rain upon my head/ So I could say I been around the world," he knows he'd much rather have the rain on the roof as he lies with his woman.

    The form of the song is just fantastic. It's blues-form song - basically, each verse is two lines driven home by the third. And, it's a backwards journey through memory. At first, he half-repents of the instant gratification that is his life. Then he talks about how he filled the canal with empty bottles. Then, he's remembering the peace of lying with his woman after making love. And the last verse is her sweating, pressing her body down on his. The meaning of the last line ("been around the world") changes as he remembers. At first, he's suggesting he's just come home from some long journey. Then he tries to say that there was some good reason he left. Then he's acknowledging he chose "the world" over the woman he wishes he still had. And at the end, he's swinging the words like a fist, hitting himself over and over. While he starts out trying to tell himself that he's made a man of himself out in the world, it's denial: he realizes that he's become anything but a man. He gave up a meaningful relationship for a lonely world of empty sex, masturbation, and drunkenness. And ultimately, that's what this song is about - the transition to manhood that he just couldn't hack. He couldn't handle a devoted relationship, and ran. And now he's drinking alone in Camden New Jersey, wasting himself on easy sex, and hanging out with his equally lonely buddies. The song starts out as self-deception - the antithesis of the blues - but as he crawls backward through his memory, it bows down into the full-on, authentic, desperate blues. Which is brilliant: the song becomes more authentic as his remembrance creeps back to the most authentic time of his life.

    But just as his journey backward into memory is reaching its peak of bliss with his lover, just as he's coming to the critical realization, just as he beats him up three lines in a row with "instead, I been around the world"... he stops singing. The organ and guitar soloes echo in the chasm left behind by his bitter self-abuse that has slipped back below the surface. He still can't face it. And as the music fades out, we know that he never will.

    We never find out when he left her - somewhere between that post-coital bliss and the canal in Camden - but we sure know why. Been Around the World is sort-of the secret anti-coda to Euro-Trash Girl. Unable to handle the difficulties of a devoted relationship, he bailed, and convinced himself that he just needed adventure. But by the time he's found out how empty "the world" reveals him to be, he's realized he can never go back to the woman whom he loved.
    slider196on October 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"'Cuz the canals in Camden are filled with bottles tonight"

    Never thought much about this line until i moved to south jersey. There's a pretty big chain of liquor stores down here called "Joe Canal's Liquor" or "Canal's" as the locals call it. It's kind of the de facto liquor store down here.

    I don't think there's a Canal's actually in Camden but they are very close (so that if you're not from this area you might think they were in Camden.

    Just wondering if that's where this line came from
    "'cuz the Canal's in Camden are filled with bottles tonight". Maybe a play on words as well (both meanings) as they're fond of doing.
    blanktom2on June 03, 2012   Link

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