St. Augustine by Band of Horses Lyrics Meaning – An Elegy of Ephemeral Dreams

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Band of Horses's St. Augustine at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


Silver scents of Saint Augustine
Fire in the ground
Between my better teeth
We’re dancing on the poison in their graves
At the end of the night
We’d all seen better days

I know you tried
I know you’re cursed
I know your best was still your worst
When Hollywood was calling out your name

Saint Augustine

If I stayed behind
Would you let your hair grow?
I will forget
The favors that you owe
I’m dreaming of car wrecks and thunderstorms are bright
Let’s bury ourselves
And go haunt someone tonight

I know you tried
I know you’re cursed
I know your best was still your worst
When Hollywood was calling out your name
Saint Augustine

Full Lyrics

Band of Horses, with their distinctive blend of indie rock and poignant lyricism, hit emotional chords with ‘St. Augustine.’ Viewed through the lens of fervent introspection, this track is not merely a song but an existential exploration rooted in the intricate play of memories, aspirations, and the bittersweet tang of life’s oscillations.

The lines read like verses from an intimate diary, soaring with the ethereal melodies the band is known for. Each word seems to morph under scrutiny, revealing layers of possible meanings, questioning the ethos of struggle, and painting a stirring narrative of personal battles with the allure of fame and the embrace of anonymity.

Poetry in the Embers: The Symbolic Groundwork

The song begins with a sense of immolation, ‘Silver scents of Saint Augustine/Fire in the ground.’ This imagery conjures a phoenix-like metaphor, suggesting a cycle of destruction and rebirth. Band of Horses delicately bridge the concrete and the abstract, leaving listeners to ponder whether ‘St. Augustine’ hints at personal resurrection or the shared heritage of human experience burnt down to fundamental truths.

The ‘poison in their graves’ speaks of legacies left behind and the dance over what once was, perhaps indicating a celebration of past pains now overcome or the irony of repeating history’s mistakes within our narratives.

Bittersweet Juxtapositions and the Waltz of Life

The poetic juxtaposition ‘I know you tried/I know you’re cursed/I know your best was still your worst’ weaves a tapestry of struggle with the inherent contradiction of human effort. It begs the question of what it means to succeed, to labor in vain, or worse, to peak at one’s worst. It speaks to the heart in conflict with itself, forever chasing shadows of perfection.

When these personal battles are set against the backdrop of ‘Hollywood,’ a locale synonymous with dreams realized and shattered, the song weeps with the melancholy of knowing how blinding and deceptive the spotlight can be.

Uncovering the Hidden Meaning: Chasing Ghosts

The repeated invocation of ‘Saint Augustine’ is perhaps the most mystically charged element of the song. St. Augustine himself was a figure torn between worlds, caught in a tumult of piety and hedonism. The song seems to parallel this, reflecting the inner turmoil of wanting to belong to something greater while fighting the urge to succumb to base desires, with the town of St. Augustine serving as the allegorical battleground.

This spiritual dichotomy is echoed in the desire to ‘bury ourselves/And go haunt someone tonight,’ symbolizing the wish to escape one’s own life and yet to leave an indelible mark upon the world, much like a ghost lingers in the collective consciousness.

The Tangled Webs of Commitment and Freedom

Band of Horses weave an intricate narrative around commitment when they pose the hypothetical, ‘If I stayed behind/Would you let your hair grow.’ The notion of hair growing represents time’s passage and how relationships evolve or decay. It emphasizes the sacrifices made at the altar of fame and the longing for simpler affection.

Forgetting the ‘favors that you owe’ can be an elixir of liberation, a cleanse from the debts of our past, allowing us the luxury to reinvent ourselves, to start anew without the weights that have kept us anchored, for better or worse.

Memorable Lines: The Lingering Echoes

‘I’m dreaming of car wrecks and thunderstorms are bright’ is a line that resides in the gritty realm of nightmares, yet provokes a startling beauty. The chaos of a car wreck and the flash of thunderstorms serve as potential awakenings, violent jolts to the system that remind us we are still alive—sometimes at the very edge of mortality we find the purest form of clarity.

Band of Horses’s lyrical prowess turns the grotesque into the sublime, sculpting out of the dark corners of fear and dread a monument to the haunting power of memory and the evanescent qualities of human resilience.

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