Sufjan Stevens’ “Visions of Gideon” Lyrics Meaning

“Visions of Gideon” was created for a specific movie and as such is based on certain themes which are also found in the film’s narrative. Said film is 2017’s “Call Me by Your Name“. This is a coming-of-age film centered on a homosexual romance. And, there are spoiler alerts ahead. The story climaxes with one of the homosexuals deciding to marry a woman, and the other being upset accordingly. 

It is during the climax scene, in which the latter is reflecting on his life, that the director decided to utilize “Visions of Gideon”. So with that in mind, we know that the vocalist acknowledging that he “loved”, “touched” and “kissed” the addressee for the last time are in fact expressions being made in a romantic context. As such, this song can be taken as one of heartbreak.

Who is Gideon?

Gideon, as you may already know, is a figure from the Old Testament. As the story goes, he was an inconspicuous profit who was divinely chosen to lead the Israelites in a miraculous victory against the Midianities, who were oppressing them.  

In fact he was so inconspicuous and the victory so miraculous that it took a number of signs and heavenly visitations to convince him that the Most High actually had his back. 

It has been ascertained by viewers of Call Me by Your Name that the reason Gideon is referenced in this song is with his story serving as an analogy for one of the character’s in the film. In other words, said character overcoming his insecurities and eventually expressing his homosexual feelings to the same-sex apple of his eye is being likened to Gideon’s experience. Gideon was able to overcome his own fears in order to perform the abovementioned task.

In Conclusion

So again, this track can ultimately be taken as a song of heartbreak. Maybe another way of looking at it is as the vocalist using Gideon as an example of courage in the name of overcoming his own romance-related timidity. But at the end of the day, as clearly illustrated, this was a love that he was unable to hold onto.

Sufjan Stevens, "Visions of Gideon" Lyrics

When was “Visions of Gideon” released?

This track came out on 3 November 2017. It was a part of the playlist to “Call Me by Your Name: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”. 

Later, it was released as the B-side to a song titled “Mystery of Love”. “Mystery of Love” is another song that Sufjan Stevens contributed to the film. It was also issued as a single. 

The labels backing this song are:

  • Sony Masterworks
  • Madison Gate Records

Credits for “Visions of Gideon”

Sufjan wrote “Visions of Gideon” himself. Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman is credited as the song’s producer.

Visions of Gideon

Something Noteworthy

“Mystery of Love” did not prove to be a major success in the traditional sense of the word. However, it was nominated for Best Original Song contenders for the 90th Academy Awards. The award eventually went to Coco’s “Remember Me”.

1 Response

  1. Wayne says:

    A powerful way to end a poignant movie…

    Love the reference to Gideon that beautifully connects with the Jewish identities of the characters…

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