James Taylor: Carolina in My Mind Meaning
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Song Released: 1969
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Carolina in My Mind Lyrics
Can't you see the sunshine
Can't you just feel the moonshine
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind
Yes I'm goin' to Carolina in my mind
Karen she's a silver sun
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:anonymous Aug 15th 2012 report
It might be my own personal experience that makes me see it this way, but I think another interpretation (possibly not deliberate on James Taylor's part) is that of the singer's "last words".
Beginning with the second verse:
"Dark and silent late last night"
The singer feels the stillness of death at his doorstep.
"I think I might have heard the highway call"
Clever wordplay here if you break up highway into 'high way' - the road to paradise.
"Geese in flight and dogs that bite,
Signs that might be omens, say I'm goin"
Both birds and dogs have associations with omens of death.
Then the bridge:
"With a holy host of others standing around me"
This line could mean either friends and family gathered around the dying, or an assembly of angels and the spirits of his ancestors descending on him.
"Still I'm on the dark side of the moon"
He's transported to a place that is mysterious and unfamiliar.
"And it seems like it goes on like this forever"
The vastness of eternity.
"You must forgive me.. if I'm up and gone to Carolina in my mind"
He asks his loved ones to forgive him for leaving them.
And then come the final lines:
"And I'm already gone"
"Say nice things about me 'cause I'm gone"
"Carry on without me 'cause I'm gone"
He asks the people who care about him to remember him fondly, and to try to carry on with their lives in spite of his death.
In that way, "Carolina in my mind" might mean either the singer's vision of paradise, or his last reminiscence of his beloved home right before his death.
Finally, there's lots of little stuff like
"The sky's on fire" - sunset
and how in both of the first two verses the author seems to be trying to impart a lesson. Perhaps some last words of wisdom?
anonymous Dec 15th 2017 report
In the 1968 Apple Records demo version, the lyric is "With a Holy Host of others standin' all 'round the grave..." This gives credence to the "death" theme.
anonymous Apr 21st 2014 report
He is driving home. Thinking about his relatives from old growing up. Like when he go's home he thinks of how much he misses everyone. (He did loose his brother) "now the 1st of dec was covers with snow!, so was the so we're the turnpike! (NJ TURNPIKE) from Stockbridge too Boston, though the Berkshire seem dream like on account of that frosting. With 10 miles behind me. And ten thousand more too go!, (just started his long drive home.
anonymous Nov 15th 2013 report
The word is GONE to Carolina, as in I imagine I am there, it's not GOING to Carolina!
anonymous Sep 24th 2012 report
A love every one dreams of!
anonymous Aug 29th 2011 report
I always thought it was about a Vietnam soldier... dark side of the moon, sky on fire... scared, ppssibly shot in the field and wanting home
anonymous Jun 28th 2011 report
Is he simply longing for the home he grew up in while struggling with time pressures and depression?
anonymous May 28th 2011 report
motguzzi is completely wrong, James Taylor sings about how he remenisces his home in Carolina. No matter what happens in his life, whether it's friends deserting him, he always can revert to his sweet childhood memories of Carolina in his mind.
I think this song is about somebody dying from a car wreck
let me explain
cant you just see the sunshine (a bright light before death)
cant you just feel the moonshine(talking about liquor,drunk)
ain't it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind
(a wreck maybe a story of somebody folowing him home from the bar and runs into him)
karin she's a silver sun..(this verse he's thinking of the woman he won't see agin and maybe feels guilt "a silver tear I'm crying"
back to chorus(hes going to the happy place in his mind blocking out whats happening to him
the next verse
is the one that almost just comes out and says it
hes thinking that love was the only thing important in his life its like james is telling us a story of what goes through somones mind when they are dying
the sky's on fire could refer to the burning wreck and the "I'm dying aint I" tells it right there he realizes he's dying and his way of dealing with it some call it shock but he going to Carolina in his mind
he talks about the highway calling and omens reference to driving and omen something was gonna happen
now this is the clincher the refrain where he talks about the holy host surrounds him(hes talking about the rescue crew and crowd, whats the sign for medical? a cross and he's on the dark side of the moon(this means even tho I'm surrounded with all these people I'm alone this is the most poetic way to say it I've ever heard)
I've been in a bad crash and when you're lying on the ground and everyone is talking to you trying to comfort you you still are alone and this is the point of the song it's about dying is something we all do alone but the good part is that second before we die our mind sees the most beautiful thing we can think about so he slips away by going to Carolina in his mind
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