What does Dust Bowl Dance mean?

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Mumford & Sons: Dust Bowl Dance Meaning

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Dust Bowl Dance Lyrics

The young man stands on the edge of his porch
The days were short and the father was gone
There was no one in the town and no one in the field
This dusty barren land had given all it could yield

I've been kicked off my land at the age of...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    Nov 19th 2011 report

    Its about the Dust bowl in America and a son who's parents have died, probably from starvation. The boy is kicked off his farm because he couldnt afford to live on it because he couldnt grow anything and he blames the man from the government of stealing from the poor and by the end the son admitts of killing the government man.

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    Jul 17th 2011 report

    Personally, I find more logic in literal interpretations of this song. And I'd like to go into some detail in this case.

    "The young man stands on the edge of his porch
    The days were short and the father was gone
    There was no one in the town and no one in the field
    This dusty barren land had given all it could yield"

    This is a set up to important details later. A young man who's father is gone, possibly his mother as well, is left with a drought ridden farm which is producing nothing, as was common in the Dustbowl. Whole towns were abandoned as their people lost their farms and businesses and migrated to the west to start over.

    "I've been kicked off my land at the age of sixteen
    And I have no idea where else my heart could have been
    I placed all my trust at the foot of this hill
    And now I am sure my heart can never be still
    So collect your courage and collect your horse
    And pray you never feel this same kind of remorse"

    More details. The young man is being kicked off his farm, not being able to pay off whatever loans, rent, or mortgages he owes on the place. Probably raised on the farm, he's losing every bit of what he ever had.

    "Seal my heart and break my pride
    I've nowhere to stand and now nowhere to hide
    Align my heart, my body, my mind
    To face what I've done and do my time"

    Up till now he's looked in hindsight. Now he is speaking to someone in HIS present. In his situation, all he can do is close himself off and not be prideful. He knows he will be found guilty for what he's done and he can do nothing so he prepares to face his jail sentence.

    "Well you are my accuser, now look in my face
    Your opression reeks of your greed and disgrace
    So one man has and another has not
    How can you love what it is you have got
    When you took it all from the weak hands of the poor?
    Liars and thieves you know not what is in store"

    Here he is speaking to another person involved. His "accuser" was one involved in taking his land away out of greed. He accuses this man of becoming wealthy by stealing from the poor who do not have the money to defend themselves in court.

    "There will come a time I will look in your eye
    You will pray to the God that you always denied
    Then I'll go out back and I'll get my gun
    I'll say, "You haven't met me, I am the only son"

    He tells the man that one day he will see the error of his ways, but it will be too late. Once again, being the only son back then gave him a sense of duty to protect his family and property.

    "Well yes sir, yes sir, yes it was me
    I know what I've done, cause I know what I've seen
    I went out back and I got my gun
    I said, "You haven't met me, I am the only son"

    Here he is outright admitting to killing the man who had attempted to take his land.

  3. anonymous
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    Sep 8th 2019 report

    Like in many of his songs they are referring to the son of man or the messiach and his struggles.

  4. anonymous
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    May 21st 2013 report

    I think it's about the holocaust. Really listen to the lyrics with that perspective. It brings a whole new meaning. Very sad when you look at it like that:(

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  5. anonymous
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    Jan 4th 2013 report

    Does anyone else thing that the shift in voices (he has a sweet voice and a harsh voice, and the shift between them is dramatic) is perhaps...2 different people? If so...then somehow, "i am the only son" begins to have Prodigal Son connotations...like the angry one is the 'good' brother, and the contrite one is the 'bad' brother. I'm guessing this is some kind of allegory that is combining Steinbeck and the Prodigal Son.

  6. anonymous
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    Nov 27th 2012 report

    oh crap, that was a different article i was looking at with all the chritians... sorry guys :) had multiple tabs open.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
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    Nov 27th 2012 report

    first off, i hate chrisianity. anyone who worships it is sick and twisted. worshipping christianity is a freaking war crime. its like worshipping the holocaust, because thats what christianity was. the entire reason it even exists was a political move, it was the perfect religon to enslave ignorant people. and the fact people still worship it today shows how little we have truly grown as a species. phew, anyway, i think its about the dust bowl (how'd i figure that out?!) about how many people were forced to abandon their farms and leave theyre families at a young age. it also has a sence of... revoloution which i love :) the lines where he's saying " there will come a time i will look in your eye..." i can just picture myself screaming it at some corrupt politician (in other words ANY polotician) while being dragged out of his office by gaurds. so overall, great song, chrisianity can kiss my enlighted ass, and mumford and sons is boss, regardless of their religous affiliation. now to just sit back and wait for some pompous born-again to call me out :)

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  8. anonymous
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    Sep 15th 2012 report

    I dont understand the "you haven't met me, i am the only son" lyric. Could anybody explain it pleaseeee?

  9. anonymous
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    Feb 9th 2012 report

    It sounds simmalar to the story of robin hood, after leving his land, he comes back to it corrupt by the shire reef of noting ham.

  10. anonymous
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    Sep 23rd 2011 report

    This song is inspired by John Steinbeck's grapes of wrath.

  11. anonymous
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    Sep 3rd 2011 report

    I basically agree with the Jul 17 poster, but I have one or two points to add. He was kicked off his land, and to add insult to injury the land is not even worth anything -"There was no one in the town and no one in the field - This dusty barren land had given all it could yield". So it was taken from him by people who just wanted to take for the sake of taking, not even to feed people or anything. For the bulk of the song I think Jul. 17 has it down, but then I have 2 interpretations of the last, kind of plaintive expression "I am the only son."

    1) He realizes that even though he does not regret killing the greedy landgrabbers that took his land, that he was supposed to inherit, he will now spend the rest of his days in jail, and thus never have any children of is own, and his family name will die with him.

    2) He realizes that even though he does not regret killing the greedy landgrabbers that took his land, that he was supposed to inherit, he will now spend the rest of his days in jail - HOWEVER - he is the only SON. He has a sister, the daughter - so his lineage, if perhaps not the actual family name - will live on through her, and one day they may yet win back what was stolen from them.

    So there are my thoughts, for what it's worth.

  12. anonymous
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    Aug 3rd 2011 report

    I think its about a man who was kicked off his land at 16..... -_______-

    I think we got that already guys..

  13. anonymous
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    Jul 5th 2011 report

    It is infact about the Dust bowl events in america between 1930-1940. during this time, due to overfarming, the topsoil turned to dust, causing huge dust storms; which ruined lives for many. also in this time many of the banks and goverments were corrupt, along with localised goverments; making people desperate for revenge, as their lives were ruined. As it says in the song 'this dust barron land' and other lyrics talking about leaving, is because the land was a waste, people starving making people seek refuge some where else. the 3rd verse talks about the people seeking revenge on the corruption, and the first about leaving the wastland that was caused by the vast overfarming.

  14. anonymous
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    Jul 4th 2011 report

    What about the part where he says.. "I am the Only Son"?

  15. anonymous
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    May 26th 2011 report

    I think it is about a man who has no family and has been kicked off of his land at 16 by oppressive officials. His land was a "dusty, barren land", but it was also all he had with his parents gone. after he was kicked off this land, he goes after the evil officials who take advantage of the poor to satisfy their own wants. The man in the story believes that the officials will "pray to the God that they've always denied" when he looks in their eyes because he believes they will feel true guilt before he kills them. Apparently, he has already shot one of them, and now he is in front of his accuser in court. The man pleads guilty because he knows he won't win as he has "nowhere to stand", so he goes off to "do his time" in jail. he doesn't regret killing the man.

  16. anonymous
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    May 21st 2011 report

    This song has many meanings.
    First it could be a take on the Ireland situation against Britain.
    The clearest meaning is a man who is being kicked off of his land by a man how spent his life taking from others or a rich man with no sole, maybe a corrupt official. He could be fugitive because of the phrase, “seal my heart and brake my pride, I have no were two stand and now Know where two hide” Well then as others know, he shoots him and pleads guilty.
    It also could be a kind of anthem to the dust bowl in the great depression, in America. It does say “the land had given all it could yell” and of course the song’s name is, the dust bowl dance.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  17. anonymous
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    Apr 22nd 2011 report

    I think this song can have a meaning on many levels, from simply a young man who is thrown off his land by a corrupt official then shoots him, to an enslaved nation rising up against it's oppressors, to man standing up the earth and natural disasters. I think it could also be interpreted as a Christian meaning.


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