​The Lumineers – “Caves” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

The Lumineers have this knack for wrapping up complex emotions in simple, haunting melodies, and “Caves” is no exception. At its core, this song feels like a journey through memory and change. It’s about looking back at what once was, acknowledging how times have shifted, and learning to let go.

The band often taps into universal feelings, and here, they seem to be exploring the nostalgia for past loves and the places that shape us. Through “Caves,” they invite us to confront the sometimes painful process of growth. It’s a song that asks us to consider what we hold onto and what we leave behind. The songwriters are pouring out their own experiences and introspections. It’s that raw, reflective honesty that makes the song resonate so deeply.

Ready for a deep dive into the haunting world of “Caves”? Let’s strip back the layers of this Lumineers track together. You’ll find more than just music – there’s a story, an emotion, a moment of transformation waiting for you. Keep reading and let’s explore the echoes of “Caves” together.


“Caves” Lyrics Meaning

From the get-go, “Caves” lures us in with its reflective opening line, “You go ahead/There’s something I forgot.” It’s like we’re stepping into a moment of realization, where the protagonist is pausing, catching up not just physically but mentally, too. There’s this sense of an internal conversation happening, one we’ve all had with ourselves when we’re on the cusp of a realization or a change.

“Let’s hear the stars do their talking,” whispers to us about finding solace in the universe’s silence, a call back to simpler times when the protagonist “used to love caves.” Caves here could symbolize a place of comfort and introspection, a refuge from the world’s noise. But then, “Stumble out into that pink sky” might signify emerging from that comfort zone into a new dawn or reality.

Remember “that bright, hollow moon?” asks the singer, drawing us into a shared memory that seems to hold significant weight. It’s an image that’s both beautiful and eerie, possibly reflecting how our innermost feelings are often the most visible to those we love.

The repetition of “This town/Closes down/The same time every day” could be highlighting the monotony of life, or perhaps the predictable ending of a chapter. Then comes the line, “Put out the smoke/In your mind,” which seems to be a call to clear away confusion or doubt.

“Let’s put all these words away” is a refrain that feels like a mantra for moving on. Words can be both healing and destructive, and here there seems to be a decision to choose silence over the pain that words can bring.

As the song progresses, the imagery shifts to birds, symbols of freedom and perspective. “See them fly from St. Paul/And I go running when the night aches,” could symbolize the desire to escape or the response to an inner turmoil. The singer’s acute sense of hearing – “I hear her every time she calls” – implies a deep connection, perhaps to a person or to the past.

The question of what broke, a heart or something deeper, is rhetorical and speaks to the universal experience of loss and the aftermath of quiet that follows. The seismic metaphor, “Like when the Earth shakes/Then the silence that follows,” beautifully encapsulates the tumultuous moments of life followed by a deafening stillness, a universal sequence of chaos and calm.

The Story Behind “Caves”

The songwriter was likely reflecting on a past period or relationship that was meaningful yet needed to be released. The beauty of their songwriting is in its ambiguity – it allows us to insert our own experiences and feelings into the music. They write in a way that touches on the collective consciousness, tapping into the emotions and moments that, although deeply personal, are somehow shared among all of us.

Whether it’s a relationship that’s ended, a hometown that’s been left behind, or a part of oneself that’s been outgrown, “Caves” seems to represent the bittersweet act of letting go. It’s a musical embodiment of that time when the only way to move forward is to leave certain things behind. And as the lyrics suggest, sometimes putting “all these words away” is the first step towards healing and finding peace in the silence that follows.