The song ‘Been to the Mountain’ might be is about the frustration of a life unfulfilled, ordinary, and forgettable. Or, it might be referencing the fear associated with winding up forgotten and ordinary. Price never lets us in on her secret during the song, and that’s the allure.

The Deconstruction of Margo Price in Music

As the song progresses, Price deconstructs, becoming paranoid, delusional, and otherwise removed from reality. From musing about people following her to, in a somewhat bizarre homage to Ingmar Bergman’s chess-playing Death, confronting the Grim Reaper so closely that she can smell his perfume. Similarly, she feels persecuted and abused, screaming, “TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT!” at the listener almost without reason. She also quizzically states that she wishes she were God but was also glad that she was not God.

Price Never Tells Us Her Secret, Or Does She?

In contrast to the paranoid protagonist in her song, Margo Price is clear-headed when discussing the unusual song. She mentions that she’s glad that the record company allowed her to be free with her art and her creative process. She mentioned that her husband and she were writing songs while staying at an out-of-the-way Airbnb in South Carolina and that the song was intended not only as a reference to past parts of her life and her uneasiness regarding the future but also about escaping from the seriousness of the world. In contrast to the song itself, she does give us a glimpse of her secret in this interview. She wanted to distance herself from climate change, crime, injustice, and all of the negative things in the world, turning feral, and existing in the moment.

Further Context

Looking back on her life, country star Margo Price shouts at the listener about her experiences. In the accompanying music video, she runs to the toilet, seemingly to vomit out all the pain and suffering she’s experienced in the past. The phrase “been to the mountain and back” references both the book of Deuteronomy and the last public speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. before his assassination. It means having seen the proverbial “Promised Land,” something good that seemed attainable for a fleeting moment and then wasn’t. Price intones, often in single-note fashion, that she was a drifter, a queen, a lover, and a waitress, among other things, to explain her life and that no one should tell her what could be better because she’s “been to the mountain and back” and has seen what could have been.


I got nothing to prove, I got nothing to sell
I’m not buying what you’ve got, I ain’t ringing no bells
I got a mint in my pocket, got a bullet in my teeth
I’m going straight in the fire, I’m gonna talk to the high priest
Used to be a lover, queen and a drifter
A cowboy devil, a bride in a box, and
A pilgrim and a thief, but it was me underneath
I just know who I’m not and that’s alright with me
Alright, alright

Can’t tell me nothing babe, and that’s a fact
I have been to the mountain and back, alright

Well, I wish I was God, but I’m glad that I’m not
‘Cause I think too much, got my head in a knot
The world’s on fire, better save your brother
I’ve been a child and I’ve been a mother
I’ve been a victim and I’ve been a tumor
Used to be your waitress but now I’m a consumer
I’ve been on food stamps, I’ve been outta my mind
I’m rolled in dirty dollars, stood in the welfare line

I’ve been a number, I’ve been under attack
I have been to the mountain and back
Alright, alright

I’ve been a dancer, a saint, an assassin
I’ve been a nobody, a truck driver shaman
So many seasons that I’ve been adrift
Sometimes I wonder if I even exist

Do you ever walk down the street and do you think to yourself
Am I being watched, man? Am I on the list? Well
I been called every name in the book, honey, come on, take your best shot
Take your best shot, take your best shot, I got my back to remind me
Aim at my heart, go on, take your best shot, now

I am a hunter and I am the hunted
I am a baby, I’m wanted
I’m an alchemist, teacher, I’m a sinner, I’m a preacher

And I know that there’s more here than this
As I stare in the void of the black mountain vacuum
I know the scent of death like a perfume, no, this ain’t the end
This ain’t the end, this ain’t the end, this ain’t the end
Ooh, take off your tired eyes, undress your goodbyes ’cause

I have been to the mountain
I have been to the mountain
I have been to the mountain
I have been to the mountain and back
Alright, alright

Can’t tell me nothing babe, and that’s a fact
I have been to the mountain and back, alright
Alright, alright

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Jeremy Ivey / Margo Price

Been to the Mountain lyrics © BMG Rights Management

This article was first published on Mar 22nd, 2023 and updated May 28, 2023.

Listeners that enjoy this song from the 2020’s may also be interested in the song Cover Me Up by Morgan Wallen.