Runaway Train

It’s Music Monday!

Today I have a very special treat for me you!  As you all know by now, I am about to move house for the first time in nine years.  This is the biggest move since I left home age nineteen.  It is probably for this reason that the upcoming move is creating associations with long-forgotten emotions of ‘uprooting’ the first time; and among all of those associations has swum to the surface what turned out to be the ‘theme song’ of my first few months in England.

It wasn’t an elected theme song, you understand, it just kind of happened.  It was on the radio all the time and some of the lyrics resonated.  For example:

Runaway train, never going back
Wrong way on a one-way track
Seems like I should be getting somewhere
Somehow I’m neither here nor there

That described me perfectly, making it a happy song to me.  I had run away, in a manner of speaking; in an organised, planned and orderly fashion.  I didn’t just up-stick and go, but it still felt like The Great Escape.  I was never going back, no way Jose.  My family didn’t really believe I would last, but I knew this was ‘it’.  Yet I hadn’t quite arrived anywhere even when I started to settle, and for the longest time I really was ‘neither here nor there.’  It’s not that easy to fit into a new culture, and it takes time until you feel like you truly belong.

It was only much later that I took the time to listen to all of the lyrics and also happened to see the video on MTV (not something readily available on the shared TV in the Hall of Residences lounge).  It was therefore only much later that I realised that the song is really about missing persons, many of them children, who have run away for a whole host of devastating reasons, or been cruelly taken from their families.  In fact, the intended meaning and message of the lyrics didn’t apply to my circumstances; and I was greatly saddened by the story the video depicts, which is a million years from my own experience.  But still:  the sentiment of the chorus at least had become my own, my little runaway theme.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one to read a different meaning into the lyrics; quite a few folks out there seem to feel the lyrics were about depression in some capacity. Goes to show how much the written (or sung, as it were) word is open to interpretation if taken out of a concrete context! 🙂

Thus Runaway Train by the amazing Soul Asylum continues to be one of my favourites to this day, for all the right reasons.

And of course, as always, it’s over to you right now….

Do you perhaps have a ‘theme song’ for a particular period of your life?

Or have you, like me, ever made a song ‘your own’ before discovering that the lyrics tell a radically different story from your own interpretation?

9 responses to “Runaway Train

  1. Great song, I don’t know why but I have it in my head that Bon Jovi covered this – did I make that up?

    Green Day’s song Good Riddance is often thought of as a positive song with the lyrics of ‘I hope you had the time of your lives’ when in actual fact it’s them thumbing the nose at all those who didn’t do anything with their lives or didn’t enjoy themselves as much as Green Day have. I like the lyrics, ‘So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind/Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time’

    A song that reminds me of an era, it has to be Dexy’s Midnight Runners and ‘Come On Eileen’ – a free and happy summer.

    Love this post I could rattle on for ages.
    Sue x

    • Hi Sue, so glad you enjoyed this post. Music is so important to me and I love sharing. Thank you for sharing your songs and lyrics too, I’ll have to go back to Good Riddance and have a closer listen again. And what can I say, “Come on Eileen..” well, it’s an anthem. (We all sang it very loudly at our secondary school farewell bash down by the lake. And yes, you guessed it, some of the ‘cool dudes’ got so carried away, they fell into the lake, ha ha ha! It was a great night!). Please come back again and rattle on, I love your comments! x

  2. Hi Nicky.
    Music plays an important part in my life. My mum would always have the radio on. In my younger days, it was Radio 2, with Terry Wogan, and in the last few years it was Classic FM, but every now and then, Bon Jovi would blast through the kitchen.
    Me? I was an eighties fan – it took me from my teens to my twenties and the groups/singers that provided my soundtrack were Eurythmics, Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush and All About Eve. In fact, as I type, I am listening to ‘Scarlet and Other Stories’ (AAE) having just enjoyed a Kate fest first. Some things never change.
    Eurythmics were the first band I saw live – it was at the Lyceum in London. ‘Right By Your Side’ was the song out at the time. They were my college years.
    Moving forward, Dido’s ‘White Flag’ remains a poignant song for Gajitman and me and even to this day, if we hear it, we know we are both thinking about the same point in time.
    And present day- Well, ‘Jar Of Hearts’ has been THE song for me this year.
    Songs are extended poems and compact novels. Life would be less interesting without them.
    And very quiet.
    ‘Sweet Dreams’ 🙂
    Laura x

    • I love that: songs are extended poems and compact novels. That is **so** true! Glad to hear there are other die-hard Eighties fans out there; you just can’t beat them! Love your selection of songs, too, I’ll have to go and dig some of these out from my…. 15 or so Eighties compilation CDs, heee heee! Take care and thanks for visiting, Laura!
      PS: Getting my boys into Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams being a firm favourite. They know every one of the words and want to go travelling the seven seas asap. TG they’re not quite latching onto the use/abuse verses yet!

  3. I firmly believe that often a music video can ruin a song. I think lyrics should be interrupted by the listener, not by some video director for hire. I don’t believe Dave Priner was thinking about runaways or missing children when they wrote this song, it just turned out to be an anthem for missing kids after the video was made. I could be wrong, but it seems more likely that they just rode with the idea because it made the song such a hit.
    If the lyrics of this song ‘sing’ to you then by the words of another great one ‘Let it be’. 🙂
    I love this song too.

    • I am so glad you said that, Dana. I was so… shocked and disappointed, almost, when I saw that video for the first time. Obviously it’s a worthy cause but it was so far from how I’d interpreted the song. While for me it was always a ‘happy song’ (being the one that got away, me), I knew in my heart of hearts that there was a darker meaning at the bottom of it all, something sad. But some of the things in the video… well, that just wasn’t what I’d ‘heard.’ Still, I adore this song and I’m glad you like it too!

  4. BTW: Music Monday is a fantastic way to start the week. Thanks!

    • Thank you! That is such an amazing thing to say, it really makes me so happy. **sings happy song** I’ll see what I come up with for next week; and then there’ll be one week ‘without’ while I’m Internet-less owing to house move. See you soon!

  5. If only the radio stations while I’m in the car wouldn’t overplay that song. Otherwise it is a great song.

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