Tag Archives: The Great Escape

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?