Meaning of the song Runaway Train by the rock band Soul Asylum

Popularity outside the United States of American rock band Soul Asylum was provided by the song Runaway Train, which became an international hit, won a Grammy and helped the Grave Dancers Union album reach triple platinum status.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song Runaway Train

In the case of Runaway Train, there is no need to guess about the meaning of the song. It is known for sure that it is dedicated to runaway or kidnapped children. This is clear from the video clip of Runaway Train, which begins with information about how many young people are missing on the streets of the US or UK (in different versions of the video).

In the course of the clip, photographs of real children and teenagers appear on the screen, indicating their names and dates when they were last seen by acquaintances.

Director Tony Kaye shot several versions of the video. Three of them were for the United States (thirty-six children in total). There are also separate videos for other countries.

The full version of the video clip of Runaway Train includes an image of children’s drawings (at the beginning, immediately after the inscription about the number of disappeared). Dave Pirner’s voice-over says that they were drawn by a girl who ran away from home more than one hundred and ten times. Music channels tend to cut this scene out. MTV also didn’t air the closing footage, in which Pirner says, “If you’ve seen one of these kids, or are one of them, please call this number.”

I must say that the clip helped to find many children. However, not everyone has a normal life. For example, one girl complained to the musicians at the meeting that she was returned to her family, where she was still beaten until she grew up and could not leave. And some teenagers were found already dead. Western websites have information about those who are still on the wanted list. For example, about Thomas Gibson, who disappeared at the age of two.

The video for Runaway Train received very heavy airplay on MTV, VH1 and other channels. This, of course, contributed to the success of the song on the charts. It was released as the third single from Grave Dancers Union and peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1994, Runaway Train won a Grammy for Best Rock Song.

Lyrics Runaway Train – Soul Asylum

Call you up in the middle of the night
Like a firefly without a light
You were there like a blowtorch burning
I was a key that could use a little turning

So tired that I couldn’t even sleep
So many secrets I couldn’t keep
Promised myself I wouldn’t weep
One more promise I couldn’t keep

It seems no one can help me now
I’m in too deep
There’s no way out
This time I have really led myself astray

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

Can you help me remember how to smile
Make it somehow all seem worth while
How on earth did I get so jaded
Life’s mystery seems so faded

I can go where no one else can go
I know what no one else knows
Here I am just drownin’ in the rain
With a ticket for a runaway train

Everything is cut and dry
Day and night, earth and sky
Somehow I just don’t believe it

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

Bought a ticket for a runaway train
Like a madman laughin’ at the rain
Little out of touch, little insane
Just easier than dealing with the pain

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

Runaway train never comin’ back
Runaway train tearin’ up the track
Runaway train burnin’ in my veins
Runaway but it always seems the same

Translation of the song Runaway Train – Soul Asylum

I call you in the middle of the night
Like a firefly without a spark
You burned there with a bright fire
I was a key that could be turned a little

I was so tired that I couldn’t even sleep
I couldn’t keep so many secrets
I promised myself not to cry
Another promise I couldn’t keep

Seems like no one can help me now
I’m in big trouble
And there’s no way out
This time I’ve really gone astray

The runaway train never returns
Against single-track traffic
Seems like I should go somewhere
For some reason I’m neither here nor there

Won’t you remind me how to smile
How to make meaning in life?
How did it happen that I was so exhausted,
And the mystery of life seems so faded

I can go where no one can go
I know what no one else knows
Here I am, getting wet in the rain
With a ticket for a runaway train

Everything is already predetermined:
Night and day, earth and sky
But for some reason I don’t believe it

The runaway train never returns
Against single-track traffic
Seems like I should go somewhere
For some reason I’m neither here nor there

I bought a ticket for a runaway train
Like a madman, I laugh in the rain
A little out of this world, a little crazy
It’s easier than dealing with pain

The runaway train never returns
Against single-track traffic
Seems like I should go somewhere
For some reason I’m neither here nor there

The runaway train never returns
The runaway train rushes along the track
A runaway train is burning in my veins
A fugitive but nothing seems to change

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