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  • Writer's pictureHesh Meister

'Soul In Exile' Lyric/Blog: SOUL IN EXILE (the song)

SIE3 alternate cover art
Because I couldn't find any public-domain photo of a soul in exile.

A lot of songs have been written about breaking up, but in my estimation, very few have been written about that point in the breakup process in which you know that it's over and there's no going back, but somehow you still love her. The "withdrawal pains," as I referred to that phase when introducing this song live. If the preceding track in the album, "Love Runs Aground," is a picture of a marriage running on the rocks, then this song is about what happens afterwards—those withdrawal pains in the wake of an unwanted divorce and the seemingly futile attempts to pick up the pieces.

In the first verse, the singer is still stunned by the impact of it all but is somehow trying to get over it, yet the pain is still raw. In the second verse, he reminisces about how good it used to be; he even calls out his now-departed wife for the way she had agreed that this marriage was to be forever and she didn't want to get divorced yet again. But to no avail. He puts on a recording of their wedding song and finds himself unable to cry over the loss.

Then the song shifts gears from a slow blues to a quicker ska, and the singer tells his ex how much better life seems to be without her. But then, after all is said and done, the tempo switches back to the blues and the singer admits that even though there is no going back, and the future may hold something better, for the moment he is still lost without her. The song's catharsis comes in the outro, in which the singer releases all the excess mourning energy without needing lyrics.

I wrote the music in early 1990 in Boston, as my life and marriage there were falling apart. I had been quite under the influence of Van Morrison's His Band and Street Choir for much of the preceding year, and the closing track of Side One, "I'll Be Your Lover Too," was very much on my mind. But then divorce happened and I moved from Boston to the Jersey Shore, taking the music with me to Interlaken on the outskirts of Asbury Park, where I wrote the words.

I recorded the first version of the song in my basement studio in Ocean Grove and released it on my debut album in 2000. That version had a different bridge, more of a blues-based lament, but later (in the aftermath of my second divorce—go figure) I rewrote the bridge with its more upbeat rhythm, giving a hint of optimism at being able to shake off the blues brought on by the whole thing. With the newly refurbished bridge and full-band arrangement, the song was recorded at Retromedia Studios in Red Bank, NJ, and released on Soul In Exile 3: Love Runs Aground in March 2017.


Well our love ran aground when the passion engine locked

The sudden jolt caused me to bolt and finally take stock

Our house was made of glass and you flung that rock

And I was shattered by the crash

I moved the token of our love from my finger to my pocket

I’d love to take it to the lake and shoot it off like a rocket

Or maybe I’ll just take it downtown and hock it

After all, I could use the cash

I tried walking all over the shards of what we used to be

But in my blindness and oblivion I stepped on them in my bare feet

My soul in exile, trailing my blood in the street

Oh those glass memories cut so deep

Remember what must be like ancient history

How we’d spin up to the cities in search of music and poetry

The little lost sheep poet’s son-in-law would turn his own key

From an old tradition into a song

From the bottom line to the middle east to the castle by the sea

From the funky clubs down the aisle on the way to the canopy

This time it was to be for real, it was to forever be

And you marched on right along

I Love You I Love You I Love You Seven Times Round My Soul went the refrain

And for snail’s pace time I couldn’t put it on for fear of withdrawal pain

My soul in exile, tried crying but no tears came

This time nothing remains

Well our love running aground

It must have been a spectacular sight to see

Considering how it blew up like Independence Day fireworks

In front of the whole community

And speaking of independence

I’m taking my time cherishing my newfound liberty

Time and money are mine to spend

Any which way now that I’m free

I’m doing all the things I couldn’t do with you

And I’m doing them with such glee

You thought I wouldn’t have the guts

But that just shows how well you really knew me

You think I’ll just sit here and rhapsodize

Till I question my sanity

But that won’t happen this time, you see

I’m through with the dirge and elegy.

Well there would have been a time

I’d have loaded up my car with all my past mistakes

And like a stunt in a movie

I’d stick the accelerator to the floor and disconnect the brakes

I’d take her up Edgemont

And with a figure-eight spin I’d ditch her in the lake

As if somehow all that would

Eliminate all the pain and dull all the ache

Well this time I think

I’ll leave all the garbage by the curbside

I’ll set all the flotsam at the waterline

Let it get taken by the high tide

Then I’ll point my car whichever way she’ll go

And hit the road for that long, long ride

But without you as the rider by my side

I have only my faith as a guide

My ship runs adrift when cast off from you

With nowhere to land, no direction, little hope of rescue

My soul is in exile as long as it’s not one with you ...

©2017 The Hesh Inc.


Check out the "Soul In Exile" maxi-single ...

And after that, the expanded "Love Runs Aground/Soul In Exile" maxi-single ...

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