As I was scheming up what to write this week and getting distracted by scrolling through old memories in my mind, I remembered this song. It’s one that you can’t really forget once you hear because it hits home on a few levels and is super relatable; you can’t exactly pinpoint what it’s trying to say but something about it just hangs in your mind. The lyrics are what's stuck with me since I first heard it almost a year ago; there are moments I find myself thinking about the main idea of this song and how powerful it is. The somber honesty in the piano chords and the singer’s voice might also have something to do with it. It’s a song called, "Soulfight" by the Revivalists. Oddly enough, this is a song off the Revivalists’ first album from 2008. Even after eight years, it seems to be a crowd favorite, a song they still play at concerts.
What makes it so special? I can’t quite put my finger on it even after listening to it at least a hundred times. For starters, there’s the idea of soulfight and what those two words combined into a compound noun mean. The weight and power that idea carries kind of knocks you back a bit. When you think about it, it doesn’t get much deeper than externalizing the internal struggle you have inside and reckoning with it. Whether or not you’ve heard this particular song, you have a soulfight inside you; we all do really. It could literally be anything, whether it’s debating on eating ice cream or giving into something or someone you know you shouldn’t. It all depends on you.
The chorus goes:
“So I’m gonna stand here by your fire
Cuz it’s a cold one tonight
I’m taking care of soulfight
And you’re the reason why
I don’t ask questions, I don’t tell no lies
And that’s the reason why
I’m taking care of soul fight
And you’re the reason why”
A friend of mine interprets this as a need to show the outside world the good inside despite what you show on the surface. Both interpretations are definitely appropriate. That’s the great thing about music, you can interpret it however you wish; there is no right or wrong answer. The verses talk about “finding something else to do” because if “I ever was to say to you all the things that you wanted me to love, then I’d have to find something else to do.” To me, this could possibly mean that the singer/narrator is struggling to be the person people want him to be but he just can’t. In that case, the soul fight would be pushing back the person you’ve become and trying to be the person you’re needed to be.
The last verse goes:
“So mother Mary won’t you come sing a song for me
And make it last all d@#$ night
Cuz you know I can’t hang on you see
While this noose pulls me so tight
Well I’ll scratch and bleed from my finger nails
Until every bit of me was gone
Cuz I didn’t want her and I didn’t need her
So now I leave it alone.”
That last verse is especially powerful because it seems as though it’s suggesting you don’t really need whatever is holding you back; you can “scratch and bleed” all you want but in the end you won’t need it, you’re better off without it. This particular note is something I feel lots of people can relate to, I know I can. We get caught up in hanging onto things or people in our minds that we don’t really need; fighting the desire to give in to a thing or person is very difficult. It often gets the best of us. If you’re an over-thinker like me, you’ll spend ridiculous amounts of time analyzing the situation and trying to figure out what to do.
Even if you’re not an over-thinker, you could still spend a ton of time obsessing over something you have no control over. The best thing to do is let it be and carry on about your life. Don’t waste your time and energy on something or someone that just makes you miserable more than it makes you happy. Life is too short for that.
So, take care of your soulfight, whatever it may be. It’s not always easy reckoning with the forces inside you but you’re always better off for it. Better out than in.