(1)
Oh, woman, tell me what you want
And I'll calm down without bleeding out
With a broken heart that you stabbed for an hour
Woman, I was freaking out because I want you to know
My beloved, you are the lover of my impossible soul

Woman, too, promise me you'll stay and put off all your woes
I was wigging out, too much worry
I could not get you at all
And you said what you want, you would laugh it off
But I know you won't go, not for it at last
Must you write it off for the impossible soul?
And I was in a dream, I was gone away without you, but not too slow
Lest I put it off, for I put it right for the impossible soul

And all I couldn't sing, I would say it all, my life, to you
If I could get you at all
Don't be a wreck, trying to be something that I wasn't at all

Seems I got it wrong, I was chasing after something that was gone
To the black of night, now I know it's not what I wanted at all
And you said something like, "All you want is all the world for yourself"
But all I want is the perfect love
Though I know it's small, I want love for us all

And all I couldn't sing, I would say it all, my life, to you
If I could get you at all
Trying to be something that I wasn't at all

(2)
[Shara Worden]
Do you want to be afraid?
Do you want to be afraid?
For life in the cage where courage's mate runs deep in the wake
For the scariest things are not half as enslaved

Don't be distracted, don't be distracted
Do you want to be alone?
Do you want to be alone?
For life isn't stained of righteousness pain
The seed and the hail, all impossible flights for an interesting light

Don't be distracted, don't be distracted
Do you want to love me more?
Do you want to love me more?
For love is the breath
If water and wave is cursed by the same thing that nurtured its shame
Is it worth all the work?

Don't be distracted, don't be distracted
Have you failed to feel delight? (No, I don't want to feel pain)
Have you failed to feel delight? (No, I don't want to feel pain)
Instead of the life, lived tired and lost, have you left it at last
Where it floundered its death with the language of ghosts

Don't be distracted, don't be distracted
Do you want to be afraid? (No, I don't want to feel pain)
Do you want to be afraid? (No, I don't want to feel pain)
For life in the cage where where courage's mate runs deep in the wake
For the scariest things are not half as enslaved

Don't be distracted, don't be distracted

No . . . don't be distracted

(3)
Stupid man in the window, I couldn't be at rest
All my delight, all that mattered, I couldn't be at rest
From what I liked, from what I gathered, I couldn't be at rest
Stupid man in the window, I couldn't be at rest

And don't be shy in the window
Come down and give your best
Oh, delight in the window I couldn't be at rest
Stupid man in the window, I couldn't be at rest
From what I liked, from what I gathered, I couldn't give my best

Oh, I know it wasn't safe, it wasn't safe to breathe at all
Oh, I know it wasn't safe, it wasn't safe to breathe at all
Oh, I know it wasn't safe, it wasn't safe to breathe at all
Oh, I know it wasn't safe, it wasn't safe to speak at all

(4)
Hold on, Suf
Hold on, Suf
Hold on, Sufjan

1, 2 3, 4!

It's a long life, better pinch yourself,
Put your face together, better get it right
It's a long life, better hit yourself
Put your face together, better stand up straight
It's a long life, only one last chance
Couldn't get much better, do you wanna dance?
It's a long life, better pinch yourself
Get your face together, better stand up straight

Boy, we can do much more together
(Better get it right, get it right, get it right, get it right)
Boy, we can do much more together
(Better give love, give love, give love, give love)
Boy, we can do much more together,
(better get it right, get it right get it right, get it right)
Boy, we can do much more together it's not so impossible
It's not so impossible

It's a long life, better pinch yourself
Get your face together, better roll along
It's a long life, better pinch yourself
Put your face together, better stand up straight
It's a long life only one last chance
Couldn't get much better, do you wanna dance?
It's a good life, better pinch yourself
Is it impossible? Is it impossible?
Boy, we can do much more together
(Better get it right, get it right, get it right, get it right)
Boy, we can do much more together
(Better get a life, get a life, get a life, get a life)
Boy, we can do much more together
(Better get it right, get it right, get it right, get it right)
Boy we can do much more together, it's not so impossible
It's not so impossible

It's a long life, better pinch yourself
Put your face together, better get it right
It's a long life, better hit yourself
Put your face together, better stand up straight
In the wrong life, everything is chance
Does it register? Do you wanna dance?
In the right life, it's a miracle
Possibility, do you wanna dance?

Boy, we can do much more together
(Better get it right, get it right, get it right, get it right)
Boy, we can do much more together
(Better get a life, get a life, get a life, get a life)
Boy, we can do much more together
(Better get it right, get it right, get it right, get it right)
Boy, we can do much more together
It's not so impossible

Do you want to dance?

Boy, we can do much more together
It's not so impossible

(5)
I never meant to cause you pain
My burden is the weight of a feather
I never meant to lead you on
I only meant to please me, however

And then you tell me, boy, we can do much more
Boy, we can do much more
Boy, we can do much more together
Boy, we can do much more together

I'm nothing but a selfish man
I'm nothing but a privileged peddler
And did you think I'd stay the night?
And did you think I'd love you forever?
And then you tell me, boy, we can do much more

I got to tell you, girl, I want nothing less
Girl, I want nothing less
Girl, I want nothing less than pleasure
Girl, I want nothing less than pleasure

I got to tell you, boy, we made such a mess
Boy, we made such a mess
Boy, we made such a mess together
Boy, we made such a mess together


Lyrics submitted by strykerchick

Impossible Soul song meanings
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66 Comments

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  • +15
    General CommentYou know that a song is completely amazing when 25 minutes seems too short.
    Nimbus the Kittenon October 14, 2010   Link
  • +7
    General Comment(1) Breakup event. Gets dumped, goes a little nutty. Realizes he's mourning something secondary he wanted from it, not the person herself. As though it were an ego blow. She the love of his "Impossible Soul," the cynical/fearful part of him that thinks that happiness is not possible...too risky.

    (2) His "angel" coaches him... the things you do for safety imprison you more than the worst outcomes you could ever experience from taking chances. Basically, the risk averse life robs you of the full experience (delight) of life.

    (3) The lesson seeping into his conscience (auto-tune).

    (4) Life essential beckoning...use it or lose it, champ. Snap out of the dream life you're living.

    (5) Sorry I was a dick. I'm much better now. Wasn't that a lot of drama?

    TheLightIsMineon October 02, 2010   Link
  • +6
    General CommentMan, it's so hard to do anything while this song is playing. I can't imagine it just being "background music" or "driving music" because it just takes all your attention.

    I think it's unfair how people have a knee-jerk reaction to auto-tune because of its prominence in recent pop music. It's a sound, just like any other effect, from Elliott Smith's multi-tracking or distortion on guitar. It's like any other instrument.

    It's not like he's using auto-tune to cover up his lack of vocal talents - he's made a dozen albums without it, so using it for a few verses shouldn't matter. It's not like he uses it on every song like T-Pain. It's specific sonic choice, like the decision to use a trumpet, or a synth, or a choir.
    Way_AEon September 28, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General CommentHere's a quote from Sufjan about Impossible Soul from an interview with Drowned in Sound:

    "It’s like a Woody Allen film, you know, where there’s the slapstick on the surface that everyone can appreciate, but then, deeper, there’s all these original details. Maybe at the heart of a good Woody Allen film there’s some kind of universal tragedy of humanity that he’s speaking about; a much bigger thing. ‘Impossible Soul’ is really about a very primitive object. I want to get with a girl, and there’s all these obstacles, and shortcomings, and miscommunication… and this is a basic fundamental of life, between two human beings.

    But then very quickly — through an expository detour — it becomes something else. It’s all about personal happiness, or the state of mankind, or the cosmos — the cosmos is drawn into it. And then it becomes about… what is at the heart of our inability to really connect? Is it fear, or is it self-consciousness? And then it becomes a kind of therapeutic discourse that becomes the centrepiece of the song. But it’s no longer about, just like, “girl, I want to get with you.” It’s more like… what’s wrong with civilisation (laughs)."

    It makes a lot of sense with the lyrics.
    ScythianEmpresson October 23, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWhat an amazing song. The auto-tune surprised me...pissed me off a bit...But now I love it.
    DrakelikesNachoson September 28, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentDoes anyone else feel like Sufjan has changed a lot in this album? I guess to be honest, I usually play repeats of my personal favourites on my ipod like gacy, chicago, the upper peninsula, holland, no man's land, to be alone with you etc. So I'm a shitty fan and don't listen to the other's regularly.

    But, his voice and style in those songs, and even the subject matter is different. I feel like his past songs were amazing and this album might take a few listens to get used to, but I still enjoy it.

    I guess even though I feel like there's a quality of his olds songs that are missing from these, I feel like he makes up for it in something else. This something else is experimentation, I like the hints of noise pop, I like the backing vocals, and I love that his songs are relateable.

    Btw, I don't think Sufjan is gay. I thought to be alone with you was about being with a married man, I learnt my lesson. I don't it's sung just from his perspective, I think he means that "she's" saying that they can do so much together. But hey, I could be wrong. Like someone previously said, you cannot just decide on someone's sexuality based on interpreting a couple of lines.

    Tbh I thought his past songs were in a sense, innocent they were absolutely beautiful and definitely mature. But this feels like Sufjan is actually expressing life experience and he's in a different place in his life, he's older. It's easy to tell just from "Oh, woman, tell me what you want
    And I'll calm down without bleeding out, with a broken heart that you stabbed for an hour". That's just completely different from his older songs. But his music still retains the quality of story-telling, of real experience and emotion. I also feel like even though Christ is probably mentioned, he's not the focus anymore.

    Although, honestly. I think this has a Gotye-esque quality. I still think it's Sufjan, especially at the beginnin, but it reminds of Gotye! I enjoy listening to it a lot though.

    Sarenaon November 14, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI was taken aback by the auto tune at first, but after listening/thinking about it in the context of the song I really love it now.

    It seems to have been used as a device to disguish between different voices/points of view within the song. I see the auto-tune verse as being sung by Sufjan's psyche to himself. He himself is the stupid man in the window, and he's asking himself to come down and give what he has to offer without apology or worry.
    MisterHandon September 28, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI love it _despite_ the autotune. I compare autotune today to moog in the 70s--it's a novel "instrument" but it is gonna sound dated once the music world moves on to something else. It will sound like an artifact of the early 2000s. In general, I have found Sufjan's music to be timeless. However, I suspect that 20 years on autotune will sound cheesy, like a product of its time. Something our kids will listen to and giggle at.

    I do love that at the end he gives us a snippet of the Sufjan of yore. Maybe a sign he's not quite done with acoustic instruments and hushed ballads yet.
    luv2chillon September 29, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commentfirst... and foremost... this is a damn good song.

    second... the auto-tune part reminds me of the antoine dodson 'bed intruder' song.
    avengedsurviveon October 03, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe whole song is amazing but, honestly, that last three minutes is the epitome of beauty, I don't even care about the sexuality or any of that bullshit, whether it's about a boy or a girl, it's just, amazing.
    harrytheblurfanon December 10, 2010   Link

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