"Foreign Affair" as written by and Tom Waits....
When traveling abroad in the continental style,
It's my belief one must attempt to be discreet,
And subsequently bear in mind your transient position
Allows you a perspective that's unique

And though you'll find your itinerary a blessing and a curse,
Your wanderlust won't let you settle down
And you'll wonder how you ever fathomed that you'd be content
To stay within the city limits of a small midwestern town

Most vagabonds I knowed don't ever want to find the culprit
That remains the object of their long relentless quest
The obsession's in the chasing and not the apprehending
The pursuit, you see, and never the arrest

Without fear of contradiction, bon voyage is always hollered
In conjunction with a handkerchief from shore,
By a girl who drives a Rambler and furthermore is overly concerned
That she won't see him anymore

Planes and trains and boats and buses characteristically
Evoke a common attitude of blue
Unless you have a suitcase and a ticket and a passport
And the cargo that they're carrying is you

A foreign affair, juxtaposed with a stateside
And domestically approved romantic fancy,
Is mysteriously attractive due to circumstances,
Knowing it will only be parlayed into a memory


Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira

"Foreign Affair" as written by Tom Waits

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Foreign Affair song meanings
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  • 0
    Memorya guy i recently met told me this song reminded him of me. he barely even knows me, and reading and listening to this song makes me cry. it's true - and being a wandering soul is both a blessing and a curse.
    Lyra_on December 22, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLove the Lyrics......The English could really do with taking a leaf out of Tom's book and be more discreet when they are on holiday abroad.
    BarnabyHugheson October 29, 2015   Link
  • -1
    General CommentWell to be most original, Wow! I can't believe no one's commented on this song! But seriously, pardoning the somehow cliche statement, this song is great. The 'most vagabonds' verse is phenomenal, so telling in so few words, great poetry throughout the song. I think in this case we are all vagabonds where our obsession is in the chasing and not the apprehending. Obviously the idea that the grass always longs greener, etc. but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. It's hope that keeps us going, not to raise the topic that the subject of heaven (per se) is only an invention based on the fear of dissolution and the end of life. Life is a 'long relentless quest', but what's interesting is the only ones who have quit it seems are the homeless, which is whom he chooses to chronicle. The homeless and trains would obviously be a major factor into much of Tom's later work (Cold Water is his greatest song as of yet, to name one of many). This song is strong because it takes on so many themes. The last verse is also great; as many may have noticed the rhyme scheme is weak in this song, but that 'weakness' becomes somehow (how the fuck does he do it!?) an offshoot of the inexplicable that the song aims to capture. I think. Because life can never offer firm resolve or certainty in any sense, this song serves to reimagine the always on the run image and equate it with a story that everyone is familiar with. Great song.
    FootOfPrideon December 31, 2011   Link

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