"Heart and Soul" as written by Peter Hayes, Robert Turner and Nicholas Jago....
Instincts that can still betray us,
A journey that leads to the sun,
Soulless and bent on destruction,
A struggle between right and wrong

You take my place in the showdown,
I'll observe with a pitiful eye,
I'll humbly ask for forgiveness,
A request well beyond you and I

Heart and soul, one will burn
Heart and soul, one will burn

An abyss that laughs at creation,
A circus complete with all fools,
Foundations that lasted the ages,
Then ripped apart at their roots

Beyond all this goo's is the terror,
The grip of a mercenary hand,
When savagery turns all good reason,
There's no turning back, no last stand

Heart and soul, one will burn
Heart and soul, one will burn

Existence well what does it matter?
I exist on the best terms I can
The past is now part of my future,
The present is well out of hand
The present is well out of hand

Heart and soul, one will burn
Heart and soul, one will burn
One will burn, one will burn
Heart and soul, one will burn


Lyrics submitted by typo, edited by toukolou, MysticSnowman, MMfan, Ferucil

"Heart and Soul" as written by Bernard Summer Ian Kevin Curtis

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Heart and Soul song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +6
    My InterpretationVerse1
    This verse is about struggling with morality and emotions through the evolving life.
    Verse 2
    here he sounds like he's viewing the band from afterlife and wanting to say sorry ("il observe with a pitiful eye") but its impossible ("a request well beyond you and i")

    Verse 3
    i reckon this verse is about religion, mentioning a mockery of faith maybe by a dark force?...or maybe humanity even, destroying itself by taking a wrong route in evolving?
    Verse 4
    Could be saying here that behind religion their is control and corruption,
    but when people finally realize, its the end for to it.
    Verse 5
    Here he's speaking of his present state of mind (not good)
    his past will determine his legacy, martyring himself for the bands legacy basically. :/
    the chorus id say was Ian saying depending on faith one will burn.
    I personally believe he planned to check out early for a long time. his lyrics hint this. passover' means to an end' 24hrs' etc...
    frankidelicon August 25, 2012   Link
  • +4
    My InterpretationI always thought of this song about depression and hopelessness, but one line always stood out for me.

    "You take my place in the showdown
    I'll observe with a pitiful eye
    I'd humbly ask for forgiveness
    A request well beyond you and I"

    I always interpreted this as Ian speaking directly to someone contemplating/attempting suicide and asking them not to go through with it, as he did. "You take my place in this showdown" seems to speak from an already dead Ian asking someone not to make the same mistake he did. This is only my interpretation.
    oceansunfish23on April 02, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentLyrically another fantastic song. Nobody comes close to how much of a genius Ian was. Analyzed verse by verse as I see this song. It's the suicide chapter of the album. The beginning of Side 2's "post-Ian world".


    "Instincts that can still betray us,
    A journey that leads to the sun,
    Soulless and bent on destruction,
    A struggle between right and wrong."

    Instincts that can still betray us. When people try to kill themselves (especially through hanging), they involuntarily chicken out because the body subconsciously requires oxygen. The only thing that can betray Ian's decision to die is his natural need to keep breathing -- as much as he doesn't want to.
    The journey leads to the sun... It's death. Simple as that.
    Soulless and bent on destruction, a struggle between right and wrong is him weighing the decision to go through with it. He knows he REALLY wants to die, but he still has the morals to understand that it's wrong to those around him and who care about him.

    "You take my place in the showdown,
    I'll observe witha pitiful eye,
    I'll humbly ask for forgiveness,
    A request well beyond you and I."

    He's speaking to someone else in his same predicament. Really anyone who wants to kill themselves too. It's quite possible he's watching this from the afterlife and he's already followed through on his suicide.

    "An abyss that laughs at creation,
    A circus complete with all fools,
    Foundations that lasted the ages,
    Then ripped apart at their roots."

    Quite possibly the most brilliant description of death I've ever heard/read in my life. It's so straight forward, but so poetic. The abyss being death, the circus of fools being all those who also committed suicide (ALL because nobody who kills themselves doesn't die).

    "Beyond all this good is the terror,
    The grip of a mercenary hand,
    When savagery turns all good reason,
    There's no turning back, no last stand."

    Savagery is the animalistic and violent decision to commit suicide, but here it has turned on all good reason to keep living. Once you commit, you can never return. There's no turning back.

    "Existence well what does it matter?
    I exist on the best terms I can.
    The past is now part of my future,
    The present is well out of hand.
    The present is well out of hand."

    Only one line that needs analysis there. "The past is now part of my future", from now on, the only thing people will ever know about Ian Curtis again is his life, which has passed. The past (his life), will continue to be his legacy. And the present is out of hand. There's nothing he can do to change it.

    It's SO FUCKING GENIUS. Greatest writing of any human ever.
    VinceMcConnellon April 03, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwow only one comment..

    i love this song. i find it so powerful. it really expresses well a feeling of hopelessness, frustration, but also having accepted things the way they are.

    sometimes i feel exactly like this..

    Existence, well what does it matter?
    I exist on the best terms I can
    The past is now part of my future
    The present is well out of hand
    The present is well out of hand
    blackalisson July 10, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentProphetic like Atrocity Exhibition. References to Christ, 'You take my place in the showdown'. Ancient legacies being destroyed, replaced by evil. If the past has been uprooted, what kind of future can a person have? Existence on these terms does not seem very hopeful. The present, therefore, isn't important. As Nietsche said, 'The past robs the present of its future'. The lyrics seem contradictory. Because the past has been destroyed by the present, leaving us no future.

    The tone is apocalyptic. In light of his suicide, however, he is obviously referring to himself and the hopeless situation he found himself in.
    Mukundaon March 08, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is such an amazingly bleak song to read. Listening to it is quite different, because of the way that Ian Curtis almost whispers the lyrics. It sounds more sinister than depressing, but ultimately it's a very heavy dose of both.
    ReActoron July 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has deep nitszchean overtones. It reminds us that "God" (ie our sense of the transcendental) has died inside our occidental soul, leaving a moral void and great confusion, and making us "soulless and bent on destruction", that is the prey of the savagery inherent to the dark parts of our minds.

    Then "the foundations that lasted the ages are ripped apart a the roots". This is a reference to the barbary of the 20th century, that actually combined incredible technological advancement and moral decay, leading to the excesses of WWII and dictatures.

    I think that this song is a reflexion on the nature of human psyche, in the light of the 20th century, and on the very real possibility that we could blow ourselves from the face of the earth.
    Elias Shingernon May 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo more comments than these? This is one of my most favourite JD songs. Haunting, with that oppressive keyboarding in the back and the carelessly strummed guitar in the back ground. Peerless.
    eddiebon July 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPerhaps he is referring to his legacy after his envisaged death in the line 'The past is now part of my future'
    tonykon October 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAgain I think the song has a lot to do with his marriage to Debbie Curtis. Again it comes across as a romance based lyric. There could well be references to impending suicide but again it seems to me to be more about his wife

    "I'd humbly ask for forgiveness
    A request well beyond you and I "

    MeX
    dwitefryon October 29, 2008   Link

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