He's a perfect stranger,
Like a cross
of himself and a fox.
He's a feeling arranger
And a changer
of the ways he talks.
He's the unforeseen danger
The keeper of
the key to the locks.
Know when you see him,
Nothing can free him.
Step aside, open wide,
It's the loner.

If you see him in the subway,
He'll be down
at the end of the car.
Watching you move
Until he knows
he knows who you are.
When you get off
at your station alone,
He'll know that you are.
Know when you see him,
Nothing can free him.
Step aside, open wide,
It's the loner.

There was a woman he knew
About a year or so ago.
She had something
that he needed
And he pleaded
with her not to go.
On the day that she left,
He died,
but it did not show.
Know when you see him,
Nothing can free him.
Step aside, open wide,
It's the loner.


Lyrics submitted by H-bomb

The Loner song meanings
Add your thoughts

12 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +4
    General CommentThis song is about every true loner ever. You see those strong silent types who don't seem to give a fuck about anything, sometimes ruthless and cutthroat, but always alone and looking out for their own ass. He has an innate ability to read people. He doesn't want to be alone, but he feels like he can't relate. Nothing can free him. This song is about those guys. So when you see one, don't give him any shit, just step aside. That's all he wants from you.
    Storm&Stresson March 04, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe user jehosefat is far from intelligent. The loner isn't "angry at women" nor is he a "psycho killer dentist".

    The man in this song is described as a someone who isn't fully himself. Like a fox, he operates slightly predatorily, in that he observes and figures out others. Arranging feelings and changing his tone and diction, this man makes sure he stays at a distance from other people.

    It's possible that the loner in this song wasn't one until the woman who understood him took off, but the notion that only one person had the ability to tap into his mind makes this seem unlikely.

    Don't try to be what this man needs, and don't take pity on him, just leave him alone. He just wants solitude.
    herbivoreon November 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeh I kinda think neil young is talking about himself. He is the loner and many people can relate with that idea that he expresses. This song has always struck a chord with me anyway, such a classic song
    Mr_Soulon February 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA song about urban alienation.
    chrisb1on April 04, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't think this song is difficult to understand at all (but of course everyone is free to make their own interpretation). Go backwards: there was a woman he knew, who had something he needed but she left, and when she left he died. He wasn't always a loner, he lost a girl who he was in love with OR was infatuated with, in any case losing her destroyed him emotionally. Now, regardless of whether he wants to get her back or replace her, dwell on it or move on, the only thing he's capable of is carrying on his life in solitude, looking at other people and judging them. He may merely be projecting his own expectations on them, or it may be that he has developed a knack for seeing who people are underneath their appearance (because he found out the hard way who the woman he loved was underneath). In any case, he is no longer a social person and when you see the loner you should just let him be. He already knows who you are.

    Schneidermanon April 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song was on the self titled. which predates 1970, dumbass. but ignoring that fact... i think the loner is neil himself. just a thought.
    5isa4letterwordon June 24, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI thought it was about a kid in school who has no freinds, and whenever is he is walking down the corridor, all the popular kids don't want to be near him so they step aside, and then when it says that it is about a woman - seeing has he was rejected as a kid by everyone, he feels that 'She has something that he needed' which he never had before, and he is so sad and when she leaves him, he becomes the same tormented child all over again.
    iceyflameon April 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAccording to allmusic it's autobiographical.
    olem77on September 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentStorm and Stress nailed it!
    ndoon February 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment(omit "a")
    herbivoreon November 07, 2007   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain