Oh, hello Mr. Soul,
I dropped by
to pick up a reason
For the thought that I caught
that my head
is the event of the season
Why in crowds just a trace
of my face
could seem so pleasin'
I'll cop out to the change,
but a stranger
is putting the tease on.

I was down on a frown
when the messenger
brought me a letter
I was raised by the praise
of a fan
who said I upset her
Any girl in the world
could have easily
known me better
She said, You're strange,
but don't change,
and I let her.

In a while will the smile
on my face
turn to plaster?
Stick around while the clown
who is sick
does the trick of disaster
For the race of my head
and my face
is moving much faster
Is it strange I should change?
I don't know,
why don't you ask her?


Lyrics submitted by H-bomb

Mr Soul song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThe song was writen by Neil. Arranged by Neil. Buffalo Springfield was the band he recorded it with. "For what it's worth" is a Stephen Stills song. Buffalo Springfield did it with him. I go by who wrote it. You go by the whole band.
    Rfeynmanon May 09, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAgreed. If you write a song, you can take credit for it regardless of the band you played it with. Esp bands that are put together with individual artists.

    Anyway, this is what I think. Take it for what it is.

    "Oh, hello Mr. Soul,
    I dropped by
    to pick up a reason:
    For the thought that I caught
    that my head
    is the event of the season.

    (I see this first part to mean that he is sitting and thinking, probably in a very interspective way. Like talking to himself. And he is saying "I had this thought that I am a big time event and people want to know what I have to say (songs), but give me one reason why I should think I am that important")

    Why in crowds just a trace
    of my face
    could seem so pleasin'?

    (Now he is thinking "Why is it that just seeing me in a crowd of people or on the street would make others so happy to see me")

    I'll cop out to the change,
    but a stranger
    is putting the tease on.

    (Not really sure here, but I think maybe he means he will just give in to the fame but now strangers are coming on to him or being overly friendly and he is not sure if talking to them is selling out and playing the game or just being himself: Like should he really go along with fake kindness)

    I was down on a frown
    when the messenger
    brought me a letter.

    (He was sitting around kinda depressed from all of this when he gets a letter)

    I was raised by the praise
    of a fan
    who said I upset her.

    (Some fan sent him a letter saying he "upset her". I think this means that his music was able to make someone change the way they think and her praise "raised" him or lifted his spirits)

    Any girl in the world
    could have easily
    known me better.

    (obviously, he is saying she was a complete stranger to him)

    She said, You're strange,
    but don't change,
    and I let her.

    (I think he is saying she loved his music and although it made her challenge herself she wouldn't have it any other way so he should not change: But just her saying that changed the way he thinks about himself and fame)

    In a while will the smile
    on my face
    turn to plaster?

    (Am I always going to be so happy with this fame or am I gonna grow weary and irritated with it?)

    Stick around while the clown
    who is sick
    does the trick of disaster.

    (Stay and watch me be famous and do my thing, but take note: I am not well (mental or drugs) and eventaully all this fame is gonna be bad for me)

    For the race of my head
    and my face
    is moving much faster.

    (things are moving so fast and his well being and state of happiness are on the line while all these forces race to decide his fate)

    Is it strange I should change?
    I don't know,
    why don't you ask her?"

    (Is it bad that fame makes me change if I am aware of it? Will it ruin my art and make me a different person or will it increase my art make people love me more. He doesn't seem to have an answer for himself and is saying only the fans can answer that question)
    mrMojoRisenon May 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentInteresting...I have it on Decade, but did not know it was a Buffalo Springfield song.

    So as far as meaning goes, is it Neil's self critique about fame going to his head? That's what it seems like to me.
    reflect4everon March 13, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI just found a Rush cover of this song. It's on their Feedback album if you want to check it out. I love covers, but you can't beat Neil. Just to say, he wrote this thats why he performed it without Springfield, and why he never performed For What it's Worth without them, because thats a Steven Stills song.
    ImNeilYoungon March 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is really gd. which album is it on?
    longliveconradon February 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's on Buffalo Springfield Again.
    tiderider23on February 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of my favorite lyrics ever...

    "Stick around, while the clown who is sick
    Does the trick of disaster"
    reflect4everon April 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with mrMojoRisen except for the bit about

    "Any girl in the world
    could have easily
    known me better."

    i think this is about his own promiscuity
    tofuburgeron October 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is the Neil Young and Crazy Horse cut, if you want to comment on Buffalo Springfield then go to that one, we all know Young was part of Springfield.
    ImNeilYoungon January 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWidespread Panic also does a cover of this song regularly. It is siiiiick
    JRuton September 23, 2008   Link

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