It was the strangest thing today
I saw new footprints in abandoned pathways.
Beneath forgotten undergrowth something stirring again.
You were a single red blood cell but I lost you in this knot of capillaries
But you were bringing me oxygen when I needed it most in the smoke.
And you were always as far as Mongolia,
As close as my clothes,
Your presence pervading,
But it still never shows.
As close as the answer I never quite know,
Or can’t quite remember.
Your distance insidious,
As soft as a blow.
Your shadow is with me wherever I go.
It’s on the tip of my tongue but still I never quite know,
Or can’t quite remember.
I don’t quite remember.
The forced proximity of a million different Mike Leigh movies
Makes me long for the fresh air of a familiar face
And not the violence of loneliness
Nor the unease of surrounded seclusion.
I keep nearly missing you around corners and in passing trains.
And if I’d known that you weren’t so far away,
That you were never that far away
I could’ve rode this train smiling.

Lyrics submitted by Harry_Manback, edited by AndreaMo

Smiling At Strangers On Trains song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI've always felt that the meaning is along those lines too. That line about "as far as mongolia, as close as my clothes" seems to reflect that, how even when you're not alone you can still be lonely. Great band, worthy of the Refused song they're named after.
    shadowwiththeeyeson October 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFrank told me that this is about when he was with this girl.. split up with her and ended up bumping into her on a train sometime later or something like that.... basically a small world thing though...

    This song means alot to me.
    There was a thing I had with this girl
    It seemed the distance thing was hard
    But I went to see her one time
    And we saw Frank
    He sang this
    I realised a couple of hours on a train wasnt much

    Of course we split up; but I've since forced Frank under duress to play this solo
    mrbenon January 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song rocks like a mother!! No clue on it's meaning mind
    Harry_Manbackon September 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlet me give this one a go.

    this song is about loneliness. we are all alone, all the time, but we don't always feel alone, and this song is about finding happiness in the realisation that there is someone who makes you feel love and empathy, but more importantly, that that person is close. i think it's also about the fact that you don't have to know someone to feel empathy with them. i think that's where the title comes from and i think that smiling at strangers on trains is great. the end.
    greenplasticon October 03, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI know that officially their named after a line from one of their songs, but after hearing "Come On Sharon" I'd of thought they were named after the victims of the Holocaust. They even mention their own name someway into that song. What does anyone think?

    As for "Smiling At Strangers On Trains", 'greenplastic' said all that needs to be said. If I got the meaning of "A Song To Ruin" right (which I doubt somehow), then this is the perfect contrast to it. I love this song, its just sad that smiling at strangers on trains will in reality probably get you into trouble.
    Miscellaneouson March 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe name's taken from 'The Apollo Programme was a Hoax' by Refused.
    "Suck on my words for a while and
    choke on the truth of a million dead"

    But you're right about it meaning different things, one of the attraction of the name was probably that it's in line with their political streak, and it lends itself to additional meanigns or associations with some of their songs' themes.
    shadowwiththeeyeson April 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthm. it is a rubbish name though.
    greenplasticon July 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmy favourite MD song ever :D
    snugasagrubon December 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfrank played this acoustically on the 8th august at the barfly. it was so moving. to me it sounds like whether frank is writing it as himself in the narrating seat - about losing someone but they are always with him - guiding him through hard times? oh well. you interpret it how you want to. if the lyrics aren't crystal clear, maybe thats how the author wants you to to think, how you interpret it.
    rahtwinkleon August 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"You were a single red blood cell but I lost you in the knot of capillaries
    But you were bringing me oxygen when I needed it most in the smoke"

    We all know what this song means like we've always had run ins with people on trains.

    Undignifiedromanceon June 03, 2007   Link

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