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


Lyrics submitted by democracys

Mr. Soul Lyrics as written by Neil Young

Lyrics © Hipgnosis Songs Group

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Mr. Soul song meanings
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  • +3
    My Interpretation

    Young is talking to his soul to help prevent his ego getting the best of him because of his fame, which he seems to be amazed at. He was ready to accept the fame when a fan brought him down to earth.

    This conflict between his soul and ego made him depressed, but he was lifted by a fan letter. A fan who did not know him personally, told him she loved his eccentricities. She told him not to change but the letter pumped up his ego more.

    He is afraid his phony happy persona will turn him into a caricature. He is telling the world he is a troubled soul who will self destruct. He is quickly getting caught in the fame and ego thing that he is leaving his soul behind. The last line seems to say that the fan knows him better than himself.

    drew4355on September 12, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    the beginning kind of reminds me of the intro to the byrds 8 miles high, which isnt hard to believe since david crosby did play with buffalo springfield at monterey. i fuckin love the last lines to all the verses, and the way they sing them. i have no idea what the theyre about but thats kind of why i like it.

    scottjefferieson March 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    my idea of the song is that it could be about fame and supply and demand of being an artist. and about being a rockstar onstage and being yourself offstage

    "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' "

    (maybe a comment on Buffalo Springfield commitment to play at Monterey Pop )??

    ... also having to keep up an onstage persona and not ever being able to be your true self.

    " was raised by the praise of a fan who said I upset her ...She said, You're strange, but don't change, and I let her. "

    to me.. almost saying something like "I've seen a part of your personal side and I prefer the entertainer/performer/rock star you better" or that their first works were better than the newer material and hoping that they don't change (ie some Bob Dylan fans going ballistic when he went electric and became less folky, i dunno)

    and that "Any girl in the world could have easily known me better" to me could mean in that context his willingness to open his offstage persona to almost anyone but no one gave that person a chance.

    jbj1138on August 23, 2013   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning

    Ok Mr Soul doesn't have to mean anything, remember the times... There was lots of pot and lots of acid. The thought in his head was the event of the season, it's just that far out drug induced reality. A general meandering of a stoned mind.

    DoveSoupon May 23, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    awesome song need help on the meaning tho

    kfe2on November 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think its about selling out to the music industry, and how bands will do anything to get praise from their audiences, even if it means "changing", which seems to be a big theme of this song. that said, I think that the words are secondary to the music on this one. great guitar by Neil Young. A highlight frrom "Buffalo Springfield Again".

    sgtpepper4077on May 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think sgtpepper4077 einterpretation do make sense.

    bear_hug20on May 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    riff is so similar to Satisfaction by the Stones, not that it really matters, genius steals!

    alioflyon October 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    He's doing a little soul searching because he's noticed he likes the attention of his fans for the attention itself. But for one thing...

    So he's being pleased by the spotlight attention but is brought up short by the fan who is actually listening to the message and is upset...and he's realizing that is the real thing. His music has challenged the fan to to actually think which is more satisfying to him than the spotlight popularity. So he listened to the fan without objections even though it might have gotten a little personal.

    Then he comments on his liking the spotlight and it's likely eventual effect...disaster. Wonders which will win out...the pleasure of the spotlight or the more serious creative side. The last thought is about how he's unsure which to pursue...spotlight or the art but supposes the fans will be the eventual judge of that.

    wesjones21on April 17, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I always thought that this tune was a veiled reference to Neil's time in one of his early bands The Mynah Birds - that band had a lead singer by the name of Rickey James Matthews who was none other than the legendary Rick James - as far as Neil's usual obscure lyrics, I felt he was commenting on those particular times in his career possibly before Buffalo Springfield

    rockboy52on July 26, 2023   Link

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