The Problem With... Train's "Hey, Soul Sister."


I know, dear readers, I know. This song has been on the charts for half a year. And it simply will not relent.

It needs to be taken down.

For a second, imagine that one jerk with the guitar that hogs the attention at every party you attend. Now imagine the same guy 20 years on--and he hasn't developed an ounce of humility.

That's what Train is like.

Like the classic "guitar dude," Train usually appeals to women who are either too naïve, or too drunk, to notice that he really just wants sexual access to them.

Ladies, the more you know...

So. This guitar guy comes to the party without a guitar case. I guess he's been reflecting on how shallow he was and he's just looking to have a good time and schmooze like the rest of us... wait, what?! He brought a ukulele?

It gets worse: He just noticed the only black girl at the party, and he's improvising a song to impress her with his limited knowledge of African-American nomenclature.

And that's basically what "Hey, Soul Sister" sounds like. The band's lyrics here seem cribbed from an R&B artist--and yet the band still kept in its usual litany of tired pick up lines and pop culture references. I dare you not to shudder at this line, coming from Train: "You're so gangsta/ I'm so thug."

In the video, the lyrics are traveling along the walls and furniture in stop motion. Then an ethnically ambiguous woman lounges around in her apartment in a few scenes. Seems the lyrics tell us he doesn't want to miss a thing she does? Uh, she's not doing a whole lot.

It's all confusing, that's all I'm saying.

And, in one fell swoop, Train has both ruined the ukulele and may have potentially alienated its one black fan.

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Shahryar Rizvi
Contact: Shahryar Rizvi