For My Sunday Song #174, we are discussing the song “Run” by Collective Soul. The song was the first single released off the 1999 album, ‘Dosage’. It didn’t do great as it landed only at #76 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it did reach #12 on the US Adult chart and #1 on the Adult Alternative Songs chart (didn’t know there was one). ‘Dosage’ is one of my favorite albums by them and this song was a big part of the reason why.
As with a lot of their songs, “Run” can be interpreted to mean many things. I believe is a conscientious effort by Ed Roland to structure the lyrics in such a way to leave it up to the listener to decide his intent. My first thought is the song is bash against commercialism. It is about how generic, stale and boring the world has become. There is no more original thought and we are swayed by simple advertising to go buy this, you need this, go watch this show, be like everyone else. The lyrics help hint to that with lines like “From this processed sanity” and “Now in this world of purchase” so I can see this train of thought.
The other thought I have is that it is a child that finally reaches adulthood and when they get there, the world is not what he expected. The world of adulthood is nothing special, it is boring and he is lost and running to find the answer to what is missing in his life. Maybe that thing missing is a “messenger” or God. God has been taken out of everything and the world as a result is not the better for it.
And lastly, it is commentary on the music scene. The scene is so boring, generic and everything sounds the same. No more originality in the music. The record companies are putting out garbage and the lines such as…”From this processed sanity / I weaken with each voice that sings” lead me to believe that might be the case. See, there are many ways to interpret the lyrics and I will let you decide what you feel is the right one, however, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer.