The Strokes – “Soma” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

“Soma,” a captivating track by The Strokes, dives deep into the realms of escapism and the pursuit of authenticity. The song title, “Soma,” references Aldous Huxley’s novel, “Brave New World,” where the substance is used to numb and distract the population. In the song, this idea is mirrored through the exploration of how people use external means to cope with reality and the search for genuine connection. The Strokes convey a caution message, urging listeners to find a balance between reality and escapism.

Hop on a journey to uncover the layers of The Strokes’ “Soma”.


“Soma” Lyrics Meaning

The opening lines, “Soma is what they would take when hard times opened their eyes,” set the stage for the theme of escapism. Here, ‘Soma’ represents a way to numb the pain and blur the harshness of reality.

“High stakes for a few names, racing against sunbeams, losing against fig trees.” These lines depict a sense of urgency and a futile struggle, possibly highlighting the fruitlessness of seeking fulfillment solely through external means. The repetition of “In your eyes, and I am, stop and go,” seems to convey a tumultuous relationship, perhaps symbolizing the internal conflict one experiences when grappling with authenticity and escapism.

“When I saw her for the first time, lips moved as her eyes closed.” This line introduces a moment of connection, yet there’s an underlying sense of unfulfillment or miscommunication. “Heard something in his voice, ‘And I’ll be there,’ he says. Then he walks out.” The inconsistency between words and actions here could be highlighting the disconnection between our true selves and the facades we put on.

“Somehow he was tryin’ too hard to be like them.” This line further emphasizes the theme of authenticity, suggesting the negative consequences of conforming to societal expectations.

In the latter part of the song, the lines “Tried it once and they liked it” and “Says, ‘I’ve been doin’ this twenty-five years,’” possibly allude to the cyclical nature of escapism and the way society perpetuates this behavior. “And these friends, they keep asking for more.” This could be a commentary on peer pressure and the external influences that drive us towards escapism.

“Oh, yeah, oh, but that’s it.” The song closes with a sense of resignation, perhaps accepting the complexity of balancing reality and escapism.

The Story Behind “Soma”

“Soma” is a track from The Strokes’ debut album, “Is This It,” released in 2001. At that time, The Strokes were hailed as the saviors of rock, and there was a lot of pressure and expectation placed on their shoulders. The state of mind of the band, particularly Julian Casablancas, the lead singer and primary songwriter, was one of trying to navigate the sudden fame and the authenticity of their art.

Casablancas has often talked about his struggles with alcohol and the pressure to conform to the rock star image. “Soma” could be a reflection of his internal battles during this time, exploring themes of authenticity, the desire to escape, and the search for genuine connections in a world filled with expectations and superficiality.

In conclusion, “Soma” by The Strokes is a timeless exploration of the human condition, delving into the complexities of escapism, authenticity, and the quest for authentic connection. Through its poetic lyrics and captivating melody, the song continues to resonate with listeners, reminding us all of the delicate balance between reality and the allure of escape.