Punch Me in the Soul

by That Guy on October 21, 2011

1954: Some say soul music is invented by Ray Charles with “I Got a Woman”. The word “soul” as we know it is born.

1960’s: Soul music becomes wildly popular, with acts like Otis Redding, Little Richard, James Brown, Fats Domino, Aretha Franklin, Jackie Wilson, and Sam Cooke reaching superstar status. Everybody loves “soul”. The word is commonly used, and if you have soul you are a certified badass.

1970’s: Soul music is still incredibly popular with musical acts like Al Green, and if you call someone “soul brother” it is legitimately cool and not at all embarrassing.

1971: Soul Train first airs. The word “soul” is now totally mainstream.

1978: The Blues Brothers release Briefcase Full of Blues which includes a cover of Sam and Dave’s “Soul Man”. Uh oh…now white people are beginning to think they have soul.

1981: Soul Asylum forms in Minneapolis as teenagers. The first of many rock bands to put the word “Soul” in their band name.  Soul Asylum is cool.

1986: The movie “Soul Man” is released, starring C. Thomas Howell. According to IMDB, Howell plays a “pampered teen posing as a young black man to receive a full scholarship” to Harvard. Amazing this movie was greenlighted and no one was upset about it.

1989: De La Soul emerges with 3 Feet High and Rising, and officially makes it cool to have the word in your band name. They’re tagged as the future of hip-hop.

1990: White guys officially embrace the word “soul”. You can put “soul” in your band name along with any other word and you instantly gain credibility – like using an animal name in your band name today. Austin band Soulhat forms. The word “soul” is now indie, and a rash of bands begin to put the word “Soul” in their band name.

1992: Mike Doughty forms Soul Coughing. White people officially love putting “soul” in their band names!

1994: Collective Soul releases their first album. It has the most annoying song ever on it, “Shine”. The word “soul” quickly becomes embarrassing.

1995: Jewel releases “Who Will Save Your Soul”. The word “soul” considers getting a tribal armband tattoo to regain street cred.

2004: Bon Jovi buys an arena football team and calls them the Philadelphia Soul. Meanwhile, he grows the worst head of hair in America. The word “soul” is not pleased.

2004: The word reaches ironic status when Uncle Rico uses it in Napoleon Dynamite. “I’d be making millions of dollars and living in a big ol’ mansion somewhere, soaking it up in a hot tub with my soul mate.”

2008: The Kia Soul is introduced to the world. Underachievers everywhere buy it to replace the empty spot where their soul used to be. A Forrester study shows 60% of owners are fans of Bon Jovi.

2009: Train delivers a soul-crushing blow (literally) by releasing “Hey Soul Sister”, prompting stiff white guys everywhere to download it immediately and then deny it several months later. The final nail in the “soul” coffin.

2010: I begin using the word “soul” in conversation to see what happens, like “It feels like you punched me in my soul” or “My soul hurts.” People laugh with me and nod approvingly.

2011: After writing nothing for 3 months, I dedicate 500+ words to the word “soul” just to see if I can get it past the HearYa editors.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Woody October 21, 2011 at 10:43 am


If you had to listen to one song on repeat for 24 hours, would it be ‘Shine’ or ‘Hey Soul Sister?”

That’s the sort of question that will keep you up at nights in a cold sweat.

Ari October 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm

This song is proof that the word “soul” still has some soul:

Woody October 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

That is a damn good tune there Ari but does it reverse the damage that Hey Soul Sister has done to the word ‘soul’. This conversation is slowly moving towards an existential discussion.

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