Meaning of “Soak Up The Sun” by Sheryl Crow
“Soak Up the Sun” is a song based on maintaining an optimistic disposition despite the imperfect circumstances that may surround one’s life. In this song, singer Sheryl Crow admits that things are not as she would like them to be, but she still finds reason to rejoice.
Indeed from the onset, we see that she is beset with economic challenges, which sees her battling to get the basic things that she wants. But she decides not to let her desires define her overall temperament. Rather she reasons to focus on what she does have as a starting point toward appreciating life.
The chorus of the track was initially inspired by a travel experience one of the song’s co-writers had. However, when Cheryl speaks of ‘soaking up the sun’, it is not in a literal sense. Rather she is referring to the aforementioned disposition of putting on a happy face. Likewise, she advises others to adopt a similar mindframe by ‘lightening up’. Her personal formula for doing so is that, when she’s feeling down, not to look for anyone to blame for it. Instead she stays positive and looks forward to the good things in life.
Later Ms. Crow states that she is going to continue to “soak up the sun” “while it’s still free”. Some have interpreted the latter phrase as a possible attack on capitalism/consumerism since her “friend the communist” is also brought up at the beginning of song. However, this wordplay can also have an alternate meaning. For instance, logically the sun will always be free, so perhaps Sheryl is stating that because of this she will always find a reason to think positively, which would fit well into the overall context of the song.
However, Crow concludes the post-chorus by stating “before (the sun) goes out on me”, which can also allude to her acknowledging an inability to perpetually hold this disposition.
Ultimately Sheryl Crow is committed to getting the most of out of life despite what she may lack. In doing so, she is also encouraging others to do the same.