08 October 2010

Corey Hart: Sunglasses at Night

So this week Lyrics, Weakly goes back to 1984 and Corey Hart’s top-ten hit “Sunglasses at Night”.

(If you can, you should watch that video wearing headphones. The left-right panning of the opening synthesizer riff is perhaps the most amazingly eightiestastic thing you can legally hear in the United States.)

According to the Wikipedia page for the song (check out the album cover showing the singer in the very act of popping his collar!), by the way, Mr. Hart originally wrote the song about a totalitarian society that forced everyone to wear sunglasses, but his record company pushed him to change the song into something more “romantic”. Given some of the content of the song as it was released, i think that the original version would have scared me into hiding in my closet.

Confused? Don’t be—just follow along:

I wear my sunglasses at night

Let’s all be candid here—all y’all reading this who were teenagers in the 80s, how many of you at least occasionally wore sunglasses at night? Don’t be shy—raise your hands. Mm-hmm, that’s what i though—all of you. Me, too, i must admit. Even wore ’em indoors.

I think it was supposed to make us look like glamorous celebrity cocaine users, back when we thought cocaine was glamorous. Instead, wearing sunglasses at night and indoors made us walk into walls. Such, though, is simply the price of fashion, no?

So I can, so I can
Watch you weave
Then breathe your story lines

She’s into weaving? And her stuff is so bright you need sunglasses to even look at it? I’m thinking she has a future on Etsy.

And I wear my sunglasses at night
So I can, so I can
Keep track of the visions in my eyes

No, Mr. Hart, wearing sunglasses does not allow you to see visions in your eyes. To see visions in your eyes, or for that matter to see your eyes at all, you need a mirror. Glad to help.

Well, or maybe you just need sunglasses with rear-view mirrors. You can buy those these days.

While she’s deceiving me
It cuts my security

So Mr. Hart has realized that he’s being deceived, and so he feels insecure. I’ve got to give Mr. Hart credit here—he’s good at stating the obvious.

Has she got control of me?

Well, it depends on how you react to the deception, i suppose.

I turn to her and say

At this point, you’d probably expect Mr. Hart to say something like “Get out, and never darken my songs’ lyrical content again!” But as it turns out, Mr. Hart has to take things in a different direction, because it turns out that…

Don’t switch the blade
On the guy in shades, oh no

…she’s got a knife.

Well, that does change things a bit, doesn’t it? Things have suddenly gotten a bit more intense for good Mr. Hart. I wonder what he’s going to say to try to calm things down—it’s time to think fast!

Don’t masquerade
With the guy in shades, oh no

But maybe not that fast.

I mean, i don’t a costumed dance really needs to be at the top of your worry list right now. Well, unless she’s holding you at knifepoint to try to force you to go to one, but if that’s the case you might want to try to be a little more indirect about this.

I can’t believe it
’Cause you got it made
With the guy in shades, oh no

Well, i guess reminding her of how wonderful it is to be involved in a relationship with you, a man who wears sunglasses, could be one way of trying to get things back to normal.

And I wear my sunglasses at night
So I can, so I can
Forget my name while you collect your claim

But this sounds creepy enough that you might not want to put things quite that way.

And I wear my sunglasses at night
So I can, so I can
See the light that’s right before my eyes

Okay, Mr. Hart, you’ve completely lost me now.

You see—and it appears that you’re unaware of this, so i’ll try to take this slowly—the primary purpose of sunglasses is to block light from entering your eyes. Therefore, if you’re wearing a decent pair of sunglasses, you will find yourself lessable to see any lights that might happen to be in front of your eyes.

I’m thinking you might be wanting a different type of eyewear.

And then we get repetition of several of the preceding lines, reminding us (in case we happened to forget, what with all the excitement) that Mr. Hart has been deceived by a woman who may have control over him, that he’s being held at knifepoint by her, and that he’d rather not go to a costume ball with her. Apparently all that is important to the narrative of the song.

Don’t be afraid
Of the guy in shades, oh no
It kinda scared you
’Cause you got it made
With the guy in shades, oh no

Um, dude, she’s armed. I don’t think she’s scared of you, really i don’t.

Though i have to give you credit for being willing to try all sorts of different ways to talk her down.

Oh, I say I wear my sunglasses at night

Yes, we know—you already told us.

I wear my sunglasses at night

As did we all back in the day. Remember? There was an entire mini-discussion about it right at the beginning of the song.

I wear my sunglasses at night

Right. It’s a given by now.

I say it to you now
I wear my sunglasses at night

Yes, that’s actually true that you’re saying it to us now, i suppose.

I wear my sunglasses at night

But there’s no reason to say it to us now again.

I wear my sunglasses at night

Mr. Hart, you can stop it now. Really. I mean it.

I cry to you
I wear my sunglasses at night

Well, no need to cry. Actually, if anyone should cry it should be us, for having to listen to you tell us about the preferred time for you to wear darkened eyewear.

I wear my sunglasses at night

You know, it just occurred to me that Mr. Hart isn’t telling us about anything else he’s wearing. I wonder if there’s a reason for that? (Warning: That link may or may not be safe for work, depending on precisely what your job description is.)

And after that you may need a unicorn chaser, which i’m always glad to provide.

Anyway, good night. I think i’m going to go put on my sunglasses and get some sleep.

01 October 2010

Bonnie Tyler: Total Eclipse of the Heart

This week the Lyrics, Weakly wayback machine takes us all to 1983 and Bonnie Tyler’s biggest hit single, the #1-in-many-nations song “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.

You should, by the way, definitely click on that link to experience the legal acid trip that is the song’s video. And then, after you do so, you should experience this alternative version.

But enough about the video—this blog’s about the lyrics. It starts with a line by a male backing singer who reappears a few times (occasionally accompanied by an entire chorus of backing singers), so i’ll place those lines in parentheses (as i usually do) so you can tell them apart from the the bits that Ms Tyler sings.

(Turn around)

Odd. It seems that Ms Tyler is starting the song by facing away the guy she’s singing to. Unusual, but i’m sure there’s a reason for it.

Every now and then I get a little bit lonely
And you’re never coming round

But he just asked you to turn around! That means he’s here, right? So he’s come around to see you—but i guess you just haven’t noticed yet, since you’re facing away from him and all.

(Turn around)

So he realizes she must not have heard him the first time, so he’s repeating himself so that she will turn around and they can chat.

It’s nice to see a nice, ordinary domestic situation appearing in popular songs, you know?

Every now and then I get a little bit tired
of listening to the sound of my tears

Wow—you have really, really amazing hearing, Ms Tyler!

(Turn around)

So why can’t you hear this guy?

Every now and then I get a little bit nervous
That the best of all the years have gone by

I’d be most nervous about the hearing loss that performing music all these years has left you with, actually.

(Turn around)

Okay, dude, this is starting to get weird—it’s clear that she can’t hear you, even though she can hear the sound of her own tears falling. I’m starting to think that it may actually be that she’s ignoring you on purpose.

Every now and then I get a little bit terrified
And then I see the look in your eyes

Okay, Ms Tyler, i have to say that this doesn’t really make sense to me. I mean, what with your repeated refusal to turn around so that you can actually see any part of this guy, least of all his eyes, i’m not sure that you have the right to make such a claim about the calming effect of any part of his anatomy. I mean, for all you know his eyes aren’t very calming at all.

(Turn around bright eyes)

Good idea, dude—mix it up a little. Makes sense, since it was pretty clear by now that your original approach wasn’t working.

Every now and then I fall apart

Falling apart is, i have just learned, pretty expensive. (Maybe you’d be better off with a cheaper option?)

(Turn around bright eyes)

You’d think that by now you’d’ve learned that just repeating yourself over and over isn’t helping, dude.

Every now and then I fall apart

Yes, we know—unlike you, we could hear you the first time.

(Turn around)

You know, this is starting to seem a little passive-aggressive of you. I mean, you could always just walk around to the other side of her, after all.

Every now and then I get a little bit restless
And i dream of something wild

Ms Tyler, this is a family blog—we’d appreciate you keeping things a bit more innocent, okay?

(Turn around)
Every now and then I get a little bit helpless
And I’m lying like a child in your arms

Wait—you’re lying in his arms but you’re facing away from him? You mean all this time you’ve been spooning? And you’re still acting like you can’t hear him? I really don’t understand y’all’s relationship at all, i must say.

Every now and then I get a little bit angry
And I know I have to get out and cry

But i thought you were tired of listening to the sound of your tears? You’re not making logical sense, Ms Tyler!

(Turn around)
Every now and then I get a little bit terrified
but then I see the look in your eyes

Yes, i know—you’ve already told us, remember? No need to repeat yourself.

(Turn around bright eyes)
Every now and then I fall apart
(Turn around bright eyes)
Every now and then I fall apart

I give up.

But wait—new stuff!

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever

Um, he’s right behind you. You’re in his arms. I’m pretty sure that means you’ve already got him.

And if you’ll only hold me tight
We’ll be holding on forever

Well, at least you would be if it weren’t for that pesky mortality problem.

Erm, wait. Wrong mortality. Try this one instead.

Ahem. Yes. Well. Back to your regularly scheduled snark.

And we’ll only be making it right
Cause we’ll never be wrong together

Um, isn’t that a bit of a self-fulfilling statement?

We can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark

I have no idea what this is about. I mean seriously, this makes no sense.

We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks

But how are you always in the dark if you’re giving off sparks? I don’t get the logic here, really i don’t.

And a powder keg with sparks? See also mortality, above.

I really need you tonight
Forever’s gonna start tonight
Forever’s gonna start tonight

Um, if you give a starting point and no ending point, you’ve pretty much defined the starting point of a potentially infinite span of time.

Or, in other words, see also tautology, above.

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I’m only falling apart

Okay, this song has really dumb lyrics, but i’m willing to give credit where it’s due: Nice use of the verb “falling” in two completely different but parallel ways.

There’s nothing I can do

Well, what about trying turning around?

A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there’s only love in the dark

Love in the dark ages? There’s one i haven’t heard about in a long time. I have to admit that i never saw this particular pop culture reference coming—i mean, a CBS afterschool special promoting sexual abstinence isn’t what i’d’ve expected Ms Tyler to be into—but so it goes.

Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart

Nthing you can say? Well, then, why didn’t you not say it?

(This then gets not not said twice more. And no, i don’t have the stamina to reproduce the repetitions here.)

(Turnaround bright eyes)

The background singer has now been joined by an entire chorus of background singers. Given that we’d established earlier that he and Ms Tyler are spooning, this ranks somewhere between creepy and kinky. And here i’d thought that we had an agreement to keep this somewhere to the innocent side of the ratings.

Every now and then I fall apart

Ms Tyler apparently feels strongly enough about this that she repeats it yet again after this. Maybe it’s a warning about her personal state of existence?

But anyway, then we get a repetition of the verse where Ms Tyler informs us she’s always in the dark except for the sparks that blow up the powder keg she lives in, and it continues to not make any sense.

Not that that’s a surprise.

But i’ll skip all of it, except to say that she closes by repeating the words Total eclipse of the heart several times, giving me the excuse (as if i needed one!) to post this.