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.

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