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.

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