Category Archives: meanings

Interpretations of Dirty Great Monster

It has been a long time since I have taken a good long look at a song’s lyrics and tried to figure out what the heck it is about.  Now, when I started doing this, I asked people to give song suggestions.  I’m still moving through those original one, but am open to getting others.  One song that was mentioned was “Dirty Great Monster” off the Red Carpet Massacre album.  Now, this isn’t a song that has gotten much attention ever.  It wasn’t one of the songs Timbaland was involved with and it wasn’t a single.  It wasn’t played live except for those Broadway shows, in which the entire album was played.  I don’t have much of a connection with it, but I was super fortunate to see it on Broadway as they had the most amazing visuals for this song.  Frankly, I’m still sad that we won’t get to see those again as they were worth the price of admission, for sure.  I did find one clip that showed some of those visuals, but nothing beat seeing them in person.

So, what about the lyrics to this song?

There’s a dirty great monster in this house
We pretend that it’s not there
And there’s no escape from its grip
But nobody seems to care

Do you ever wonder
About the days when we were straight?
But daddy got the hunger
So much to hide, we learn to lie

So watch yourself in the hallway
You’re not supposed to know
‘Cause we’re all afraid of each other
We’re the victims in this show

Well, do you ever wonder
About the days when we were straight?
When daddy got the hunger
Too much to hide, we learn to lie

Silently outnumbered
We made mistakes when we were straight
Now we’re all going under
Oh, oh, so with a sigh we say goodbye

So, what does the song mean?  Interestingly enough, it was the topic of an Ask Katy question in July 2008.  Simon stated, “The truth is that “Dirty GREAT Monster” is about someone close to my extended family, I am really not at liberty to be any more specific than that.”  You can read the full question and answer here.  This leads everyone to assume that Simon is talking about family abuse, specifically, perhaps, sexual abuse of a father to a child with the line about “daddy got the hunger”.

While this domestic abuse, possible sexual abuse, theory is one that is often accepted, I have seen other interpretations.  One theory I saw was that it was about the situation with Andy.  Lines like how there is “no escape” and that you have “hide” and “lie” could imply a lot of situations, including the one with Andy, especially as things were not going well within the inner circle but the band had to publicly say that everything was great.  Thinking about it that way, could the song also be about the music business?  Could Daddy be the business?  Maybe, it is, more specifically, their record label at the time, hungry for the money from record sales.  Everyone sort of ignores the demands and how those demands make artists “lie” and “hide”.  Maybe, they even force bands to work with producers they don’t want to work with and make albums that they aren’t them.     The last verse is particularly interesting in light of this theory.  Could it be the band was outnumbered by the powers that be?  Could those mistakes have been past albums that were made with more independence but didn’t live up to anyone’s standards?  I can’t imagine that life in Duran camp was that great in 2007.  It could have felt like they were “going under”.  Say goodbye could be a reference to Andy.  It could also be about saying goodbye to a major label and those days of commercial success.  It could also be goodbye to artistic integrity.

Yes, this song is one of those songs that seems very obviously about something on the surface but could really be about something else.  What do you think?  Which theory makes the most sense or do you have a different theory?

-A

P.S. Do let me know if you have other songs you want me to look at!

Interpretations of Secret Oktober

It has been a long time (August!) since I have taken the time to really look and analyze a song’s lyrics to determine what the heck they could possibly mean.  I have a few song suggestions left from our friends and followers (and always open for more!).  Out of that list, I chose the song, Secret Oktober.  Why?  Simple.  It is a song that I have been thinking about a lot.  First, Seven and the Ragged Tiger has been an album mentioned a lot lately.  We have been doing reviews of this album.  On top of that, its 30th anniversary just happened.  As part of that, the band did a podcast in which the making of this song was discussed.  I also had a personal anniversary fairly recently in which I saw this song performed in Brighton a little over 2 years ago.  It was a memorable moment for Rhonda and myself.  Yes, everyone around us then knew that we loved the song and were super excited to finally see/hear it live.  It was a song that caught my attention the very first time I heard it.  Like many others, I heard it for the first time at the end credits of Sing Blue Silver.  What is this song, I thought?  Where do I get it?  Let’s just say that I did get that Union of the Snake single pretty quickly after that.  While I may love it, do I really know what it is about?

As always, when I do a blog post like this, I start with a little clip.  As a b-side, there was not an official video made but it was played live some throughout its 30 years.  Here is one of the most recent live performances of it in 2011 in St. Augustine, Florida.

Here are the lyrics:

Wise on a birthday party in a world full of surprising fireworks
And sudden silence shh
Lying on a strangers bed the new day breaks like a speeding train or an old friend
Ever expected but never knocking
Holding your own in a battered car all night parties cocktail bars
And smile when the butterfly escapes the killing jar

Sure eyes awake before the dancing is over wise or naked in secret Oktober

Freefall on a windy morning shore nothing but a fading track of footsteps
Could prove that you never been there
Spoken on a cotton cloud like the sound of gunshot taken by the wind
And lost in distant thunder racing on a shining plain
And tomorrow you’ll be content to watch as the lightning plays along the wires and you’ll wonder

Sure eyes awake before the dancing is over wise or naked in secret Oktober
Sure eyes awake before the dancing is over wise or naked in secret Oktober

So what could these lyrics mean?  What kind of theories are out there?  There are a few out there on the internet.  The first theory is that it is about rethinking one’s life on a birthday.  Life used to be a lot of parties but that life has gotten tired.  Second theory is that it is about someone thinking about suicide.  A third theory is that it is about Simon’s attempts to meditate and have out of body experiences.  Of course, we recently learned that the song was written and recorded in one night, done quickly as they needed a b-side for Union of the Snake.  Interestingly enough, the meaning of the song was also an Ask Katy question.  Simon responded that it was about escaping one’s birthday.  So, do any of these theories hold up?

Theory #1:  Rethinking life and choices on one’s birthday
The first line definitely fits this idea since it is a birthday party and being wise means that one might have learned something.  The new day could also imply that it was the day of a new year and it could be that one is thinking of those all night parties and cocktail bars.  Maybe the memories do bring a smile to one’s face.  Then, the second verse sort of throws me.  Is it about the thoughts one will have in the future if the first verse was about the past?  The future then will be stormy with the references to thunder and lightning?  I’m just not sure this completely follows the theory.

Theory #2:  Suicide
The only thing that I could see connecting to this idea is the gunshot.  The last line of the second verse, though, doesn’t fit.  “And tomorrow you’ll be content to watch as the lightning plays…”  If you are going to kill yourself, you won’t have a tomorrow and you won’t be content.  Right?  Am I missing something?

Theory #3:  Simon’s attempt to meditate
In all fairness, I don’t know much about meditation.  One line that is referenced with this theory is that line about the butterfly escaping is how his soul is escaping his body.  Another idea is that the footsteps line along with free fall and cloud are all words and phrases to show Simon’s out of body travels.  I suppose this theory is possible but then there are lines about the battered car and about the all night parties.  Those seem to be very in body experiences.  I think I need a lot more information on this theory or else, I’m just not seeing it.
What do I think?  I think this song talks a lot about what life was like for Duran in 1983.  Were there all night parties and cocktail bars?  Absolutely.  Did they wake up on a stranger’s bed?  I’m sure.  Did they leave very little evidence of being there?  Quite possibly, especially if it was just a one night deal.  Did some of those mornings greet them like a speeding train?  I have no doubt.  Hangovers aren’t always so fun and that is what I immediately thought of.  Perhaps, they would wonder if they were wise in these choices to party all night.  No matter, these experiences, these interactions were short lived and temporary as are elements in nature like clouds, wind and thunder.  Yes, they will wonder in the future about this lifestyle.  
So, what do the rest of you think?  Do one of those theories hold up?  Am I on the right track?  Do you have any even better theory?  Please share!
-A

Interpretations of Nightboat

I have been slowly going through the list of songs that people wanted me to interpret, to ponder, to try and figure out what the heck they mean.  Today, I will look back to a song off the band’s first album, to a song that many people love despite it not being a single.  Of course, the video with the zombie storyline and speaking parts probably didn’t hurt.  Yep, today, I will take a good look at the song, Nightboat.  I like the song and always have.  I have appreciated its darker quality and will often think of this one when someone assumes(d) that Duran was nothing more than carefree, bubble gum pop.  This is one track that proves that idea is completely wrong.  Let’s take some time to actually watch a clip before reading the lyrics and analyzing them.  This clip is from the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1981.

Here are the song lyrics before I dive into theories out there and my theory, in particular.

Standing on the edge of a quay no lights flashing on the water for me
Fog in my mind darkens my eyes silently streaming for a distant sound
Ripple river yellows rising for a breath of breeding and drowns
Stillness overcomes me in the night listen to the rising water moan

I’m waiting, waiting for the night boat woo I’m waiting
Waiting for the night boat

Shadows all through me shudder away echo me echo me (echo me)
Am I alone or is the river alive cause it echoes me, echoes me, echoes me

I’m waiting, waiting for the night boat woo I’m waiting
Waiting for the night boat

Waiting (waiting) waiting for the night boat woo I’m waiting (waiting)
Waiting for the night boat waiting for the night boat woo I’m waiting
Waiting for the night boat I’m waiting for the night boat

Now, that we have the lyrics in front of us, I wonder what theories are out there about what the song is about.  Some of the theories I found include that it is about a curse, gaining fame, and how the mind plays tricks on you.  Duran’s wiki doesn’t offer too much of a hint instead tells us that Simon wrote it on a bus ride home at night.

So, what do I think about these various theories?  Like always, let’s look at them one at a time.  Theory number 1 says that the song is about a curse.  Could that be it?  The very first line has the narrator standing at a dock, looking at the water that doesn’t have any lights.  Clearly, it is night time.  “Fog in my mind” could be confusion and “darkens my eyes” could mean that this confusion means that the person isn’t seeing things clearly.  “Streaming for a distant sound” could be that the person is listening for the sound of someone or something there.  I suppose this could be ghost like or something else supernatural.  Certainly, the video might push us in that direction.  The water rippling could indicate movement.  Could the “yellow” be the light color of the tide?  “Rising for a breath” could be again the rise of the tide.   The end of that line could be that the tide comes up and goes back down and gets repeated.  This whole line could just be what the narrator sees as he stands on the dock.  The last line of that verse makes it seem like nothing else is moving but the water that is also making noise.   Then, of course, the chorus brings up this “night boat”.  Is it really a boat at night?  Is it the saving grace from a curse?  Maybe.  The line about “shadows all through me shudder away” could indicate again supernatural.  Could also just be the fear of being alone.  Obviously, the line about the river being alive is straight up personification.  Could it be that the supernatural entity comes from the water?  I suppose.  Thus, here is what I would say.  This curse theory is a possible one, if it is broadened to include the supernatural, in general, but that is as far as one can go.

What about the theory about gaining fame?  Obviously, to believe this theory, one has to accept that the nightboat represents fame, that it is a symbol.  Certainly, fame would stop someone from being alone.  The distant sound could be the crowd, the fans.  I like the idea of this but I don’t really know how the rest of the lyrics would fit in.  What is the fog then?  What is darkening the eyes?  What is the quay then-the edge of celebrity status?  This theory is definitely an interesting one but one that requires much more of a stretch, I think.

What about the last theory about how the mind plays tricks on you?  This one could go along with the curse theory, except that there really isn’t some ghost or supernatural entity involved. Like the curse theory, this one seems possible and might make more sense for those people who are more into reality.  What do I think?  I think it is probably this one.  I think the song could be how the mind plays tricks, especially since it seems very possible if someone is standing by dark waters in the middle of the night by himself.  That said, I love the video with the members of the band becoming zombie-like.  What do the rest of you think?

-A

Interpretations of To the Shore

This song, To the Shore, has been on my list of songs to interpret for awhile but I have not wanted to tackle it.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps, it is because I have never had a real strong connection to the song.  I blame that on becoming a fan in 1984.  I only knew the first album to include Is There Something I Should Know and didn’t discover this song until much later.  Maybe, it is because I don’t have a strong opinion about what the heck this song is about.  It hasn’t hit me, in some way, the way other songs have.  Before we begin, I would love to include a clip of the song.  As we all know, there is not a video that corresponds with this song and I couldn’t even find a clip of it.  I’m sure that part of the reason for that is because it is not something played live and it is a track that is a bit more rare from even the others off that first album.  Here are the lyrics, though.

Oh when your nine day feed is up and you’ve drained your loving cup
Come stands reeling to the shore oh when the brave are coming out
The dry fight and the dusty shout see you crawling on the floor
And diamond stars shining glitter bright gorging your sanhedralites
Words are falling to the floor glad stand pouring fruit trees
And now they glisten on the waterline sing home you are at the shore
I’m moving crissie pretty flowers in the shutter maze
Haul up all your petty desires leave them lying down they fall
Wash away the rusty disease of your brown town days in our silver sea
Leave it dying at the door feather yellow your time to leave
Open out your arms and breathe
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh to the shore now
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh to the shore now come on

Every time I look at those lyrics, my reaction is always the same.  I’m a little stunned, a little overwhelmed as I know that the meaning isn’t super obvious or super clear.  Where to start thinking about this?  I checked Duran Duran’s wiki, which you could find here.  According to this website, Simon said the following about this song:  “Whenever I listen to ‘To The Shore’ I am completely nonplussed as to what it is really about.  I think I was going through an experimental/impressionistic phase with my lyrics.  I didn’t really care what the words actually meant; rather, what people read into them was the important factor, like a sort of Rorschach test.  I do recall one of the tutors at Birmingham University, where I studied drama, was called Chrissie and I remember being quite fascinated with her, but quite why she figures in the song I have long since forgotten.”  Hmm…if we assume that this quote
is correct, this would mean that there really isn’t a meaning.  While that very well might be the case, it still is fun to see if some meaning could be pulled out.  So what theories are out there?  Well, shockingly enough or not so shocking, but there are very few theories out there.  One theory I did see thought that it was about masterbation.  Truly, that doesn’t seem to make any sense to me.  I don’t get it.  Maybe, that is just the assumption this person makes about any lyrics that aren’t so easy to understand.

Let’s look at it line by line.

Oh when your nine day feed is up and you’ve drained your loving cup- Perhaps, this is a reference to work.  You drained your loving cup meaning that you worked until you couldn’t work anymore.  Maybe, you worked nine days in a row.  Just a guess.
Come stands reeling to the shore oh when the brave are coming out- Hmm…this reminds me of the Battle at Normandy during World War II when the Allied landed on the beaches of Normandy, France.  Certainly, those soldiers definitely met the definition of brave.  Likewise, they could have worked very hard and “drained your loving cup,” too.
The dry fight and the dusty shout see you crawling on the floor- Fight could be another reference to war.  Yet, this fight is dry and dusty.  This could reference how World War II was fought in many places around the world, including places like Africa.
And diamond stars shining glitter bright gorging your sanhedralites- Star shining bright could be obviously referring to the stars in the sky.  Gorging your sanhedralites, on the the other hand, is a bit tough.  Sanhedralities has some connection with a translation of a writing in Judaism.  Again, this could be a connection to World War II.
Words are falling to the floor glad stand pouring fruit trees- I always took the line about words falling to the floor to mean as these words are said they aren’t hanging in the air.  Instead, it could be that they get buried and eventually lead to growth of something–in this case, fruit.  What I mean by this is that words are said and can lead to something positive or negative and here it was positive and “fruitful”.
And now they glisten on the waterline sing home you are at the shore- Could this be that the soldier has arrived home or is about to return home?  The memories, the words remain at the “waterline”, or at the battle.
I’m moving crissie pretty flowers in the shutter maze- There is the reference to the girl that Simon’s quote talked about.  Maybe, this guy is moving forward by going back home to his girlfriend.  He will bring her flowers and will take pictures (shutter maze reference).
Haul up all your petty desires leave them lying down they fall- Now that this guy has experienced war, he realizes that he can’t be worried about the little things and petty things in life.  He has to let them go.
Wash away the rusty disease of your brown town days in our silver sea- Rusty disease implies that the disease is old-fashioned.  Could it just be the hatred that brought the war on?
Leave it dying at the door feather yellow your time to leave- Maybe, the hatred is something he has from the war and that he has to let it go (“leave it dying”) before he really returns home (“at the door”). It is time to leave the battlefield, physically and emotionally, and go home.
Open out your arms and breathe- Now, it is time to live, to breathe. 


My interpretation is a rather simple one.  I took it to be about a soldier during World War II who experienced battle and hatred, but also bravery.  Now, the war is over and his return home is coming.  He has to let go of the hatred in order to move forward with his life and his girlfriend.  Of course, the song really could be about nothing and just lines that sounded like good poetry when written.  I will also admit that I am not someone with any talent in interpreting literature, poetry, etc.  Nope, I am a social scientist by nature.  I can read, write and analysis the world and the world’s people, but fall short with literature.  Nonetheless, it was fun to try to figure it out.  So, what do the rest of you think?  What is this song all about?

-A







Interpretations of Before the Rain

Before the Rain is a song that has been suggested a few times whenever I do a blog about what a certain Duran song means.  On one hand, I have always wanted to tackle it.  On the other hand, I doubt I will do it justice.  It is very clear to me that this is some of the best lyrics of Simon’s.  It feels like pure poetry and the music just brings the mood of the poem to life.  I have to admit that it is one of my favorite tracks off of All You Need Is Now and probably one of my favorite Duran songs of all time.  It is a song that spoke to me right away and formed an immediate connection.  Thus, for me, this song has come to represent a very specific meaning for me, personally.  Overall, we know that the song ended the album and was also used to open the concerts when the band returned to playing after Simon’s vocal problems in the fall of 2011.  Here is a clip of the song from A Diamond in the Mind:

Now, before we dive into possible meanings, let’s look at the lyrics:

A stormy summer
Is rolling closer
Lighting up this holy smoker
And if this drinking
Could ease the thinking
I toast to my home truth with this glass

All rise you promises broken
Call my lovers by their names
Lost hearts and words
That are spoken to the wind
Which blows before the rain

Little pin-pricks
And how my ears bleed
On the bomb ticks that is my heartbeat
In every life-flash
In every car crash
I hear the silence waiting to fall

All rise you promises broken
Call my lovers by their names
Lost hearts and words
That are spoken to the wind
Which blows before the rain

For all I carry
Are murdered secrets
The price of my blue
Star-eyed weakness
And so we travel
And we unravel
Towards the place
Where all loose ends go

All rise you promises broken
Call my lovers by their names
Lost hearts and words
That are spoken to the wind
Which blows before the rain

As always, when I start to examine a song’s possible meaning, I look online and to see what interpretations are out there.  Well, as you would expect because the song is so new, there are not many interpretations out there.  The one I did find was a general “about rough times” with the rain representing a kind of “rock bottom”.  This not very specific idea seems very plausible to me since there are many lines to indicate rough times, such as “a stormy summer” (storm as metaphor for problems), “promises broken”, “lost hearts and words”, “we unravel” and more.  Obviously, though, Simon made sure that he was going to use more metaphorical language to describe these rough times.  Yet, is that all there is to it?
According to this website here, Simon said that the song was about “a man surrounded by these ghosts of guilt.  He realizes he has to keep moving but they will always come with him.”  I can definitely see the guilt aspect in the lyrics.  For example, he drinks in order to “ease the thinking” or to stop thinking.  Perhaps, he needs to stop thinking about what he has done.  The line about “promises broken” could indicate that he broke promises.  Maybe, he broke promises to “lovers” that he could name.  These broken promises caused heartache (“little pin-pricks and how my ears bleed on the bomb ticks, that is my heartbeat”).  Of course, whatever was done, whatever was said has never really been resolved (“loose ends”).  Then, it is possible that the confession and the request for forgiveness is said aloud to no one but the wind (“spoken to the wind”), which is followed by tears (“rain”).  Now, obviously, I’m just trying to use this supposed quote of Simon’s to interpret the lyrics.  I could be way off.  Yet, I enjoy the task of trying, much like what is done in literature classes with classic pieces of literature or poetry.
For me, personally, this song has always represented a time of grief.  As I mentioned before, I heard this song at a time in my life in which I lost my beloved cat and my only grandparent.  The rain clearly represented the tears of grief.  In fact, I listened to this song as my family drove to Chicago for my grandma’s funeral.  It was New Year’s Eve 2010.  As the family moved into position at the cemetery, the rain began and I looked over at my mother (she was my mom’s mom) as she stood alone and the song appeared in my mind.  Then, the stormy summer idea has proved to be true as well for me.  In 2011 and 2012, I was reeling from the political actions of the winter and the upcoming elections to try and fix the damages.  I also faced significant changes in my job.  In 2011, I moved to teaching a different grade at the end of the year.  In 2012, I interviewed and took a position at a different school.  Now, in 2013, I face another “stormy summer” as I will be looking for a different position all together due to the “promises broken” regarding the state of education and my teaching career, in general.  I’m sure that there will be “words that are spoken to the wind” by me before it is all over.  Thus, for me, this song has come to represent the incredible difficult emotions connected to grief of all kinds, including deaths of loved ones and deaths of a big part of oneself.
So, what do the rest of you think?  What is this song about?  What does it mean for you?
-A

Interpretations of A Matter of Feeling

It’s Sunday and I’m trying to adjust to the new time as we had to “spring forward” today by an hour.  Painful.  My brain isn’t feeling super creative with coming up with a cool, new, interesting topic.  Thus, it might be time to look at a Duran song, lyrically.  Create, I cannot do.  Analyze, I can.  Anyway, I took a look at the songs that people suggested we focus on and picked the song, A Matter of Feeling.  This song is off of Notorious and not one that gets a lot of attention as it wasn’t a single.  I also don’t hear it mentioned as a fan favorite at all.  Nonetheless, it is worthy of a look.

Here are the lyrics:
How does it feel, when everyone surrounds you?
How do you deal, Do crowds make you feel lonely?
What do you say?
When people come and try to pin you down?
Aquaintainces smile, but that’s no understanding.
How after a while, you keep falling off the same mountain.
Try to explain it, but nothing really gets that high.
Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you
Just a habit you’re forming, this body’s desperate for something new
Just a matter of feeling.
This moment’s madness sure to pass
And tears will dry as you’re leaving
Who knows you might find something to last..
Emotion’s a game , saved up for a rainy Monday
But you laugh just the same, ’cause it’s been pouring on Sunday;
Call up your numbers and never let the zeros let you down.
How does it feel?
Is time to heavy to hold, whatever you decide for the moment is holy,
whenever you slow down to see life is passing by.

Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you
Just a habit you’re forming, this body’s desperate for something new
Just a matter of feeling.
This moment’s madness sure to pass
And tears will dry as you’re leaving
Who knows you might find something to last..

(You can..)
Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you
Just a habit you’re forming, this body’s desperate for something new
Just a matter of feeling.
This moment’s madness sure to pass
And tears will dry as you’re leaving
Who knows you might find something to last..

A matter of feeling..
A matter of feeling..
A matter of feeling..
A matter of feeling..

So, what are the various interpretations out there and are they logical ones?  Here are the few I could find:
*About the band’s attempt to gain respect but how that isn’t their real focus
*Positivity towards the future
*The end of a relationship that got into a rut and resulted in cheating
*Financial fall out connected to the end of a relationship
*A person looking for love and a real connection through one night stands
Hm…Do these interpretations make sense?  Let’s take them one at a time.  Could it be about the band’s lack of desire to gain respect?  The only line that I could relate to this idea is the line about never letting “zeros get you down”.  That could mean that it shouldn’t or doesn’t matter if they get hits.  Yet, I struggle to figure out how the rest of the lyrics relate to that idea.  Why would the body be desperate for something new, if they were content with not having respect?  Nope.  That one doesn’t work for me.  
The positivity towards the future interpretation doesn’t really work for me, either.  Where’s the positive?  “Tears will dry as you leave” doesn’t feel all that positive to me.  “This moment’s madness sure to pass” could be that the bad times won’t last forever.  Okay.  I’ll go with that.  If the song is describing rock bottom, which I could get, that line about how the madness won’t last forever and the line about never letting the zeros get you down could be about holding on until it gets better, I guess.  I will say this much.  This interpretation works better than the first one.  
What about the idea that it is about the end of a relationship that involved cheating and financial problems?  So far, this one works for me the best.  There are many lyrics that could work for this one.  The beginning verse describes a person feeling lonely despite being surrounded by others and that there is not understanding.  I also get the idea of cheating with lines like, “Steal away in the morning, love’s already history to you.”  The lines about tears falling could relate as well.  Yet, of course, these affairs don’t cut it as there is still desperation for something new.  Nothing is working.  Of course, all of these same lyrics could be used to describe someone looking for a real connection.  This person might be lonely, not because of a failed relationship, but just because no one has really connected with him/her.  Therefore, the last theory could work as well.
My thoughts about this song were a little different.  I always thought it was about Duran during that time.  Crowds surrounded them.  Yet, they felt lonely.  The general population could not understand what their lives were like and people were always trying to get something from them.  The high could a real high, I suppose, or the high that comes from performing.  Zeros could be about the lack of hits.  Now, we all know that many members of the band weren’t exactly saints when it came to the love and sex department.  One night stands were not unheard of.  Perhaps, in fact, they were pretty common and were becoming a bad habit at that point. 
What do the rest of you think?  How do you interpret the song?  Do one these interpretations work for you?  Do you have a different theory?
-A

Interpretations of Box Full O’ Honey

When I started examining the lyrics of various Duran Duran songs, a number of songs were suggested to me.  Box Full O’Honey, off of the Red Carpet Massacre album, was one.  I wasn’t so excited to tackle this one for a few reasons.  First, it is a more recent song, which makes it harder to analyze, I think.  Second, it is a song off an album that still creates very strong feelings among many members of the fan community.  Will discussing it become a debate about RCM?  Third, it isn’t a song that I have a strong connection with.  In fact, the only connection I can think of is that I saw the song performed live during the band’s run on Broadway to introduce the album.  It didn’t move me much then.  I remember that the background video for it was simple.  That’s it.  That said, I do have my thoughts about the song and about the lyrics.  Before I dive into possible interpretations, I give you a clip of the song and the lyrics.

“Box Full O’ Honey”

Box full o’ honey
At the sharp end of the view
The edge of me and you
And all good sense had tread no further
And as the ghost will shiver trees
How I’m trembling on my knees
But I’m still drawn on by the murmur

Are you laughing at me now
In my circumstance
When still I wear I your crown
My life’s penitence
And for what
What’s so funny
A box full o honey

What I thought a pretty tune
Was howling at the moon
To keep me company this evening
It’s so lonely in the dirt
A scratching at the hurt
But I so generously did leave you

Are you laughing at me now
In my circumstance
When still I wear I your crown
Some cruel penitence
for what
What’s so funny
Box full o honey

Is she flirting with me now
Ohh
Is she dallying with me now
Ohh
ohhh
Are you flirting with me now
You’ll always be my queen of tumble down
Miss melancholy

Are you laughing at me now
In my circumstance
When still I wear I your crown
And my life’s a penitence
And for what
What’s so funny
Ain’t it funny
A box full o honey

Since this song was released in the fall of 2007, will there even be any interpretations of it out there?  There are not many interpretations but I did find a couple.

*Confusion and loneliness

*About a guy who is in a relationship where the woman has a hold on him

*Yasmin

Could the song be about confusion and/or loneliness?  If there is loneliness, I don’t think it is the I’m by myself kind of loneliness.  It could be that this she is someone who rejected the narrator with lines like “Are you laughing at me now” or in which the narrator does not get what he emotionally needs from the relationship.  Both situations could lead to straight up loneliness.  Yet, I think confusion is a much better description since on one hand she is laughing but then she might be flirting.  It might be the narrator has no real idea what the other person thinks or feels as they demonstrate behavior that contradicts. 

What about the second theory that this guy is held, emotionally, by a woman?  That seems to fit with lines like “When still I wear your crown”.  Perhaps, he stays despite himself as a line like “And all good sense has tread no further”.  The use of the word, “circumstance” also implies that it isn’t always smooth sailing and that there are problems surrounding the relationship.  Whatever the situation is, he does not seem like he is ready to leave any time soon with lines like, “You’ll always be my queen of tumble down” or “But I’m still drawn on by the murmur.”

Is the song about Yasmin?  I have no idea.  Could all of the lyrics involving a woman be directed at her?  It is possible.  We know that Come Undone was written with Yasmin in mind.  I offer a slightly different interpretation and one that I prefer to think of.  What if it is about fans?  What if it is about female fans, specifically?  Now, before I dive into how that would fit, I’ll be honest that if I can make any of their lyrics about fans and fandom I will.  I am a sap that way.  The murmur could be our voices and our voices could cause Simon and the rest of the band to be “drawn on”.  It could make them continue.  The crown could be this idea that we have fans have made them idols, celebrities.  Does being a subject of fandom or being a fan make you someone to be made fun of?  It certainly can.  The songs keep us company as the line about the “pretty tune” would imply.  Then, the next verse with flirting definitely fits.  Fans definitely do flirt.

Do I really think the song is about Simon and the band’s relationship with the fans and how we keep them going?  Probably not but I prefer to think of it that way.  It gives me a connection to the song that I wouldn’t have otherwise and isn’t that what songs are supposed to do?  Aren’t they supposed to connect to the listeners?  What do you think?  Is my idea far fetched?  Are the other theories better?

-A

Interpretations of New Moon on Monday

Today is my last blog of the weekend as I’m going out of town for the Inauguration.  Do not fret, dear readers, there will be a blog tomorrow.  It is a gem of a guest blog so make sure to check it out.  Likewise, there will still be updates to Today in Duran’s History and the question of the day.  Yet, I hope to be leaving you with a blog that both bring a smile to your face and make you think a bit.  This blog will continue the new series of interpretations of various Duran songs.  This week, I tackle another song off of Seven and the Ragged Tiger, which is New Moon on Monday.  This song is one that many fans seem to like and one that I often hear requested to be paid live, despite the difficult notes that Simon would have to sing.  Personally, I like the song and, like many of you, I adore this video.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is my all-time favorite video.  The video has become so connected to the song for me that I can’t separate the two, really.  In fact, if asked what the song means, I would probably pop out with an underground movement pushing for a revolution against a tyrannical government.  Do the lyrics support that idea?  Let’s take a look and see but before we do that, let’s watch that fun video first!

So, what about those lyrics?

Shake up the picture the lizard mixture
With your dance on the eventide
You got me coming up with answers
All of which I deny
I said it again
Could I please rephrase it
Maybe I can catch a ride
I couldn’t really put it much plainer
But I’ll wait till you decide
Send me your warning siren
As if I could ever hide
Last time La Luna

[CHORUS]

I light my torch and wave it for the
New moon on Monday
And a firedance through the night
I stayed the cold day with a lonely satellite

Breaking away with the best of both worlds
A smile that you can’t disguise
Every minute I keep finding
Clues that you leave behind
Save me from these reminders
As if I’d forget tonight
This time La Luna

[CHORUS]

Now, what are the online theories about what this song means?  There are a few main theories about what the song could mean.  These theories are as follows:

*About an ex-girlfiriend who the guy is interested in getting back together

*Trying to date a shy or indecisive girl

*Revolutions or attempted revolutions

*Guy Fawkes conspiracy

It seems to me that these theories fall into two main categories:  relationships or revolutions.  Could the song be about trying to get back together with an ex-girlfriend or trying to get together with a shy or indecisive girl?  Well, the line about waiting for you to decide in the first verse could indicate these theories.  Heck, the line about coming up with answers that are denied could imply that the guy could have gotten an answer and is ignoring it or denying it.  The second verse could be about how the guy is looking for clues that says that the female really is interested.  Perhaps, he is remembering time spent together when they were together, which the line about “save me from these reminders” could be about.  What about the chorus?  Could the chorus be about the decision being told on Monday, which starts a whole “new” life?  After all, the guy has survived being “cold” or alone and “lonely”.  This theory seems possible.

What about the other major theory that the song really is about a revolution?  After all, the video showed that.  Did they come to that storyline because that actually matched the meaning?  Let’s see if the lyrics fit.  Shaking up the picture definitely could be a reference to changing something.  I’m not sure about the lizard part as the lizard symbolizes really different things in different cultures.  In Western cultures, it has been used like a snake to indicate evil.  The next couple of lines could be about how the government gives answers or statements to the people in order to get the people to think something.  Yet, this person denies the truth to these statements.  Perhaps, this person sheds light on to the propaganda or the lies.  Of course, there are warning sirens as a result.  The chorus definitely could indicate a change, which is what a new moon implies.  This change could be celebrated with a dance.  Then, what about the second verse?  It begins with the idea of “breaking away”.  Again, this could indicate a change.  This breaking away is also keeping the best of both worlds–maybe some elements of the old government would stay when combined with the new government.  I’m not sure about the clues part.

Then, there is the possibility that it has to do with Guy Fawkes.  Who was that, many of you might be wondering.  Well, from what I understand, Guy Fawkes was one of 13 men who plotted to blow up the House of Parliament in 1605 because they felt the King was mistreating Catholics.  The plan was simple.  They would store gunpowder in the cellar.  Yet, some of these men had second thoughts and sent out warnings.  This resulted in their arrest and execution.  That night, bonfires were set to celebrate the safety of the king.  Typically, these bonfires were accompanied with a fireworks display.  This story is fascinating to me since there seems to be a lot in common with the video.  Hmm…

Which theory do I like best?  I don’t know.  As a historian who has focused on social movements and political revolutions, I love the idea that it is indeed about a revolution or an underground movement.  Plus, I admit that I have a hard time separating the video from the song.  Thus, I immediately go there.  That said, I could definitely see it being about the attempt to getting with or back with a girl.  Could it be about something else?  Of course.  What do you the rest of you think?

-A   

P.S.  Suggestions for the next song?

Interpretations of Palomino

This week, for my weekly analysis of Duran song lyrics, I decided to tackle the song, Palomino off of the Big Thing album.  Why choose this song of all their songs?  Simple.  It has been suggested a few times.  Now, I have to admit that when this song was requested, I wasn’t that excited.  I don’t feel like I have a connection at all to this song.  It is one of those Duran songs that I would have to go through album lists to come up with.  It is one, for me, that faded into the background.  It isn’t that I don’t like the song.  It just isn’t one that I love or hate.  No strong emotional reactions pop up when it comes on.  Perhaps, though, this is the best reason to analyze it.  Maybe, I will get more of a connection by doing so.

As always, I begin my analysis by posting a video of the song and the lyrics.  Now, this track did not have an official video but I was able to find this live gem from the Milan show in 1988:

Lyrics:
She lays on the wall watching the strangers drift away. Mid-day’s o’er thick with the sun of Arabia. She surrenders her voices; they gather on the wind – talking, chanting, breathing into her body. Yesterdays. Mmm mmm mmm mmm. Awaken beside the scent of burnt sugar on her skin. Painting eyes -thick- with the colour she brings in. Oh, it’s sure and strong as the lightning tumbles down. Don’t you frown. Everything will be in time for this evening.

(bridge)
If there’s secrets she has to be party to everyone of them. If there’s heaven she gets to the heart and you’ll wonder…

(chorus)
Why she stays when I run out of blue
Help me rise and stand – now I can run to you.
Why she stays when I run out of blue.
Give me red instead -now let me run.

(bridge)
If there’s secrets she has to be party to everyone of them. If there’s heaven she gets to the heart and you’ll know just…

(chorus)
Why she stays when I run out of blue
Help me rise and stand – now I can run to you.
Why she stays when I run out of blue.
Give me red instead -now let me run.

Hey! Hey!

(chorus)
Why she stays when I run out of blue
Help me rise and stand – now I can run to you.
Why she stays when I run out of blue.
Give me red instead -now let me run.

What kind of theories are out there about what this song means?  Well, interestingly enough, this song was the topic of 2 Ask Katy questions.  In those answers, Simon mentioned that the chorus came from a quote from the famous artist, Pablo Picasso.  The quote was a response to a question that asked Picasso what he did when he ran out of blue paint to which he responded, “Why, I use red instead!”  The connection to this quote of Picasso’s is obvious.  The other Ask Katy response by Simon mentioned that the song is about a beautiful girl he has known.  Would that make sense?  Well, the pronoun used is a she.

The internet theories about this one aren’t numerous but do include the following:

*A Horse

*Drugs

As always, let’s take them one at a time.  Palomino is a coat color in horses in which the horse has a gold coat and a white mane.  These types of horses are often featured in movies and in parades.  Their origin is most likely European/Asian with a rich history in Spain and is a Spanish word.  Do the lyrics fit this type of  horse?  The first verse could be talking about a horse spending her day outside with the wind.  Color is emphasized as well with the line “Painting eyes -thick – with the colour she brings in”.  The only line that throws me slightly is the line about Arabia.  The image then that pops into my mind is that of a desert and bright sunshine.  Were Palomino horses found in Arabia?  Maybe, they were in the Crusades??  A horse could definitely take in secrets in that she would be around to hear all the people talking and she could, as any animal like this could, get into someone’s heart and be loved by that person.  The chorus could also fit this with the image of letting someone run.  Does this mesh with Simon’s statement that it is about a beautiful girl.  Sure could.  That beautiful girl could be a horse.

What about the other commonly suggested theory that it was about drugs?  According to the theory, the burning of sugar is related to drug use.  To me, this is quite a stretch.  Yes, I realize that the use of some drugs require burning them in a spoon to liquify them.  Yet, it isn’t sugar that this is done with.  Could sugar stand for the drug?  I suppose but there doesn’t seem to be much else in the song to indicate drug use.  On the other hand, that sugar could be referring to the white mane of a palomino horse or even sugar cubes that the horse could have.

To summarize, I think in all likelihood the song is about a horse.  Could it be about a woman who is outside, is told secrets, is able to be loved, and is able to let someone run or be free?  Absolutely, it could.  We find this pattern throughout Duran’s history, haven’t we?  Take Leopard for example.  Is it about a leopard or a woman?  Either way, those theories make a lot more sense than the drug use one!  Now, what should I analyze next?!

-A  

Interpretations of (I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement

Last week when I discussed The Reflex and what the heck it could possibly mean, I also asked what other songs should I examine and try to figure out meanings.  I got many songs suggested to me but one song in particular was given by more than one person.  That song is from the same era as The Reflex and that is (I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement.  Unlike The Reflex, I don’t have some huge memories attached to this one.  I will say this.  It wasn’t a song that hit me when I first got Seven and the Ragged Tiger as a kid.  Maybe, it was that I didn’t get it back then as I do remember thinking that the lyrics were goofy.  I like it better now.  Do I have a better grasp of what it could mean?  We will see.  On a different note, I do remember a story I heard on an interview with Duran in which Simon discussed how his pants ripped at the seam during the middle of a concert.  Apparently, he decided that stapling the pants together would help, but did not.  John’s response to this story was to ask Simon if they were performing Cracks in the Pavement! Oh, how, I appreciate that sense of humor!!!  Before I dive into possible theories, let’s take a look at a fan video that was made with the song.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

I shed my skin
When the party was about to begin
I’m light years away but I’m walking back tonight
Of all nights
When I should be feeling just right
Don’t want to be in public
My head is full of chopstick
I don’t like it

[CHORUS]
Something on my mind
Breaking open doors I had sealed up before
Something on my mind
Makes me run when I thought I’d run too far

Somebody shaking my tree
Maybe that somebody is me
I’m standing in the light but
I’m making a break for the shadows
On the cinema wall
They should be mine but I’m not that tall
Now I’m saying this in privaate
If I had a car I’d drive it
Insane

[CHORUS]

I’m looking for cracks in the pavement

Unlike The Reflex, there are not as many interpretations online for this song.  There are a few theories, though.  They are as follows:

*Being high

*Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

*Feeling out of place

*Having a mental breakdown

Those are interesting theories.  Could it be that the song is about being high?  The line about the “head being full of chopsticks” could refer to that.  Yet, it seems to me that I would really have to stretch to get the other lyrics to match drug use.  :A break for the shadows” could be about hiding drug use or hiding when making a drug purchase, but again that would be a stretch.  Perhaps, the theory really is that the lyrics isn’t about being high but written while high.  I have no idea about that, but I tend to think that these lyrics are pretty coherent, if that was the case.

If the first theory doesn’t really fit, what about this idea of obsessive-compulsive disorder?  I immediately have a hard time with this theory because mental illnesses like this were not talked about as much as they are now or even 10 years ago.  Thus, I’m already dubious, but let’s look at the lyrics with that lens on anyway.  Before I do, though, it is important to note, what characteristics are common with OCD.  According to the DSM-IV (manual of mental illness–yes, I own a copy.  I work with children with emotional/behavioral disorders.), a person with OCD has persistent thoughts/impulses/images that cause stress and demonstrate repetitive behavior or acts done to ease that stress.  In all seriousness, typically, the behaviors seen include things like washing hands, counting, checking locks, turning on/off lights, etc.  Now, of course, OCD is often used to describe someone who pays a great deal of attention to detail and has to have everything just so.  (I, of course, have never been described in this way, especially not when it comes to things like the tour binder.  No way.  Absolutely not.)  Does the song indicate any/many/all of these characteristics?  Well, “Something on my mind” and “makes me run when I thought I’d run too far” could indicate persistent thoughts and compulsive running.  Again, though, the rest of the lyrics would be a stretch. 

Keeping to the topic of mental health, does this song imply a mental breakdown?  Obviously, the line about having someone on my mind could be that there is a lot of activity going on.  Likewise, the line about driving the car insane could imply some sort of mental illness.  I suppose the line about having a head full of chopsticks could imply some sort of mental health issue.  My problem with this theory is that not every struggle, mentally and/or emotionally, about one’s life indicates a mental illness or a mental break.  All people struggle, emotionally or mentally, at various times.  That’s normal and this song feels like the person is dealing with something normal/common, at least to me.

What about the third theory?  Could it be about feeling out of place?  It seems to me there are some lyrics to fit this, including lines like “when I should be feeling just right, don’t want to be in public”.  Even the line about standing in light but seeking out the darkness could indicate that the person doesn’t want to be spotted and talked to because the person is feeling out of place.  Heck, even the shadow he is producing doesn’t match.  Thus, this theory out of all of them seems to make the most sense but I think it could be even less complicated than that.  Couldn’t it just be that the person isn’t feeling like himself?  “I shed my skin” could be saying that they are feeling open, feeling vulnerable, emotionally.  This, of course, is particularly problematic when you are leaving for a party.  Instead of being excited about the party, you are thinking about something else, something in the past and can’t let it go, which leaves you feeling like your head is “full of chopsticks”.  In fact, these thoughts are shaking this person, meaning that these thoughts are upsetting.  Perhaps, then, the person decides to try to avoid people and his thoughts by going to the movies but that doesn’t even work.  Maybe, the car reference is that whatever happened in the past, happened somewhere else.  Thus, if a car was available, he would drive to this other place or time but that wouldn’t help either.  It would only “drive” him crazy. 

What do the rest of you think?  Do you think one of these theories make sense?  Do you have a different idea? 

-A

P.S. What song should I tackle next???