"The Stranger" as written by and Billy Joel....
Well, we all have a face that we hide away forever
And we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone.
Some are satin, some are steel,
Some are silk and some are leather.
They're the faces of a stranger,
But we'd love to try them on.

Well, we all fall in love,
But we disregard the danger,
Though we share so many secrets,
There are some we never tell.
Why were you so surprised that you never saw the stranger?
Did you ever let your lover see the stranger in yourself?

Don't be afraid to try again.
Everyone goes south every now and then.
You've done it.
Why can't someone else?
You should know by now.
You've been there yourself.

Once I used to believe I was such a great romancer.
Then I came home to a woman that I could not recognize.
When I pressed her for a reason,
She refused to even answer.
It was then I felt the stranger kick me right between the eyes.

Well, we all fall in love
But we disregard the danger
Though we share so many secrets
There are some we never tell
Why were you so surprised that you never saw the stranger
Did you ever let your lover see the stranger in yourself.

Don't be afraid to try again.
Everyone goes south every now and then.
You've done it.
Why can't someone else?
You should know by now.
You've been there yourself.

You may never understand how the stranger is inspired.
But he isn't always evil and he is not always wrong.
Though you drown in good intensions,
You will never quench the fire.
You'll give in to your desire when the stranger comes along.


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"The Stranger" as written by Billy Joel

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Stranger song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentThis song is talking about the "real you," the one that we tend to hide in public. Since we don't see this person very often, it's called "The Stranger." I think the "storyline" of the song though would suggest that the main character was so busy being someone else that when he finally did go home to a loved one, they didn't recognize eachother. The very last verse sort of gives me the impression that some people really fear this stranger and it's desires, but we shouldn't because sometimes The Stranger is right.
    Good OL MCon June 14, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentFuzzyMonkey, you're an idiot.
    I think Good OL MC has got it.
    TheSourceon February 09, 2006   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThe real meaning behind this song: A few people hit on it, a few people were WAY off. Infidelity, plain and simple. The stranger describes "the mystery guest" that lurks either in our past, or present, and is enoug to damage a current relationship. "Well we all have a face that we hide away forever". It isn't OUR face, as some people believe on here, it's another lover's face he his talking about. "Though we share so many secrets, there are some we never tell." Meaning the secrets we have about "other relationships" that would put our butts in the cooker. "Don't you ever let your lover see the stranger in yourself" Meaning when you cheat, you are a changed person, and feelings change, and it's obvious. The part that mentions "don't be afraid to try again, everyone goes south, every now and then" Meaning we all screw up. "You've done it, why can't someone else, you should know by now, you've been there yourself"...meaning there was a time YOU did this to someone, and now you are getting a taste of your own medicine, so swallow it all! "You may never understand how the stranger is inspired, though he is not always evil, and he is not always wrong". Meaning your better half could have gone out and executed this one perfectly, and the other person was a victim to it...they had no idea about YOU! In essence, he is sometimes INNOCENT. To sum it up, the Stranger is the "mystery guest" hiding behind curtain #1. You have no idea who he or she is, and that makes them....THE STRANGER.
    ItalianDJon November 06, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with Good Old MC and in addition I believe the song has something to do with the Albert Camus book, L'etranger (the stranger). Considering the main character "puts on a different face" and hides himself from the world etc. and in the process loses everything including the girl he knew he loved (but couldn't manage to admit it because he was "the stranger") and his life.
    rattleon June 25, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that Joel's stranger is similar to what archetypal psychologist Carl Jung spoke of as the shadow--parts of ourselves that we disown, usually because they are disapproved of by our society and our intimates. Anything that contradicts our image of ourselves may be consigned to the shadow.

    The stranger (shadow), says Joel, isn't always evil
    and he isn't always wrong. Though you drown in good intentions You will never quench the fire
    You'll give in to your desire When the stranger comes along.

    In other words, the shadow contains enormous energy and possibilities that we ignore at our peril. If we don't own the dissociated aspects of ourselves, like hungry dogs locked in the basement, they can wreak havok when released. Better to embrace them so we can use their energy for our own growth and development.


    1
    ambigonon December 01, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song has some of the boldest and most honest lyrics ever written about our guilty pleasures, so to speak - those things that turn us on of which we're ashamed and vow to "hide away forever" and never reveal to anyone. To me, it is clearly about sexual fetishes. Even the album cover shows him sitting on a BED with a mask. "Though you drown in good intentions, you will never quench the fire, you'll give in to your desire when the stranger comes along..." You are a normal person in public, but that freak in you is always lurking, and though sometimes you can bury it for a while, when it surfaces, you can't fight it. The desire is too strong. "Did you ever let your lover see the stranger in yourself?"
    strdsbrgon January 21, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentstrdsbrg, I think you are right. But I think it is broader than just fetishes, but all aspects of your personality. It talks about stuff secrets we share but there are some things about ourselves we never share with anyone, even the people we are closest to. I know there are things in my head that are intrinsic to who I am, but that I would never share with loved ones because it would freak them out. And they have nothing to do with sex. I think most people are like that.

    I've heard this song since I was a kid but I never bothered to dissect the lyrics before. But this is currently my favorite song. These lyrics are deep.
    SadisticSavioron May 27, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song fucking kicks
    ZinbobDanon May 07, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is one of the best written songs I have ever heard. There are three incredible melodies in this song, and the lyricism is to die for.
    ECisGodon December 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI thik the song is about cheating on your significant other. The 1st half of the song is about someone who cheated and didn't realize they had it in them and are disgusted by themselves. The 2nd half is about someone who comes home to catch their SO in the act.


    OR it could be about alcholism, sobriety and falling off the wagon.
    crdesqon March 08, 2006   Link

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