I turned "stranger"
Into "Starman"
In the Sunday
New York Times
Like Anne Sexton
With her star rats
Working backwards
'Til it rhymes

For the love of God
You can't tell me again

For the love of God
You can't tell me again

With a pencil
And eraser
I've rewritten
All your crimes
I turned "stranger"
Into "Starman"
In the Sunday
New York Times


Lyrics submitted by Eamon

Stranger into Starman song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentFrom the SMILERS press release:

    "The track 'Stranger Into Starman' was spurred by an afternoon crossword puzzle and the memory of an Anne Sexton poem that made an anagram out of the word 'rats' -- morphing it into 'stars.' As Mann describes it, 'it's about glorifying people who don't deserve the glory.'"
    Eamonon June 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Starman" = a David Bowie reference? I'm not sure how one converts the word "stranger" into the word "Starman"... i would assume the lowercase g would be difficult to make look like a lowercase m.
    But "star rats" is definitely a palendrome. But i'm still confused as to the meaning of the song.
    jbradfordaon June 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnd here's the Anne Sexton poem ("With Mercy for the Greedy"):

    tinyurl.com/…
    Eamonon June 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song is pretty obviously about reinterpreting the past to serve your own personal wont.

    In a literal sense, the song sort of tells you that the character erased their previously written "stranger" and wrote in "starman."

    The character applies that sort of revision to her experience with a person, hoping to make him better and more fitting. I'm sure many of us have compromised our sensibility for fear of being alone at one point or another.

    Also, the NYTimes Sunday crossword is difficult!
    OMFG_Philon June 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was going to say that it seemed to me about absolutely making someone better and more than they truly are, simply because that's what you need/want them to be.

    Sort of Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion... or She's All That :(. Or um.. Drive Me Crazy.
    XMaliciousMalon July 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI guess the obvious interpretation would be that she wrote a great article about a no-name in the Sunday New York Times, turning "stranger into starman".
    If you take it out the context, though, I think it's about someone she didn't really get to know, but that someone left a strong impression on her, so she idealizes him for the little-to-nothing she knows, turning the stranger into starman.
    It's good to see that even her short songs are quite full of substance and different layers.
    eddy089on May 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningIt's about reality TV stars (and the like). Turning from unknowns into celebrities for no merit and without working their way up.

    The working backwards part is about being made famous and finding a way to justify it, filling in the merit after getting there in a contrived way.

    Think Paris Hilton being rich and famous for zero work. Then they give her reality shows and crappy music so that it seems like the reward was deserved.
    Blakiepooon February 13, 2010   Link

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