"Shoot Out the Lights" as written by and Richard Thompson....
In the dark who can see his face?
In the dark who can reach him?
He hides like a child
He hides like a child

Keeps his finger on the trigger
He can't stand the day
Shoot out the lights
Shoot out the lights

Keep the blind down on the window
Keep the pain on the inside
Just watching the dark
Just watching the dark

He might laugh but you won't see him
As he thunders through the night
Shoot out the lights
Shoot out the lights

In the darkness the shadows move
In the darkness the game is real
Real as a gun
Real as a gun

As he watches the streets of the city
As he moves through the night
Shoot out the lights
Shoot out the lights


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"Shoot Out the Lights" as written by Richard John Thompson

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    General CommentOf all RT songs to have no comments (although there aren't nearly enough here that do), this one begs for them . . . truly iconic guitar drama, and solos that will bend your mind if you have one.

    Thompson has said that, at least on one level, it relates to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. I imagine an Afghani militia member engaged in urban guerilla warfare by night against the invaders, while hiding by day.

    As for less overtly historical meanings, it was written a year or two before he left his (pregnant) wife Linda for his current wife (see "Man in Need" from the same album), so there's probably nothing direct to read in there, but it's almost certainly the feeling of a mind under siege and avoiding -or destroying- all outside scrutiny. While making secret moves of it's own. The gun/trigger could be the ability to lie to others . . . or even a syringe full of dope to blot out one's own consciousness.

    As a personal note on the latter interpretation, it was the perfect soundtrack to a brief phase of solitary drug abuse while holed up in an apartment in Saigon. Insert your own secret paranoia here. But not necessarily Thompson's . . . as a songwriter, he's great at symbolic character portraits of other people.
    astralmuckon January 19, 2017   Link

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