GwiberWyrdd

241

Points

I like SM's focus on interpreting lyrics, not just posting them. My interests include languages, snakes, SF/fantasy, medieval (~500-1500 CE) history, and cryptography, inter alia. (My handle combines the first 2: it's Welsh for "green viper.")
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The Cure – Fire in Cairo Lyrics 7 months ago
@[kid:35580] pirate This one is a lot sexier than "Killing an Arab," but yeah, it's got that same dreamlike, and, yes, existential quality. I always pictured it being about a mysterious, veiled lady (IMO, somehow those veils always seem to make women sexier instead of conveying "modesty" as per their alleged purpose) who turned out to be a mirage.

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The Cure – Boys Don't Cry Lyrics 7 months ago
This one's pretty straightforward, compared to the cryptic lyrics that often pervade their stuff, but that doesn't lessen it in the slightest. Truly iconic Cure, displaying their romantic depth exquisitely, and incredibly relatable.
I love this song. Well, I love the whole album. Okay, so I love all their albums…!

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The Cure – 2 Late Lyrics 7 months ago
[I'm not sure why this double-posted. My account keeps doing that.]

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The Cure – 2 Late Lyrics 7 months ago
@[fuckoffanddieok:35579] I actually got the single because I saw that the B-side wasn't on any of their albums; just had to have every single Cure song that existed anywhere. I'd just discovered them in '87 or '88 (actually, I'd just discovered that there *was* popular music out there that was really good — I was just a kid and the '80s in America was largely a cultural wasteland), so (Kiss Me)^3 was the first album of theirs I got (drove my parents mad, I'm sure, listening to music nonstop!).

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The Cure – 2 Late Lyrics 7 months ago
@[fuckoffanddieok:35578] I actually got the single because I saw that the B-side wasn't on any of their albums; just had to have every single Cure song that existed anywhere. I'd just discovered them in '87 or '88 (actually, I'd just discovered that there *was* popular music out there that was really good — I was just a kid and the '80s in America was largely a cultural wasteland), so (Kiss Me)^3 was the first album of theirs I got (drove my parents mad, I'm sure, listening to music nonstop!).

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The Cure – 2 Late Lyrics 9 months ago
[Oops, sorry, accidentally double-posted there.]

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The Cure – 2 Late Lyrics 9 months ago
@[stacie9d4:35301] I picture a cloche.

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The Cure – 2 Late Lyrics 9 months ago
@[stacie9d4:35300] I picture a cloche.

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Depeche Mode – Strangelove Lyrics 11 months ago
@[debbyca:35069] Certainly there is a lot of BDSM imagery!

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R.E.M. – Cuyahoga Lyrics 11 months ago
I love this brilliant environmental anthem.

The lyrics do refer to the infamously polluted Cuyahoga River in OH. "Burn the river down" has to do with the river catching fire because of all the oil and other pollutants. This happened a number of times, including an episode in 1969 (when the members of R.E.M. would have been ~9-13 years old) that made national headlines and helped start a discussion that led to the passage of the Clean Water Act.

There are also references to the area around the river once being home to indigenous people who had a much more environmentally friendly lifestyle, as a contrast with its condition today. References to the river running red could thus be references to the blood of the native people as well as to the fires on the river.

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Shawn Colvin – New Thing Now Lyrics 1 year ago
@[Rachle:32142] I have always thought that verse was a reference to Kurt Cobain. The line, "a legend's not a legend 'til it ends," strikes me as a commentary on his death in 1994 — a couple of years before Shawn Colvin released _A Few Small Repairs_ — as he attained the status of legend within months (or in some circles, hours) after he died.

Besides..."equal parts Butthead and Peter Pan?" Who else could this be?! (This was actually the bit that first led me to think of the verse as being about KC.)

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R.E.M. – New Test Leper Lyrics 2 years ago
I read somewhere that "Test" in the title is short for "Testament" — that is, the narrator (the dude who went on the talk show) was comparing his experiences to the description of the lepers in the New Testament. Makes sense in light of all the Bible references, but I'd been baffled about that for years! Speaking of which, line 4 should read "have his *lambs* all gone astray." (Cute mondegreen, though!) I'll try to remember to change that later; I need to get dressed & stuff as soon as I post this.

I read somewhere that this song was based on a true story, about the experiences of a dude who had AIDS (or at least, HIV infection) who went on a talk show. If my recollection is correct [no assumptions here!], does anybody have any idea what show it might have been? The album _New Adventures in Hi-Fi" came out in 1996; if the events described happened not long before that, it would have been a show that was on the air in the early-to-mid '90s. There are also a few clues in the lyrics, although (in the fine tradition of R.E.M. songs) they're mostly pretty vague:
- it's a show that "doesn't flatter"
- the host is described as "index carded, all organised and blank" [another line on the song as posted on this site that needs fixing]
- "the other guests were scared and hardened"

So, any suggestions (or better yet, actual information)?

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R.E.M. – New Test Leper Lyrics 2 years ago
@[driver08uk:30410] Me too; I wonder what talk show it was.

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The Cure – Disintegration Lyrics 2 years ago
@[Lantern:30294] I don't know that Robert was ever actually addicted to drugs. I heard that while they were putting together this album he did a lot of psychedelic drugs (which aren't generally addictive, except in the broad sense in which anything — computer games, shopping, your favourite ice cream flavour, etc. — can be addictive), and that this had a strong effect on the character of that album. (Based on my own experience with psychedelics I find that hard to imagine, but I never did them at a time when I was depressed, so maybe that's the key.)

He was also dealing with the effect of addiction — to alcohol — on his bandmate and childhood friend Lol Tolhurst, who Robert felt wasn't contributing adequately. Certainly some of his other songs have referenced this problem so it may have played a part (so to speak) in the lyrics to this song.

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The Cure – Disintegration Lyrics 2 years ago
@[dalmationUntoyourSoul:30293] He's not a father. He and Mary never had kids. (He does have nephews, though. I recall reading an interview where he described how they were more impressed that Uncle Robert had been on South Park than that he was a rock star!)

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The Cure – Where the Birds Always Sing Lyrics 2 years ago
@[regardemylasheskgm:30292] I always assumed that the "sweet mother down below" was Gaia, the Earth goddess, and that the "just father above" is the Abrahamic god (Christian/Jewish/Muslim/etc.). And my impression is that he's saying both are just wishful thinking on the part of humans who want so badly to believe there's something better beyond death.

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The Cure – Sleep When I'm Dead Lyrics 2 years ago
Haha! iTunes forgot to put an "explicit lyrics" warning on this one!

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The Cure – Watching Me Fall Lyrics 2 years ago
@[CounterfeitSaint:30291] This reminds me of when I first listened to "La Ment" (or "Lament?" whichever it is!). I had no clue what it was about, and I found his accent (which is a sort of weird mix of different parts of England) hard to understand. I heard the word "body" as "bunny." No excuse: I was only 11, and besides, it seemed like it made some sort of sense, paired as it was with "ice cream!" (When I learned the real lyrics I had a fit of laughter. Then I started thinking about how weird and creepy the phrase "one more ice cream body" [as in corpse] was.

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The Cure – Watching Me Fall Lyrics 2 years ago
@Avenge&Revenge I think even though he's more associated with grim, dark songs, Robert has done some great sexy ones!

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The Cure – Watching Me Fall Lyrics 2 years ago
@[All:30290] Cats are Grey I expect RS has experienced depression more than a few times over the course of his life. I don't think he could write some of the songs he has written without knowing what it's like.

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The Cure – Watching Me Fall Lyrics 2 years ago
@[feversome:30289] I find it hard to imagine being a rock star, with this lifestyle where you have to travel a lot and having a "closed" marriage. There is just too much temptation. I simply can't imagine it lasting this long unless they rejected the whole monogamy-expectation thing, which is why I suspect that his marriage is an open one — although even in that case, it's very impressive that they're still together.

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The Cure – Watching Me Fall Lyrics 2 years ago
@[Matthewwh13:30288] Maybe the prostitute turned out to be a vampire?

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The Cure – Watching Me Fall Lyrics 2 years ago
OK, I'm curious if anyone has any idea about the various references to Japan in Cure songs. Is there some connexion here?

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The Cure – Watching Me Fall Lyrics 2 years ago
@[KillMELater:30287] Ketamine will do that sometimes.

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The Cure – The Perfect Boy Lyrics 2 years ago
I like this song. I always found the whole "The One" concept — "this Laurel-kismet-Hardy thing" — really eye-roll-inducing. As a friend at university said (ironically referencing an American military slogan): "They're looking for the One. I'm looking for the Few and the Proud."

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The Cure – The Only One Lyrics 2 years ago
I wouldn't call this song "pervy." More like just plain sexy!

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The Cure – The Only One Lyrics 2 years ago
@[blooddrivendream:30286] Well I'm a maths professor and I've lost count!

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The Cure – The Only One Lyrics 2 years ago
@[riveroflethe:30285] Not sure how widespread this was, but when I was at university a curious word-oddity became fashionable: words like "perverted" and "kinky" started to get used in a (strictly non-literal) way, similar to "cool." Wonder if the hugeness of The Cure among my crowd had anything to do with this!
I wouldn't say he's a pervert, though it's hard to be sure since he's very private about his personal life, opinions, etc. (unlike many musicians he doesn't comment on political/social issues, e.g.).

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The Cure – The Only One Lyrics 2 years ago
@[FlyHue:30284] It's called "middle age." And he pulls it off as well as anyone I know (especially considering the exhausting life of a rock star).

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The Cure – The Only One Lyrics 2 years ago
@[tef:30283] I think the coolest thing about them is how they can combine the two "auras," as you describe them (perhaps a particularly appropriate term, given the rumours that RS was dropping acid a lot while working on certain albums).

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The Cure – The Only One Lyrics 2 years ago
@[seanstuarthome:30282] Don't assume that the narrator, the "I," in RS's songs is actually him. They often tell a story or describe (poetically, always!) a situation, but it's clear it's sometimes fiction (and/or sarcasm).

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The Cure – The Caterpillar Lyrics 2 years ago
@[DallasLeigh:30281] Sugar-coating, yes — thank you, that was the phrase I was looking for.

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The Cure – The Caterpillar Lyrics 2 years ago
@[mimirandmemory:30280] Maybe the caterpillar-butterfly thing is about loss of innocence or something like that (never really been into the whole innocence thing personally, but to each his/her own). I'd think of adolescence as the chrysalis phase — in between the caterpillar (little girl) and butterfly (adult).

I'm not sure how the last few lines ("You flicker and you're beautiful...") could fit into your interpretation. It sounds to me like the object of his affection is the one who loses interest in the narrator, having metamorphosed (metaphorically, at least!) into a butterfly. The "flames that kiss me dead" part is also rather puzzling, and "lemon lies" has me completely baffled. I think the "powder pink and sweet" seems like it might be some sort of falsehood or false image. It sounds a little too...I don't know...imaginary, fantasy-inspired, unreal...

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The Cure – The Caterpillar Lyrics 2 years ago
@[GothicBlade:30279] ...having turned into a butterfly?

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The Cure – The Blood Lyrics 2 years ago
I have got to get my hands on some of this "Tears of Christ" s***!

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The Cure – The Blood Lyrics 2 years ago
@[brian11678:30278] Because everybody likes pizza. The monsters probably got hooked on it at university, same as the rest of us.

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The Cure – Taking Off Lyrics 2 years ago
Procrastination, dude!

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The Cure – The Hungry Ghost Lyrics 2 years ago
I love this one. So cynical...and so true. The "hungry ghost" is of course greed, desire for fame, etc.

I especially love the line "A home plugged into every home." Totally reminds me of how all those people in the States were using subprime rates to buy second homes they would never ever ever be able to pay off. (Indeed, I seem to recall that ugly episode was right around the time this album was released!)

One other thing...the lines from the refrain:
No, don't talk about more to life than this,
Dream a world maybe no-one owns
remind me *so* much of a particular verse of John Lennon's "Imagine:"
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

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The Cure – Dressing Up Lyrics 2 years ago
@[jancsibohoc:30277] Being in one's "right mind" is overrated anyway.

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The Cure – Cut Here Lyrics 2 years ago
Whenever I listen to this song (it's playing now) I think of a close friend who died of a CNS-depressants-combo OD thing (heroin, Xanax, and N2O) when we were at university. We had been flatmates at one point... He had just broken up with another of my friends (I'd actually shared the place with the two of them and my own partner, which I know sounds potentially explosive, but somehow it worked out at the time). I knew he was overdoing it with the drugs, and I kept meaning to talk to him about it, try to get him to see that he needed help and offer him whatever help I could give...and then one day he was gone.

Should've...could've...would've...
"If only" is indeed a wish too late.

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The Cure – A Letter to Elise Lyrics 2 years ago
@[MaverickPrime:30276] I love that talent RS has for writing songs that are musically cheerful, but the lyrics are really dark! "Let's Go to Bed" is a classic example of a really cynical song that sounds superficially pop-ish. "Before Three" has that same feel to it. Then there are those that sound lively and cheerful but are full of sorrow..."Cut Here" is the one that always comes to mind, but there are many more.

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The Cure – A Letter to Elise Lyrics 2 years ago
@[fleaaaaaa:30274] That's something you see in a lot of Cure songs, the combination of "cheerful"-sounding music with lyrics that are either really cynical or just plain despondent: Inbetween Days, Let's Go to Bed, Dressing Up, Club America, Play For Today, Wendy Time, The Upstairs Room, I'm Cold [if you get a chance, listen to the demo version on the deluxe edition of BDC/TIB], Strange Attraction, 2 Late, Just One Kiss, Push, and a too-long-to-list number of the songs on _Three Imaginary Boys_/_Boys Don't Cry_...I could just keep listing them. Even "Pictures of You" and "The Hungry Ghost" have this kind of thing going on, although they're not quite as musically, you know, bouncy.

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The Cure – A Letter to Elise Lyrics 2 years ago
@[xpsychicheartsx:30273] In the late '80s when I first started getting into The Cure, I found myself thinking RS's favourite subject in school must've been French Lit ("Killing an Arab" and "How Beautiful You Are" were among the songs that convinced me of this in particular). I was pretty shocked when I found out he hadn't even gone to university, because so much of his work has a real intellectual underpinning and/or inspiration.

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The Cure – A Letter to Elise Lyrics 2 years ago
@[spokexx:30272] That does sound pretty fantasyesque (I'm too much the stereotypical cynical genXer to use the term "romantic" in a positive sense I'm afraid ). Certainly by '96 The Cure was pretty well-known...depends what sort of chatroom it was, but I'd say at this time in some circles it wouldn't at all be surprising to happen upon a fellow Cure fan. I first started listening to them in '87 (after hearing "How Beautiful You Are" on the radio), and the American "alternative music scene" in which The Cure has always been a favourite was pretty lively even then.

On a random note: can you define "online dating" in the sense you mean? I remember '96 well (it's the year I finished my undergrad degree too, only in spring) and what the 'net was like at the time (the Web had made its grand entrance in '93, IIRC: I remember a feud rapidly developing over preferences in UNIX-based browsers), and certainly, online pickups and, err, other things, were already pretty common by that point. Indeed, by then commercial ISPs — AOL and the like — had appeared too, I believe, and the phenomena I mentioned in relation to internet "dating" (?) certainly existed before those.

I should have thought that just having graduated you would have had some options as to where you might go next (literally and figuratively), and if things were looking serious by that time already, you could have tried to secure yourself in a more feasible location, at least for visiting. I'm sorry it didn't work out. (You should write a song about it!)

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The Cure – 2 Late Lyrics 2 years ago
@[iomusik:30271] This was the B-side on the Lovesong single...'89 was hardly pre-internet. Pre-WWW, yes, and pre-commercial internet providers (so that the internet was mostly populated by academics, government bureaucrats, and good old-fashioned nerds). The internet, though admittedly not in its present incarnation, is a lot older than most people realise. (Hell, it's even older than me!)

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The Cure – Numb Lyrics 2 years ago
@[seraphius:30270] I think this is extremely doubtful. Among other things, I don't know of any evidence that Smith (or anyone else in the Cure for that matter) knew Cobain. The timing would be rather odd too, since this song came out after Cobain's highly publicised suicide, which certainly isn't even referenced.

Also, it seems to me that Kurt's big psych issue was untreated depression, that he was self-medicating (an all-too-common problem). I get the impression that his doctor(s) hadn't really tried to do anything about it; he should have been at least trying more, umm, traditional antidepressants, but they just threw a bunch of benzodiazepines at him (probably mainly for insomnia). (Of course there are those who go through every conceivable combination of traditional antidepressants and never get much relief: "treatment-resistant depression" is the term (technically it means an individual has tried at least 3 pharmacodynamically different antidepressants without success, but there are those who have gone far beyond that), but at least after his death all we heard about was heroin and and least two, probably prescribed, benzodiazepines). He had chronic pain too, which couldn't have helped, and he may not have been getting enough medical help there either.

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The Cure – Numb Lyrics 2 years ago
@[King:30269] of Some Island I'm quite positive you're right. Tolhurst's drug problem was with alcohol, specifically — one of the worst when it comes to addiction and general life-ruiningness; although it has a much higher LD-50, in some ways it's even more dangerous than heroin because it's (1) legal and therefore easy to obtain, and (2) easier to self-administer (even when you're already f***ed up). When you look at the song, though, it makes perfect sense that it's about Lol. I don't know why this didn't occur to me when I first heard it, but it was only later that I realised it.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge Lyrics 2 years ago
@[Esmeetje:30135] Two things:

1) I like most of your interpretation, so I have a question I'm hoping you'll be able to answer: what do you think he means by "she sees my good deeds and she kisses me windy" ? It's a sort of cultural expectation in the States (probably because of all the tax exemptions for the rich) that rich people (successful Hollywood types, CEOs of big corporations, rock stars (of course!), et al.) are supposed to give a lot to charity, but I have a certain hunch that it's not anything so literal.

2) There is one thing you got wrong, though...
> "One of the concequences [sic] from heroin, is depression."

This is a common myth. Although depression can definitely be a result of H *withdrawal* ("discontinuation syndrome"), whether one is actually addicted or just pharmacologically dependent, it's not an effect of heroin itself, nor is it unique to drugs of abuse. (For example: if you discontinue antidepressants, too fast, you can get depressed too — this is also a discontinuation syndrome.) A lot of people start abusing drugs in an effort to self-medicate & often it's so successful at first they keep using it more and more (and of course, become addicted). So, depression is not really caused by heroin, but rather, heroin use is caused by depression.

As an example...I had a really close friend at university (he was a grad student, I was an undergrad) who died from H. (It wasn't really an OD, but he took Xanax with it, or shortly before or after, and the combo was what caused the respiratory failure and stuff.).

He'd started showing signs & symptoms of depression (which I recognised 'cuz I'd suffered from it myself). The fact that he had just been broken up with by this narcissistic sleazeball who abandoned him when he started getting depressed didn't exactly help. I tried to be there for him, even though I believed he was better-off being without the aforesaid sleazeball). He said that even though H didn't last very long, it did make the depression go away while it lasted. It was the greatest feeling in the universe (his words) to him. I tried to convince him that regular antidepressants would be more effective in the long run, but I didn't really make a great example: I'd had to try 4 or 5 of them before I found one that worked, and since it takes a month or so just to find out whether they're going to help or not, I ended up having to take off a whole year from school. He didn't want to have to go through that, even though I tried to convince him it's not that long for most people. He was also afraid that if he saw a psychiatrist, they'd refuse to help him until he got "clean." I said maybe he could hide it, since he didn't have track marks or anything (he was snorting it, like cocaine, not shooting up) and all the stereotypes were on his side (white, upper-middle-class, PhD student in physics at a top university, etc.). He also was worried about his advisor finding out about his mood and/or drug problems. I was speechless when I found out about his death. Besides the guilt, I felt...unfairly lucky, especially because he'd given me some H to try a couple months before, and I hadn't really liked it much, so I never did it again. I think the day I found out he'd died was the day I lost the last of what little innocence (really, naïveté is more like it) I ever possessed. Even though we lived in Boston (which has *very* little in common with L.A.!), every time I hear this song, with the baleful guitar and Anthony's melan-choly voice (he's so versatile!), and of course the drugs theme, I think of him.

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R.E.M. – Circus Envy Lyrics 2 years ago
This is something that's been bothering me for years...decades even (when are we gonna get the 25th anniversary remastered-with-bonus-tracks-etc. version of _Monster_, anyhow?): I don't get the line, "I'd spelled your name with Oatios." Call me clueless (been called worse)...but does anybody know, or have some idea, what this means, or at least what it refers to?

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The Cure – Fire in Cairo Lyrics 2 years ago
When I listen to this song, I always picture this white British bloke (rather pale, with dark hair, and young, like under 20...not that I'm thinking of anybody in particular ), going for a walk in a spot just outside of Cairo, not quite desert but very arid (on the opposite side of the city from the Nile); it's evening, but it's still really hot (this is Egypt, after all: unless you're indoors with A/C on full blast, it's pretty bloody hot just about any time, day or night). He sees a little pond, palm trees, etc., and there's sees this gorgeous, exotic-looking woman with dark eyes, wearing a sort of floaty red silk dress and matching veil (the veil covers her hair, of course, but he can see that she has dark eyes) and she gives him this hyper-sexy, beckoning ("come-hither") look. He's feeling kind of dizzy from the heat, but she's so irresistible, he doesn't care: he approaches her, she pulls him close, and they immediately start kissing passionately and (well, you know...stuff). It's so hot (literally — that is, in addition to the other obvious sense), that he feels more and more like he's going to faint. He closes his eyes, losing himself in the experience. During a brief break-for-air in the kissing, she whispers his name. He's barely conscious from the heat by this point, so it doesn't occur to him immediately that he hasn't told her his name. Even though he could feel her right there as he ran his hands over her and kissed her and so forth, she's suddenly no longer there. It was all a dream/hallucination/mirage (or some combination of these). I know this song isn't meant to be taken literally, but...well, you know: I just can't help it; it's too sexy.

(Speaking of sexiness...I've always wondered whether this song is the reason for this; as long as I can remember, I've always felt that veils tend to make women sexier, rather than concealing their sexuality (as is supposedly intended).)

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