Sunny came home to her favorite room
Sunny sat down in the kitchen
She opened a book and a box of tools
Sunny came home with a mission
She says days go by I'm hypnotized
I'm walking on a wire
I close my eyes and fly out of my mind
Into the fire
Sunny came home with a list of names
She didn't believe in transcendence
It's time for a few small repairs she said
Sunny came home with a vengeance
She says days go by I don't know why
I'm walking on a wire
I close my eyes and fly out of my mind
Into the fire
Get the kids and bring a sweater
Dry is good and wind is better
Count the years, you always knew it
Strike a match, go on and do it
Oh days go by I'm hypnotized
I'm walking on a wire
I close my eyes and fly out of my mind
Into the fire
Oh light the sky and hold on tight
The world is burning down
She's out there on her own and she's alright
Sunny came home
Sunny came home

Lyrics submitted by Eggos=yum

Sunny Came Home Lyrics as written by Shawn Colvin John Leventhal

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Sunny Came Home song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentThe song is undoubtedly about escaping from domestic abuse, it's not metaphorical. The whole tone of the song is also filled with tension, unnerving, yet strangely cathartic.

    Here's how I see it: a mother in a small town getting beaten and probably raped regularly by her husband for years. ("Count the years, you always knew it")

    Yet she hasn't left because it's the only world she knows. She's scared of him, yet she's more scared of how she (and her kids) will get by without him. The problem might be compounded by small-town mentality as well. Religious perceptions that a woman is nothing without her man, parents worried more about looking bad to other people than their daughter's well-being, general red-neck chauvinism, etc. So she bore it all silently. On the outside everyone else just sees her as a meek non-person, but inside she's slowly going crazy. ("She says days go by I'm hypnotized, I'm walking on a wire, I close my eyes and fly out of my mind, Into the fire")

    Then one day after coming home from her latest stay at the hospital (for getting beaten up of course), she decides she's finally had enough. (the "Sunny came home" refrain)

    She sets the house on fire, grabs her kids and runs away. ("Get the kids and bring a sweater, Dry is good and wind is better")

    One thing the song only hints about though, is if whether she killed anyone in the process or not. She might or might not have killed him. ("She didn't believe in transcendence")

    It's a happy song I guess. It's about finally asserting yourself and leaving all the things that hurt you. The last line is positive: ("She's out there on her own and she's alright")

    Granted, I also acknowledge that the problem may not have been an abusive husband (though it's the most likely, given that the song indicates she has kids). It may also be molestation, bad memories of a hometown, or huge guilt over something. The only thing we're sure of is she escaped, but not without destroying the thing that almost destroyed her.

    S14on August 08, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI want to know how most of you missed the incredibly obvious symbolism in the music video. Ok, bird in a cage, Shawn defiantly cutting off her wedding dress, Shawn swinging on the birds perch a second later, burning a house of matches down with a little smile, rejoicing with her arms up at the end of the video.
    "get the kids and bring a sweater" take the kids with

    The "list of names" are a list of people who can help after she flees the abusive husband.
    And she's been "hypnotized" by the abusive" husband.
    It's an oddly beautiful song.
    LoveLarkon January 07, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentYay I love this site :).

    It's actually come up three times in the past two days on searches I ran...

    so I guess it's a sign I should start contributing to the discussions

    My interpretation was inspired by the movie "the burning bed" which I think

    was based on true events about an abused wife who eventually escaped the

    clutches of her husband by burning his bed (and their house) while he slept.

    She then took the kids off in the car.

    In this song however, there is a slight madness to Sunny - as if she has

    finally snapped.

    Firstly her name is ironic "Sunny" being bring and happy. It kind of gives

    that image of the abused woman who always makes an effort to appear as though

    nothing is wrong (who claims she fell down the stairs or walked into a door)

    "favorite room" is reference to being a housewife but if you listen to the

    song there is a slight ironic inflection on "favorite". The next line states

    that this room is the kitchen. The book and the box of tools, at first I

    thought of a a bomb kit... but maybe it is the Bible with fighting fire with

    fire? The tools is a box of matches.

    The chorus says how she is "walking on a wire". This, I see, as her tredding

    the line between sanity and insanity but also as her having to tip toe around

    her husband because if she puts one foot out of place, she gets beaten. The

    next line supports this by saying: "I close my eyes and fly out of my mind

    into the fire". This can be both a metaphorical escape from the beating and

    also her mentally snapping and going 'out of her mind'.

    The next verse is where I get the idea that she has finally had enough and

    mentally snapped. I don't have my own ideas on this verse, but I think the

    ones presented so far are good. I thought that maybe the list of names could

    be people who could help her/ she could take the kids and live with after

    she'd burned down the house? Then "repairs" says to me that she's finally

    reached a point where she knows that the only one able to save and repair her

    is herself. There is also a hint at anger with "vengence" so maybe the idea

    of the list of names being a list of her husbands girlfriends is right. Maybe

    finding out about his affairs is what finally makes her snap?

    The verse: "Get the kids and bring a sweater
    Dry is good and wind is better
    Count the years, you always knew it
    Strike a match, go on and do it" is said in a kind of demented/dreamy voice

    which is the final clue that she's lost it. "Count the years, you always knew

    it" supports the idea that it was a list of names of her husband's lovers

    that made her snap. "it" I believe is the fact that he didn't love her.

    Someone said a few comments ago that she brought a sweater because of the

    cold she'd be standing in while the house burnt... well I think it's that but

    also "bring a sweater" is a very normal thing to do. It's juxtaposed against

    this horrific scene to emphasise how she no longer believes what she is doing

    is wrong. It's also put there to show tht she thought about burning him and

    the house. It wasn't something spontanious but was well planned and thought


    "Light the sky and hold on tight
    The world is burning down
    She's out there on her own and she's alright"

    This just gives me an amazing mental image of her burning the house and

    standing watching it burn while holding onto her children. Even though the

    only world they ever knew is burning down, being out there in the world on

    her own and without her abusive husband makes her alright. Despite the horror

    of it, "light the sky" has a positive conitation, almost as if it is lighting

    the future (the skies always being related to the future).

    "Sunny came home" is repeated in a kind of ironic way because she doesn't

    have a home anymore but also in the more metaphysical way of her finding

    herself and "coming home" to the mental self she was before her husband

    abused her.

    he he. If you don't flame me I might stop by here more often. That was fun.
    tally1302on August 24, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentidk if anyone has said it already, but i always thought the book was a book of matches.
    blondsongon August 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about a woman who finds out her husband is a cheat and burns him alive
    karilisteron June 06, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's about this chick that has been used/emotionally abused by other people, but she would let them do it. Now she's putting it to an end. I don't really understand the fire part. She could either be killing herself, or killing the people that hurt her. But this could also be metaphorically. She could just be "burning" all of her thoughts and bad memories.
    JamieLou007on June 15, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyou guys may be right with the whole fire thing, and at first I thought so too when I read your comments but the line that throws it all off is the into the fire...i almost think that the first two verses are about her thinking of her rough past and getting ready to change it...and then she "flys out of her mind" and goes "into the fire" and relives the moment...whatever it was. anyone agree?
    chatcat3230on June 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI interpretation is that she was sent away for a few years to a mental institution. When she is released, she has a list of names of the people that testified against her to put her in an institution. When she has a book and a box of tools, it's a book on how to build an arsonist device and a box of tools to build it. At the end, she enacts her arson plan, then takes the kids and leaves town. The ironic part is that if she thinks up stuff like that, she really did belong in an institution. I see no mention of spousal abuse in the song or video.
    RussellHankinson January 29, 2018   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI love seeing how others related to this song. There are interpretations that I had never thought of but yet make sense.

    So, I'll give it a try...

    Sunny reminds me of a house wife, maybe middle aged. She's spent her youth on her husband and family. The kitchen is where they would all meet together for meals so, I imagine it's her favorite room. She sounds like a novice when she gets a book and a box of tools. Almost like she's passing from the young "helpless" in the relationship and trying to do something for herself but she's a novice at it.
    If anyone has ever been trapped in a dead end or abusive relationship then you know what I mean when I say " Quiet desperation". The refrain sounds like the mental state of someone living through that quiet desperation.
    The next part I wasn't sure about. I thought the list of names was for people she would run to because she didn't want to end up on the street or leave it to chance. I pictured a situation like Julia Roberts in "Sleeping With The Enemy".
    Sunny would disappear but she didn't believe that God or good luck would come through for her so she has a list of names, friends that will hide her take her and the kids in off the street.
    If Sunny is coming home with a vengeance then she's punishing someone for something and she's going to "fix them".
    Get the kids and bring a sweater, dry is good and wind is better...Sunny sounds like a mom, she is listing things, almost like a to do list and weighing her options for the best possible outcome.
    When she "counts the years, you always knew it" it's a hidden crime that she suspected but either didn't have proof or just didn't want to see. I was thinking that maybe her husband was cheating on her, but after looking at some of the other comments it could be that her children are being abused.
    Everything that she knew is gone, but she's on her own and she's alright.
    amused2iton November 19, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is one of my favorite songs about the ugly effects of abuse, better than "Janie's Got A Gun".

    Yes, it is obviously about abuse, but some of the less obvious points were missed in others' interpretations:

    "Sunny came home" - she has been away, and that can be for many reasons, but the most likely is that she had been sent away for counseling. Most victims of abuse get out by attempting suicide or other Red Flags, like self-mutilation and "accidental" overdose.

    "Sunny came home to her favorite room; Sunny sat down in the kitchen" - not the bedroom that was the site of her [probable] sexual abuse, but the kitchen where the family sat at the table and pretended to be normal.

    "She opened a book and a box of tools; Sunny came home with a mission" - one of the therapeutic methods of treating the effects of abuse is Journaling and learning new coping skills, or "tools". But, rather than get on with her life, Sunny has different plans, she is on a mission. And her new set of "tools" includes deciding not to be a victim anymore. Yes, they could be literal tools, too...maybe she wants to nail the doors shut so her abusers can't escape.

    "She says days go by I'm hypnotized/ I'm walking on a wire/ I close my eyes and fly out of my mind/ Into the fire" - victims of abuse can have PTSD, which includes Dissociating, a feature of Multiple Personality Disorder where a person is away from reality and may lose days, weeks or years. They do not have all their memories and their world is chaos: often a firestorm of anxiety ad panic.

    "Sunny came home with a list of names/She didn't believe in transcendence" - It was not just one person responsible for her abuse. Either several people directly abused her, or Sunny also blames the people who knew and did nothing to protect her. To transcend is to "rise above". Sunny has NO plans to just "Get Over It" (Eagles reference).

    "It's time for a few small repairs she said/ Sunny came home with a vengeance" - "a few small repairs" in her mind can be monumental. A sex abuse victim is told to keep quiet: "No one will believe you anyway", so she may have gone a long time making the family's image more important than her pain. Now, she is making everyone else less important than the "repairs" she needs to do for herself- she is back for Vengeance, which can only be done if you minimize the suffering of your targets by dehumanizing them.

    "Get the kids and bring a sweater/ Dry is good and wind is better" - Her past abusers may have innocent children in their homes which Sunny does not want to see harmed by her actions. Abuse victims do tend to become vigilant in protecting other helpless people. It probably is cold outside. The air is dry and there is a favorable wind, both of which will help the direction of her planned arson.

    "Count the years, you always knew it/ Strike a match, go on and do it" - Even though her dissociating helped her lie to herself about what happened and who was to blame, she can no longer justify what was done to her. Even now she has to remind herself it's okay to strike the match and set things right. Many abuse victims ask themselves if somehow they caused the abuse and if they have a right to be avenged.

    "Oh light the sky and hold on tight/ The world is burning down" - Sunny is punishing her abusers and will burn the whole world down if she has was only an illusion to her, anyway. This burning may also be a metaphor. She could be burning everyone down simply by making the truth known publicly about who did what to her, thereby burning down their images of goodness that have allowed her abusers to escape justice. "Hold on tight" can also mean she knows she has a long legal battle and people are going to be angry with her for exposing the sickness of the family. In dysfunctional families, many members blame each other and avoid taking responsibility. "Why are you causing all these problems over what as done ten years ago?"

    "She's out there on her own and she's alright" - Sunny no longer needs the family's approval, which helped keep her silent about the abuse.

    "Sunny came home/ Sunny came home" - She is no longer dissociating or living a lie. She came home to herself, faced her abusers and can start the long road of healing.
    PsYcLONeon December 21, 2014   Link

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