It’s Thursday, which means it’s time to marshal the forces of goodness and seek out profoundly horrifying song lyrics wherever we find them in the musical universe. Today’s entry comes from reader Dennis Malone, who sends us “Silhouettes” by The Rays, which he describes as a song about a stalker with “anger/domestic violence issues.”
That sounds right up our alley! Thanks, Dennis. If YOU know a profoundly disturbing song that requires immediate analysis, send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org. And please check out previous installments at the bottom of this post.
Now let’s move on to The Rays! As always, I won’t be looking up any backstory or explanation until I’m finished. I want to come to this song fresh and unbiased. Lyrics in bold, my commentary after.
This could mean so many things. Is it someone about sneeze? Is it someone in a classroom holding up his hand and begging to be called on, a la Horseshack from Welcome Back, Mr. Kotter? OR IS IT SOMEONE MAKING THE SOUNDS OF FORNICATION?!
You’ve officially made the watch list, Rays singer.
Took a walk and passed your house late last night
Oh yeah, and I’m sure it was an “accident” that you just happened to be in the neighborhood, right? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled this trick. “Oh hey, I was in the area and thought I’d stop by!” I’ll say, and the girl will be like, “but you live in North Carolina and this is Minnesota.” And then I’ll be all, “Geez, I didn’t know the geography police were going to be crawling up my ass,” and then I usually have to run.
All the shades were pulled and drawn way down tight
This makes it sound like it’s not the first time the singer has casually strolled past this woman’s house at night. It feels like the shades are drawn tight because that’s what a police officer advised as he was drawing up a restraining order.
From within, the dim light cast two silhouettes on the shade
Oh what a lovely couple they made
I bet you don’t actually think they’re lovely, do you? I bet it drives you mad, you sick son of a bitch.
Put his arms around your waist, held you tight
Kisses I could almost taste in the night
Hey, why are you standing around for so long? I thought this was just a nightly stroll, amigo? Are you still in the street? Where are all the neighbors? Somebody get this guy moving!
Wondered why I’m not the guy who’s silhouette’s on the shade
Hint: It’s because you’re a crazy stalker.
I couldn’t hide the tears in my eyes
“Or the loud keening screams coming from my mouth, followed by a series of angry snorts, after which I covered both my ears, closed my eyes, and screamed “murder” over and over while running in circles.”
Lost control and rang your bell, I was sore
I know this situation is spiraling out of control, but I do appreciate that he had the good manners to ring the bell before just barging in. It’d be like a bank robber politely standing in line with his ski mask and machine gun, waiting for his turn with the teller.
Let me in or else I’ll beat down your door
It’s official—this is the human version of the Three Little Pigs.
When two strangers who have been two silhouettes on the shade
Said to my shock “You’re on the wrong block”
Ha! I love this twist. The crazy angry dude is at the wrong house! As Dennis suggested in his original email, maybe he has vision problems to go along with his bouts of jealous rage. I wonder how many wrong doors he’s banged on, demanding to be let in for swift vengeance. I bet there are flyers with his face posted on every light pole in the city, with the words “IF YOU SEE THIS MAN….explain to him that he’s at the wrong house” printed in bold.
Rushed out to your house with wings on my feet
Oh boy. Our nightmare is not yet over. We have to hope he finds the right house next, but let’s be honest, the odds aren’t great. Pretty soon, he’s going to kill an innocent married couple.
Loved you like I’d never loved you my sweet
Translation: He wept the whole time they had sex.
Vowed that you and I would be two silhouettes on the shade
Woman: What are you talking about? Why do you keep mentioning ‘silhouettes’?
Man: Well, it’s a long story…
Man: [Continues weeping]
Woman: You know what? This sex is over.
All of our days, two silhouettes on the shade
Someday he’ll be able to tell his kids about the moment when he knew he was truly in love with his mother, and how it stemmed from a stalking/breaking & entering incident that doubled as a hilarious case of mistaken identity. And those children will have healthy relationships for the rest of their days.
And there we have it! It turns out that the lead singer of the Rays was inspired to write this song after seeing a silhouetted couple from a train, so it’s not a true story, which is a relief. And I guess in the end, this one is more funny than disturbing, though it would be pretty terrifying to just be hanging with your wife one night and find some angry dude at your doorstep ready to rumble. But in any case, no harm, no foul, I guess.
Official Horror Rating: 6.2
Check out our previous installments:
Don’t You Want Me – The Human League
Fake Palindromes – Andrew Bird
Young Girl – Gary Puckett and The Union Gap
Dance Hall Days — Wang Chung
Art Lover – The Kinks
Possum Kingdom — Toadies
Excitable Boy — Warren Zevon
In the Colosseum — Tom Waits