May 16, 2005

Musical Meanings Monday

Diggin back to the 80’s for this one. What’s it all mean? What’s it mean to you? Why do you think it means what you think it means?

What’s a “cyclone ranger?”

Turning Japanese (excerpt)
The Vapors

I’ve got your picture of me and you
You wrote “I love you” I wrote “me too”
I sit there staring and there’s nothing else to do
Oh it’s in color
Your hair is brown
Your eyes are hazel
And soft as clouds
I often kiss you when there’s no one else around

Interpret away.

Links to the lyrics: Here and Here.

Posted by James at May 16, 2005 12:19 PM
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"I asked the doctor to take your picture
So I can look at you from inside as well"...hmmmm

I've had discussions of this song with James before. We are both quite certain (in spite of constant denials by the band) this song has some overtone of masturbation. The "turning japanese" line would seem to be referencing the squinting of the eyes when the...(cough)...deed has been completed.

In other words this songs seems to be just another 3 min of 80's pop cheese that doesn't really have any profound meaning. It's just for shits and giggles...oh, you crazy 80's you

Posted by: ryan at May 16, 2005 12:42 PM

I suppose that's a possibility. But then why the phrase:

"No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women
No fun, no sin, no you, no wonder its dark"

I think masturbation would have to fit into one or more of the categories of sex, fun, and sin, depending on who you ask.

I agree that it is a simplistic, meaningless song. The best I can come up with is that it the singer is infatuated with Yoko Ono and longs to be more like her.

Posted by: briwei at May 16, 2005 12:46 PM

I always pictured a American guy who is living in Toyko and stalking a Japanese woman. He doesn't quite fit into Japanese society so he spends most of his time alone in an apartment gazing at her photograph and, as Ryan so eloquently put it, squinting. But I may be projecting.

Posted by: Mike at May 16, 2005 1:02 PM

And which one is the real lyric, anyway? I read somewhere that "psyched lone ranger" was misheard as "cyclone ranger". I prefer the latter even if the former makes more sense.

Posted by: Mike at May 16, 2005 1:10 PM

Beats me, sounds like nonsense verse.

Posted by: Chuck S. at May 16, 2005 1:39 PM

Whenever I hear a song, I usually get some weird idea about the meaning from the few lyrics I can understand.

The "no sex, no drugs..." etc. line that Brian quotes I always took as some whiny complaint about the rules of society and I never thought it had a deeper meaning. I'm intrigued by the "no wonder it's dark," maybe it's dark for a particular reason.

The song always reminded me of something stupid we used to say in the playground: "Chinese, Japanese, Dirty knees, Look at these." To me, that strengthens the masturbation theory.

Yeah. So I've got no clue. It must be fun to write something completely stupid and watch people try to figure out what it could mean.

Posted by: Maggie at May 16, 2005 1:47 PM

That's actually my goal in life. I want to write a well received, pseudo intellectual play that has no meaning and have people argue over what it means.

Posted by: briwei at May 16, 2005 1:59 PM

Well, the pseudo-intellectual part shouldn't be too hard. Just throw in one random element, like the moth in Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, and everybody will be talking about it. "Did you notice the moth?" "What could the moth mean?"

The well-received part is a little harder, but still doable. Pick an old story, a current trend, and meld them. Throw in your moth, and you're the toast of broadway! Congratulations!

We can all say we knew you before you got deep. ;-)

Posted by: Maggie at May 16, 2005 2:17 PM

I hope you're not calling this song pseudo-intellectual!

In any case, I'm pretty satisfied it's about masturbation. This guy is lonely, he's obsessing about this woman. He kisses her when there's no one else around (he's alone with the picture).

The litany Brian refers to is just part of this fellow's lament. He's without any of these diversions and so he's resorting to the only one he has left.

I can't guarantee these lyrics are correct, and I guess that's part of the fun for me.

I htink this line is wrong: Id like a million of you over myself

I believe that it's "I'd like a million of them all around my cell."

Which is a bit different and makes it sound like the guy is confined for some reason.

Posted by: James at May 16, 2005 2:31 PM

I always thought it was "a million of you all to myself"

Posted by: briwei at May 16, 2005 2:49 PM

Well, the "no wonder it's dark," and the remark that everyone around him is a total stranger made me think he was in an insane asylum. So if it's "all around my cell," that works for me.

Did nobody mention "cyclone ranger"? This must be an obvious reference to masturbation? Don't you men love to come up with nicknames for your anatomy?? ;-) I don't think he's one of those scientists from "twister."

Posted by: Maggie at May 16, 2005 2:52 PM

There was a movie in 1935 called the Cyclone Ranger. It was about a band of rustlers who were trying to go straight. Probably just a coincidence, though. I don't see that adding any extra meaning. Unless he is saying everyone avoids him like a cattle rustler. Next you'll be telling me that rustling the cattle is a euphemism, too.

Posted by: briwei at May 16, 2005 3:09 PM

Only if you're a farm boy.

Posted by: Maggie at May 16, 2005 3:23 PM

I guess you could also argue that the Divinyls song "I Touch Myself" is about someone massaging their temples because they have a headache.

Posted by: James at May 16, 2005 4:21 PM

I always thought it was "my cell" and assumed he was in prison. But I suppose it could be a *padded* cell.

Posted by: Julie at May 16, 2005 6:51 PM

Well there are songs about masturbation and then there are songs about masturbation. I'd be surprised if someone thought that the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself" or Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop" were about anything other than self-pleasuring. In this piece it seems somewhat more... speculative.

"I'm stranded all alone in the gas station of love, and I have to use the self-service pumps!" -- Weird Al

Posted by: Chuck S. at May 16, 2005 6:51 PM

My version, as seen often on SecondCity TV, is still my favorite.
There's something about a gal from Toronto in a kimono -- I mean, besides the internal rhyme.
Gosh, James, this is one of the swellest sites on the intenets. Thanks for laboring at it. (We production hobby professionals know how hard you work !) Keep up the fine fine goodness.

Posted by: Jerry Todd at May 17, 2005 9:20 AM

Hw sweet of you to say... uh, Jerry.

Posted by: James at May 17, 2005 1:38 PM

I heard it this morning and I think the second line is actually "You wrote 'I love you,' I ruv you too." It really sounds like "I ruv you."

Posted by: Julie at October 4, 2005 9:23 AM

At one point, I was sure it was "I love me, too."

Which kinda makes sense, if you buy in to a certain interpretation.

Posted by: James at October 4, 2005 10:22 AM

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