Tags

, , , ,

Title: ‘Sometimes’
Where to find it: ‘Laid’ (1993, Mercury)
Performed by: James
Words by: Tim Booth

I am taking a simple-ish song to ease myself back into the lyric interpretation…

First, the words:

Verse 1
There’s a storm outside, and the gap between crack and thunder
Crack and thunder, is closing in, is closing in
The rain floods gutters, and makes a great sound on the concrete
On a flat roof, there’s a boy leaning against the wall of rain
Aerial held high, calling “come on thunder, come on thunder”

Chorus
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul

Verse 2
It’s a monsoon, and the rain lifts lids off cars
Spinning buses like toys, stripping them to chrome
Across the bay, the waves are turning into something else
Picking up fishing boats and spewing them on the shore

The boy is hit, lit up against the sky, like a sign, like a neon sign
And he crumples, drops into the gutter, legs twitching
The flood swells his clothes and delivers him on, delivers him on

Chorus
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul

Verse 3
There’s four new colors in the rainbow
An old man’s taking Polaroids
But all he captures is endless rain, endless rain
He says listen, takes my head and puts my ear to his
And I swear I can hear the sea

Outro
Sometimes, when I look in your eyes I can see your soul
(I can reach your soul)
(I can touch your soul)
Sometimes

Now, the analysis:

‘Sometimes’ is not as well known as a James tune as ‘Laid’ (about sex) or ‘Sit Down’ (about loneliness), but I think by skipping this one, you’re short changing the Manchester band. This song should be given just as much weight, as I think the words – set to a soothing guitar rhythm that acts like a lullaby, nearly – are far better than those other two.

The world goes on, even when you’re in love (or not) or have a broken heart (or not). The purpose of a monsoon – to give life to an otherwise barren, arid land – is used as a plot device and is compared to the trials and tribulations of life. The horror of a child being picked up by the storm leads to something that is not as horrible, as “the flood swells his clothes and delivers him on, delivers him on” to the next life. An old man who is taking Polaroids of nothing but the endless rain can still find joy in what is within him (the sea), which the protagonist can also feel.

More literally, I think the chorus is simply putting the feelings you have for someone and how terrible things can happen – like storms – around you and you barely notice, because you’re in love. I feel this twinge in my heart every time I hear “sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul” because I have always used eyes as the windows into a person’s soul. In all my adult life I’ve had the ability to suss the goodness in most people, and I credit this in great deal to what I see when I look into their eyes. If the eyes are vacant and soulless, I can just tell something’s not right.

I still dream about the man I last loved and his beautiful eyes, and I often hope that he saw my soul when he looked through mine.

Lastly, the song, via its official video.

Advertisements