Tuesday, 13 July 2010

97. 10 Songs about Strangers

Strangers in the Night - Frank Sinatra
If I Am A Stranger - Ryan Adams
The World Is Full of Strangers - Camera Obscura
The Kindness of Strangers - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
I Saw the Stranger - Ace of Base
Goodbye Stranger - Supertramp
Strangers - Ed Harcourt
Rank Strangers To Me - Bob Dylan
Stranger to Himself - Sandy Denny
Mistaken for Strangers - The National

Well, what a magical mystery tour this blog has been, I had rather forgotten than Ace of Base existed. I think when that song came out I thought it was one of the very worst ever, but at my tender years, what did I know? A couple I'd have included if they'd received a few more votes were Madonna's Beautiful Stranger, Michael Jackson's Stranger in Moscow and Dina Carroll's Don't Be a Stranger - all in their way, horrible songs.
In any case, these are generally extremely serviceable songs - if you heard Ray Stubbs singing Strangers in the Night on Celebrity Fame Academy, you'll never hear the Frank Sinatra song the same way again. When I thought of songs involving strangers, I immediately thought of Van Morrison at the end of Astral Songs mumbling "I ain't nothing but a stranger in this world, I got a home on high, so far away, way up in heaven, in another place, in another time etc etc." What a mental!" But then again, I could have gone down the line of being a stranger in this world with songs like 'I Just Wasn't Made For These Times'. But I suppose I've been quite literal, cos I don't want to babble on about how really we're strangers to ourselves and to each other and no one really knows each other and blahblahblah...
I hate the phrase "Hello Stranger!" because the people that usually say it to you are people you hardly know trying to be overly friendly or familiar. Not that people say it to me often. I think the last time was in 1997. And maybe that was just someone on Neighbours.
But anyway, strangers become friends, friends become strangers. I'll do 10 Songs about Friends next, i suppose.

For ten years I was dreaming
you were drowning; so you tell me.
But I swear the river's not mine
as you should know, I'm non-swimming.
It's been so long but you've noticed
my hair thinning and eyes glazing.

If I'm doing you a favour
I'd say we're strange as strangers.
If I tell you that it feels right
it's cruelty that befriends us.
You're at such pains to be earnest -
I embraced the age of fakers.

[NB I note, a couple of years after writing this post, that it's one that people often enter the blog with. If this is is your first look here, feel free to look at other stuff in the blog, general musings on popular music, a lot of it more entertaining (I hope) than this one]


  1. There should be a really over the top children's educational angry punk shouty song called 'Stranger Danger!'

    Maybe with Keith Flint in the video, as he had exactly the sort of look I imagined a nasty death-bringing stranger would have had when I was 7.

  2. Yes, you're right, I rather missed the most important thing about strangers, which is that you shouldn't accept sweets from them.
    I like how your mind is altogether fixed on children's education now