Is it possible to love a song if you don’t understand the lyrics?
Sure, why not? I’ve adored countless songs whose cryptic messages perplex me still; it’s part of what draws me to them. Case in point: “Silver Blue,” a fan favorite from Swedish pop duo Roxette. Originally released as a non-album B-side to their single “The Look” (and later placed on their rarities compilation Tourism), “Silver Blue” haunted me as a teenager with its moody synth-bass rhythms and mysterious title. What, exactly, does it mean to “fade to silver blue for you”?
A reference to the Linda Ronstadt tune, perhaps? Possibly, but unlikely; that song has a bitterness to it that’s absent from Per Gessle’s words. And the verses aren’t nearly as dense, so we can get a good sense of what’s going on here. In the first verse, Gessle sings:
I got to get a message through,
I don’t know where we’re going.
I wrap my arms around your naked shoulders,
take cover for the night.
I see you in the morning rain,
oh step inside and lay beside me.
Tender can you close my eyes and blind me,
oh give me just a smile.
Following a chorus, Marie Fredriksson takes over for the second verse:
I’ve turned into The Broken One
who lost the inspiration.
I want to give you all my love like water
to a blood red rose.
The Passion – I can’t deal with her.
The Pain – well, I can do without him.
And this is like the milky way, an ocean
that only grows and grows.
There’s a warmth here, a comfort between two souls who could be at the beginning of a relationship, or possibly in the middle of one following some turbulence. Either way, the verses play as a conversation of sorts in which both reveal a desire to distance themselves from the rocky present and move together toward, well, whatever the future may hold. There’s a passion in the phrase “take cover for the night” that soothes.
And then they fade to silver blue, which sounds romantic, but what does that mean? The internet offers no clues, and so I end the song as I began it twenty-three years ago, happily lost in a riddle.
Added: I realize a day too late that I used the same “ask a question about not getting the lyrics” gimmick to open my write-up on Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball.” I really need to start checking myself for style crutches.