Poetry is a way to express complex emotions that are hard to get across using simple prose. Poems often use odd language to help illustrate abstract concepts. Pop songs, on the other hand, tend to rhyme…and that’s pretty much it. They make little sense when held up to scrutiny. That’s why I started this series of blogs where we take a closer look at some song lyrics. This time we take a look at Juice Newton’s “Queen of Hearts”
and I’m a-waiting on the twelve-oh-five
Hoping it’ll take me just a little farther down the line
So far so good. We’re at a train station that, for some reason, has a train scheduled to depart at five minutes past midnight. Seems pretty late to me but, I’m more of a car person.
you’re just a heartache in disguise;
Won’t you keep my heart from breaking
if it’s only for a very short time
Ok…the moonlight is a heartache in disguise? Or the person she’s singing to is a heartache in disguise and she blurted out “Moonlight” before she told him that?
If she’s singing to the guy then it makes sense that he’s asking him not to break her heart. However, if she’s singing to the moonlight, then she’s doing some weird magic incantation to ask the moonlight to intervene in matters of the heart? You’re losing me here, sister.
Playing with the queen of hearts,
knowing it ain’t really smart
The joker ain’t the only fool
who’ll do anything for you
Now we’re playing poker. Ok…I know this is a metaphor. Let’s see if we can’t sort it out. So I guess the singer is the Queen of Hearts…as in she’s wearing her heart on her sleeve for this guy. I must therefor assume that the line about the joker means that the queen of hearts is also “wild.” Aww yeah…she’s wiiiiiild! She’ll do “anything” for you. This song is getting better!
Laying out another lie,
thinking ’bout a life of crime
That’s what I’ll have to do
to keep me away from you
Wait…what just happened?! She was willing to go wild for the guy a second ago, but now she’s stacking lies on top of each other and committing crimes to keep herself away from him? Is that why she’s at the train station? Someone warn the passengers to get off that train! She’s got a bomb!!!
Honey, you know it makes you mad
Why is everybody telling everybody what you have done
Baby, I know it makes you sad
But when they’re handing out the heartaches
you know you got to have you some
Whoa…now HE’S the guy getting heartache? Is that because they won’t let him visit you in jail after the incident with that train?
Lovers, I know you’ve had a few
But hide your heart beneath the covers
and tell ’em they’re the only one
And others, they know just what I’m going through
And it’s a-hard to be a lover when you say you’re only in it for fun
Ok… so he’s a male slut. (No surprise there. Look how crazy he’s driving this one lady) But I gather from the end of that verse that she wants to be in a committed relationship with the guy, not just “in it for fun.” If that’s the case why is she turning to a life of crime to keep away from him?
I don’t think this is a song so much as is an insight to the mental breakdown of a very frightened man’s ex-girlfriend. At least the families of the people on the train might get some closure from reading her convoluted ramblings.
R.I.P. Passengers and Crew of the 12:05. You shall be missed
EDIT: Holy wow! I thought th lyrics were odd until I saw the video. What was happening in the 80’s?!