Did The Bangles Foreshadow "Twilight?"

So I was just wandering through the grocery store and singing along with "Eternal Flame" by the Bangles. It's a catchy song; I like the vocals - Susanna Hoffs has a fantastic voice (check out the albums of classic rock covers she did with Matthew Sweet - incredible!). But the lyrics really disturb me nowadays - it's one of those "I just met you, but you solve all my problems and I can never be without you" sort of deals. With lots of creepy touches. You know. Like, say, Twilight. Let's deconstruct it, shall we?

Close your eyes, give me your hand, darling
Do you feel my heart beating
Do you understand
Do you feel the same
Am I only dreaming
Is this burning an eternal flame?

I hope the guy she's singing to DOES feel the same, or this is some pretty serious pressure. Nothing about this song makes me feel like they've been a couple very long. They're one of those new couples that are in love after one date (like Romeo and Juliet, Edward and Bella, Jack and Rose, or, well, to be fair, Alley and Edward in I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It). Or, anyway, the singer thinks they are. That she has to ask the guy so many times if he feels the same is not a good sign.

What if he closes his eyes, gives her his hand, and says something snotty, like "no, I don't think we're there yet?"

Or, perhaps more likely, "No, I don't feel your heart beating. Do you think maybe I'd have better luck if I put my hand under your left breast instead in your hand?" Seriously, Bangles. Your heart is in your chest, not your palm. Maybe if he was holding your WRIST...


I believe it's meant to be, darling
I watch you when you are sleeping
You belong with me
Do you feel the same
Am I only dreaming
Is this burning an eternal flame?

That's either really sweet or more than a little bit freaky (edit to add: Like when Edward spies on Bella while she sleeps - it's creepy, but some people think it's romantic. This song really does have a "Twilight" vibe, don't you think? Did the Bangles predict the phenomenon?).

Also: does she mean "when you sleep in my bed, I enjoy watching you sleep when you fall asleep before I do," or "I watch you when you are sleeping using some high powered binoculars and a carefully arranged system of mirrors?" There's a fine line between being sweet and being a stalker, and this girl is straddling it.

Say my name...

My favorite line, though I wish she'd added something like "b---h" at the end. There's space for it in the meter!

sun shines through the rain
A whole life so lonely
And then you come and ease the pain
I don't want to lose this feeling

Here we have the singer staking her emotional well-being on a guy she probably hasn't known long, and who she may be stalking. She's leaving herself vulnerable by repeatedly asking "is this burning an eternal flame," practically daring him to say "no, probably not" (edit to add: or say "Yes! Eternal!" and turn her into a vampire). Actually, with her slightly-more-weathered voice that she has now, Hoffs would make an awesome vampire. If that's what the song is going for, she should go for it.

Funnily enough, it's just now that it occured to me that she might be saying "is this burning, the one I feel inside me, an eternal flame, not just lust?" I'd always imagined it as "is this, what we have between us, setting an eternal flame alight?" I'm almost sure it's the former. I suppose my original thoughts came from the fact that the song was a hit when I was a kid. Plenty of songs about sex went right over my head. Certainly she's got the burning within, or she wouldn't be watching him sleep. If they were setting a fire, the line would be "is this lighting an eternal flame."

(edit to add: "Or, perhaps it's "is the burning feeling I've had since you bit me turning me into an immortal, and will therefore be a flame burning eternally inside me?")

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Adam's New Book: Sept 2013