As I said before, I’d never really how dark the Go-Go’s lyrics work until I started reading them sans music, trying to pick a song to base a story on. One of the things that’s interesting about music is so often people will love a song, make it their jam, and sing along to it all the time without really understanding what the song’s about.
A classic case in point, and maybe the best example, is “Every Breath You Take” by the Police. It’s a terrific song on every level, was a huge hit, and launched their huge-selling Synchronicity album…and yet I knew, almost from the first time I heard it, that the lyrics were really dark and obsessive to the point of being completely creepy. So when I discovered that people actually thought it was romantic, and most people didn’t realize how creepy and stalker-ish it actually was, it blew my mind. The song is played at weddings, for fuck’s sake.
How can people so completely miss the point of the song?
Next up for Murder-a-Go-Go’s is “Tonite,” penned by R. D. Sullivan.
“Come on, come on, come on…” Benicia whispered, eyes flicking between the rearview mirror of the stolen car and the red traffic light. One hand tapped nervously on the steering wheel. She tried to ignore what the pit bull had done to her leg, but it screamed with pain, and blood puddled in her shoe. There wasn’t time to deal with it.
The heat of the summer night pressed in from the open windows, oppressive and dry. No other cars sat at the intersection, nobody waited at the crosswalks. All of Red Bluff shut its doors and called it a night as soon as the sun set and this late? Nothing stirred.
Not even the junkies were out. With as hot as it has been, hitting 112 today, they were likely hunkered by the river that bisected town, trying to stay cool enough to sleep.
Good. The deserted streets would make this easier.
Eyes on the red light.
Eyes on the mirror.
The white pick-up screamed around the corner, slipping for a heartbeat before grabbing road and accelerating. she couldn’t see their faces, but she could picture them, how angry they’d look. Angry at her.
She put a hand on the two bags on the passenger seat and ran the red light.
There’s nothing I love more than a good tale of revenge, and “Tonite” is precisely that. The story opens with the major adrenaline rush of a car chase where the stakes are very high; if whoever is chasing her catches Benicia, they’re going to kill her. But what is her plan, what is her game, and what is she doing? Sullivan craftily weaves flashbacks into her chase tale, as Benicia races through the streets of Sacramento with angry killers on her tail, and each successful reveal adds to the incredibly powerful tension of the story, which literally amps up in the opening sentence.