“He is observing the chaos, taking in the lack of raw humanity It’s as if the entire world’s fallen in love with their insanity Hear the innocent voices scream As their tormentors laugh through all of it No forgiveness from all I’ve seen The degradation I cannot forget.”
What are your thoughts on the lyrics of Dangerous Animals?
I love Dangerous Animals. The lyrics to me always embodied a sexual frustration/tension/desire he can’t get to. There are a lot of phrases in that song that fit each other “pinned down by the dark, to my knees you do promote me.” Humbug era Alex lyrics are trickier to decipher, especially a song like this. He tends to bounce around, with long winded ideas and concepts that leave you a little breathless and confused. However, his theme and mood are still cast pretty strong. I always liked in Dangerous Animals how he describes the acrobat falling off the beam, the audience watching. Those lines are consistent with the album’s overall theme and tone, the nonsense and the like… Carnival imagery he refers to throughout the entire album. I have another ask about Humbug, and I will write about this more in depth in that.
Anyway, I’ve always struggled with understanding what his message is in this song. Since I can’t actually go and ask him, and if I could he wouldn’t tell me, I can only guess. Usually my guesses have more confidence but this one I never really was so sure. Because he like steers the lyrics in a different direction out of nowhere. I’ll try my best, but don’t take my word for it. And if you have thought otherwise this entire time and want to disagree with me, you can. I have a very weak argument. I’m not sure if I’m right on this one.
The first verse starts with him fighting with his sheets, or struggling to sleep, because he’s frustrated. The well-told gripe. He just wants a girl. “You should have racing stripes the way you keep me in pursuit.” Gets me every time. I don’t need to explain that. “Then do my knees you do promote me” - he’s almost at her mercy, as if to say being pushed down by this girl is a promotion. (Similar theme in She Does the Woods. “She turns my back to the earth and shows me that’s where I’m meant to be.” I’m just assuming by his consistent bottom position he likes to be… Dominated? Inappropriate. I digress.)
He’s stuck in the dark thinking of this girl. “The light it fidgets though, the thoughts’ll soon revert to you…” He’s stuck in the dark, or presumably at night (another major theme on this album; night time, sleep, darkness) thinking of her again. “About as bashful as a tribal dance” - tribal dances are the opposite of bashful. His thoughts aren’t bashful at all. They’re enough for him to later say “so let’s make a mess lioness.” His head pirouettes, or spins around more than he’d like to admit to himself or to the girl he’s thinking of.
The lines I have always struggled with are his circus sounding lines, which are the ones about the acrobat falling off the beam. Where did it come from? Are his friends the audience, divided, telling him how he should feel about this girl? Is it her friends telling her to stay away from him? Who is the acrobat on the beam? Was he just like… this sounds right I’m doing it? (Maybe?) Those lines always stuck out to me because I couldn’t figure them out. I can’t make sense of them. If you have an idea, tell me. I’d love to know.
Some people/interviewers said that AM was the sexy, raunchy album that was kind of unexpected. I always disagreed because of Dangerous Animals. It’s him expressing a frustration, something sexual and laced in desire he can’t let go of. He’s losing sleep over it. He just wants her, doesn’t know how to get to her. It’s been long enough now, so just make a mess already. That line makes my stomach flip, every time. “make a mess, lioness.” Ugh.