Lyric Analysis: Corey Hart's 'Sunglasses At Night'

"Sunglasses At Night"
Corey Hart

Before we start, a confession: I love this song.  But I am fairly certain that though I’ve belted it possibly a thousand times into a hairbrush or while driving, “I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can...” are the only  actual lyrics I ever knew. That is all about to change.  I’m excited.

I wear my sunglasses at night
So I can, So I can
Watch you weave then breathe your story lines

She’s drunk, right?  I mean this stanza takes place after a night at the bar, right?  He’s wearing sunglasses at night and she’s weaving and breathing stories.  I’m going to assume that’s the trajectory this song is on and if so, we’re in for a real ride.  

And I wear my sunglasses at night
So I can, So I can
Keep track of the visions in my eyes

He wears his sunglasses at night so he can (so he can) keep track of visions in his eyes?  Like without the glasses they’ll fall out of his eyes?  Or the light will scare the visions away?  See, it’s meant to be deep but falls kind of short.  Just like every story told by a drunk guy ever.  But there’s a sci-fi layer to take into account which turns this into something amazing: he’s actually wearing virtual reality glasses and with them he sees visions of their future literally in his eyes, on the insides of the glasses projecting directly into his eyes.  Corey Hart is a seer from the future!

While, she's deceiving me,
It cuts my security (has)
she got control of me
I turn to her and say

I... huh?... her deception cuts his security?  Okay, sure.  And “(has) she got control of me” is both a question and a statement unless I’m gravely mistaken.  It cuts his security which means she’s got control of him but he’s also unsure.  Has she got control of him?  Or do his virtual reality glasses show him a different version of the future?  One in which he still has control?  Maybe whatever he is turning to her to say will clear things up.

Don't switch the blade on the guy in shades; oh no
Don't masquerade with the guy in shades;
(oh no) (I can't believe it)
You got it made with the guy in shades; oh no

Not clearer.  But now it's a West Side Story dance number.  I’m picturing a costume party (masquerade) replete with popped collars and the girls secreting their boyfriends’ switchblades away so they too can be young toughs.  They’re all snapping fingers, light-footing it down the alley, knowing they have it made with the guy in shades.  Whom I now assume is Danny Zuko.

I wear my sunglasses at night
So I can, So I can
Forget my name while you collect your claim

So he can, so he can forget his name while you collect your claim from the coat check in the bar in which you both had way too many tequila shots before you stumble out in the night, wearing sunglasses, forgetting things, trying to get to Danny’s party.

And I wear my sunglasses at night
So I can, So I can
See the light that's right before my eyes

The light from the virtual reality screens inside the glasses, duh.  This song is so obvious.

While she's deceiving me,
she cuts my security (has)
She got control of me
I turn to her and say

Is he actually talking about a security deposit?  It’s possible I gave him too much credit earlier when I assumed ‘security’ referred to a theoretical concept or a feeling.  Maybe she cut his security deposit in half when she spilled beer into the radiator.  

Don't switch the blade on the guy in shades (oh no)
Don't masquerade with the guy in shades
(oh no) (I can't believe it)
(cuz) You got it made with the guy in shades (oh no)

This also reminds me of the opening scene in ‘Showgirls’ where the dude with the pompadour picks Elizabeth Berkley’s Nomi up in his truck and she flips her blade at him when he gets a little friendly and then changes the radio by stabbing the buttons with the blade so he retaliates by swerving in front of a semi to kick her out.  Seriously, it’s a classic.  

While she's deceiving me,
she cuts my security (has)
She got control of me
I turn to her and say

Don't switch the blade on the guy in shades (oh no)
Don't masquerade with the guy in shades
(oh no) (I can't believe it)
don't be afraid of the guy in shades
(oh No) (It can't escape you)
(cus) You got it made with the guy in shades (oh no)

I often felt this way while drunk, honestly.  Like I was spiraling through some unexplained masquerade and some dude I didn’t know was wearing shades which, like, I couldn’t believe since it was night.  I wouldn’t know whether to be afraid or not because sanity escapes you after the tenth shot.  The pursuit of escapism demands all of your senses and leaves you reeling around in the dark, in shades, looking for a lightswitch, giggling “oh no” while you hope to god you and whats-his-name you just met don’t wake up your roommate.  If you’re even in your apartment at that point.

I said
I wear my sunglasses at night
I wear my sunglasses at night
I wear my sunglasses at night

I heard you, Corey!  

I say to ya now
I wear my sunglasses at night
I wear my sunglasses at night
I wear my sunglasses at night

The virtual reality glasses from the future are turning him into a repetitive automaton.  What’s happening here is he’s gotten stuck on a visual loop wherein he’s “seeing” the same future moment in time over and over but without context he can’t make sense of it so all he’s able to do is tell you he’s wearing the glasses at night, like a desperate code that something dark is happening.

I cry to you
I wear my sunglasses at night
I wear my sunglasses at night

Right?

 

- Corinne Simpson