Lyric Analysis: Frankie Goes To Hollywood and 'The Power of Love'

Editor's Note: This particular song was analyzed on the suggestion of one dashing Mr. Roger Jackson. And what a great suggestion! This song is rich with depths to plumb, you guys. But if you don't like it, shake your fist Roger's direction. He's in the UK so get oriented directionally first.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood
"The Power Of Love"

I'll protect you from the hooded claw
Keep the vampires from your door

What is the hooded claw? I am so excited by this reference. It immediately reminds me of the children’s book ‘Jacob Two Two and the Hooded Fang’ so of course I assume the Hooded Claw is a relative of the Hooded Fang except instead of tormenting little boys who repeat themselves ad nauseum, the Hooded Claw hangs with Kiefer and the Lost Boys turning noodles to maggots and generally wreaking havoc.  But Frankie loves you enough to keep all that from your door.  Which is sweet.

Feels like fire
I'm so in love with you

Love is the fire in which we burn!  No, that’s time.  Time is the fire in which we burn.  Love is a many splendored thing.  Love lifts us up where we belong.  And also sometimes it burns, it burns like fire, presumably because of all the passion which is typically colored red and fiery.  Like cinnamon hearts.  

Dreams are like angels
They keep bad at bay (bad at bay)

Are dreams like angels?  I feel like Ron Livingston in Adaptation.  “Are flowers amazing?”  I agree that angels can probably keep bad at bay but dreams are where Freddy Krueger lives so it seems to me that dreams are more like a portal to horror at times.  

Love is the light
Scaring darkness away - yeah

I will put this in pop culture context for you: darkness is the Nothing from The Neverending Story and love is the Childlike Empress.  Though I’m not sure the darkness is so much scared away as physically unable to inhabit the same place as light due to the fact that light’s illumination negates darkness.  Science.

I'm so in love with you
Purge the soul
Make love your goal

I... what?  Why would you want love without soul?  "Check it out now, the funk soul brother."  You want both.  I mean love without soul is like rhythm without blues or, you know, whatever.  Also, not for nothing, vampires don’t have souls so if you purge your soul then you may in fact be one of the vampires Frankie previously swore to keep from your door.

The power of love
A force from above

In the video for this song a giant angel cradles a nativity scene which is a very literal translation of the lyrics.  It may also be why the song is sometimes a seasonal favorite.  Okay, that and its initial December release.

Cleaning my soul
Flame on burn desire
Love with tongues of fire

Fire imagery is typically, in Christian circles, associated with hell and the devil.  It’s a thrilling juxtaposition to suggest that angels and the nativity embody a burning flame of love.  Though it must be said that Biblically the arrival of the Holy Spirit to the believers on the day of Pentecost came in the form of tongues of fire so there you have both sides of the passion coin.  Either way, Frankie is clearly very much enamored of this person.  

Purge the soul
Make love your goal

It’s good to have goals in life.  It keeps you focused.  Frankie understands this; it’s probably how he intends to successfully go to Hollywood and make a name for himself.

I'll protect you from the hooded claw
Keep the vampires from your door
When the chips are down I'll be around
With my undying, death-defying
Love for you

Celestial beings arguably have undying, death-defying love for their deity of choice, it’s true.  You know what else have undying and death-defying traits?  Vampires.  Vampires are literally the undead.  Conundrum, Frankie.  Has Hollywood muddled your brain already?  But!  If you examine the lyrics more closely, there’s an argument to be made for Frankie himself being a vampire.  The eternal themes, the fire imagery... perhaps Frankie only wants to keep other vampires from his love.  He’s enraptured with this mortal creature and vows to keep other vampires at bay so he can have this mortal’s soul all to himself.  Which, by extension, would make ‘Relax’ the song he sings to woo them into a trusting swoon so he can turn them.  

Envy will hurt itself
Let yourself be beautiful
Sparkling love, flowers
And pearls and pretty girls

What else sparkles?  No, not vampires.  Stop quoting Twilight as vampire lore!  Gold sparkles.  And the gifts the three wise men brought to the nativity were gold (sparkling love), frankincense (Frankie), and myrrh.  Myrrh is a rare perfume with intoxicating qualities, so perhaps something a pretty girl in pearls might conceivably wear.  (Though not really something you put on an infant.)  This song is so deep, you guys.

Love is like an energy
Rushin' rushin' inside of me

I now have Paula Abdul’s ‘Rush Rush’ in my head.  I will not apologize for putting it in yours.  

This time we go sublime
Lovers entwine (divine divine)

SEX!  

Love is danger, love is pleasure
Love is pure (the only treasure)

Love is dangerous if, for example, you are in love with a vampire.  Love is pure if, for example, you are offering your devotion to God.  The only treasure would arguably be your soul which Frankie has already instructed you to purge so I suppose love would be an acceptable second though I suspect things will go badly for you if you attempt to cheat the devil by offering him love instead of your soul when making your Faustian deal.

I'm so in love with you
Purge the soul
Make love your goal

The power of love
A force from above
Cleaning my soul

Is the soul being cleaned before being purged?  Or is the soul, once purged, cleaned off before being collected by whomever is keeping the soul now?  

The power of love
A force from above
A sky-scraping dove

I’m picturing a dove bashing into the fifty-seventh floor window of a skyscraper which would be rather an ill omen, I’d imagine.  I googled ‘dove crashes into skyscraper’ and the top five results were about plane crashes.  Those are a force from above, though, so technically Frankie’s not wrong here.

Flame on burn desire
Love with tongues of fire
Purge the soul
Make love your goal

I'll protect you from the hooded claw
Keep the vampires from your door

Or will he?  Is he really just biding his time until he can get you to invite his vampire buddies in?  Frankie’s stated goal is, after all, to get to Hollywood.  That’s not usually synonymous with happily ever after love.  Think about it first, is all I’m saying. 

- Corinne Simpson