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Vampira

05:12
Bill Sunkel
Bill & Rob Sunkel

Story

DECODING “SHE’S A VAMPIRA”

Every once in a while, we write a song that is a “sequel” of sorts to another one of our songs.  “Vampira” is one of those, our “sequel” to “Frankenstein Walk.”  The theme of both, of course, is that there are “Monsters Among Us,” ordinary people who (like the zombies in “Frankenstein Walk”) wander through this world without human interaction, or who (like the title character here) feed on the lifeblood of others.

There are two things I like about this lyric:  First, how it paints a sensual picture of a werewolf-like fellow who feels a strange compulsion to leave his bed (“It’s been a while since the stranger in your bed/Has dared to come around,” implying this has happened before, see, e.g., “True Confessions” from the Desperate Measures CD of the same name) to go down to “the darker side of town” where “there’s been some noise about lost boys” (a shameless reference to the classic vampire film).  That his particular jungle is suburbia, and that he is slave to his desire, are reflected in the lines that follow:  “You’re too far gone to smell the summer lawn/Voodoo holds you in its sway/As you slowly stalk the winding walks/Until you’ve caught the scent of prey.”  Enter Vampira – maybe a hooker, maybe a stripper, maybe just an insomniac housewife, but definitely a creature of the night.  The tongue-in-cheek nature of the song is telegraphed in the next line:  “What’s a red-blooded boy supposed to do?”

The second thing I like about the lyric is how the roles of the hunter (or huntress) and the hunted continue to shift back and forth throughout.  These are willing (if not co-dependent) victims:  “Don’t lie, you can feel it in her thighs/The distant fires of Hell/You pretend you’re cool and in control/When you know it won’t end well.”  Why won’t it end well?  Because it’s addictive, and consumptive, a fatal attraction if there ever was one:  “You’ll be back again tomorrow midnight/With a suitcase full of cash/But you’re already dead and the eyes in your head/Have turned a grayer shade of ash.” 

I also like the images juxtaposing death against thrilling vitality:  “Wild anticipation raging up from deep inside/And you’re filled with the cold sensation/That you’ve never been more alive.”  In Shakespearean slang, “to die” meant to orgasm, e.g., “to die in your arms.”  That it should come as a “cold sensation” in this case is, I think, wickedly appropriate.

On an “insider” note, this is actually the third full set of lyrics written for this song.  Earlier versions were more visually descriptive of Vampira, though in a cartoonish way (“You like her lace bustier/But she ain’t what you think/Yeah, she’s hot and she’s thirsty/But she don’t want a drink/Her lips are black cherry red/And her skin cool as cream”), more Elvis Costello snide (“She’s out on the street/Set her sights on a target/Claims her name’s Desiree/When her real name is Margaret”), and/or contained additional vampire imagery (“The most undead woman/That you’ve ever seen,” “She’s got him wrapped ’round her finger/As he picks up the check/And he won’t feel her teeth/Buried deep in his neck,” and the dumbest – hence, my favorite – double entendre of all, “You rise like Nosferatu/And she smiles ’cause she’s got you”).  Ouch, that’s just awful.  But I think that this final version – which ultimately turns out to be more about him than her – best captures the intended mood and meaning of this song about these everyday monsters. 

I hope you find it as darkly exhilarating as I do.

Lyrics

SHE’S A VAMPIRA
 
It’s been a while since the stranger in your bed
Has dared to come around
And there’s been some noise about lost boys
On the darker side of town
You’re too far gone to smell the summer lawn
Voodoo holds you in its sway
As you slowly stalk the winding walks
’Til you’ve caught the scent of prey
 
She’s a Vampira, she’s a Vampira
She’s a Vampira, through and through
She’s a Vampira, she’s a Vampira
What’s a red-blooded boy supposed to do?
 
Don’t lie – you can feel it in her thighs
The distant fires of Hell
You pretend you’re cool and in control
When you know it won’t end well
You’ll be back again tomorrow midnight
With a suitcase full of cash
But you’re already dead and the eyes in your head
Have turned a grayer shade of ash
 
She’s a Vampira, she’s a Vampira
She’s a Vampira, coming for you
She’s a Vampira, she’s a Vampira
What’s a red-blooded boy supposed to do?
 
Wild anticipation raging up from deep inside
And you’re filled with the oddly cold sensation
That you’ve never been more alive
 
She’s a Vampira, she’s a Vampira
She’s a Vampira, yes it’s true
She’s a Vampira, she’s a Vampira
What’s a black-hearted girl supposed to do?