Light Inside Their Eyes (What Stars Knows About What The Dead Know)

Why does the handful people who really dig “Dead Hearts” by Stars think it’s about seeing ghosts?

I once believed, too, that “dead hearts are everywhere” is about ghosts.

Tell me everything that happened

Tell me everything you saw

They had light inside their eyes

They had light inside their eyes

Did you see the closing window?

Did you hear the slamming door?

They moved forward, my heart died

They moved forward, my heart died

I repudiate that view now.

Late one night I listened to Amy Millan on a loop singing “They had lights inside their eyes” and Torquil Campbell asking about closing windows and slamming doors. At some point I got it.

Oh please tell me what they looked like

Did they seem afraid of you?

They were kids that I once knew

They were kids that I once knew

I could say it but you wont believe me

You say you do but you don’t deceive me

It’s hard to know they’re out there

It’s hard to know that you still care

I could say it but you wont believe me

You say you do but you don’t deceive me

Dead hearts are everywhere

“Dead hearts” isn’t about the living talking about the dead. It’s about the dead talking about the living. Talking about us. Torquil isn’t pondering what death is like as if he’s alive. He’s asking Amy what living is like as if they’re dead, and what the dead see once they are no more.

Did you touch them?

Did you hold them?

Did they follow you to town?

They make me feel I’m falling down

They make me feel I’m falling down

What do the dead see in us? They have so much more to say about us than we could ever have to say about them. They think they’re the real ones, not us. They think we’re cheap, mimeographed knockoffs. They sense us from eons away by our industrial ethics, chemical relationships, and combustible promises and think “In hoc signo vinces” like Templars knights as hordes of infidels descend upon them.

The dead are perfectly adapted to the world of the dead because they see how disconnected and at-sea we are in this world.

Our hearts pump blood. Theirs pumps dust. Yet they are the ones who see dead hearts everywhere.

Was there one you saw too clearly?

Did they seem too real to you?

They were kids that I once knew

Now they’re all dead hearts to you.

This is the moment in the song when I think about the kids I once knew. Not as much as I could or should have because I was an introverted kid kept company by Radio Shack science kits, X-Men comics, and baseball cards.

Wondering where the dead kids are now is wondering where pain goes when you lock it away in a box. How unreal I must seem to Edward. He got hit by a car on the way home from grade school. They had to pull him from the underbelly of someone’s Buick on Preston Street. Or Mark, my older cousin who lived five doors down the block from me. My grandmother told the story of how his mom would bring him to our backyard where he’d watch me learn to walk. He was my first friend. The virus got him. Or Craig, from my high school. He was murdered after a pick-up basketball game. Or my cousin Boo who was selling until he got sold. Or my other cousin Kenny who stole some gold chains from my grandmother to feed a habit that got the worst of him. I still remember her saying she forgave him. Or Eric, Gordon, and Omar. They were on the corner when I left for college, but weren’t when I came back.

They’ll always have light inside their eyes.

@dexterkflowers

Songwriters: Amy E Millan / Christopher Allen Seligman / Evan Whitney Cranley / Patrick McGee / Torquil John Campbell

Dead Hearts lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

IMAGE SOURCE: lonliness.jpg

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