Digging too Deeply: The Boys of Summer

November 26, 2013 at 11:31 am (I Overanalyze Song Lyrics) (, , , )

By popular request (“popular” means “one person,” right?), here comes an analysis of Don Henley’s The Boys of Summer. You know you can’t wait to learn what this song really means.

Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach

Our first verse opens in September. Everybody’s gone back to school, except our singer. Possibly he’s a dropout, possibly he’s too old for school. All he knows is that, man, it was great when everybody was back in town for the summer, hanging out at the beach and on the road.

"Stop looking so happy. I really miss you guys!"

“Stop looking so happy. I really miss you guys!”

Empty lake, empty streets
The sun goes down alone
I’m driving by your house
Though I know you’re not home

"Guys? Hello?"

“Guys? Hello?”

Here, it becomes clear that our singer is the only person left in a vacation town. Or a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Probably the latter. Why else would all the streets be deserted? Shouldn’t someone else be left in this town? No! Because they’re all dead! Dead in the robot apocalypse, of which our singer is the only survivor!

But I can see you
Your brown skin shining in the sun
You got your hair combed back and your
Sunglasses on baby
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone

The chorus comes back in, reminiscing about summer, back when everybody was still alive and tanning and wearing sunglasses. The interesting line in the chorus is “I can tell you my love for you will still be strong after the boys of summer have gone.” This line implies one of two things: 1) he loves baseball so much he was ignoring his significant other during the baseball season; or 2) he loves boys so much he was ignoring his significant other while they were running around, all tanned and shirtless and stuff. Most people think it’s baseball, but why can’t it be both? Gay baseball!

"Why else do you think we joined the baseball team?"

“Why else do you think we joined the baseball team?”

I never will forget those nights
I wonder if it was a dream
Remember how you made me crazy
Remember how I made you scream
Now I don’t understand
What happened to our love
But babe I’m gonna get you back
I’m gonna show you what I’m made of

Our singer continues to reminisce about life before the end of the world as we know it, revealing here that he might have been viewing the past through rose-colored glasses. “Remember how you made me crazy? Remember how I made you scream?” Sounds like it wasn’t all sunshine and tanned skins for these crazy kids.

After admitting their relationship wasn’t always perfect, our singer vows to get his love back, and “show you what I’m made of.” This implies one of two things: 1) My apocalypse theory was wrong; or 2) the much more likely option: his significant other has been taken hostage by robots.

Terminators: The real boys of summer.

Terminators: The real boys of summer.

I can see you
Your brown skin shining in the sun
I see you walking real slow
Smiling at everyone
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone

The chorus comes back. This time he sees his lover walking real slow and smiling at everyone instead of wearing sunglasses. It’s nice he’s got his hallucinations to get him through this difficult time.

Out on the road today
I saw a deadhead sticker on a Cadillac
A little voice inside my head said:
“Don’t look back, you can never look back”
I thought I knew what love was
What did I know?
Those days are gone forever
I should just let them go, but:

Our third verse reveals our singer has started his epic journey to find his lost love. He says he sees a “deadhead sticker on a Cadillac,” which is our first hint that there might be other survivors in this wasteland. Either that, or it’s the empty husk of a car, which is why a little voice inside his head tells him “don’t look back” and he admits “those days are gone forever.”

Because he’s the only man left alive.

Yorick? Is that you?

Yorick? Is that you?

I can see you
Your brown skin shining in the sun
You got the top pulled down
Radio on baby
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone

Bye, boys!

Bye, boys!

I can see you
Your brown skin shining in the sun
You got your hair slicked back and those
Wayfarers on, baby
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone

The song ends with a couple more variations on the chorus. The singer really loves baseball, or boys, or boys who love baseball. Perhaps, even more than his lover, that is what he misses the most.

Image searches for "Boys of Summer" are decidedly homoerotic.

Image searches for “Boys of Summer” are decidedly homoerotic.

Because this is obviously a song about the apocalypse.

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5 Comments

  1. brikhaus said,

    This is your greatest post. Hilarious!

    • lokifire said,

      Jeez, Brik, you spelled “insightful” wrong.

      • brikhaus said,

        Oops! I’ll use a dictionary next time.

  2. ginamusto said,

    I will forever imagine this being sung with post-apocalypse nostalgia. Brilliant.

    • lokifire said,

      Awwwww! I am feeling very brilliant right now.

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