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Genesis/meaning of lyrics of "Mad Man Moon"


Jo wrote at 2009-04-27 14:57:32

you couldn't have explained it better! Well, that is my humble opinion, but as a mad woman -genenis lyrics- lover, I think you hit it right on the spot!

And oh, how beautiful this song is....



ncgenesisfan wrote at 2009-05-23 02:45:55
I agree with most of this interpretation, except I think the "desert" is a metaphor for major depression, which set in after the narrator left his girlfriend.  Tony means to say that he longed for life on the other side of the relationship, but finds it unbearable and wishes that he could go back.  As a lifelong sufferer of depression, this has always been one of my favorite songs

Dave wrote at 2010-07-17 16:13:45
Erm, maybe it's about some bloke that pisses off to the desert and dies there? Or am I being over simplistic?  

Les wrote at 2010-09-13 01:10:03
Hi, Joe that was a superb interpretation of this classic Genesis track. I just ended another 4 year relationship and like all the loves before i play mad man moon!! I am in total empathy right now, and feeling as though i am in the desert with no love around. Kinda sad really...but God loves a tryer.....Hi Jo...another mad man - genesis lyric - lover here. How the heck do we communicate on this site?



Rakkhita wrote at 2012-12-20 13:10:15
there are many links to Pilgrims Progress by john Bunyan.

The Valley of Shadowless death etc were inspired to John Bunyans imagination by real sites near where he lived

MimicoMuser wrote at 2014-07-14 23:58:24
Has anyone considered the possibility that the song might be about drug addiction? Heroin, or "horse" as it's sometimes called. Sand is also used here as a metaphor for heroin.

"But I was the one who decided to go

To search beyond the final crest,

Though I'd heard it said just birds could dwell so high."

Sounds as though he wanted to try it, but his girlfriend refused to join him. He did it anyway.

"So I pretended to have wings for my arms

And took off in the air.

I flew to places which the clouds never see,

Too close to the deserts of sand,"

He soon discovers that you can't stay high forever. Eventually, you'll come down to reality, a place that can be decidedly unpleasant. Reality is a dry desert with nothing there but sand. Heroin will lead you away from it, but it always leads you back. You'll always have to live a lie, a double life.

"Where a thousand mirages, the shepherds of lies

Forced me to land and take a disguise.

I would welcome a horse's kick to send me back

If I could find a horse not made of sand."

"If this desert's all there'll ever be

Then tell me what becomes of me.

A fall of rain?"

Enter: The Dealer

"Hey man,

I'm the sand man.

And boy have I news for you;

They're gonna throw you in gaol

And you know they can't fail

'cause sand is thicker than blood.

But a prison in sand

Is a haven in hell,

For a gaol can give you a goal

[and a] goal can find you a role

On a muddy pitch in Newcastle,

Where it rains so much

You can't wait for a touch

Of sun and sand, sun and sand..."

You're hooked, he says. It's useless now to fight it. He's right and our boy knows it. To an addict stranded in the desert of his suffering, relief lies in the world of reality, a world he can never return to. Ironically, those who struggle with the rainy realities of normal existence might prefer to get high instead. But they don't know what he knows.   

"Within the valley of shadowless death

They pray for thunderclouds and rain,

But to the multitude who stand in the rain

Heaven is where the sun shines."

Getting high is fun at first. It feels wonderful. But too soon reality beckons. Painful reality.

"The grass will be greener till the stems turn to brown

And thoughts will fly higher till the earth brings them down."

And this next line, I find absolutely heartbreaking:

"Forever caught in desert lands one has to learn

To disbelieve the sea."

He's given up. He's accepted his tragic fate. The drug has won.

Banks is a brilliant wordsmith. This is perhaps the cleverest song I have ever encountered. Please it another listen.

DP. Toronto, Canada  

giak wrote at 2015-10-26 10:22:36
Thank you so much for the time you took writing about this song.


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