“And if I seemed to be confused,
I didn’t meant to be
And, when you said I scared you,
well I guess
you scared me, too.”
About the song:
“Joey” is the ninth track from Concrete Blonde’s third and most commercially successful albums, Bloodletting. The song was released in 1990, and was sung by lead singer, Johnette Napolitano.
One interpretation that’s been made of the song is that it’s about a man who is in love with alcohol.
Johnette mentioned in her book, Rough Mix, that the song was written about her relationship with Marc Moreland of the band Wall of Voodoo (who would eventually die of liver failure).
It became the group’s biggest hit, spending 4-weeks atop the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, and crossing over to pop radio, reaching #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The song was written in the cab on the way to the studio; it was the last vocal recorded on the album due to Napolitano’s reluctance to record the lyrics, which were hard for her to deal with.
I’m with Johnette on this one – sometimes these lyrics are really hard to deal with. They resonate with me in a way that is painful and raw, but real and poetic and evocative, too. Sometimes the pain is okay to feel, sometimes, I suppose, it may even be necessary, cathartic even.
To me, I’ve always interpreted the song to be about dealing with a lover with an addiction issue, and wanting to be with them, wanting to forgive them, and doing so, over and over again. There seems to be so many complex emotions going on – guilt, love, frustration, hope, doubt, compassion, anger, and a sense of resolve, too.
I don’t know what happens with these two, though. I fear a repeating cycle, but maybe they find their way out – together.
It is definitely among my list of favorite songs.
Joey :: Concrete Blonde
from the album, Bloodletting