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Phonetics with M-E
Total eclipse of the heart (Bonnie Tyler) (Wales)
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A gorgeous song from the 80's, a true masterpiece. Great song and astounding poetry in the lyrics. The video, though, has little or no connection with the lyrics, or has it? (see the song meaning). The Gothic themed video features Bonnie Tyler clad in white, apparently having a dream or fantasy about her students in a boys' boarding school. Young men are seen dancing and participating in various school activities such as swim team, karate, fencing, football, and singing in a choir.

In 1977, Tyler was diagnosed with nodules on her vocal cords that were so severe that surgery was required. After the surgery, she was ordered not to speak for several weeks, but she broke her doctor's orders which caused her voice to take on a crack quality. At first this made her believe that her singing career was over, but (to her surprise) her next single made her an international star, "It's a Heartache" made #3 on the US chart and became a hit worldwide. Bonnie Tyler made of his peculiar new voice her personal brand and turned a disaster into a blessing.

You can watch a modern version here: Total Eclipse of the Heart (Glee)

Turn around
Every now and then I get a little bit lonely and you're never coming around
Turn around
Every now and then I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of my tears
Turn around
Every now and then I get a little bit nervous that the best of all the years have gone by
Turn around
Every now and then I get a little bit terrified and then I see the look in your eyes
Turn around bright eyes
Every now and then I fall apart
Turn around bright eyes
Every now and then I fall apart

Turn around
Every now and then I get a little bit restless and I dream of something wild
Turn around
Every now and then I get a little bit helpless and I'm lying like a child in your arms
Turn around
Every now and then I get a little bit angry and I know I've got to get out and cry
Turn around
Every now and then I get a little bit terrified but then I see the look in your eyes
Turn around bright eyes
Every now and then I fall apart
Turn around bright eyes
Every now and then I fall apart

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you’ll only hold me tight
We'll be holding on forever
And we'll only be making it right
Cause we'll never be wrong together
We can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark
We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
I really need you tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I'm only falling apart
There's nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart


Turn around bright eyes
Every now and then I fall apart
Turn around bright eyes
Every now and then I fall apart

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you'll only hold me tight
We'll be holding on forever
And we'll only be making it right
Cause we'll never be wrong together
We can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
I don't know what to do, I'm always in the dark
We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
I really need you tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I'm only falling apart
Nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart
A total eclipse of the heart

Turn around bright eyes
Turn around bright eyes
Turn around

EVERY NOW AND THEN= Sometimes, often.

LONELY= If you are lonely or feel lonely, you are sad because you are or feel alone and you need company.

COMING AROUND= Coming to visit me, coming to be with me.

TIRED OF LISTENING= Remember that after prepositions and conjunctions we always use –ING (of + -ing).

I GET NERVOUS THAT THE BEST...= I get nervous because I think that the best...

GONE BY= Disappear, left.

FALL APART= Break, collapse, be destroyed. If a person falls apart they have an emotional collapse or a nervous breakdown (often crying too).

RESTLESS= Nervous, anxious, unable to relax, without rest (the suffix –LESS means “without”)

DREAM OF= The verb dream can use the prepositions OF or ABOUT, so you dream of something or dream about something.

HELPLESS= Without help (the suffix –LESS means “without”)

HOLD ME TIGHT= Embrace, hug me strongly.

IF YOU’LL ONLY HOLD ME TIGHT= The complete sentence here is a conditional one: “if you’ll only hold me tight, we’ll be holding on forever”. In type 1 conditionals we have present-future, but never future-future. The first WILL is not future, it’s “want”, and the second WILL is future, so the sentence is correct. This sentence means: if you want to hold me tight, you are going to continue holding each other forever.
The verb WILL very often means “want, be willing to”, and sometimes (not very often) it marks the future tense:
- Will you come to my party? = do you want to come?
- I need help but she won’t help me = she refuses to help me, she doesn’t want to.
- Sit down if you will = Sit down please (if you want to).

HOLD ON= Continue holding. The verb particle ON very often expresses the idea of continuity:
- Keep on dancing = continue dancing, don’t stop.
- She went on talking forever = she continued talking forever, she never stopped.
- Move on, we’re late = don’t stop, keep moving.
The verb “to hold on” can also mean “to wait” (hold on a minute, I have to finish this), but not in this sentence.

WE’LL ONLY BE MAKING IT RIGHT= We’ll be doing exactly the right thing.

CAUSE= Because.

TO THE END OF THE LINE= To the limit.

YOUR LOVE IS LIKE A SHADOW ON ME= Your love is always with me, like a presence covering me. But a dark presence, a presence that leaves me in the dark, confused, helpless.

I’M ALWAYS IN THE DARK= I’m always confused, I don’t know what to do.

A POWDER KEG= A little box for holding gunpowder (dynamite) or other explosives.

GIVING OFF= Sending out, emmitting.

SPARKS= Little particles of light.

GONNA= (coll.) Going to.

FOREVER’S GONNA START TONIGHT= Tonight is going to be the beginning of eternity.

ONCE UPON A TIME= This is the way fairy tales usually begin: “once upon a time a beautiful princess found a little frog…”.

I WAS FALLING IN LOVE= To fall in love is to start loving someone deeply and irrationally.

A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART= A total eclipse is when the moon completely covers the sun and it all gets dark. A total eclipse of the heart is when your heart is destroyed and disappears (a poetical expression invented for this song). Notice the pronunciation of HEART /hɑ:*t/

For those confused by the lyrics it might help to know that the writer was inspired by Catherine and Heathcliff's relationship in the novel "Wuthering Heights". Theirs was an intense and passionate--but also self destructive and toxic--relationship. The song is about a love affair that draws you in and won't let you go, even though it would be healthy to get away. The "total eclipse of the heart" lines refer to the lover overshadowing one's life so much that the sun's light is blocked out, plunging the person's heart in darkness. If you wanna be technical/scientific …imagine a solar eclipse with the sun’s light being blocked from reaching earth/heart by the moon/toxic lover.
- Doc, Nashville, TN

The line "turn around, bright eyes" has the essence of her battle. He's got bright eyes (because they look so beautiful), but at the same time, she wants to escape from those hypnotic bright eyes, so she tells him "turn around", so I can't see those eyes I love so much.

Yea, people usually think there is no connection between the song and the video, but there is one guy out there who thinks the video perfectly matches the song. The lyrics are about a toxic love. She wants it but she rejects it at the same time, it’s a cruel battle inside her heart. The lyrics don’t say anything about whom she loves, but the video is making it clear, and an illicit love it is, indeed.

It is Princess_ck84, from North Bay, Canada who says this. This is a fragment of what he has written about it:

Russell Mulcahy’s surreal or bizarre interpretation and adaptation of Bonnie Tyler’s video has been noted to have nothing to do with the song’s original lyrics and is meant to stand alone as its own story. Though the video may appear at first glance to have nothing to do with the written lyrics, in fact Mulcahy has taken Jim Stienman’s lyrics and has interpreted and enhanced them by creating a controversial and thought provoking subtext to the original lyrics through themes and images of what is morally right and wrong and the constant battle between them. These themes and images are produced through the representation of light versus darkness, religious images or symbols, and the sexual tension resonating within those religious images or symbols. In Stienman’s original lyrics, he appears to use many symbols through the representation of light and dark. In regards to light, there are many references to “bright eyes” […]

It appears that she is faced with a battle of longing for something or someone she used to have and is not able to get away from the emotional torment of wanting what is lost. This emotional battle can be expressed through Stienman’s constant use of light and dark. This conflict between light and darkness within the lyrics are shaped through the persona’s fight of once having light, now being shrouded in darkness and seeking that light again. Mulcahy’s interpretation of Stienman’s lyrics into a video, takes the symbols of light versus darkness Stienman has created and adapts them, even enhances them, to create a deeper interpretation of the original lyrics. Mulcahy takes the reference to “bright eyes” and the importance it has within the lyrics and produces the images of young schoolboys and a young Catholic boys choir as having these “bright eyes”. Based on the reading of the lyrics and the interpretation of the video, the person with the bright eyes is the one she is in love with and is longing for, therefore, it is then assumed the one or ones she is longing for are the young school boys.

---------------

But, of course, pederasty is not the real meaning of the song, is just the interpretation of the video for that explosive and impossible love she's singing about.

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