Helen Reddy: Angie Baby Meaning
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Song Released: 1974
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Angie Baby Lyrics
On the rock and roll radio
And when a young girl doesn't have any friends
That's a really nice place to go
Folks hoping you'd turn out cool
But they had to take you outta school
You're a little...
anonymous Aug 13th report
I had a very different interpretation to all the superpower stuff.
I think that she was taken out of school due to her ‘insane’ behaviour where she to stave away the boredom listened to the radio constantly, this drove her even more out of her mind and she began to crave human contact, thus why she imagines invisible lovers.
Eventually a boy notices the girl and contacts her in a way that is rather creepy, but the girl, so bereft of human contact accepts his offer but manages to overpower him and kidnap the boy, where she continues to do unspeakable things to him. I believe this is all suggested by the boy being ‘entranced’ by the radio really meaning he is completely taken over by lust thus preventing him from noticing the psychotic behaviour of the woman.
In addition to this, at the start of the song we are introduced to the woman’s imaginary lovers, the key point being the pluralisation of ‘lovers’ this shows that the woman in the beginning used her imagination which would tend to conjure up a different person everytime. But when the song nears its end it uses the term ‘secret lover.’ Suggesting now that the woman has the boy, she no longer has a need to conjure up imaginary lovers.
anonymous Aug 8th report
A co-worker told me to listen to that song the next time you hear it never paid that close attention. My lord!! It wasn't just out "there" it was downright creepy. So many theories I heard and read throughout time that poor girl. Was there a boy or was it a fantasy?
anonymous Oct 19th 2020 report
I think the radio is her "secret Lover" it satisfies her emotionally and imaginatively. It's her existence and escape. I think in her time of danger she used it to defend herself. I think she extinguished him with the volume and his soul is stashed in the radio. Twilight Zone for sure. Don't fuck with Angie and her radio.
anonymous Oct 13th 2020 report
draws him into her radio, where he stays until she brings him out to pleasure her.
Well, if she's decent looking it sounds to me like he's got a pretty nice life.
anonymous Jun 1st 2018 report
Hi folks! This is fun!! I remember this song very well from when I was a teen, and boy is it creepy! I always interpreted it pretty much as a straighforward story about a girl who had special powers and didn't know how to live normally. She could snatch people's bodies and/or souls and capture them in her radio...whether the radio is magic or it's just her using it as a tool for her magic is not clear. I don't know if the lovers who fade away when Dad knocks were also captured or just imaginary. But I do think the boy neighbor came over to take advantage of her, and she magicked him into her radio, trapping him for her own pleasure. The papers reported him missing and presumed dead, and nobody suspects her.
I'm hearing the song say that she had paranormal powers and wasn't able to cope, so had to be removed from school. She stays in her room, living in her imagination for the most part, though often with the "lovers" if they were also trapped.
She brings the stalker neighbor to her room, the music surrounds him and grabs him and draws him into her radio, where he stays until she brings him out to pleasure her.
The line that seems to encourage this interpretation is, "Living in a world of make believe...well, maybe", referring to what I'm understanding to be her magic powers, her ability to have actual possession of the guy/s in her radio. Is dancing with the guys make-believe? Well, maybe...
Who really knows, except the lyricist? It is a really cool song, and is fun to try to figure out!
anonymous Aug 2nd 2014 report
I disagree with the top analysis and agree with the second.
There is no reference to Angie pretending to go to school or do the reporting herself, by the way, nor any reference to her saying she is a black widow spider. (?) In fact, the lyrics are extremely flat-out and prosaic on the matter of the newspaper headlines, as well as the boy appearing to take advantage of her, and her backstory (her parents taking her out of school, her solitary life).
I never had any trouble interpreting these lyrics, even as a little girl. As I see it:
1. People believe Angie is crazy, as she lives in her head, so to speak, is extremely antisocial, and entertains invisible visitors, dancing with them to her radio. Because she is "insane" (hence, presumably, unable to function in school with her peers), her parents took her out of school. (This ultimate decision on the parents' part would have been much easier in the 70s than it is today, a factor I think some people may not consider when hearing this song in the 2000s.)
2. Angie may in fact BE crazy. However, she obviously has a power that no one would ever believe possible. She does, in fact, "shrink" the boy down "into" her radio, though this exact mechanism is extremely mysterious and not adequately explained by the song. I think that was deliberate, or else just sheer laziness on the songwriter's part.
3. It is partly a cautionary tale. The boy wants to get some from a girl he thinks nobody will believe if she claims he raped her. He thinks this will mean an easy way to get his kicks. But look what happens - Angie was not as helpless as she seemed. Now, for the boy, it's all too late.
4. Whatever the possible degree of her mental illness (if she even is in fact mentally ill), Angie is self-satisfied knowing nobody will ever even think to question a "crazy" girl about a neighbor boy's disappearance. "It's so nice to be insane/No one asks you to explain." (This too negates a possible "it's all just a fantasy" explanation and also the inference that she imagines she has told people at an imaginary school about the boy; in fact, it states the opposite - that NOBODY has any indication that Angie could have anything to do with it, either real-life people or any people Angie might be making up.)
5. It's just possible Angie is slightly insane *because* of her special gifts, not in spite of them. No one has ever believed her, everyone thinks she's nuts and nobody will go near her, so she has retreated to her radio world. There, she is never rejected.
6. Whatever the possible degree of Angie's insanity, she is obviously cognizant enough to know she got away with something (again, the "It's so nice to be insane...etc." couplet). Angie got the last laugh on a world that was only ever cruel to her for being different.
7. I believe the only real (meaning, existing, living, actual) male "visitor" in the song is the boy. The previous "visitors" were in fact imaginary. They all "fade away" when Daddy knocks on the door (when reality intrudes). This line is a clear indication separating fantasy from reality (the previous dancers being only in her mind, v. the very prosaic and bare-bones lyrics involving the actual neighbor boy).
anonymous Sep 30th 2013 report
People like to ask, "What happened to the boy? Did he die?"
There IS NO actual boy, and therefore no one actually dies. Angie is a loner who constantly listens to the radio in her bedroom, increasing the volume on her favorite songs and dancing with fantasy lovers at will. In one particular fantasy, she has herself dancing with a boy who (in her mind) has spent time spying through her bedroom window before he gets up the courage one night to knock on the front door and offer to be her dance partner. Once a song comes on the radio that she won't dance to, she turns the volume back down as part of her routine, not needing anyone until the next danceable tune gets played.
Songwriter Alan O'Day devotes an entire verse to the effects on the boy when she does this, but those lines are nothing more than typical song development, utilizing multiple rhymes, sound-a-likes, and imagery. Since the boy isn't real, none of the effects described are actually happening, The line "toward the radio he's bound" describes his sudden awareness that the dancing has ended as quickly as it began, and that the radio is more important to Angie than he is. In Angie's mind, he vaporizes into nothing as quickly as he appeared. That's the way it is with all of her dance 'lovers.'
There are no actual newspaper headlines either. This is referring to the fact that she goes to her (alternative) school the next day, creating her own verbal 'headlines' by telling people about a peeping Tom who 'came over' to dance with her 'while her parents were gone.' Since Angie has a reputation for making up wild, far-fetched stories, her school mates often play along by asking probing questions, just to see what she'll say. When they ask what happened to the boy, she says "he's dead," implying that she killed him when done with him, but without explicitly admitting it. "I'm like a black widow spider," she tells them, enforcing everyone's opinion that she's a nutcase with a vivid imagination who tries to toy with people's heads.
This song is almost like a "Twilight Zone" episode set to music. Angie is a shy, reclusive teenage girl, a lot like Sissy Spacek in "Carrie." She spends all her time in her room, listening to music on the radio, and everyone in the neighborhood thinks she's a little strange.
One night, a local boy pays her a visit while her parents are away. He thinks he can manipulate this naive, weird girl into having sex with him... but he finds out that she's not so naive or innocent. Worse yet, she has some sort of magical connection to her radio. And somehow, she magically shrinks him and traps him inside her radio.
Everyone in the neighborhood assumes the boy died. But in reality, he's a prisoner in Angie's radio, and she only lets him out once in a while, to amuse herself.
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