Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” Lyrics Meaning
Laura Branigan’s “Gloria”, tells the story of a woman named Gloria who is in a rush to get a man irrespective of the consequences. She relentlessly puts up a certain appeal to please the men she wants, but is unaware her desperation is seen by them.
Apparently, this woman believes she is very attractive and as such every man she meets must be interested in her. Her disposition unknowingly drives many men away. Interestingly enough, she doesn’t seem to realize her approach is the problem.
The singer describes Gloria in the first verse as a lady who chases after men. Two things could account for why she keeps chasing after guys for an affair. The first one could be because she is growing older and has still been unable to settle down. The second could simply be because of financial reasons. The latter is likely her reason for her promiscuous behavior.
She uses all means to signal her potential lover that she’s interested in him but the narrator strongly advises her against it. She is asked to slow down and be careful not to show her intentions to the man at such a fast pace. Traditionally, most men lose interest in such women because men are more committed to a woman they chase, not the other way round.
Her mindset that she’s so good-looking she can jump off and on to the next guy is her excuse for all her failed relationships. The writer (who’s a friend of Gloria’s) is reminding her that this mindset is obviously not doing her any good.
The Narrator speaks frankly to Gloria
Towards the middle of the song, the narrator strongly rubs the reality of the issue into Gloria’s face. She tells her that if she believes she can easily attract a man, why is nobody calling her? Why is she rather in a hurry to chase them?
A More In Depth Explanation of “Gloria”
This song finds the vocalist addressing one “Gloria”, who is obviously a friend of hers, given how personal the lyrics are. Our previous analysis of this track was ambitious but perhaps too narrow, as there really is a whole lot going on in this piece.
“Gloria” comes off as being a lot more intricate when taking the time to read the lyrics as opposed to listening to them. So this time around, we will take a look at what’s being put forth verse by verse and see if we can then ascertain a definitive storyline.
From the onset, the subject is depicted as “running after somebody”. Within the context of the rest of the first verse, that means Gloria is hard and visibly on the hunt for a significant other, if you will. Perhaps she has reached a stage in life, as many single women do, where she’s feening for a husband. But Gloria’s age, background, etc. is never actually revealed.
What is firmly established by the time the first verse concludes is that in Laura’s eyes, Gloria is trying too hard to land that special someone. Indeed, the way the vocalist perceives it is that if she continues operating under such a modus operandi, she is “headed for a breakdown”.
Furthermore, Laura seems to allude to the somewhat-popular notion that it isn’t good for a woman to come off as being too romantically needy. As generally understood, chasing a romantic interest is what men, not women, are supposed to do.
Relatedly, there are quite a few guys out there who seem to be turned off by a woman who is too aggressive. So that’s probably why Laura predicts Gloria may “blow it” and a couple of lines later advises her to “be careful not to show it”. Or let’s say that regardless of what the vocalist’s specific rationale may be, she knows that isn’t ideal for her friend to wear the desire for a man on her sleeve.
But the refrain that follows, as with the usage of the word “breakdown” earlier, gives the impression that what Gloria is going through mentally is more serious than just needing a man.
For instance, Laura mentions ‘the voices in the head’ of the subject. But it is not specified what is causing that malady.
It may be, based on the first two lines of the refrain, that she is dealing with so many guys that she’s become confused. Or let’s say that the general impression being given here is that as far as romance goes the subject is more about quantity than quality so to speak, i.e. being more concerned with landing a husband in general than the guy’s views on life, his personality or what have you, which is why she “really don’t remember” what he has to say to begin with.
The second verse then sorta buttresses the idea that maybe Gloria is dating multiple dudes, though being able to gather that notion from this passage is a matter of interpretation. And now would be a good time to point out that the lyrics of this song aren’t that specific and even, to some extent, can be considered confusing.
For example, in this second verse, Laura alludes to no one being interested in Gloria like that, yet her being a hot item on the dating scene at the same time. So this is one of those types of tracks where you have to sorta feel what the vocalist is saying instead of taking all that’s being put forth literally.
One reasonable explanation, as provided by an analyst, given for this apparent contradiction is that Laura is once again referring to the voices in Gloria’s head. If understood so, that would mean that said voices are indicative of the subject’s disillusionment, i.e. Gloria believing she is more in demand than she actually is – or something like that.
Another possible interpretation is this being Laura’s way of recognizing that whereas Gloria does have a number of suitors, none of them are really serious or ideal.
The Chorus of “Gloria”
It can be said that the chorus does support that latter theory. Not only is it implied in the chorus that a number of different dudes have the subject’s phone number but furthermore that she has an alias.
In other words, the vocalist is insinuating that Gloria doesn’t always give her real name to romantic interests. And Laura proceeds to hint, once again depending on interpretation, that she now has so many boyfriends that she’s become confused.
That is to say, based on this hypothesis, that the reason Gloria “really don’t remember” all that’s been said to her and the explanation behind her having ‘voices in her head’ would be because the she’s dealing with an unhealthy amount of guys simultaneously, i.e. being disoriented by the sheer multitude.
“Gloria, you’re always on the run now
Running after somebody
You gotta get him somehow
I think you’ve got to slow down
Before you start to blow it
I think you’re headed for a breakdown
So be careful not to show it”
So with all of that in mind, the third verse actually reads like a warning against promiscuity. Or put otherwise, it’s as if Laura is mocking Gloria for being so scatterbrained or universally-accepting in terms of the type of men she entertains.
But the vocalist is not doing so in the name of actually making fun of her friend. Instead, this reads like her way of cautioning her that she will lose her “innocence” if she keeps playing the field like that. Or let’s say that Laura doesn’t want to see her friend sleeping around with different guys only to later on realize that none of them were the one.
After the third verse comes a repeating of the refrain, the second verse (acting as the fourth verse) and the chorus. And again, there is a lot of ambiguity concerning certain specifics behind these lyrics.
But the one conclusion we can confidently come to nonetheless is that Laura is deeply concerned with the way Gloria is conducting herself romantically, as if she is shamelessly desperate, so to speak.
The way Laura sees it, said desperation is first and foremost having a negative effect on her mentally. And what’s further inferred is the vocalist being worried that, excuse our French, her friend may end up being some type of a ho, i.e. her willingness to entertain different guys making her more vulnerable to being sexually exploited.
What do we think?
Many think the lyrics of this song tell the tale of a woman engaged in prostitution. However, it is also very likely it’s just about a woman bent on getting married to a man primarily for financial benefits and not because she loves him. So Gloria is basically playing games with men. And it is for this reason she finds it difficult settling down with any of them. The men abandon her the moment they realize the game she’s playing.
What did Laura Branigan say about this song?
According to Branigan, the lyrics center around a girl who is “running too fast for her own steps”.
Facts about “Gloria”
- Umberto Tozzi, Trevor Veitch, and Giancarlo Bigazzi are the authors of this song.
- Greg Mathieson and Jack White teamed up for the production of this classic tune.
- The track became Laura Branigan’s signature song after its release as a single in June 1982. “Gloria” was included on Laura’s maiden album titled Branigan. It is the second song on that album.
- The original version of this song was performed by Italian pop singer, Umberto Tozzi, which he released in 1979.
- Laura’s version of “Gloria” was used in the 2006 popular video game, titled, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. The song was also used in an episode (“Splatty Tomato”) of the hit TV series, South Park.
- Australian Pop girl group, Young Divas released a cover version of this track in 2006. Glee Cast (Feat. Adam Lambert) also performed a version of this tune in 2014.
How did “Gloria” perform on the charts?
It performed admirably on the charts of numerous nations. It soared to No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also peaked at No.1 in Canada and in Australia. In the UK, this tune ranked at No.6.
Did “Gloria” earn Laura Branigan a Grammy Award?
No. However, it was nominated for the Grammy for the Best Pop Vocal Performance Female at the 1983 Grammy Awards. The track was however, beaten to the award by “You Should Hear How She Talks About You”, a song by American singer, Melissa Manchester.