Lips Like Sugar – Exploring the Sweet Ache of Desire


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Echo & the Bunnymen's Lips Like Sugar at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Swan’s Seductive Symphony: The Unattainable Ideal
  5. A Dive into Delusion: The Giver and The Taker
  6. The Sweet Sting of Love’s Labors Lost
  7. The Unraveling of Identity in the Hall of Mirrors
  8. Uncovering the Haunting Elegance of Timeless Lyrics

Lyrics

She floats like a swan
Grace on the water
Lips like sugar
Lips like sugar

Just when you think you’ve caught her
She glides across the water
She calls for you tonight
To share this moonlight

You’ll flow down her river
She’ll ask you and you’ll give her
Lips like sugar
Sugar kisses

Lips like sugar
Sugar kisses
She knows what she knows
I know what she’s thinking

Sugar kisses
Sugar kisses
Just when you think she’s yours
She’s flown to other shores

To laugh at how you break
And melt into this lake
You’ll flow down her river
But you’ll never give her

Lips like sugar
Sugar kisses
Lips like sugar
Sugar kisses

She’ll be my mirror
Reflect what i am
A loser and a winner
The king of siam

And my siamese twin
Alone on the river
Mirror kisses
Mirror kisses

Lips like sugar
Sugar kisses
Lips like sugar
Sugar kisses

Lips like sugar
Sugar kisses
Lips like sugar
Sugar kisses

Lips like sugar
Sugar kisses
Lips like sugar
Sugar kisses

Full Lyrics

With their hypnotic melodies and Ian McCulloch’s brooding vocals set against a post-punk landscape, Echo & the Bunnymen’s ‘Lips Like Sugar’ taps into a universal yearning—the bittersweet pursuit of a desire just out of reach. Released in 1987, the song endures not just as a classic track but as a vessel for the emotional turbulence that ripples beneath its surface.

The enigmatic allure of the lyrics beckons listeners into a world where love is likened to a sugar rush, both sweetly addictive and potentially painful. We will dive into the meaning of this sugared allegory to taste the deeper themes that have cemented ‘Lips Like Sugar’ as a timeless anthem of longing and introspection.

A Swan’s Seductive Symphony: The Unattainable Ideal

Like a swan ‘gliding across water,’ the subject of the song is painted as graceful and effortlessly enchanting, evoking a sense of something perpetually out of grasp. The poetic imagery serves not simply as a romantic comparison but hints at the transient nature of beauty and the futile attempts to possess it, creating an irresistible tension echoed in the swelling guitar riffs.

McCulloch’s voice chases the melody, yearning for something just as fleeting as the subject’s affections—‘just when you think you’ve caught her.’ The song captures the essence of the chase, the constant pursuit of perfection that lingers just beyond the horizon of reality.

A Dive into Delusion: The Giver and The Taker

Listener floats into the narrative ‘down her river,’ highlighting a surrender to the currents of infatuation. The lyrics toy with the dynamics of giver and taker within romantic exchanges; the notion of asking and giving elevates the object of desire to a position of power, painting the admirer as willingly captivated and submissive.

‘Lips like sugar,’ the central metaphor, juxtaposes the sensual thrill of a kiss with the ephemeral high of a sugar fix, leaving one craving more yet facing the inevitable dissolution of sweetness, a metaphor for the romantic idea of love and the harsh reality of its sometimes fleeting nature.

The Sweet Sting of Love’s Labors Lost

The song dances with the cruel truth that pursuit does not guarantee possession. McCulloch croons about a lover who, ‘just when you think she’s yours,’ escapes to foreign shores. It’s a study of the heart’s fragility, wrapped in lush harmonics that cloak an almost Shakespearean tragedy in sonic beauty.

In these haunting verses, listeners are reminded of love’s precarious dance—an intoxicating waltz that often leads to an abrupt fall. It’s the sweetness followed by the sting, the ‘sugar kisses’ that leave us aching for a taste just as they dissolve.

The Unraveling of Identity in the Hall of Mirrors

Echo & the Bunnymen introduce introspection with the notion of the lover as a mirror, reflecting the multifaceted nature of the narrator’s identity from ‘loser and winner’ to ‘the king of Siam.’ These lines plunge us into the depths of self-reflection, suggesting that part of our affinity for the other may be rooted in their capacity to reveal our true selves.

Here, in the throes of mirrored kisses, is the realization that one may be as elusive to oneself as the object of their affection. The dualities expressed encapsulate the internal battles we wage as we seek to reconcile our strengths with our insecurities, all within the theater of love.

Uncovering the Haunting Elegance of Timeless Lyrics

‘Lips like sugar’ repeats like a mantra throughout the song—a haunting refrain that grounds the more ethereal ideas floating through the lyrics. Its repetition serves as a rhythmic anchor, while the words themselves become a leitmotif for the innocence and trepidation of unrestrained desire.

Now, decades after its release, ‘Lips like Sugar’ continues to captivate listeners with its sweet melancholy and the gentle tug of its chorus. Echo & the Bunnymen masterfully craft a song that teases the senses like a half-remembered dream, resolutely carving its bittersweet message into the annals of music history.

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