Models’ “Barbados” Lyrics Meaning
This song is not actually about Barbados, a scenic nation located in the Caribbean. Rather the title serves as a metaphor, though to some listeners what it is symbolic of may not be abundantly clear.
All factors considered, the title actually, in a roundabout way, serves as an illustration of the singer’s dependency on alcohol, for the lyrics are in fact founded on a case of alcoholism as suffered by co-writer James Freud.
So you know how you have those songs where the intoxicant is speaking to the user, trying to convince him or her to partake? That is apparently what’s going down here, at least in part – the singer is speaking on behalf of the alcohol.
This is made most evident by the line “I am the voice left from dirking”. And in doing, so he is touting his (i.e. the alcohol’s) benefits not only to the addressee but also others. For instance, in the second verse (the one about “the girl”), the booze is apparently biggin’ up its ability to act as an antidepressant.
And it also has a similar effect on the addressee, who again would be James Freud, where it is able to lead him “into the calm”.
Is “Barbados” against drinking?
So even though this song may have been written about alcoholism, it isn’t exactly what we would call an anti-drinking song.
Rather let’s say that Freud got addicted for a reason, as in he perceiving the actual benefits of being boozed. Yet and still he is also able to recognize the seductive nature of the intoxicant – its ability to lure one with visions of the tranquil “Barbados” for instance.
And at the same time, the singer is also able to see some of the negative aspects of drinking also, such as this unresolved feeling of “bitterness”.
Perhaps the most-accurate way to describe the overall conclusion is that whereas alcohol may not be something you want to become dependent on, partaking of it still has its short-term benefits.
So conclusively, in terms of this song’s shall we say nonlinear presentation, it’s not the easiest to interpret. But underneath all of the metaphors lies a vocalist who understands that he is addicted. However, concurrently he is also able to comprehend that he and others may rely on this substance for a palpable reason.
But with all of that being noted, this is not to imply that this track’s subject matter is to be taken lightly. And why? This is because at the end of the day, as prophesied in its music video, James Freud did in fact go on to commit suicide.
Models is a band from Melbourne, the Land Down Under who have been around since 1978. Through the years they’ve taken a few breaks. However, they are still active as of 2021 with one of the founders of the band, Sean Kelly, remaining down for the cause.
Two other current members, Andrew Duffield and Mark Ferrie, originally joined way back in 1979. And Ash Davies is the most-recent participant, having come aboard in 2010. And as far as their roles go Kelly is the frontman (i.e. vocals, guitar) and Ferrie the bass guitarist. Duffield is the keyboardist whereas Davies is the drummer.
When was “Barbados” released?
Meanwhile “Barbados” was actually released in March of 1985, and at that time the composition of the band was a bit different.
In addition to Sean Kelly and Mark Ferrie there was also Roger Mason (keyboards), Barton Price (drums) and James Valentine (saxophone). There was also the most notable member (as far as this song is concerned), the late James Freud (bass guitar, 1959-2010).
Writing of “Barbados”
And it is also James Freud who is credited with writing this song, along with Andrew Duffield. However, the latter did not actually participate in its recording since in 1984 he was compelled to leave the band (and replaced by the aforementioned Roger Mason) by Models’ manager, Chris Murphy (1954-2021).
Despite being around for over four decades, Models have only released five studio albums, all during the 1980s. And “Barbados” is from the fourth of those projects, “Out of Mind, Out of Sight” (1985), a product of Mushroom Records.
That was also their most-successful project overall, peaking at number 3 in Australia and making it onto the Billboard 200 stateside.
“Barbados” wasn’t the biggest hit from that album. Rather it was the title track, “Out of Mind, Out of Sight”. But this song performed impressively nonetheless, reaching a lofty number two on the Kent Music Report.