“Obsession” by Animotion
Reportedly, the vocalist on “Obsession” is portraying the role of a stalker. And the lady whom he is stalking, i.e. the addressee, is his “obsession”.
And yes, the singer does come off as being quite creepy on this song. You get the impression that the addressee is someone who he doesn’t even really know like that. Yet, once again as entitled, he is quite obsessed. Indeed just about every metaphor featured in the lyrics point to that very idea.
Whether or not she actually wants him, in his mind, is ultimately irrelevant. Rather as he sees it, he’s going to “have” her no matter way. Verily, the narrator doesn’t liken her to a human being but rather a “wild butterfly”.
And just as you can “capture” and “collect” such an insect and basically make it your private possession, to do with as you will, such is his idealized relationship at this point with the addressee.
Furthermore, in terms of his will, that would be to “sleep with” her.
And it is only in the bridge in which he is able to acknowledge just how screwed up he’s become. At first, it was more like he just wanted to get with this lady. But along the way, he apparently realized that for whatever reason he could not.
So instead of just taking it like that, his mind has rather resorted to thoughts akin to kidnapping her. Or put otherwise, his “need to possess” her is something that he has “no control” over. In fact this thought process has ‘consumed his soul’ to the point that he is actually worried about the future.
And such is how the song comes to end. We don’t know how this matter is resolved, if at all. In fact the featured narrative concludes on that very note, with the vocalist’s “obsession” for the addressee being unresolved.
What the Lyrics of “Obsession” really mean
Now with all of that observed, it’s also interesting to note that as originally conceptualized, “Obsession” wasn’t intended to be about a nasty stalker.
Rather one of its writers, Michael Des Barres, had experience as a drug addict. So he wanted to pen something about the word “obsession” – let’s say in the context of being addicted to a drug – in general.
However, he did not want to write a song that “just junkies” could relate to. So he gave it what, under his estimation, was a more general applicability by rather basing it on a stalker. Go figure.
But with that in mind, we can conclude by saying that the addressee, i.e. the titular “obsession”, is more metaphorical than literal. And what she represents is whatever it is we respectively feen for.
Animotion is a band from the early 1980s that is still active as of the 2020s. They hail from L.A., the center of the global music industry.
That being said they’ve only had a handful of hit, all in the 1980s. And “Obsession”, which is in fact their debut single, is the group’s signature song.
Achievements of “Obsession”
The tune did very well chart-wise in a lot of countries. It broke the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. It replicated a similar feat the same on the UK Singles Chart. And it also scored Animotion a gold disc, certified by the RIAA.
And in terms of its pop media presence, “Obsession” has been utilized for instance by MTV and the WWF. In addition to that, it has appeared on a couple of popular videogames (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare)
Also, it has been prominently utilized in a couple of long-standing soap operas (Guiding Light and Days of Our Lives). And as far as Vice City (2002) goes, it can be found on one its fictional radio stations called Wave 103.
Who wrote “Obsession”?
This song was written by American singers Michael Des Barres and Holly Knight, neither of whom are members of Animotion.
And the same pair, serving as vocalists, originally released this song in 1983. They released it as part of the soundtrack to a film called A Night in Heaven (1983), which by the way does not appear to be about a stalker.
When did Animotion release “Obsession”?
Animotion’s rendition of “Obsession” came out on 12 November 1984 as part of their self-titled debut album. And that project is a product of Mercury Records.
The members of Animotion at the time this song was released included:
- Paul Anton Elli (keyboardist)
- Don Kirkpatrick (guitarist)
- Frenchy O’Brien (drummer, 1947-2019)
- Astrid Plane (vocalist)
- Bill Wadhams (guitarist/vocalist)
And as of 2021 Kirkpatrick, Plane and Wadhams remain members of the group alongside other long-tenured participants:
- Jim Blair (drummer)
- Greg Smith (keyboardist)
Chris is Bill Wadhams’ son. He joined the crew as a bassist in 2011.