Phil's "In the Air Tonight" vs. Eminem's "Stan"

Songbird says, “Just like Eminem (who obviously did not drown, contrary to the above lyrics), Collins was using a metaphor.”

I’m not sure this is an accurate statement, because there shouldn’t be anything in the quoted lyrics which Eminem not having drowned would be contrary to. (Boy is that an awkward sentence.)

“Stan” is an epistolary (sp?) story (that is, one presented as letters and documents, like Stoker’s Dracula); in the story, the title character apparently does actually drive off a bridge and drown, and the words quoted are ostensibly Stan’s. The song (and the quoted passage) is hypothetical, not metaphorical.

It’s a trivial point, not sure why I’m bothering to highlight it, other than I’ve caught more than one news story criticizing this single on the usual “Oh, god, these lyrics!” and then quoting lines out of context as if they were the artist’s own opinions. As my brother put it, “Don McLean aside, do these critics also think Mick Jagger actually believes he’s Lucifer because of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’?”

The moderator of this forum has asked that posters include a link to the Staff Report they are discussing when they start a thread. To include a link, it can be as simple as including the web page location in your post (make sure there is a space before and after the text of the URL).

The column being discussed is:What’s the story behind Phil Collins’ song “In the Air Tonight”? (08-Nov-2000)

I’m not convinced that Phil Collins was using a metaphor either.

I think that the word you’re looking for is “conceit”, not “hypothetical”.