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“Sunny Came Home”

Posted by purplemary54 on July 16, 2013

Computer’s still hooked up.  They’re leaving the living room until last, because it’s, well, the room where most of the living gets done.  But paint is going on the walls in the room my mom will be in and in the room we’ll turn into an office, and it looks pretty good.

Houses and homes will probably be a theme with my posts for the next little while, and while “Sunny Came Home” isn’t strictly about a house, it is about remodeling.  After a fashion.

In a live recording, Shawn Colvin described her biggest hit as a “murder ballad,” which really did shed quite a bit of light on this enigmatic tune.  It has a thick, pervasive dread running throughout; even the plucked notes from the mandolin sound ominous.  You get the feeling Sunny isn’t entirely stable, “She says, ‘Days go by, I’m hypnotized, I’m walking on a wire.  I will close my eyes and fly out of my mind into the fire.'”  She returns home–it’s never made clear if this is her childhood home, or another home she has made–to clear her mind.  But the impression is that clearing her mind involves something a little more than having a cup of coffee and writing in her journal: “‘And it’s time for a few small repairs,’ she said.  Sunny came home with a vengeance.”

Just who has wronged or abused Sunny is about as murky as anything else in the song.  Parents?  Siblings?  The video features Colvin carrying scissors and tearing a wedding dress to shreds, so there’s a hint of romantic trouble.  Maybe it’s a cheating husband.  Whomever it is isn’t about to meet with a kind fate, however; “Count the years, you always knew it.  Strike a match, go on and do it.”  Sunny plans on fixing whatever has gone wrong with her life, and this seems like the place to start.

 

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