We all have that friend who dislikes a certain song or band because they believe the lyrics “make no sense.”
“Well then you’re just not thinking about it enough,” is usually my response.
To cover the instrumental part quickly, the band keeps the same beat throughout the song. Of course, to avoid repetition, there is some variation as certain instruments overpower the others like the bass guitar during the first verse or the electric guitar during the second one.
But before I get into the lyrics, I want to mention the structure, because frankly, I can’t seem to find a chorus; it looks like six verses.
Six is symbolic in many ways, particularly biblically, since we (humans) were created on the sixth day. But before too many theories are thrown around, let’s get into the lyrics and see if we can conclude why there are six verses from there.
First thing’s first: the title. “Hear Them Coming” is sung one time in the second verse. There are two notable deviations – “feel them coming” in the third verse, and “hearing the call” in the fourth and sixth. Nonetheless, this begs the question:
Who are the them that our singer is referring to?
Let’s look at verses 2 and 3:
Hear them coming, climbing up the stairs.
My mind’s a liar trying to keep me here.
See the rival hoping to keep me tied.
Now I’m older, now I see the sides.
Feel them coming, creeping up the door.
Yeah, I’m lonely, yeah, I’m in for more,
a different touch, something to keep me calm
when it’s going, when it’s on.
You’d like to think he’s talking about a breakup that happened quite some time ago. The fact that he’s lonely and looking for a different touch indicate this. Furthermore, his lying mind could be that irrational sense of hope that many of us, as humans, have. Like when we’re on a 15 game losing streak and when we get ready for the 16th one, we reason that “oh, I have to win now since I already lost 15,” when really there’s nothing to prove that to be true. That being said, his brain is likely nudging him into a false sense of being able to reclaim the relationship that was lost, and he doesn’t take kindly to that, as he then addresses his mind as “the rival” in the very next sentence.
But who’s “climbing up the stairs,” and “creeping up the door?”
This is all an elaborate metaphor for the stairs/door to his mind, and the “them” are simply feelings and emotions. What kind of emotions they are, I can’t tell, but they’ve definitely found their way into his head.
With all this in mind, it’s pretty convincing that this entire song is an internal conflict, but to clarify the aforementioned point, let’s look at the last verse:
Hearing the call, and I see what it’s done.
I’m feeling the stars and the fright,
five in the morning when I know what it does,
I see that it slows me down.
At this point, the band has picked up to be as loud as they can be, which indicates that this “call” coming from “them” is about to be resolved. The most important part of this stanza is the singer’s realization that his emotions (since we agreed that that’s what the “them” is) are only slowing him down since they only cause him to feel “the stars and the fright.” With this epiphany, we now know that these emotions that are created by his mind ‒ or “rival” ‒ are the bad guys in this conflict, and by the song’s end, he has conquered them.
Alas, I still have no idea why there are six verses. I’ll leave that to you to figure out.
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