What does The Living Daylights mean?

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A-ha: The Living Daylights Meaning


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Song Released: 1987

The Living Daylights Lyrics

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  1. anonymous
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    Jun 13th 2020 report

    I understand that the protagonist on these lyrics is a person, who has lived his life on the edge. The background story is not revealed, but it can be imagined. My version goes: He used to be a cop, he lived a dangerous live, scaring the living daylights out of the criminals, as they did for him. One day, something tragic happened. He had gone after a criminal and was chasing after him. Then they came across to place like a bridge, and the cop was going to arrest the criminal. There were eyewitnesses, who could have been involved in the situation, but they were just looking. As the cop was coming closer, the criminal suddenly jumped off the bridge and committed suicide. Nobody could not prove that the cop was guilty or not, not even himself. So, in the end, he decided to quit.

    On his younger days, he might have set his hopes too high. Maybe wishing to stay in the city where he was living and having a job as a cop, and hoping to have a peaceful retirement some day. But he never had it. He felt that he could not live in the city anymore. There were a lot of people who had been involved in his failure, but he was still the one to be blamed. One night, he decided to leave (with possibly the woman he loved), and because he had no idea where to go, he decided to ask the driver for a better idea. By the way, they started their travel in the darkness, possibly nowhere to go.

    As they were moving along, he felt that it would make no difference. The darkness would not fade away, whenever he would go. The memory from the past would scare the living daylights out of him for the rest of his life. The song is, in my interpretation, trying to say that we are not living in the world where everything can be seen as black and white. We often make choices that can be seen as ”choices on the gray area”. When we can not see if we had done morally right or wrong, we will be faced by the memories of those choices until we die.

    In a sense, this song was a perfect song for the theme for a James Bond -film. An secret agent would often make choices that could be seen as morally ambiguous, as James Bond has often done. As James Bond thinks in the novel, Goldfinger (1959), he hates killing, but he still needs to do it. In all situations, it may not be necessary, so he can also be seen as the man to be blamed. When Bond retires, he might have many memories that would scare the living daylights out of him for the rest of his life. But of course, in the film in question, it also refers to the feelings of the female sniper when James Bond is scaring the living daylights out of her by almost killing her.

    The Ian Fleming's short story, The Living Daylights (1962), is situated in the East Germany of 1960's, while the initial setting of the film is Czechoslovakia of 1980's. While the storylines have many similarties, the film can not be seen as based on the original short story.

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