What does Stranger in Moscow mean?

Michael Jackson: Stranger in Moscow Meaning

Album cover for Stranger in Moscow album cover

Song Released: 1996

Stranger in Moscow Lyrics

I was wandering in the rain
Mask of life, feelin' insane
Swift and sudden fall from grace
Sunny days seem far away
Kremlin's shadow belittlin' me
Stalin's tomb won't let me be
On and on and on it came
Wish the rain would just let me



    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Aug 15th 2009 !⃝

    Michael Jackson realized there was more to life than fame, money and one of the largest fan-following of all time (if not THE largest). With fame comes responsibility.
    "Walking in the rain" is a reference to enjoying the simple life (the video says it all). "Swift and sudden fall from grace" is the embarrassment he had to face for something many believed he was innocent. KGB is the law enforcement authority and media that never let him be. Feeling like a stranger in his own home and country, MJ made Moscow the analogy for his unhappiness despite having it all.
    Fame, something almost every human being would give an arm and leg for, "abandoned" him. He wanted to lead the normal human life. Instead, being in the public eye made him feel so isolated - "I'm living lonely". Notice in the video how he stands under the ledge when it begins to rain, while he watches in envy regular people running and enjoying themselves in the rain. MJ then follows suit as an expression of his strong urge to be out in the open and "soak" in all that life has to offer.
    He was so disheartened with glamor, fortune and popularity (as strange as it may sound) that he says "take my name and just let me be". If he could, I'm certain he would've been happy to trade all that he had to live in peace, happiness and simplicity.
    The irony about life is that with desires there are implications. Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!
    MJ's horrendous childhood, image pressures and continuous controversies gave rapid birth to demons that multiplied and that he struggled to fight.
    The next time you think about wanting to be rich and famous, think about this philosophically-rich, emotionally moving track and see if all that can still get you to "walk in the rain"!


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Dec 17th 2009 !⃝

    I think Stranger in Moscow is a great song. It's about Michael feeling alone and very cold internally -- hence the line "How does it feel when you're alone and you're cold inside".

    "Swift and sudden fall from grace" means the humiliation because of the child abuse accusations made against him in 1993. In the ballad, Jackson sings of a fall from grace that has left him lonely, isolated, paranoid and on the verge of insanity.

    And in the video Michael did feel envious of all those people running past him, taking advantage of feeling the rain against their faces. Finally he then walks out into the rain and joins them.

    In my opinion, this is a great, although underrated, MJ song. Kudos to MJ for writing this. It's very deep and philosophical, too! I like the song, and the video too.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Aug 1st 2009 !⃝

    A hauntingly melodious song that describes those terrible times that some people are forced to face in life when the whole world goes against you. Michael is probably inspired by his own experience where he was falsely accused of things that he was never responsible of. The media slamming him probably left him alone and he felt like a stranger in Moscow whom the KGB (Russian secret agency) was stalking and it was all dull and blue.

    He asks repeatedly "How does it feel" "When you are alone and cold inside" then he answers in the end "like the stranger in Moscow" and says "I am living lonely baby"...

    The best thing about this song is that it relates to one of the deepest sorrows of human life- feeling rejected and lonely. Perhaps we all have such times in life (at least I can relate to it where I had was walking like a loony in the streets of London rejected and dejected). The tunes in the song and the chorus complemented with Micahel's soulful rendition make the listening an emotional journey. Kudos, MJ!! It's one of the most underrated MJ works.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 7th 2021 !⃝

    The song is the lesson for people that someday media and enemies may go against you with either weapon or allegations to tarnish your reputation as it was happened to Michael jackson in 1993. I like the music and video so much.

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 12th 2020 !⃝

    Stranger in Moscow was MJ talking about how it feels to be lonely (after he was falsely accused) Still a nice song to sing for lonely people .. Stranger in Moscow is a great song anyway.. I love the video and the voice vocal

  6. anonymous
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    Dec 29th 2017 !⃝

    I think it’s good cause he showing how he feel about his life (stranger in the Moscow) he saying he don’t won’t to be isolated and won’t to be free in the world. I am the biggest fan of MJ. He is feeling hat and depression of how people was treated him about child abuse. And it’s sad what people think. And this coming out a 10 years old soo

  7. January_Rain
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    Mar 27th 2017 !⃝

    I think the part at the end (spoken in Russian)...

    "Why have you come from the west? Confess! To steal the great achievements of the people, all the accomplishments of the workers..."

    ... isn't really indicative of the song being about a spy. I just think that was put in there to show that the people of Russia may have been a little suspicious of him because the charges he was facing in the United States. He may have felt as though they were "looking at him sideways", in a sense…

    However… He was there to do a concert and all of his fans were there to support him. He has said many times that his fans are very important to him. I really do think we [fans] helped him get through that period of his life in a way. When you know you are innocent and you have not only friends, and family, but millions of fans… You can't help but have a sense of support!!

    I know my life is nothing like Michael Jackson's… But, I do know what it is like to be accused of something that I did not do. It hurts like crazy when you look at someone and you can't help but wonder what they are thinking about you. Especially after you spent 32 years growing up in the same town building a good reputation. It's an awful feeling. Just awful. And go through it twice! People can be so disgusting and insensitive when it comes to money. They don't care who they hurt as long as it goes in their pocket… now there are a couple of scars on Michael's heart that could never be healed… Ignored, yes… But, not healed .

    Thank goodness the justice system works (most the time). Although I could get into a whole new discussion about our justice system. Yes, I believe they are going down the tubes… But… I don't think there's a song out there about that, is there?

  8. JanuaryRain
    click a star to vote
    Mar 15th 2017 !⃝

    Michael started writing this song while in Moscow in his hotel room. He was recently charged with Child Molestation. He knew he was innocent and was so upset about the whole ordeal. He was trying to continue his life by putting up a front, but was shocked, petrified, worried all at the same time.

    "I was walking in the rain...mask of life feelin' insane"

    As soon as he was charged, it
    seemed like everyone was against him "Swift and sudden fall from grace" but, with a little hope he knew he could get through it and all could be well again "Sunny days will drown the pain"

    "Kremlin's shadiw belittlin' me" - He felt so small...the 'powers that be' were attacking him; the media, illuminati as well as the justice system. "Stalin's tomb won't let me be" - He's being tormented by what could very well, unjustly, be the end of life as he knows it. "Wish the rain would just let me be" - simply, everyone ( every drop of rain) leave me alone!

    Then he cries out about how it feels to feel so alone; how it feels to be all by himself and empty inside.
    "How does it feel...when you're alone and cold inside"

    "Here abandoned in my fame...Armageddon of the brain"
    He feels abandoned by all he thought believed in and loved him and it perplexes and hurts him so much.
    "KGB's been doggin' me...take my name and just let me be...on and on and on it came...and it rained and again and again ..."

    KGB represents the justice system and media that's after him; and since he's innocent, he wants to be left alone. The lies from the media keep coming and won't stop. Just like the rain won't stop.

    " We're talking danger… We're talking danger, baby ...like Stranger in Moscow "

    He knows that even though he's innocent, he could actually be found guilty and there in lies the danger that could change his entire life forever… Just like being a "Stranger in Moscow", in the recent past it was very dangerous to be in Moscow if you didn't belong there. That's why all he's facing is "like" being a stranger in Moscow . Of course he's feeling sad and lonely. It feels as though the entire world has turned against him. (He has felt lonely most of his whole life.) "I'm livin' lonely" - it's also possible "like Stranger in Moscow" could mean he wishes he could disappear and just be a 'nobody' and not be recognized anymore. Getting away from all the lies, sorrow, pain and people looking to make a 'quick fortune' off an innocent man. All he wants is to be loved. For being who he is...a person; not a personality.

    Michael has felt lonely most of his life. He said it many times.

    This song is one of his best! It's hauntingly beautiful and captures the unrelenting loneliness of a man who has everything, yet feels he has nothing. Especially when it comes to needing someone to lean on and he hasn't a clue who to trust. Insurmountable loneliness.

    He's telling you how he feels, he's pouring out his soul and he's asking/almost begging someone to understand how it feels "to be alone and cold inside".

    In other words; 'Help me...Michael Jackson...not the King of Pop.'

  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 13th 2016 !⃝

    Another metaphor for the song were not mentioned above is that the song tells a story about a spy in Russia.
    Following the narrative :
    "Why have you come from the west? Confess! To steal the great achievements of the people, the accomplishments of the workers..."

  10. kooljohn176
    click a star to vote
    May 1st 2016 !⃝

    At times I've thought of MICHAEL JACKSON [R.I.P] as being our younger little brother sold into slavery out of MOTOWN that believed in his dreams and talent to be made the Little Prince who became the King of pop music. By this song I think M.J was mentally assimilating his thoughts and feelings about living in a cold paranoia state of mind of a stranger in his own Country who fell from grace to ''the evils'' of his own sins and to the so called ''Illuminati Communists'' control who wanted to keep using him as their pawn. Going there and being a lonely ''STRANGER In MOSCOW'' to see the changes the ''Perestroyika'' movement brought, which helped lift the Iron Curtain for the people to run for freedom, but not before the economic collapse that was like a ''Reign of Terror'' on the Russian people that Michael was ''RELATING'' to on a small scale, feeling his fears and worries together with the people in Moscow as a cold danger coming down. While being there and walking in the ''RAIN'' intentionally, wanting to feel free and to receive GOD's mercy that the rain could also ''Metaphorically Symbolize'' for him as blessings of hope to be cleansed and washed from the sins of evil that Michael perceived were following to attack him psychologically like a ''Reign of Terror'' brought by the [paparazzi,illuminati,media,cia and now even the KGB] leeches that he felt were blood suckers and worried that they'll come down on him like the rain as future attacks on his psyche and character in America. All the while relating to his pain and loneliness with what the Russian people were going through in the rain at that time, being disillusioned by their great past acomplishments that was beginning once again to be in danger and taken away.

  11. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 2nd 2016 !⃝

    The true meaning of Stranger in Moscow is Michael against the Illuminati. When he says "Kremlin shadow belittling me, Stalin's tuba won't let me be" he's talking about the Cultural Marxists who control Hollywood constantly using the mass media to attack him & ruin his image. Michael was a conservative and the political left didn't like him because he promoted conservative values to western society at large. Celebrities nowadays always promote moral degeneracy, stupidity, evil and communist ideology because that's what their political puppet masters want, but Michael did the exact opposite, which is why the left was against him. "Swift and sudden fall from grace" is a biblical reference to the fall of lucifer, but the exoteric meaning is his fall from a positive celebrity image to loneliness & isolation. Remember how everybody turned on him & the media turned fully against him around this point. "Here abandoned in my fame, Armageddon of the brain. KGB was digging me, take my name and just let me be" the KGB is the communist intelligence agency, much like the CIA in America. That's another reference to him being attacked by the leftist media for being against Cultural Marxism.

  12. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 31st 2012 !⃝

    Illuminations of the government :'(

  13. anonymous
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    Jan 3rd 2012 !⃝

    I know exactly what he's talking about. I know deep in my bones with this song is about, and the desolate feeling it gives. Just the way it is. So sad also that Michael passed -and the way that he passed....?we will never know. CNN

  14. obj1984
    click a star to vote
    Dec 9th 2011 !⃝

    Mj here is tryin to visualize how it is to be left alone.and the worst of all being a stranger in moscow with the cold weather conditions hw do u intend to survive such situation

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  15. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 18th 2011 !⃝

    It's about feeling lonely. MJ himself stated this. He was in Moscow at the time, in his hotel room.

    MJ didn't really compose this song in its entirety; Brad Buxer helped but never got the required credit (from what I have read). This has happened with other songs as well.

    Brad Buxer did an interview saying that chords from Stranger In Moscow were used in the Sonic 3 soundtrack. Read his interview online.

  16. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 18th 2011 !⃝

    i dont understand why people thought history wasnt a good album.tell beoyunce,britney or justin timberlake or any of the boy bands to compose a song like stranger in moscow and then we shall talk about michael jackson

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