Eye in the Sky

The Alan Parsons Project had essentially one hit song during their mildly successful recording career: 1983’s “Eye in the Sky.” Though to be fair, Alan Parsons did have far greater success a decade earlier as  recording engineer of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and other classic albums of the 70s/80s. So, it’s not like the guy was some one-hit wonder. In fact APP released 10 albums between ’76 and ’86, so he was consistent and prolific, and there’s a good chance, if you were alive at the time, that you heard a few other songs of his on the radio. Nothing as regularly played (even today) as “Eye in the Sky” though.

Like most songs that appear in my head and spin in circles, EitS maintains a smooth catchiness that feels, at first, like a comforting hug, but soon becomes the hug that lasts too long. It looks like the bastard child of ELO and Christopher Cross. All 80’s salon-perm and excess sensitivity. Which, I know, sounds AMAZING, but, I had a salon perm for a hot-minute (around that time, in fact) and believe me, there’s nothing amazing about it (sorry no photo link).

I decided to look up the lyrics to the song, as the ones I could remember didn’t give me a clear idea of what the song is about.

Don’t think sorry’s easily said / Don’t try, turnin’ tables instead
You’ve taken lots of chances before / But I ain’t gonna give anymore

Don’t ask me, That’s how it goes/Cause part of me knows what you’re thinking
I am the eye in the sky / looking at you / I can read your mind

Didn’t help much. It seems like a breakup song at times, other times it sounds like the voice of an all-knowing force proclaiming its omniscient powers. Then I found this page and it gives a lot of backstory and general trivia around the song and the album. Thank you, internet!

So, it’s possible the song is about ceiling cameras in casinos, and is an extension from their previous album, Turn of A Friendly Card, but, perhaps it’s about all of these things and none of them. It’s so lyrically vague that it could be about lampposts and I couldn’t argue.

There’s nothing threatening about this song (musically) and yet, there it is, three days later, still repeating in my brain, like an insidious soft-rock virus, and I may have to resort to death by smooth-rock distraction, but sometimes it’s hard to tell which is the lesser evil.

Maybe the Eye in the Sky is the benevolent force that controls what songs stick in my head, in essence, the Ear in the Sky. Or perhaps the Nose in the Sky. Do I smell a remake?


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