The Cure and Existentialism

The recent post about Nietzsche in Third Eye Blind’s song got me thinking about other literary references in music and I realized I skipped over one of the most blatant references out there: The Cure’s “Killing an Arab.”

The lyrics, in their entirety, are pulled from Mersault’s experiences in Albert Camus’ The Stranger, one of my favorite novels.  Looking back on it, I don’t know how I missed it.

Here are the lyrics:

Standing on the beach
With a gun in my hand
Staring at the sea
Staring at the sand
Staring down the barrel
At the arab on the ground
I can see his open mouth
But I hear no sound

I’m alive
I’m dead
I’m the stranger
Killing an arab

I can turn
And walk away
Or I can fire the gun
Staring at the sky
Staring at the sun
Whichever I chose
It amounts to the same
Absolutely nothing

I’m alive
I’m dead
I’m the stranger
Killing an arab

I feel the steel butt jump
Smooth in my hand
Staring at the sea
Staring at the sand
Staring at myself
Reflected in the eyes
Of the dead man on the beach
The dead man on the beach

I’m alive
I’m dead
I’m the stranger
Killing an arab

And a Youtube video of the song.  Enjoy.

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