Song of the Day #4,390: ‘Barcelona’ – Rufus Wainwright

This beautiful track is a highlight from Rufus Wainwright’s self-titled debut album, released way back in 1998.

‘Barcelona’ is a dark, moody song about fear and the desire to escape. The lyrics are informed by Wainwright’s rape at age 14 in a London Park during a time when HIV was at its peak. The line “don’t want my rings to fall off my fingers” refers to the weight loss associated with the disease.

He quotes the line “Fuggi Regal Fantasima,” (flee, regal phantasm) from Verdi’s opera Macbeth.

“It’s when Macbeth is going mad and sees the ghost,” Wainwright told a Montreal newspaper. “In my mind, the ghost was AIDS.”

[Verse 1]
The summer sun set a vicious circus
When shadows held the world in place
But today I felt a chill
In my apartment’s coolest place
“Fuggi Regal Fantasima”

[Verse 2]
The village larks cannot be heard
’cause all the crows got panderers
I can’t escape these velvet drapes
Don’t want my rings to fall off my fingers
“Fuggi Regal Fantasima”
The mirror I find hard to face

[Refrain]
‘Cause I fear it’s a long way down

[Verse 3]
Got to get away from here
Think I know which hemisphere
Crazy me don’t think there’s pain in Barcelona
They dance you ’round a waltz confound

[Refrain]
But I fear it’s a long way down
Yes, I fear it’s a long way down
It’s cruel

[Verse 4]
Even if that straw I pull
And I got to fight that bull
Nothing really does compare to Barcelona
Besides in Spain, Don Juan’s to blame

[Refrain]
But I fear it’s a long way down
But I fear it’s a long way down
Yes, I fear it’s a long way down
And I fear I won’t be around

[Verse 5]
Got to get away from here
Think I know which hemisphere
Make sure I have all my papers
Laying out my summer clothes
Search for traps in vain like scratching
So my suitcase I can close
“Fuggi Regal Fantasima”

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,390: ‘Barcelona’ – Rufus Wainwright

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    What an awful experience, but from tragedy often comes great art.

  2. Peg says:

    How horrible 😢

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