Angry Johnny and Jezebel– Oh Music and It’s Power

Music to me is one of the most powerful things.  It can make you remember vividly things so deeply and each person might interpret the lyrics intimately.  I had not heard the song “Angry Johnny” for years until it came on a Pandora station.  Instantly I remembered every lyric, my own feelings and what that song meant to me.  The album Hello by Poe had a huge impact on me as it was released the year I had moved out on my own and was dealing with a lot conflicting feelings.

Many people will tell you that “Angry Johnny” is either about crazy sex or a victim of rape getting revenge.  It may be as they lyrics would fit either way.  I heard them so differently.  In the song there are two people, Angry Johnny and Jezebel, but I saw myself as both of them.  The song was about the two dark sides of me. 

Angry Johnny was the lost and frustrated child that felt overshadowed, forgotten and unimportant.  At a young age I knew my sister, the first grandchild, was special.  She was funny, people did and still just love to love her and she is not easy to forget.  I was the good child that was quiet, stayed out of the way.  I didn’t look the same as her and my cousins.  No, I looked like my deceased aunt who died at age 12.  I remember thinking I would be remembered and loved if I too died by age 12.  Other than that, I felt I was the extra child or an additional cost at times.  Outside I was the calm and quiet child, but an angry dark one kept growing on the inside that hated my life. 

As I grew up I don’t think that child ever really did.  It would surface with the “it’s not fair” and “why can’t anyone just love me, I’m better off dead”.  I would have my tantrums in different ways.  Maybe do risky things that would cause me to be hurt or maybe worry others.  When I was overly emotional I felt like the child that sat in the closet and cried.  Angry Johnny never grew up and just wanted to die.  Either that part of me needed to die or Johnny needed to end all of me. 

The other person was “Jezebel in hell” or at least that is how she refers to herself.  Oh god did I relate!  I was raised in a very religious family.  Jezebel from the Bible was beautiful, wore beautiful things and was a “painted woman”.   What she would be remembered for was that she betrayed her husband, King Ahab, by getting him to worship false/pagan gods.  They deemed her so bad that she was pushed out a window and eaten by dogs.  

I developed well for my age and lost weight in the right areas in what seemed to be a small window of time.  My face and body changed a lot in a six month period and I was quite pretty.  Suddenly it was an issue that I talked to boys; even though these were the same boys I grew up with.  It was determined I was a flirt.  My father would get pulled aside for what I wore to church even though it was what my sister wore and was tighter on her chubbier waist the week before.  

When I did have a boyfriend and hung out with him and his friends, my female friends questioned why I was around their boyfriends, even though mine was there at that time.  I got to the point that I got sick of explaining myself.  People were going to think what they wanted no matter what and I was branded anyway.  So I was Jezebel and in hell.  No one trusted me.  I was just bad.  So what if I did bad things? Who was I disappointing then? After all I was someone you would throw to the dogs.  

The song talks about how evil Jezebel wants to kill Angry Johnny.  Part of her or the entire person they reside in, I was never sure.  She was the only other side of me that could kill the darkness inside or finish what a child could not.  A child is too scared but a bad woman can do almost anything.  

IF YOU LISTEN TO THE VERY END OF THE SONG AS IT FADES OUT, she say “every part of you that doesn’t feel okay” (or something very close).  That’s not listed in lyrics anywhere, but it reaffirmed my thought of the different parts/personalities in one person.  Like she was speaking to a group but maybe within herself.  Or maybe it is just me thinking I would be getting a group consensus on exactly what to do with my own destruction inside.  We’re we all okay or just done at that point?

I told one person this interpretation one time.  There was a promise that I would NEVER LISTEN TO THAT SONG DRUNK because there was the fear that I would kill everyone inside me.  It’s funny that I never told just one person how broken I was entirely.  I spread out the shards of my brokenness.  I shared only what I determined people could handle, how much I felt I could trust them with, or what fell out in a moment and so on.  Never has one person been told how I feel about everything, how messed up I could be or where I’ve been.  

I’m a survivor.  I’ve learned how to take care of myself because from a young age I knew I needed to.  As I grew older I educated myself.  Now I’m even trained to deal with others that find themselves ill.  Angry Johnny still lives but he gets soothed faster.  Jezebel is only present when my parents are around to call her out.   They don’t control me daily but I know they are still there…. 

The lyrics to the song are below:

Angry Johnny

Poe

Johnny, Angry Johnny, this is Jezebel in Hell
I want to kill you, I want to blow you…away

I can do it you gently
I can do it with an animal’s grace
I can do it with precision
I can do it with gourmet taste

[Chorus]
But either way
Either (way), either way
I want to kill you
I want to blow you…Away


I can do it to your mind
I can do it to your face
I can do it with integrity
I can do it with disgrace

 

[Chorus]

Johnny, Angry Johnny, this is Jezebel in Hell
Johnny, Angry Johnny, this is Jezebel in Hell

I can do it in a church
I can do it any time or place
I can do it like an angel
To quiet down your rage

[Chorus]

 

I can do it in the water
I can do on dry land
I can do it with instruments
I can do it with my own bare hands

But either way
Either way, you know where it stands
I want to kill you
I want to blow you…Away

Johnny, Angry Johnny, this is Jezebel in Hell
Johnny, oh my Johnny

Where did your pleasure go
When the pain came through you
Where did your happiness go
This force is running you around now
Getting you down now
Where is your pleasure now Johnny
Where has your pleasure gone now

Johnny, Angry Johnny…

 

Songwriters: ANNIE DECATUR DANIELEWSKI, FELIX CAVALIERE, RALPH JAMES RICE

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

For non-commercial use only.

Data from: LyricFind

 

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notfeeling40

I'm turning 40 in April 2017... So much seems to have happened and changed. I guess I am feeling I should have it figured out by 40, but does anyone every really have it all figured out?

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