Top 40 single reviews


I Think I’m Paranoid

Album: Version 2.0

Year: 1998


            Shirley Manson will be submissive and controlled but only on her terms in the vincible “I Think I’m Paranoid.”


                      An inquiring synth opens the single, setting an unflinching tone.  She’s at the grocery store, waiting in line to pay for her things. As she’s putting her apples and cans on the conveyor belt, she sees a man leering at her. She scowls at him, eyeing him up and down. His sleek black suit and oily remind her of the type to take her out to an expensive dinner and then force themselves on her later, demanding what they are owed. She could crack him if he ever approached her. Men need to know she’s the one in charge. (“You can look, but you can't touch/I don't think I like you much/Heaven knows what a girl can do /Heaven knows what you've got to prove.”)


                 In the pre-chorus, she believes the stereotype she has of him is only in her head. She has to take care of herself, put forth a toughness. She can keep people guessing, uncertain of what she feels or what she will do next.. However, there is a way  he can push through. It involves a lure and if the men can find the correct tone, she can be swayed. (“I think I'm paranoid/And complicated.I think I'm paranoid/Manipulate it.”)


                  In the chorus, the man has to be dominating. All it would take is a simple insult and the courage to blow her off. Then, she would be able to be vulnerable around him. (“Bend me, break me/Anyway you need me/All I want is you/Bend me, break me/Breaking down is easy/All I want is you.”)


              She pays her bill and checks out. Out of the corner of her eye, she can see the man still staring at her. While he’s waiting, she puts her cart into reverse, knocking into him. She stumbles a bit but he holds on her, keeping her steady. He asks if she’s okay and she responds that she’s fine. She hopes it worked. Otherwise, she doesn’t have much else.  (“I fall down just to give you a thrill/Prop me up with another pill/If I should fail, if I should fold/I nailed my faith to the sticking pole.”)

              The pre-chorus and chorus are sung again.


           The guitars spin while she says with obscured vocals “I think I’m paranoid” twice


        The chorus is sung again.

             In the bridge, the guy is capable of getting to her. He can be charming, using a common line or He can try to hurt her but she will stay have the same attitude. It’s his choice if he wants a relationship. (“Steal me, deal me, anyway you heal me/Maim me, tame me, you can never change me/Love me, like me, come ahead and fight me/Please me, tease me, go ahead and leave me.”)

           The chorus is sung twice to end the single.


Manson’s brazen, frisky vocals claw for affection, scratching at the arms until blood is drawn. It’s a reaction she wants. The demure eyes will only appear if she’s gets bitten back.


          The shrewd “I Think I’m Paranoid” maintains the upper hand, daring the stakes to go higher.

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