Bible Time with Owl City: Bombshell Blonde

Another new post series I’ve had in mind has been this: Bible Time with Owl City. Because Owl City. Since Owl City (i.e. Adam Young, the sole songwriter and singer) is a Christian and has made that perfectly clear, and some of his songs are either explicitly or implicitly founded on his faith, his material seems perfect for mining.

That said, I was a bit dismayed when I heard one of his newer songs, “Bombshell Blonde.” If you want to listen to it, here’s the YouTube link. Or just the lyrics. At first I was a bit confused and disappointed at what appeared to be a song basically about clubbing and trying to pick up a girl. Here’s the chorus, for example:

She’s a bombshell blonde, wired up to detonate!
I’m James Bond, live to die another day!
Bombshell blonde, high explosive dynamite!
She’s all I want so I, I’m on a mission tonight!

This bugged me. Adam had always appeared to be a rather genuine Christian, and around the same time I heard this song, his new hit with Britt Nicole “You’re Not Alone” was all over Christian radio. So a song that basically seemed to be about him trying to, well, get lucky with some hot chick was unexpected and unsettling.

Yet, precisely because this looked so out of character for Adam Young (his faith aside, his personality doesn’t even seem to match my initial impression of this song), I listened more closely until I realized something. The language used reminded me of Proverbs. So then it hit me: This isn’t a song about pursuing an attractive woman. It’s about resisting one. Evidence? Here’s Proverbs about seductive women:

My child, pay attention and listen to my wisdom and insight. Then you will know how to behave properly, and your words will show that you have knowledge. The lips of another man’s wife may be as sweet as honey and her kisses as smooth as olive oil, but when it is all over, she leaves you nothing but bitterness and pain. She will take you down to the world of the dead; the road she walks is the road to death. She does not stay on the road to life; but wanders off, and does not realize what is happening.

Now listen to me, sons, and never forget what I am saying. Keep away from such a woman! Don’t even go near her door! If you do, others will gain the respect that you once had, and you will die young at the hands of merciless people. Yes, strangers will take all your wealth, and what you have worked for will belong to someone else. You will lie groaning on your deathbed, your flesh and muscles being eaten away, and you will say, “Why would I never learn? Why would I never let anyone correct me? I wouldn’t listen to my teachers. I paid no attention to them. And suddenly I found myself publicly disgraced.”

Proverbs 5:1-14

So she tempted him with her charms, and he gave in to her smooth talk. Suddenly he was going with her like an ox on the way to be slaughtered, like a deer prancing into a trap where an arrow would pierce its heart. He was like a bird going into a net—he did not know that his life was in danger.

Now then, sons, listen to me. Pay attention to what I say. Do not let such a woman win your heart; don’t go wandering after her. She has been the ruin of many men and caused the death of too many to count. If you go to her house, you are on the way to the world of the dead. It is a shortcut to death.

Proverbs 7:21-27

There is actually even more material like this in Proverbs, but you should get the gist. Solomon speaks of these women in very attractive but deadly terms. Granted, so do many guys out looking for them anyway, but in this case the severity of the warning comes through loud and clear. Upon reexamining “Bombshell Blonde,” I think the exact same theme is present. Again, with this in mind, try reading some more:

That blonde, she’s a bomb, she’s an atom bomb.
Rigged up, and ready to drop!
Bad news, I’m a fuse, and I’ve met my match.
So stand back, it’s about to go off!

That vixen, she’s a master of disguise!
I see danger, when I look in her eyes.
She’s so foxy, she could lead to my demise.
So I’m running, ’cause I’ve run out of time.

All through the song, the same theme comes through that Adam is not going after this woman, but fleeing for his life. He’s running away and trying to save himself from the ticking time bomb. He is indeed on a mission tonight, not a mission to get something but to escape and “live to die another day.”

With that in mind, my confidence in Adam Young was restored, and indeed he seemed more clever than ever. I go on to present this as advice to all the guys out there: take Owl City’s advice. Don’t play around with desire or put yourself in the way of girls you know have a certain reputation. “It is a shortcut to death,” as the wisest king who ever failed to take his own advice said.

Not to be sexist, I should remind girls that it goes the other way ’round, too. Just because he’s sexy, or mysterious, or perhaps misunderstood, that doesn’t mean you should get involved. Be wary, especially when there are any signs of danger (even when that danger is simply your own desires). Flee youthful lusts.

Now, everyone, thank Owl City for being awesome. Until next time, listen to more of his music.

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4 Thoughts to “Bible Time with Owl City: Bombshell Blonde

  1. I’ve never heard the song before, so I listened… As song writers, they made several decisions. A title like ‘Bombshell Blonde’? Why use this term for an attractive person for a song title/lyric?To draw in secular listeners? Plus, throwing in James Bond, one of the biggest womanizing, sleep-around characters in all of film and literature? Totally spoke to me as a woman. Not. Personally, I think I shouldn’t have to remind myself every time I listen to a song that there’s a biblical message and that I have to pick the lyrics apart to find it. If there’s a message why, when we put it up against songs that are actually about picking up women, there is not real contrast? Why do we have to analyze it to get a message? Why can’t they just say?

    1. While I can’t speak for Adam Young, I suspect if he has committed any fault here it would be of judgment, not character. The tension here fits in with his overall style. He makes abundant use of irony, tension, conflicting themes, and undercurrents which subvert the surface appearance of his lyrics. As I happened to be saying to Ashley the other day, few of his songs for example are straightforwardly happy or sad; most are either happy on the surface and sad underneath or vise versa. Rarely can the meaning of an Owl City song be apparent at first glance, or even tenth.

      With that in mind, I think this song may well be understood as Adam playing off the tension between his honest fleshly desires and his better spiritual judgment. Its divide between surface meaning and Proverbs-esque undercurrent represents the very realistic way in which temptation often seems to have a booming voice which the Spirit merely whispers in response. And as a song such clearly shares the clubbing style, it may well be intended to be picked up in such contexts and to subvert them.

      I should add, though, that not being a woman myself I may very well be missing why this song can or should be offensive even with my interpretation, and in that case I must simply ask forbearance for my blind spot.

      1. I loved this! It has always annoyed me when people misjudge the song Bombshell blonde I have always seen it as a warning song which it is from the first time I heard it. I am a girl so no offense taken.

  2. Hi Caleb! Thanks so much for sharing this! I was a bit sceptical about this song when I first heard it and friends started asking me about it. Now I can just send them the link to your website. 🙂 Very good answer to Sherry’s question/statement. (Thumbs up)

So what do you think?