Mirror In The Bathroom: A Comprehensive Guide

4 min read

Mirror In The Bathroom
Mirror In The Bathroom

Greetings, fellow music enthusiasts! As a lover of 80s new wave, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write an article about one of the most iconic songs of the era – “Mirror In The Bathroom” by The Beat. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the song’s history, meaning, and impact on the music scene. Let’s get started!

History

“Mirror In The Bathroom” was released in 1980 as the second single from The Beat’s debut album “I Just Can’t Stop It”. The song was written by the band’s guitarist, Andy Cox, and its bassist, David Steele. It quickly became one of the band’s most popular songs, thanks to its catchy guitar riff and infectious beat.

The Beat, also known as The English Beat in the US, was part of the 2 Tone ska revival movement that emerged in the late 70s and early 80s in the UK. The band’s unique sound blended ska, punk, and reggae influences, and their socially conscious lyrics tackled issues such as racism, unemployment, and politics.

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Meaning

“Mirror In The Bathroom” is a song about self-reflection and the pressure to conform to societal norms. The lyrics describe a person who is constantly checking their appearance in the mirror, trying to fit in and be accepted. The line “I don’t know what to do with myself” suggests a feeling of helplessness and confusion.

The chorus of the song is particularly powerful, with its repetition of the line “Mirror in the bathroom, please talk free”. This could be interpreted as a plea for honesty and transparency, both from oneself and from society as a whole.

Impact

“Mirror In The Bathroom” is considered one of the quintessential songs of the 2 Tone era. Its influence can be heard in the music of other ska and new wave bands of the time, such as The Specials, Madness, and The Police.

The song’s message of self-reflection and individuality is still relevant today, and it has become an anthem for anyone who has felt pressure to conform to societal norms.

Lyrics Analysis

The lyrics of “Mirror In The Bathroom” are deceptively simple, but contain a lot of meaning. Here are some key lines and their interpretations:

  • “Mirror in the bathroom, recompense/For all my crimes of self defense” – The mirror is a symbol of self-reflection, and the line suggests that the person is using it to atone for their perceived flaws.
  • “The wickedness of the beast/Is the least of my worries” – This line could be interpreted as a reference to the inner demons that we all struggle with, and how they pale in comparison to societal pressure and expectations.
  • “I’m talking to the mirror again/But I know it’s me that’s really doing the talking” – This line suggests that the person is trying to find their true self, but is struggling with their own inner voice.
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Music Video

The music video for “Mirror In The Bathroom” features the band performing the song in what appears to be a mirrored room. The camera angles and lighting create a disorienting effect, which mirrors the song’s themes of self-reflection and confusion.

Covers

    Reel Big Fish – The ska punk band covered Mirror In The Bathroom on their 2009 album Fame Fortune and Fornication The cover stays faithful to the original but adds a touch of Reel Big Fishs signature energy

    Reel Big Fish - The ska punk band covered Mirror In The Bathroom on their 2009 album Fame Fortune and Fornication The cover stays faithful to the original but adds a touch of Reel Big Fishs signature energy

    Reel Big Fish’s cover of “Mirror In The Bathroom” is a great example of how a new band can pay tribute to an old classic while putting their own spin on it. The horns and driving rhythm section give the song a fresh feel, while still retaining its original message.

    The Kooks – The British indie rock band covered Mirror In The Bathroom for a BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge session in 2008 The cover slows down the tempo and adds a more melancholic feel to the song

    The Kooks - The British indie rock band covered Mirror In The Bathroom for a BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge session in 2008 The cover slows down the tempo and adds a more melancholic feel to the song

    The Kooks’ cover of “Mirror In The Bathroom” is a departure from the original’s ska and punk influences, but still manages to capture its introspective mood. The stripped-down arrangement and Luke Pritchard’s emotive vocals give the song a raw, intimate feel.

    Skinny Lister – The folk punk band covered Mirror In The Bathroom on their 2016 album The Devil The Heart The Fight The cover adds a folky twist to the song with the use of acoustic guitar accordion and fiddle

    Skinny Lister - The folk punk band covered Mirror In The Bathroom on their 2016 album The Devil The Heart The Fight The cover adds a folky twist to the song with the use of acoustic guitar accordion and fiddle

    Skinny Lister’s cover of “Mirror In The Bathroom” is a fun and unexpected take on the song. The band’s use of traditional folk instruments gives the song a lively, foot-stomping feel.

FAQ

  • What inspired the lyrics of “Mirror In The Bathroom”? The lyrics were inspired by the pressure to conform to societal norms and the constant need for self-reflection.
  • What genre is “Mirror In The Bathroom”? The song is a blend of ska, punk, and reggae influences, and is considered part of the 2 Tone ska revival movement of the late 70s and early 80s.
  • What is the meaning behind the line “Mirror in the bathroom, please talk free”? The line could be interpreted as a plea for honesty and transparency, both from oneself and from society as a whole.
  • What impact did “Mirror In The Bathroom” have on the music scene? The song is considered one of the quintessential songs of the 2 Tone era, and its influence can be heard in the music of other ska and new wave bands of the time.
  • What is the message of “Mirror In The Bathroom”? The song’s message is one of self-reflection and individuality, and it has become an anthem for anyone who has felt pressure to conform to societal norms.
  • What is the significance of the music video? The music video mirrors the song’s themes of self-reflection and confusion, with its disorienting camera angles and lighting effects.
  • What are some notable covers of “Mirror In The Bathroom”? Notable covers include versions by Reel Big Fish, The Kooks, and Skinny Lister.
  • What is the legacy of “Mirror In The Bathroom”? The song’s legacy lies in its timeless message of self-reflection and individuality, which still resonates with audiences today.
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Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Catchy guitar riff and infectious beat
  • Powerful message of self-reflection and individuality
  • Influential within the 2 Tone ska revival movement

Cons:

  • Lyrics may be too simplistic for some listeners
  • May not appeal to those who dislike ska or punk music
  • Has been overplayed on some radio stations

Tips

If you’re a fan of “Mirror In The Bathroom”, here are some tips to enhance your listening experience:

  • Listen to the song while looking in a mirror, and reflect on your own inner voice
  • Explore other bands from the 2 Tone ska revival movement, such as The Specials and Madness
  • Check out some of the song’s notable covers, and compare them to the original
Conclusion

“Mirror In The Bathroom” is a timeless classic that has stood the test of time. Its message of self-reflection and individuality is as relevant today as it was in 1980, and its influence can still be heard in the music of many artists. Whether you’re a fan of ska, punk, or just great music in general, “Mirror In The Bathroom” is a song that should be on your playlist.