Same Story, Different Lyrics: Hoobastank vs. Finger Eleven

Editor’s note: this debut article of True Perception’s Same Story, Different Lyrics series was originally posted in the summer of 2011. It was lost along with everything else in The Great Fire of 2012, re-found, re-edited, and now returns for your re-enjoyment. Be sure to re-thank Mr. Perception so he’ll write more! – Del.

The songs in question this time are “Inside of You” by Hoobastank and “Paralyzer” by Finger Eleven. Now, I’ve had Inside of You kicking around for a few years now, but I just recently picked up Paralyzer on a mostly nostalgia-fueled iTunes spending spree. As with every time I buy new songs, I spent a lot of time looping the new tracks over and over while walking to work. After several times through, I resumed normal listening behaviour, and lo and behold, I came across Inside of You and realized that the subject matter of the two songs in question were very similar.

So, onto the meat of this thing! For those of you who know both of these songs, obviously the theme in question happens to be a guy hanging out at some local club lusting over an attractive girl that each one meets there. Now, Paralyzer mentions that the girl in question is not dancing, but looking around the club, trying to find something to grab her attention. Inside of You, on the other hand, does not mention what, if anything this girl was doing. In this point of view, it does not matter.

While Finger Eleven’s protagonist (for the lack of a better term) wants to see his girl dancing and having a good time, all that matters to Hoobastank’s singer is that he gets “inside” of her. This is not to say that Paralyzer’s motivations are completely altruistic. He does specifically mention his desire to take the encounter to a more private place, so they can get to know each other better.

One of the major differences between the two songs is in the tone, or the attitude of each guy. Inside of You portrays its character as ultra cocky, as is referenced in the following lines:

For now I’ll play the game,
and I’m waiting for your move,
but I’ve got to say
that I never lose.

What do I have to do,
to get inside of you,
’cause I love the way you move
when I’m inside of you

Also, there is a pair of lines in the song where he blatantly asks the girl how he should go about getting into her pants, even going so far as to say that he has no scruples about how he goes about accomplishing his set goal:

Just ask and I will do
Anything you want me to.
The is no limit to
how far I will go.

And, I’m sure I can’t pretend
to be a gentleman,
but before I begin,
I just gotta know.

One of the things I like most in Paralyzer is how the lead has a little more realism, in that he is quite unsure of himself about approaching this angel (or temptress) that has become the object of his adoration. In the opening verse of the song, he mentions being nervous about the situation, and later in the song revisits this sense of unease:

I hold on so nervously
to me and my drink.
I wish it was cooling me

I hold out for one more drink,
before I think,
I’m looking too desperately.

This is also further cemented by the use of the chorus, where he mentions not receiving any attention from his beauty, even though she is obviously searching for something of interest, as she has passed over him several times, and worries that she may possess some special talent for completely ignoring him:

If your body matches
what your eyes can do,
You’ll probably move right through,
me on my way to you.

Another (slightly) interesting thing of note is that, while Inside of You does not make any mention of the club that they happen to be in (again, having no bearing on his viewpoint), Paralyzer makes a couple of references to not caring for the club at all, even going so far as to state his being okay with it if the club should be closed and actually hoping that it will happen sooner, rather than later.

Before I wrap this up, I noticed a potential flip to how these two are compared. Rather than having Inside of You be the more direct approach, and Paralyzer more apprehensive, it could be seen as Inside being the more submissive. Follow along, while I play devil’s advocate with myself (shut up!)

During Inside, it almost seems like the singer is trying to portray a false sense of assuredness, to make himself more likeable to the object of his affection. In this way, he is being indirect. Also, his stated goal of getting “inside” of her can be taken in a more mental way, such that he wants to charm her through understand her feelings. Conversely, Paralyzer is far less ambiguous in stating his intent as seeking “a dark lit place, or your place, or my place.”