Rimbaud Eyes

Album: Girls Too True (2014)

Songfacts®:

  • This song finds Dee Dee referencing the decadent French poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91). The singer has long stated the influence of Rimbauld on her lyrics. Other rockers that have found inspiration in the 19th century French poet include:

    Bob Dylan: Another Side of Bob Dylan's "Chimes Of Freedom" was influenced by Rimbaud's symbolist poetry and on Blood of Tracks' "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go," Dylan compared his own fractured relationships to the absinthe-fueled feuds of the poet and his lover, Paul Verlaine.

    Jim Morrison: Rimbaud was the Doors frontman's favorite poet and his symbolist verses influenced the form of Morrison's short prose poems and lyrics. Wallace Fowlie,'s book Rimbaud and Jim Morrison, recount's the author's surprise at receiving a fan letter from Morrison who, in 1968, thanked him for his latest translation of Arthur Rimbaud's verse into English.

    Patti Smith remains Arthur's most vocal rock'n'roll champion. The B-side of her first single, "Piss Factory" describes the helplessness she felt while working on a factory assembly line and the salvation she discovered in the form of a Rimbaud's Illuminations, which she'd shoplifted. Speaking later in 1996 Smith recalled her teenage years when she, "devoted so much of my girlish daydreams to Rimbaud. Rimbaud was like my boyfriend."

    Allen Ginsberg. OK, strictly speaking Ginsberg was a beat poet not a rock 'n' roller, but on Clash's "Ghetto Defendant" he raps rhymes that reference his own favorite poet, one Arthur Rimbaud.
  • The song was inspired by a T-shirt that Dee Dee Penny's husband Brandon Welchez purchased while he was on tour in France with his band, the Crocodiles. "He brought back a T-shirt with just this classic portrait of [Rimbaud], very young… and he just wore it every day for two years," she explained to Radio.com. "And in the picture Rimbaud has very, very striking eyes. I think just conceptually I started thinking about what it means to have this piercing glance and it was jokingly referred to as 'Rimbaud Eyes' in my head."
  • Dee Dee started working on the track and came up with chorus pretty quickly, before resorting to a Rimbaud work for the bulk of the song. "I just thought, 'What if I set a poem of his to music?' So I just ran through my Collected Works Of and found one that I felt translated and made sense as a Dum Dum Girls song," she explained. "I picked three of about 20 stanzas and went through many, many different translations…I kind of reworded a few things to make it appropriate but being that it's already poetic it was a very easy thing."

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