Don't Answer Me

Album: Ammonia Avenue (1984)
Charted: 58 15
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Songfacts®:

  • There are a lot of lonely people out there, and the narrator of this song is reaching out to one of them. Written by Parsons and his collaborator Eric Woolfson, the song was produced in a Phil Spector style as a parody of his "Wall of Sound" technique, complete with an assortment of instruments and plenty of echo. By modeling a hit sound, the group created a hit of their own. The song was the lead single from the Ammonia Avenue album. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Santa Barbara, CA
  • Eric Woolfson sang lead on this track. The Project used an assortment of vocalists, as Parsons liked to vary the lead singers so the listener wouldn't get sick of the same singer.
  • Magic is theme that shows up in a lot of Alan Parsons Project songs, and it's invoked here:

    If you believe in the power of magic
    I can change your mind
  • Eric Woolfson, who died in 2009, wrote the lyric. In a 2019 Songfacts interview, Alan Parsons said: "I'm not sure what he meant by 'Don't Answer Me.' Is he saying, 'I don't want to hear from you about this'? I'm going to say it's just words. Remember, 'Yesterday' started out as 'Scrambled Eggs.'"

    Alan Parsons is referring to the Beatles song penned by Paul McCartney. Parsons did engineering work on the Beatles' Abbey Road and Let It Be albums.
  • The video was the first one made by The Alan Parsons Project. Animated in the style of Dick Tracy (with the lead character's name changed to "Nick"), it was designed by the artist Michael Kaluta, who worked on a number of comic books, including his creation, Starstruck. The director was Peter Rosenthal, who went on to direct Madonna's "Who's That Girl" video. It was a painstaking and costly video, requiring about 40 people to make, many of them animators.

    The Alan Parsons project didn't perform live, so a performance video was out of the question. The animated video solved that problem and earned airplay for the group (the avatars of Eric Woolfson and Alan Parsons appear briefly in the clip, during a bar scene). The video was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award in the Most Experimental Video category, but lost to "Rockit" by Herbie Hancock, another video where the artist barely appears.
  • Mel Collins, who can be heard on "Miss You" by The Rolling Stones, did the saxophone solo. Other personnel are:

    Guitar: Ian Bairnson
    Acoustic Guitar: David Paton, Ian Bairnson
    Backing Vocals, Keyboards: Chris Rainbow, Eric Woolfson
    Bass: David Paton
    Drums: Stuart Elliott
    Fairlight Synthesizer: Alan Parsons
    Vocals: Eric Woolfson

Comments: 20

  • A. from Germany In my opinion the refrain of this song is highly ironic. The lyrical narrator in the song is (still) in love with another person who doesn't feel the same way (anymore) as he or she does. But instead of make things clear he or she is kind of ghosting the narrator and won't answer any calls or questions. Instead of that he/she is hiding his/her true feelings. He/she is figuratively staying on an island. Reacting with irony and sarcasm is the lyrical narrators last resort and kind of a coping strategy.

    I myself are in similar situation and I truly can feel this meaning of the song.
  • Strigeidida from WisconsinIn my opinion, this song can be summed up in five words:

    GO AHEAD. BE THAT WAY.
  • Radek from PolandTo me it is pretty obvious that this song is about a man who left his girlfriend heartbroken a long time ago. They probably have had some kind of fight, maybe he said one word to much - we don't know. But what we do know is that although they broke up and many years have passed - he still loves her. Somewhere deep down inside he's hoping to come back, make things they were when they were happy together, but on the other hand he knows that she doesn't love him anymore, she healed her wounds, maybe she's in love with someone else and have a happy life. So it is better for her to not answer him.
  • Jr Garcia from AustinLove this song
  • Janie from Florida This song reminds me of a man in once feel in love with. But we knew it wouldn’t last and he eventually left me heartbroken. He wanted to come back into my life but I stayed on my Island.
  • Ray Van Der Heij from Amstelveen, Holland.I truly believe this song is about a man (but it could be a woman) trying casually to contact and hoping to hear from a former lover, but if that lover would do so it would only make things difficult or painful and as such he knows it's best if that lover did not answer and would remain silent.
    I can SO relate to this meaning myself, maybe that's why I wanted to understand it this way, but it makes perfect sense to me.
  • Moose And Squirrel from Jcity TnMy comment is to Cat from New Zealand. I agree with you. " Don't answer me, stay on your island. Don't let me in. Run away and hide from everyone. "
  • Cat from New ZealandI always thought this was a song about a woman giving her partner the silent treatment and his (also silent) plea to her.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxWhen my girlfriend very abruptly broke up with me with no explanation, this song was stuck in head for months. When I hear it, it all comes back.
  • Colin from Newcastle, United KingdomGood song. Reminds me of I am a rock by Simon and Garfunkle. Also I am fairly certain Lady Antibellum ripped this song off for I need you now.
  • Shazbot from Detroit, UtRecently someone that I care for and love very much started to withdraw from me. The distance, the separation is painful. This song came to mind and when I looked up the lyrics, I was amazed at how closely it described my situation.
  • Tina from Nassau, NyI really do like this song and all of your comments have helped me to really think about this. I believe that singer wants the question to be answered only if it's yes, and if it's no, then don't answer it so he can go on believing there is a chance it's yes. Then he goes on trying to paint the picture that the woman is cold and that's why she might say no.
  • Kevin from Reading , PaMy comment is to Kelley from NY: I don't think a question was asked; I think you're taking this too literally. It's just a way of assessing the situation that is going on here between these two people. Someone is reaching out to someone who has withdrawn from them or perhaps even the world around them.
  • Soutiman from Mumbai, IndiaHeh heh .. my feelings match with Louis, Youngstown. ... Those were days I actually watched MTV-hard to believe now!!!
  • Jen from Dover, NhI agree with Louis...great video...I do miss those old MTV video times...thank goodness for VH1 Classic!! And YouTube!!
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThis song may have been written about my love life, as I've dated many women with intimacy issues that have caused the spark to go out quickly and no relationship to develop. This song is truly intended for the well-meaning male victim of unrequited love
  • Kelley from Hickory, KyThe critical issue with this song is "what is the question that has just been asked?" The lyric of "don't answer me" implies that a question has been asked but the person asking the question doesn't really want to hear the answer. After much thought, I think the person as just asked "do you love me?" and has decided that he would rather not hear the answer than know the truth.
  • Greg from Fayetteville, NcI always got the impression that this song was about a man trying to start up a romantic relationship with someone who has intimacy issues...as is so often the case in real life.
    Still, a hauntingly beautiful vocal and killer melody, plus tons of methapors that I used to use to teach poetry...example: "Run away and hide from everyone...."
  • Murph from Peoria, IlTradidion dictates that someone must insist this is a song about heroin addiction, so we might as well get it overwith...

    I too liked the video. To elaborate on the ablve -- it wasn't cartoon like saturday morning animated TV, more like a multi panel comic strip like in the sunday papers...
  • Louis from Youngstown, OhI've always loved this song, in part, because of the great video (it was a cartoon - like a comic book) that was released on...gasp... MTV (those were the days when I actually watched MTV-hard to believe, now).
see more comments

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