The Cure frontman Robert Smith wrote this for his wife Mary, who he commonly refers to as "M."
This might explain Smith's rather evasive answer to the inspiration for the song: "about a girl..." (Curenews, 1989).
The lyrics are even more cryptic, though perhaps most revealing is the opening line "hello image," which, given what we know about the inspiration of the song, seems to equate Mary with the reflection of Smith himself.
Seventeen Seconds is the second Cure album. The band was keeping the songs simple as they were refining their sound. "Their ultimate strength is their minimalism," drummer Lol Tolhurst wrote in his memoir.
Anon from UkI think “cryptic” answer from Robert Smith on what this song is about probably also a rather sarcastic remark about the strong similarity of a particular Nirvana song which uses a similar chord structure and lyrical content
Mary Smith from Capital Federal, ArgentinaThis song is in the album seventeen seconds, and when robert writted this song he was having couple- problems with mary. Hear the song again and its all about conflicts etc... ``you love someone else´´
Charlotte Smith from El Paso, Txwhat does the song mean?
In Gary Numan's "Cars," the message is that cars lead to a mechanical society devoid of personal interaction. This didn't stop automakers from using it in commercials. Both Nissan and Oldsmobile have used it in ads.