Bright Yellow Gun

Album: University (1994)
Charted: 51 120
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Songfacts®:

  • "Bright Yellow Gun" was written and sung by Throwing Muses frontwoman Kristin Hersh. Many of her songs are expressions of an alternate personality that emerged after suffering head trauma when she was 16. Hersh later gave this person a name, Rat Girl, and realized it was part of her dissociative disorder, which was earlier diagnosed as bipolar disorder.

    Unlike the alter egos songwriters often use to express themselves in a different voice, Hersh had no control of Rat Girl, and had no idea when the songs would appear. Often, fragments of songs would come to her in the middle of the night and she would piece them together in the morning. This song alludes to this cycle:

    I have nothing to offer but confusion
    And the circus in my head
    In the middle of the bed
    In the middle of the night


    In a Songfacts interview with Hersh, she explained: "Songs are dreamy, hyper-real takes on life that I don't argue with. 'Bright Yellow Gun' can say whatever it wants to... like one of my kids. I have to let them invent themselves."
  • This is the only Throwing Muses song to land on the Hot 100 - it bubbled under at #120. The group was a bit too challenging for pop radio, but some modern rock stations supported them, including the Boston station WFNX. Early on, most of the airplay for "Bright Yellow Gun" came from smaller markets; at the time, these stations would be more adventurous with their playlists, and if a song caught on with listeners, the big boys would add it in places like Los Angeles and Chicago.
  • Two different videos were made for this song, the "umbrella raincoat" version directed by Kevin Kerslake, and another with monkeys in a club with an unknown director.

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