December 2, 2007
Though most of the songs on Monster are concerned with characters who are so consumed by their obsession with someone else that they either try to recreate or obliterate their own identity, “Star 69” comes from the perspective of a person who has become the object of someone’s obsession. Perversely, it is the most cheery and playful number on the record. Granted, the stakes aren’t as high as in, say, “I Took Your Name” or “You,” but there’s a sense that the singer isn’t that bothered by the fact that he’s being stalked by his ex, and is actually enjoying the drama and the attention. The words are a bit goofy and friendly, but they hint at the possibility that the protagonist’s self-absorption may eclipse the obsession of the person who keeps calling him and hanging up.
An outmoded technology note: I’m a big fan of artists referring to the technology of the moment in their songs because I always enjoy concrete details in lyrics, and the way specificity ties a song to an identifiable moment in time. For those of who don’t recall, *69 is a telephone feature that allows someone to automatically call back or find out the number of the last call their phone received. It’s still around, but it’s totally redundant now that caller I.D. is a standard feature on pretty much all telephones.