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Song Meanings: Escape Song by Rupert Holmes

Because who doesn’t love Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain? “If you like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain,” is a lyric we all know and can’t help but belt out at the tops of our lungs.

“If you like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain,” is a lyric we all know and can’t help but belt out at the tops of our lungs.

For most of us, Rupert Holmes’s Escape song is the quintessential ‘paradise’ song. But has anyone actually taken the time to listen to the words to understand what’s really going on in this tune? If you have, you’ll know it’s about more than just Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain. Make no mistake—despite the cheery melody, this song is about a guy who’s tired of his wife (or girlfriend, it’s not totally clear from the lyrics) and plans to meet with an anonymous woman who posted an ad in the paper looking for a romantic interest. The lyrics leave little room for interpretation. Here’s the first verse so you can see what I mean—

I was tired of my lady

We’d been together too long

Like a worn-out recording

Of a favorite song

This may not be the nicest thing to say about your significant other, but all things considered, relationships have ebbs and flows and it’s normal to get tired of people from time to time. I mean, if you have your favorite meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, you might get a little tired of eating it, right? Of course, the issue with humans is that we aren’t play-things to merely toss aside once a shiny new toy arrives.

So, what does he do? Instead of maybe talking to his partner like a reasonable person would, he decides to respond to an ad that he read in the paper from a woman seeking romance. The ad is the iconic chorus to the song that we all know and love—

If you like Piña Coladas

And gettin’ caught in the rain…

If you like makin’ love at midnight

In the dunes on the cape

Then I’m the love that you’ve looked for

Write to me and escape

He responds to the anonymous ad looking for romance, and he says yes—that he does like Piña Coladas, getting caught in the rain, champagne and that he also wants to meet tomorrow afternoon at a bar called O’Malley’s, “where we’ll plan our escape.” The big plot twist happens while he’s waiting at the bar O’Malley’s the next day for the woman to show up. He’s got high hopes, but then…

I knew her smile in an instant

I knew the curve of her face

It was my own lovely lady

Yeah—the person who put the ad in the paper was his own wife, who, as it turns out, was also looking to cheat on him! What a twist! The craziest part of this song is both of their reactions when they realize that they had each planned on cheating on the other person.

And she said, “Oh, it’s you”

Then we laughed for a moment

And I said, “I never knew”

What is it that he didn’t know about her? Well, you guessed it —

“That you like Piña coladas

And getting caught in the rain

And the feel the ocean

And the taste of champagne”

While this song does feature two individuals that are quite awful, if there’s a silver lining to be found, it’s that while you think you know may know every little detail about the person you’re with, you never know how someone could surprise you (for better or worse.)

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