On its surface, “Psycho Killer” is the kind of track perfect for pretending you’re in some spunky retro music video. Walking along a dark, rainy alley, the steady beat drops in just as an inexplicable fog wafts across your path. It’s spooky, yet playful as you saunter to the beat of the music. Byrne’s unsteady voice makes the thought of actually being confronted with a crazy murderer seem not at all as daunting as its reality.
When listening more closely to the lyrics Byrne is so casually spitting, though, the catchy sheen begins to ship away to reveal something more sinister. That first, haunting chorus is preceded by, “I can’t sleep cause my bed’s on fire / Don’t touch me I’m a real live wire.” Byrne’s vocals go on to become more and more unhinged — much like the psyche of the titular killer. The repeated fa-fa-fa’s are almost manic, warning listeners of the madness behind them. By the end of the track, that jaunt through the alley turns from benign to life-threatening.