‘Princess Paranoia’ is slightly self-mocking and explores a woman’s reaction to rejections both real and imagined and her increasing isolation and desire to avoid people. It’s not about Princess Diana, though of course as with all songs/lyrics it’s up to the listener to decide what it means to them.
The paranoiac feels she has no friends, ‘Just enemies to drive her to a bitter end’ so she paints herself as the tragic heroine and starts to immerse herself in the role.
She becomes increasingly agoraphobic and when she leaves the house she is ‘Always in disguise’, i.e she is a slave to image as she feels her real self is inferior.
‘Too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too plain’ is about the impossibility of attaining the so-called ‘Perfection’ that is advertised via cosmetic ads, women’s magazines and celebrity photoshopped images.
The line ‘They’re gonna spoil it anyway so why begin? is about hopelessness and the depressive’s lack of motivation, which is caused by a fear of failure and a belief that the past will always repeat it itself.
‘She’ll always be persona non grata, a nobody who never really mattered’ describes her low standing in the world. Humans are status driven animals and those who are low in the pecking order soon succumb to poor mental health.
‘All the world’s out to exploit her and everyone avoids her’ is about the ludicrous and somewhat Narcissistic belief that the world wants to rip her off but at the same time all the people in the world are avoiding her. ‘Too young, too old, too good, too big, too small’ highlights the ridiculous things people believe about themselves and is the point in the song where the penny drops and the heroine realises there is no likelihood of ever fitting in with other people’s ideas of what she should be, and who wants to squeeze themselves into such a narrow boring world anyway?
Princess Paranoia never had no friends
Just enemies to drive her to a bitter end
So she played a little game of lets pretend
Where she can be the tragic heroine
She kept the curtains closed and stayed inside
‘Cause nasty neighbours have to criticise
She thinks their watching so she has to hide
And when she leaves it’s always in disguise
Princess Paranoia all the worlds out to destroy her
Princess Paranoia she’s so inferior
Talking on the telephone they listen in
They’re gonna spoil it anyway so why begin
Been a loser so long that you’ll never win
Everybody knows it and their all laughing
They invite her cause they want to hurt her
She thinks that everybody’s looking at her
She’ll always be persona non grata
A nobody who never reallty mattered
Princess Paranoia everyones out to exploit her
Princess Paranoia everyone avoids her.