Singled Out: The Enemies' Perfect Stranger
'Perfect Stranger' was one of the first musical projects Ronan and Johnny collaborated on. The song began as a solo project Johnny had been working on a few months previously called "We are Friends." The strong guitar riff on the intro was already in place and this set up the driving force behind the song.
There were many lyrical ideas passed around for a few days but the idea and concept for the title 'Perfect Stranger' was spurred by the news that guitarist Colin O' Donoghue was up for the part of Superman in the recent movie and gave Johnny and Ronan a great subject matter to work with. The idea of a Good Samaritan or a character like Superman and his eternal dilemma, questioning and wondering where he fits in to this world are behind the opening lyrics: "Are we alone? Forever finding our way home?"
The sentiment throughout the song is about people lending a hand and good deeds. This is combined with the story of the guy who, while standing on the edge of Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco ready to jump off, decided if anybody stopped and spoke to him that he would turn around and go home. An old lady walks by and says "Good Morning." Those simple words saved his life.
"Might have known you'd be my savior,
when I'd fallen out of favor,
Might have known you'd be my savior
You saved this perfect stranger."
The middle 8 to the song happened in studio when we felt the song needed a breakdown that was different to the rest of the song but lent itself to a build-up and stop before punching back into the outro chorus. Johnny came up with the guitar riff and the lyrics were from an earlier version of the second verse: "All we stand for all we know, where we come from where we go."
This song was really the driving force behind the rest of the album and gave us a great confidence for writing the rest of Sounds Big On A The Radio.