I was wondering what the meanings of the expressions killing moon and killing time on the song Killing moon by Echo and The Bunnymen are.

Under blue moon I saw you So soon
you'll take me Up in your arms Too
late to beg you or cancel it Though I
know it must be the killing time
Unwillingly mine


In starlit nights I saw you So cruelly
you kissed me Your lips a magic world
Your sky all hung with jewels The
killing moon Will come too soon

I assume the song does not refer to some sort of ritualistic murder on full moon. What then are the meanings intended for these expressions?

  • Guissing here... Killing time is normally associated with something you do when you are bored or waiting for something to happen... "We were killing time between games by drinking heavily" - here are some other takes: songmeanings.net/songs/view/16866
    – mplungjan
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 7:37
  • 3
    @mplungjan: The killing time is different from we were killing time; in the first phrase, killing is adjective.
    – apaderno
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 10:36
  • I realised that after reading the comments in the link I gave
    – mplungjan
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 10:42

5 Answers 5


I suspect that there are several word-plays going on here. In American myth and folklore, the full moon of each month is given a name, such as Wolf Moon, Storm Moon, Harvest Moon, Hunter's Moon, etc. A blue moon is a rare occurrence that happens about once every 2-3 years when a single season (three months) experiences four full moons; the third full moon in a season with four full moons is called the Blue Moon. There is no full moon specifically called the Killing Moon.

An Old Testament poem tells us that there is a time for everything under the sun; a time to give, a time to take, a time to heal, and a time to kill, etc. Calling something a killing time or killing moon would mean that somebody's or something's death is imminent and unavoidable.

  • The blood moon, or hunter's moon, might be considered a "killing moon."
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 13:16

The song is about the conflict between personal striving and inevitability, particularly the inevitability of death; the figures of the killing time and the killing moon are used to suggest death as something that occurs at a preordained moment.

  • So it could mean something that will occur at some point in time and there no avoiding it?
    – Raphael
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 9:13
  • @Raphael: I'm saying it means specifically that any given person's death will occur at some point in time and there's no avoiding it.
    – chaos
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 10:07

Killing moon sounds vaguely astrological, as if some alignment or what-have-you in the heavens is being interpreted as related to killing.

Alternatively, moon sometimes means "month".


Killing moon might make perfect sense to a werewolf.


I always felt it was about an arranged marriage, the Sitar playing makes me feel like an Indian girl is being given up to an Indian groom and the "killing Time" is when she gives up her virginity and she cannot change the fact that she really does not want this. "Up against her will" "You will wait until you give yourself to him" He will take her with a cruel kiss, because she has no say in it.

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