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Boomtown Rats Rat Trap Lyrics

Last updated: 10/27/2014 09:15:46 AM

There was a lot of rockn' going on that night
Cruising time for the young bright lights
Just down past the gasworks, by the meat factory door
The five lamp boys were coming on strong
The Saturday night city beat had already started and
The pulse of the corner boys sprang into action
And young Billy watched it all under the yellow street light
And said "tonight, of all nights, there's gonna be a fight"

Billy don't like it living here in this town
He says the traps have been sprung long before he was born
He says "hope bites the dust behind all the closed doors
And puss and grime ooze from its scab crusted sores
There's screaming and crying in the high rise blocks"
It's a rat trap, Billy, but you're already caught
But you can make it if you wanna or you need it bad enough
You're young and good looking and you're acting kind of tough
Anyway, it's Saturday night, time to see what's going down
Put on the bright suit, Billy, head for the right side of town
It's only 8 o'clock, but you're already bored
You don't know what it is, but there's got to be more
You'd better find a way out, hey, kick down the door
It's a rat trap and you've been caught

In this town, Billy says, "everybody's tryin' to tell you what to do"
In this town, Billy says, "everybody says you gotta follow rules"
You walk up to the traffic lights,
Switch from your left to right
You push in that button, and that button comes alight
It tells you
"Walk, don't walk
Talk, don't talk"

Hey Billy take a walk...with me
Do you want that misery
Sweethearts run free

Little Judy's trying to watch "Top of the Pops"
But mum and dad are fighting don't they ever stop
She takes off her coat and walks out to the street
It's cold on that road, but it's got that home beat
Deep down in her pockets she finds 50p
Hey, is that any way for a young girl to be
"I'm gonna get out of school, work in a silk factory
Work all the hours God gave me, get myself a little easy money
now, now, now"

Her mind's made up, she walks down the road
Her hands in her pockets, coat buttoned 'gainst the cold
She finally finds Billy down at the Italian cafe
And when he's drunk it's hard to understand what Billy says
But then he mumbles in his coffee and suddenly roars
"It's a rat trap Judy, and we've been caught"

Thanks to gush bhumbra for submitting Rat Trap Lyrics.

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Mis-heard lyric | Reviewer: Patsy | 10/26/14

For the past 35 years I have thought the lyric was
`It`s a rat trap, and you`ve been conned`.
Only when seeing the band live last week (and they were brilliant) did I realise the real lyric. I think my version is just as good.

teen years | Reviewer: billy | 5/14/13

such an iconic song from my youth !...not only did it refer to the bands own upbringings but it was the same across many parts of the uk at the time, poverty,shortage of cash and parents arguing because of that...I remember the drudgery of northeast England during this spell, power cuts and strikes....great song that has a lot of nostalgia of my alltime greats !

Dublin in the 1970's | Reviewer: Joe Kearns | 1/12/13

Great imagery in the song - takes me back to being a teenager in Dublin. And there is no doubt it is Dublin with the reference to the Five Lamps on the North Strand in Dublin. Interesting use of US traffic light sequence (Walk, Don't Walk) clearly to appeal to that audience. Thanks Boomtown Rats!

Great British Pop? Might want to check your maps there | Reviewer: Tango Mike | 8/17/11

An excellent piece of music from The Boomtown Rats, unfortunately Steve you'll find that the band are Irish. It paints a great picture of recession hit Ireland and especially innercity Dublin in the late 70's, a state crippled by economic peril, corruption and drug and alcohol abuse. Whilst the setting could be any city in the UK or Ireland at the time it's most likely that DUBLIN band, The Boomtown Rats were signing about their home town.

High Rise Blocks | Reviewer: Simon Phillips | 8/4/10

This was one of the most popular songs of the late 1970s, reaching No 1 in the UK charts in 1978. As a previous reviewer has commented, it captures well adolescent disquiet, but there is a social element to the song. Billy and Judy live in a declining inner-city area, a world where there is a gasworks, meat factory, where there are high-rise blocks, a world where there are gangs and frequent fights. Couples quarrel due to the stressfulness of their situation and money is always short. There is a ‘right side of town’, which Billy is encouraged to head for and there is hope of escape as suggested in the lyrics ‘you can make it if you wanna or you need it bad enough’. Whether Billy and Judy will escape is another matter. Billy will need a better answer than to get drunk and Judy might regret giving up on any higher expectations by quitting school for the short term gain of easy money. The song thus provides strong comment on the poor conditions that people have to live in.


One of the most underrated songs of the Eighties. Great beat, orchestration and energy team with angry lyrics that capture the unrest of British youth. Paints a vivid picture of youthful frustrations.