Meaning of “Devil Inside” by INXS

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

“Devil Inside” by INXS is a powerful exploration of the darker aspects of human nature. This song isn’t about a specific individual but rather speaks to the universal theme of the inner conflict between our societal personas and our more primal instincts. The message is clear: within everyone lies a ‘devil’ – a side that is less restrained, more impulsive, and driven by desires. This track, emerging from the vibrant and often excessive 1980s, reflects the era’s fascination with the duality of mankind. The songwriters, through their provocative lyrics, encourage listeners to acknowledge and confront these hidden parts of themselves.

Discover the hidden layers of INXS’s “Devil Inside.” A journey into the depths of human nature, this song unravels the complexities we all harbor within.

“Devil Inside” Lyrics Meaning

INXS kicks off “Devil Inside” with a vivid portrayal: “Here come the woman, With the look in her eye.” This opening line sets a tone of intrigue and latent power. The woman, described with predatory imagery, embodies the raw, instinctual side of human nature, challenging societal norms about femininity and behavior.

The chorus, repetitive and haunting, “Devil inside, Every single one of us, The devil inside,” emphasizes the song’s core message – the universality of these darker instincts. This ‘devil’ symbolizes the hidden desires and impulses that exist in everyone, suggesting that these traits are an integral part of the human experience.

As the song progresses, it introduces a man, “Here come the man with the look in his eye, Fed on nothing but full of pride.” This character contrasts with the woman, focusing on pride and ego as another aspect of the human psyche. Both characters represent different facets of the same truth – the complexity and contradiction within each person.

The lines, “Here come the world, With the look in its eye, Future uncertain but certainly slight,” expand the theme from individual struggles to a broader societal context. It reflects on the state of the world and the collective human psyche, acknowledging the uncertainty and superficiality of the times.

By revisiting its opening lines towards the end, “Devil Inside” underlines its message about the cyclical and enduring nature of these internal battles. It’s a reminder that the struggle between different facets of our personalities is an ongoing, universal experience.

In this song, INXS doesn’t just depict a battle of good versus evil; instead, they delve into the nuances of human nature, challenging the listener to confront the multifaceted and often contradictory aspects of themselves.

Why Was “Devil Inside” Written?

“Devil Inside” was penned during a period of significant cultural and social change in the late 1980s. The band, particularly the lead songwriter, was influenced by the era’s shifting dynamics – an era characterized by its flamboyance, excess, and a growing acknowledgment of the complexities of human nature.

The song emerges as a commentary on the superficiality and materialism prevalent during the 1980s, urging listeners to look beyond the façade and recognize the deeper, often darker layers of themselves and society. “Devil Inside” reflects a mindset engaged in questioning and dissecting the human condition, seeking to understand and accept the dualities and contradictions that define us. Through this track, INXS captures a snapshot of an era while delivering a timeless message about the inherent complexities of being human.