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Martika - Toy Soldiers - Lyrics Meaning

"Toy Soldiers" is a hit single by Martika. The song reached #1 in the U.S. in the summer of 1989 and peaked at #5 in the U.K. charts. Martika, a teen star from the television show Kids Incorporated, wrote the song with producer Michael Jay. The chorus of the song features some of Martika's Kids Incorporated castmates - most notably Fergie and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

While many think the song is about love and heartache, Martika has stated in interviews that the song was written about a friend's drug addiction. Martika basically puts herself in the friend's position and narrates a story about their battle with addiction. The beginning of the song explains the origin of the addiction. This part of the song can easily be misinterpreted as being about love as the lyrics are rather vague. Martika sings of extending an invitation without realizing how long they'd stay. This is a way of saying that most addiction starts innocently, voluntarily just for kicks or an "experience", until it inevitably spirals out of control and takes over.

The repeated background choir vocal of "Won't you come out and play with me" is a way of capturing how the drug (in this case cocaine) calls itself out to the addict. This is the same sentiment of another line from the song that speaks of hearing temptation call.

In many ways, the general theme of toy soldiers can represent a person's lack of control when it comes to addiction. Toy soldiers are controlled, powerless, and incapable of thinking for themselves. The same can be said for an addict. The lines of "we all fall down like toy soldiers" and "the battle wages on for toy soldiers" suggest that someone has clearly lost all semblance of control, have fallen, and must pick themselves back up and carry on.

Martika later sings that "if she doesn't stop, the next one's gonna be me" which seems to be an acknowledgment from the addict's perspective that they've got a problem that can conceivably kill them or ruin life as they know it. In the music video, Martika's romantic interest is seen drowning in a pool, presumably a symbol for dying from a drug overdose.

VH1's Pop Up Video revealed that the subject of "Toy Soldiers" did survive and ultimately overcame their addiction.