May. 12th, 2017

hippie_chick: (Default)
To me? Um... I don't know how to answer that one. Any song can take on any meaning you put on it, I guess. I'll go with a song that doesn't really mean what people think it does. Which brings home my point that songs can take on any meaning we attribute to them.

R.E.M. - The One I Love.
It's not a love song! In fact Michael Stipe said they almost didn't record the song, which was the band's first top 10 single because it was "too brutal" , "really violent and awful". Peter Buck was also baffled at the romantic reactions from fans. It's more about using people, over and over again. It's a popular dedication song to significant others, and could be taken as a love song, until you get to the line "a simple prop to occupy my time"... After years of the radio dedications, Stipe stated "It's probably better that they think it's a love song at this point."

Other songs that don't have the meaning you think they do:

Semi Charmed Life (Third Eye Blind). It's about crystal meth addiction. It's actually in the lyrics, "doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break". The line would be edited for radio play.

American Girl (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). The song is not about a girl who committed suicide by throwing herself off her balcony at Beaty Towers at University of Florida in Gainesville. This story really took legs around Gainesville particularly. I suppose that legend started because of the section that goes in part "...She stood alone on her balcony, she could hear the cars roll by out on 441 ..." Both Petty and Heartbreaker Mike Campbell have refuted this stating that people were taking it more at face value. The girl in the song, says Petty "was a composite, a character who yearned for more than her life had dealt her."

In The Air Tonight (Phil Collins). This one has an entire urban myth around it (much like Tom Petty's "American Girl"). Phil Collins' first solo single was not about Collins witnessing a man refusing to save a drowning swimmer. According to the myth, Collins invited the man to be front row at a concert where he berated him with this song. I've also heard versions of the front row at the concert portion relay that the man then went home and committed suicide. Collins stated he really has no idea what the song is about, though it does seem more an introspective look at the divorce he was going through at the time. The lyrics were pulled together during a recording session.

Born In The USA (Bruce Springsteen). I see this one show up on so very many patriotic 4th of July playlists. This song is actually not the rah rah YAY AMERICA! song people think it is. It's really about the shameful way we treated our Vietnam veterans. I can understand the more American Pride interpretation though, with the rollicking fist pumping anthemic feel of the song. It's a case of hearing "BORN IN THE USA!" and not really taking in the rest of the lyrics.

I'm behind by a couple of days again. Instead of doing any more posts playing catch up I'll just keep going one by one, they will go up when they go up.


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September 2017

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