Saturday, August 28, 2010

Deep Thoughts on Songs

I mentioned that I had been stuck in something mind-numbing and soul crushingly boring for the past week. It ended, thank God, and I got the same feeling I get when a traffic jam disappears into nothing. It's as if for a week, I was stuck in limbo with nothing to do but gnaw extraneous body parts off, and all of a sudden, everything cleared up without an explanation. So, I'm done with that, but I excitement is still pretty low, so this post is again centered on my road trip.

I love listening to music, and I do it pretty often. But most of the time, I have my own music collection with me, so I don't tune into the radio too often. The plan on the road trip was to have our music with us, too. However, what with Canadia not letting us across the border, we were unable to steal their electricity to recharge our mp3 players, so we had to turn to the radio. This has its benefits, of course. First off, it relieves the pressure to always have a good song on. That pressure is on someone else. More importantly, it's a conversation starter. All sorts of songs come on that you may have never heard, and let the judging, misunderstanding and interpreting begin.

Anyway, there were a few gems that we heard, and I thought you might want to be let in on the secrets of our conversation after 20 hours in a car over two or three days.

1) Love Story, by Taylor Swift. Sure, you've all heard it before, but it's fun to pick on. It's just so easy to do! I mean, I can understand that Taylor hasn't read Romeo and Juliet, but what about the songwriters? They're the ones who are blamed here. "I talked to your dad, go pick out a white dress." Did I miss this part in Bill Shakespeare's version? From my foggy memory, this is distinctly different from what actually ends up happening. Heck, calling it a love story is fine, but get some of the details right. But my favorite part of the illiteracy is the little well written lyric (I think this is how it goes), " 'Cuz you were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter." Quick! Time for a list inside of a list interpreting this.
a) "Because you were Romeo, I wore a scarlet letter." The fact that he was Romeo caused her to commit adultery (with him, presumably). Heck, he's not going to marry you. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free, dummy?
b) "Cause you were Romeo ; I was a Scarlet letter." She is explaining why it can never work. He is Romeo, a perfect lover. She was a scarlet letter, a Hester Prynee, I imagine. She would never bring disgrace to him by letting their romance come to fruition.
c) This is a sentence fragment, and thus, it is impossible to determine what is meant by it.

2) Pray for You, by Jaron and the Long Road to Love. Silly me, I thought this was a gospel song when I first tuned into it. I'll be honest, I was frustrated that my hands weren't free to switch the channel when I heard the first bit of this song. But could you blame me? With softly sung lyrics like "I listened to the preacher, as he told me what to do/ He said you can't go hatin' others who have done wrong to you / Sometimes we get angry, but we must not condemn, / Let the good Lord do his job, you just pray for them," what else could it be but gospel? But then comes the guitar and drum beat, and you know something good is coming. Ah, a good old country song, bashing the woman who done you wrong. "I pray your tires blow out at a hundred and ten." A proper, religious sentiment.

3) Rain is a Good Thing, by Luke Bryan. I love a song that uses sound logic. Luke Bryan's thinking is that since "Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, [and] whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky,"  rain must be a good thing. Can't argue with that. Plus, he rhymed whiskey and frisky and made it work. Props to him. Also, according to Emily, the album this is on also comes with other treats, like the self explanatory "Drinking Beer and Wasting Bullets."

4) I Saw the Sign, by Ace of Base. This song isn't actually that funny. But it's better if you misunderstand it a tiny bit. See, I have no idea where this group is from, but when they sing, it sounds a lot like they're singing, "I saw the sun! And it opened up my eyes!" "Hey, good for you! You saw the sun? What color was it? You wrote a song about it, too? Shit, I just saw the sun and squinted a lot. But it felt good and warm! When do you think we'll get to see it again? Tomorrow? Sweet, I'll keep my eyes open this time. Maybe I can get a poem out of it."

5) Push, by Matchbox 20. I'll be honest, I get a bit of a warm, mushy feeling from a good love song. This one really struck a chord with me, and probably with anyone who has a romantic bone in their body. And what girl won't swoon when you steal this lyric and drop it casually in conversation, maybe right before dropping a ring on the ground before her and expecting her to pick it up. "I wanna push you around, yeah I will / I wanna push you down, well I will, I will. I wanna take you for granted, I will." Is he describing a dysfunctional, abusive relationship, or is there something else going on here? Maybe all the pushing is sexual, in which case I guess that part is Ok. Really, it's the "taking you for granted" bit that gets the cackles of my heart. Mr. Matchbox 20 was kind enough to send me the rough draft of that song, which had this as the chorus (he explained that he had to edit some of it out for time's sake, otherwise it wouldn't be popular on the radio): "I want to be sorta crazy about you for like, 2 months. Then I want to start taking you for granted, yeah, I think that will last a good year and a half. Then maybe I can cheat around while we're still dating, and always know I'll have some nookie to look forwards to if I don't get lucky in a bar. Then, once I find something better, I'll move on, yeah I will."

All of this makes me want to listen to more radio. As always, read, laugh, and share. It makes me happy.


  1. "Out in the sticks
    With the squirrels and the ticks
    and my 30-06
    I'm running out of miller light
    Trucks in park
    The dog won't bark
    Couple hours til dark
    wishing one would walk by
    might as well left my gun in the gun rack
    been here all day all i've killed is a 12 pack
    sitting here
    waiting on a deer
    drinkin' beer and wastin' bullets
    aiming at the empties
    missing hitting pine trees
    it ain't my fault them cans keep moving
    My babys on the phone
    saying baby come home
    where ya been and whatcha been doing
    well ive been sitting here
    waiting on a deer
    drinkin' beer and wastin' bullets
    the only deer i seen
    been john deer green
    but that dont mean
    that i got a rawl deal
    cause there aint no boss
    callin' me hoss
    ticking me off
    on the edge of this corn field

    on my second box of winchester hundred grains
    aint seen a big buck
    but its been a good day
    sitting here
    waiting on a deer
    drinkin' beer and wastin' bullets..."

  2. I love Push too. I don't care if you were being sarcastic. And I don't care that my entire family got kinda worried that I liked a guy talking about pushing when I was still in elementary school. I think it really developed my denial skills well though. I'm still convinced that Rob Thomas (Mr. Matchbox 20) wouldn't really want to do any of that. It's just like...a metaphor.

    You know, I just looked at the lyrics. It starts with "she said." It's the girl. don't hate Matchbox. He's the wounded guy.