Tuesday, May 30, 2006

That Song Is About What???

I recently read John J. Miller's article, "Rockin' the Right" (I read the print version in the latest issue of National Review, but I assume the NRO version is identical), which purports to list the top 50 'conservative rock songs' of all time. Certainly, the list is compelling and interesting -- note that he separates the song from the singer -- that is, he looks only at the lyrics of the song in question, ignoring any politics for which the band or singer might be famous.

Anywho, coming in at number 23 is Ben Folds Five's Brick. In his writeup, Mr. Miller tells us that the song is about the "emotional scars of 'reproductive freedom' " -- apparently it's about Mr. Folds' real-life experience taking his highschool girlfriend to get an abortion.

Like many "brickheads", as the now-defunct band's "true fans" like to derisively call us, that song, their only major radio hit, was what got me listening to the group (and stands out as one of their few melancholy, slow songs -- most are upbeat "piano rock" songs). So the song is very familiar to me. And yet... I never thought it was about abortion. Weird. I'm trying to think on other past revelations of songs I may have listened to but never really considered the meaning. However, being somewhat musically dense, nothing is coming to mind. Anybody else?

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Anonymous Marty said...

No matter how many times some grey pony-tailed, maggot infested, dope smoking, ex-hippie tells me that "Puff the Magic Dragon" is about marijuana, I refuse to believe him. I think you'd have to be smoking something a lot stronger than marijuana to think any of those lyrics could be tied, even ever so obliquely, to pot smoking. It's just the kind of think the dope smoking idiots want to believe, though it is patently not even close to a doper song and (see snopes.com on this) Peter Paul and Mary have continually denied it and have said that the song is exactly about what it seems to be about, the loss of childhood innocence.

OTOH, no matter how many times that puckish jester John Lennon would deny it, everybody knows "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" could only have been a druggie song.

What I really want to know is what Dylan's "Desolation Row" is about. It's a cool song, but I never could make heads or tails of it. Lots of Dylan's songs are pretty impressionistic and not strictly "about" anything in the sense of a programatic allegory where you could write out a "glossary of terms used".

1:37 PM  
Anonymous J to the D said...

Nothing comes to mind immediately on this one, but on a loosely related note, I thought for quite some time that the line "Wishing to be the friction in your jeans" in Fall Out Boy's "Sugar We're Going Down" was "Wishing to be the freak s****ing your jeans". Not exactly sure how that makes sense, but it seemed to warrant a mention.

2:41 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Is this the same J-to-the-D that used to sing along with "I Supply the Fish"?

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Marty said...

While we're on the subject of mondegreens...

"'scuse me while I kiss this guy."

"One ton o' metal. I'm heavin' one ton of metal"

More at: http://www.corsinet.com/braincandy/wrlyric.html

"I'm the god of Velveeta, honey!"

12:52 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Incidentally, in case that is NOT the J (to the) D who would sing along with "I supply the fish", I should mention that was apparently his rendition of "Eyes Without a Face" by the great bard William Idol.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous J to the D said...

Yea, verily, I and the singer-of-Idol are one and the same. Who else could screw up lyrics so completely?

7:14 PM  

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