Obvious thing sunk in

Any songs you heard a thousand times before you finally actually listened to the lyrics?

This was mine, today. I had never listened to what it was really about, “The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby and the Range:

Hold on! This bloody popular hit is a blunt lefty song about how social progress can be achieved, after all, even in the face of stiff opposition. About how “that’s just the way it is” is a weak argument for maintaining an unjust system. And 25 years later, we’re still having to make that point.

It’s a bit of a bonus, really, because I’d still have liked the tune, even if the lyrics had been written by Ayn Rand. But I’d have felt dirty about it.

Come on, I can’t be the only person taking a quarter century to finally register what a song is actually about. Make your embarrassing admissions in the comments.

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11 responses to “Obvious thing sunk in

  1. narcoticmusing

    I’d like you to apply your lyrical analysis to this profound piece:

  2. I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts.

  3. umm – really sad, but I had to be told what No Aphrodesiac by the Whitlams was about (obviously, only having heard the radio version).

  4. Splatterbottom

    It took me a while to get Cole Porter’s “You’re The Top”.

    One of the most misinterpreted songs is “Born In The USA”, a song of personal despair often taken as a song of national pride. Rumour has it Reagan wanted to use it in his campaign.

    Sometimes just a phrase taken out of contest can stick in the mind, like Bowie’s “defecating ecstasy” from “We Are The Dead”.

    For many years I thought of Paul William’s “A Little Bit Of Love” was just a another soppy love song, not realising then that the line “Every act of kindness is a little bit of love we leave behind” is a rule to guide my life.

  5. “One of the most misinterpreted songs is “Born In The USA”, a song of personal despair often taken as a song of national pride. Rumour has it Reagan wanted to use it in his campaign.”

    Yea Reagen said “One more for the Gipper” Reagen and Rock what a combination, I think I am going to be quite ill thinking about it. The imbecile Bush 2 wanted Bruce to play on his campaign. Bruce declined with a reply along the lines of G! F!!! Y!!!!!!! or words to that effect.

    Conservatives and music what a contradiction in terms. A bit like Pigs and Pate me thinks.

  6. Splatterbottom

    In the end it comes down to an ear for melody, a feeling for rhythm and a felicitous way with words. Other than in the gun-barrel minds of ideologues, politics has little to do with musical genius.

  7. “get a job…..”

    Funny how Reagan-era songs about economic hard times and a lack of social equity still have relevance today … I wonder why?

  8. Splatterbottom

    “I wonder why?”

    Because the world needs Reagan now more than ever?

  9. ” Other than in the gun-barrel minds of ideologues, politics has little to do with musical genius.”

    Well there you go again (In a homesy drawl) SB.

    Funny I have been a professional musician for over thirty years, the amount of conservative wing nutters I have come across in that time, I could count on one hand. There are some better known pro’s who are shy to admit they are, but again, none in the scheme of things. Like comedians, actors, entertainers, they are like moles very low on the ground.As rare as rocking horse sh!!.

    Musicians are mostly the caring sharing type, the Reagan’s of the world cannot appreciate the meaning conveyed in most music.Attributes like caring,sharing, charity, anti war, conservationism, are not in their lexicon.

    We need Reagen about as much as a nuclear holocaust. I prey to my God we dön’t get Reagen by proxy. Newt Gingrich or any of the other badly tuned instruments the Repuglyuglicans can throw up.

  10. A friend told me of a wedding that he attended where Pearl Jam’s “Better Man” was used as one of the wedding songs. True or not, I’m not sure.

    I always though MGMT’s “To Pretend” was a really annoying song with a dumb mix and never really listened to the lyrics until I heard Patience Hodgson and Broderick Smith cover it on Rockwiz. Really like this version and the lyrics are a good pisstake on the whole “rockstar” scene.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Npnl0ygJoEk

  11. Speaking of this:
    “We need Reagen about as much as a nuclear holocaust.”

    Well I finally met an American who said he voted Reagan in.
    he said he won’t do it again if the world lasts that long.

    10 points if you know that song.

    I’m surprised you never listened to the words before jeremy, but then I always thought Herb Superb’s “Dunno about you but I’m going hydro” was about electricity production.

    Happy Shopping Orgy all and have fun at new years.

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