Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lyrics That Disturb Me: (Fun Edition)

Above I've embedded the song "We Are Young," by a band called Fun. The singer opens the song by crooning the intro section in a style that makes me think of a male Tracy Chapman. It sounds folky and sweet, but here's a snip of what he's actually saying:

My lover she's waiting for me just across the bar
My seat's been taken by some sunglasses asking bout a scar, and
I know I gave it to you months ago
I know you're trying to forget
But between the drinks and subtle things
The holes in my apologies, you know
I'm trying hard to take it back

Wait, what? What is this about him giving his lover a scar? Violence happens. People should be able to write about it, and there are plenty of songs with violent lyrics that I like, but I'm starting to identify a pattern: It annoys me when the violence gets packaged in sweet-sounding vocals, as part of a song that is going to get treated as a fun anthem by thousands of kids drinking in bars. This creates a sort of dissonance that really makes me squirm.

As far as I can tell, this song is about a guy who did something horrible to his lover some time ago. She's trying to forget about it and stay with him, and he's never managed to really apologize. Instead of addressing the problem, the two of them go and get drunk a lot and enjoy the sense of closeness that comes from carrying each other home. Take a look at the lyrics, and correct me if I'm wrong.

Sure, you can tell this story, but I don't like the way this song's breezy chorus makes people perceive its message. This song is being used to sell Chevys and stuff. I think that's weird, and not okay.

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