reasons to be a controversial human being.

A Critical Analysis

A Critical Analysis of P!nks’s “Family Portrait”

My favorite tidbit about Alecia Moore, nee P!nk, now Pink, is from her E! True Hollywood Story that aired many years ago. ! says with all sincerity that when she was 8 years old, her house was a warzone, and if she was her mother, she would have kicked her out too. How anyone could leave little ! out on the street I cannot fathom, but taken in she was and now we as a society on the whole are paying for it.

There was a time in the early 2000s that ! decided to get really raw.  She paired with Four Non Blondes lead Linda Perry and spit out some truly deep 8-year-old ! jams.  Perry said this about working with !. “In the beginning I just said: ‘What do you feel?’, and she (!) would just sit behind the piano and sing.” Wow. Linda Perry bringing it home. And even though they are famously feuding now (due to Perry working with rival Christina “X-Tina” Aguilera on ‘Beautiful’) Perry and ! were able to create an album so full of high-school angst and sadness that it had no choice to go platinum. It’s like the whole thing took place under the bleachers of a run down high school in the Midwest (Go Tigers!).

Lyrics:

“Family Portrait”

Uh, uh, some deep shit, uh, uh

Momma please stop cryin, I can’t stand the sound
Your pain is painful and its tearin’ me down
I hear glasses breakin as I sit up in my bed
I told dad you didn’t mean those nasty things you
said

You fight about money, bout me and my brother
And this I come home to, this is my shelter
It ain’t easy growin up in World War III
Never knowin what love could be, you’ll see
I don’t want love to destroy me like it has done
my family

Can we work it out? Can we be a family?
I promise I’ll be better, Mommy I’ll do anything
Can we work it out? Can we be a family?
I promise I’ll be better, Daddy please don’t
leave

Daddy please stop yellin, I can’t stand the sound

Make mama stop cryin, cuz I need you around
My mama she loves you, no matter what she says
its true
I know that she hurts you, but remember I love
you, too

I ran away today, ran from the noise, ran away
Don’t wanna go back to that place, but don’t have
no choice, no way
It ain’t easy growin up in World War III
Never knowin what love could be, well I’ve seen
I don’t want love to destroy me like it did my
family

Can we work it out? Can we be a family?
I promise I’ll be better, Mommy I’ll do anything
Can we work it out? Can we be a family?
I promise I’ll be better, Daddy please don’t
leave

In our family portrait, we look pretty happy
Let’s play pretend, let’s act like it comes
naturally
I don’t wanna have to split the holidays
I don’t want two addresses
I don’t want a step-brother anyways
And I don’t want my mom to have to change her
last name

In our family portrait we look pretty happy
We look pretty normal, let’s go back to that
In our family portrait we look pretty happy
Let’s play pretend, act like it goes naturally

In our family portrait we look pretty happy
(Can we work it out? Can we be a family?)
We look pretty normal, let’s go back to that
(I promise I’ll be better, Mommy I’ll do
anything)
In our family portrait we look pretty happy
(Can we work it out? Can we be a family?)
Let’s play pretend act and like it comes so
naturally
(I promise I’ll be better, Daddy please don’t
leave)
In our family portrait we look pretty happy
(Can we work it out? Can we be a family?)
We look pretty normal, let’s go back to that
(I promise I’ll be better, Daddy please don’t
leave)

Daddy don’t leave
Daddy don’t leave
Daddy don’t leave
Turn around please
Remember that the night you left you took my
shining star?
Daddy don’t leave
Daddy don’t leave
Daddy don’t leave
Don’t leave us here alone

Mom will be nicer
I’ll be so much better, I’ll tell my brother
Oh, I won’t spill the milk at dinner
I’ll be so much better, I’ll do everything right
I’ll be your little girl forever
I’ll go to sleep at night

Conclusion:

Oh ! . You’ve been through some real deep shit haven’t you. Real deep shit. ! really does love equating her familial situation to wars. I highly doubt that ! ‘s childhood was anything like what WWIII will be like. Thankfully ! has given us some ways to help avoid what will most likely be a humanity-ending nuclear war.

Ways to Prevent WWIII by !:
– Go to sleep at night
– Don’t spill the milk at dinner
– Stay a little girl forever
– Make all moms be nicer

Listen, I know having two addresses might get confusing in an emergency. I know you’re going through some real deep shit. But honestly ! , this is silly. The lyrics are so confusing that it’s hard to tell who is at fault here. If mom is breaking too many glasses, if the kids are fighting too much, if Christina Aguilera is also at fault for her shitty childhood.

Let’s look at the video:

Wow. It’s like that little girl in the video is supposed to be you, !.  That’s some real deep shit. I think that this commenter on youtube can sum it up way better than I ever could:

“well, acctually no, she wouldn’t. she has told, that she was very young when she wrote the song and that these were the feeling she felt back then and that all the family drama made her who she is now, an artist.
And you wouldn’t call her stupid nor bitch, when your parents would fight ALL THE TIME and when you would be thorn in the middel of it all…it’s people like you, who make me feel that our society is stupid and, well doomed!”


A Critical Analysis of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend”

Bieber-Fever. While his music career reaches it’s ripe old age, we are now as a nation witness to the infancy of his manhood. With Usher as his “swagger” coach, Biebs is trying to make that transition from tween superstar into Justin Timberlake. I mean in the pic above he has 3 buttons undone! And hey girl, look how confused he is about his love for you. You can tell by the way he runs his fingers through his hair. He undid those buttons for you, girl.

Unfortunately, he is no Justin Timberlake. His latest effort into reaching manhood is his new single “Boyfriend”. Produced by the ever-catchy Mike Posner, this song stands alone as one of the more idiotic tracks I’ve ever heard. From it’s strange progression to it’s odd lyrics, I don’t think that “boyfriend” is going to be the crossover hit into manhood that the Bieber team is expecting.

I usually direct the class to focus on the lyrics as we go through these critical analysis, but for this instance, I also would like you to listen to the backing track.

Listen for an abundance of this:

Now that you have the endless owl hooting in your head, let’s look at the lyrics.

“Boyfriend”
B If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go
I can take you places you ain’t never been before
Baby take a chance or you’ll never ever know
I got money in my hands that I’d really like to blow
Swag swag swag, on you
Chillin by the fire why we eatin’ fondue
I dunno about me but I know about you
So say hello to falsetto in three two

[Pre-Chorus]
I’d like to be everything you want
Hey girl, let me talk to you

[Chorus]
If I was your boyfriend, never let you go
Keep you on my arm girl, you’d never be alone
I can be a gentleman, anything you want
If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go, I’d never let you go

[Verse 2]
Tell me what you like yeah tell me what you don’t
I could be your Buzz Lightyear fly across the globe
I don’t never wanna fight yeah, you already know
I am ‘ma a make you shine bright like you’re laying in the snow
Burr
Girlfriend, girlfriend, you could be my girlfriend
You could be my girlfriend until the —- world ends
Make you dance do a spin and a twirl and
Voice goin crazy on this hook like a whirl wind
Swaggie

[Pre-Chorus]
I’d like to be everything you want
Hey girl, let me talk to you

[Chorus]
If I was your boyfriend, never let you go
Keep you on my arm girl you’d never be alone
I can be a gentleman, anything you want
If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go, I’d never let you go

[Bridge]
So give me a chance, ‘cause you’re all I need girl
Spend a week wit your boy I’ll be calling you my girlfriend
If I was your man, I’d never leave you girl
I just want to love you, and treat you right

[Chorus]
If I was your boyfriend, never let you go
Keep you on my arm girl you’d never be alone
I can be a gentleman, anything you want
If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go, never let you go

Na na na, na na na, na na na
Ya girl
Na na na, na na na, na na na ey
Na na na, na na na, na na na ey
Na na na, na na na, na na na ey

If I was your boyfriend

Conclusion

Things that Justin Bieber is going to make you do:
-Chill by the fire and eat fondue
-Make you dance, do a spin and a twirl
-Make you shine bright while you’re lying in the snow, burr.

I’m going to completely avoid the Buzz Lightyear reference that he makes and really focus on the crux of the song. “Burr”.
He literally let’s us know the temperature of snow. Oh Justin. Thank you for your assistance. And “thank you” might not be the right word. Let’s try “burr”. So burr Justin. Burr.

It’s so hard to legitimize a song where the last 5 lines are na na na na na, ya girl, na na na na ey.
If you need me, I’ll be in the ICU holding the music industry’s hand as it takes its final breaths, chest heaving, lips chapped as it slowly slips away.

And if that image doesn’t do it for you, the music video is below:

Look at all that ear-biting and whispering. Oh girl, burr. Burr.
One has to love Justin Bieber, looking like a lesbian Bruno Mars, freak dancing next to a sports car.


A Critical Analysis of Katy Perry’s “Pearl”


Recently the good folks over at EMI Music decided that we as a nation have just not had enough of Katy Perry’s Cotton Candy music explosion. So much so that they have re-released her album with 5 new tracks and one song that is simply a deathclub gay nightmare remix of all of her songs smashed together in some kind of tinny audio day-terror. The CD, entitled “The Ultimate Confection”, yes you’re reading that right, takes us on a yet another amazing musical journey with the woman who has given us Whipped Cream Bras and Pyrotechnic nipples.

But the real gem from the woman who has gifted us with the shoephone, is the track “Pearl”. So without further ado I provide you with a critical analysis of the Katy Perry track, “Pearl”. Let’s begin, shall we?

“Pearl”

She is a pyramid
But with him she’s just a grain of sand
This love’s too strong like mice and men
Squeezing out the life that should be let in

She was a hurricane-cane-cane-cane
But now she’s just a gust of wind
She used to set the sails of a thousand ships
Was a force to be reckoned with

She could be a statue of liberty
She could be a Joan of Arc
But he’s scared of the light that’s inside of her
So he keeps her in the dark

Oh, she used to be a pearl…Ohh
Yeah, she used to rule the world…Ohh
Can’t believe she’s become a shell of herself
‘Cause she used to be a pearl

She was unstoppable
Moved fast just like an avalanche
But now she’s stuck deep in cement
Wishing that they’d never ever met

She could be a statue of liberty
She could be a Joan of Arc
But he’s scared of the light that’s inside of her
So he keeps her in the dark

Oh, she used to be a pearl…Ohh
Yeah, she used to rule the world…Ohh
Can’t believe she’s become a shell of herself
‘Cause she used to be a –

Do you know that there’s a way out,
there’s a way out
there’s a way out
there’s a way out

You don’t have to be held down,
be held down
be held down
be held down

‘Cause I used to be a shell
Yeah, I let him rule my world
my world, ohh, yeah

But I woke up and grew strong
And I can still go on
And no one can take my pearl

You don’t have to be shell, No
You’re the one that rules your world, ohh
You are strong and you’ll learn
that you can still go on

And you’ll always be a pearl

She is unstoppable

Conclusion
Oh boy.
Katy here has invented a fake persona. Wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last in terms of pop music.  But I’m willing to bet that at no point in the song “this girl” that’s she’s talking about is going to end up being her. Oh wait.

Let’s just track this with a list of things notkatyperrybutitreallyisgirl is:
– A statue of liberty (not the statue. just a statue)
– A hurricane cane cane cane
– A gust of wind
– A pyramid
– A thousand ships
– Joan of Ark

And most obviously a pearl. But all this vague and terrible metaphor aside, the real offense is the siege that Katy has brought down upon modern literature.
Might I direct you to the line:
“This love’s too strong like mice and men
Squeezing out the life that should be let in”

I truly hope this kind of literary call-out trend can continue. I can’t wait for the next JLo track that comes out that contains lines like:
“Shakin dat ass like you know it’s good,
Like Mrs. Dalloway inviting folks to her hood”

or

“Let me feel yo’ body, I know that it’s right,
That durrty ho Jane Eyre found out those attic secrets at night”

“Pearl” represents the worst kind of inspirational pop music. It’s the type of horror that occurs when a record label decides their artist needs to be more radio friendly. Maybe a PSA on Bullying, maybe the song “Pearl”. Katy Perry continually walks this line with inspirational tracks like “Firework”, encouraging us to be ourselves no matter what, while at the same time,her other songs like “Peacock” which I’m pretty sure is about getting raped by a magic black candy cane, tell us to slut it out big time.

It’s a shame there is no music video, but I can leave you with the link to the song.


A Critical Analysis of Christina Perri’s ‘Jar of Hearts’

I know that it has been awhile. But I’m back. So is Christina Perri. And this time, she’s bringing her jar of hearts.
Getting her start when a friend convinced a choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance? to use her song to help illustrate a sappy, modern dance filled with men breaking ladies’ hearts, Perri has quickly gone from waitress to a blip pop obscurity.

Let’s look at the dance:

Sappy. Modern. Dramatic. Perfect for a show like So You Think You Can Dance where the main objective is to make the audience cry in only a mere minute and a half.

But let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the song. The lyrics.

Lyrics

I know I can’t take one more step towards you,
Cause all that’s waiting is regret.
And don’t you know I’m not your ghost anymore,
You lost the love I loved the most.

I learned to live half alive,
And now you want me one more time.

And who do you think you are
Running ’round leaving scars?
Collecting your jar of hearts,
And tearing love apart.
You’re gonna catch a cold,
From the ice inside your soul.
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?

I hear you’re asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found.
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms.

I learned to live half alive,
And now you want me one more time.

And who do you think you are
Running ’round leaving scars?
Collecting your jar of hearts.
And tearing love apart.
You’re gonna catch a cold,
From the ice inside your soul.
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?

And it took so long just to feel alright,
Remember how to put back the light in my eyes.
I wish I had missed the first time that we kissed
Cause you broke all your promises.
And now you’re back
You don’t get to get me back.

And who do you think you are
Running ’round leaving scars?
Collecting your jar of hearts,
And tearing love apart.
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul.
So don’t come back for me
Don’t come back at all.

And who do you think you are
Running ’round leaving scars?
Collecting your jar of hearts.
And tearing love apart.
You’re gonna catch a cold,
From the ice inside your soul.
Don’t come back for me.
Don’t come back at all.

Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are?

Conclusion

Well Christina. For as much as the indie hipster population needs their own Britney Spears, I just don’t think you have the chops to fit the bill. I understand you have an awesome neck tattoo. I understand that your hair is both jet black and brown at the same time. I understand that you wear combat boots with pretty dresses. But I also understand that your lyrics are about as complex as a Taylor Swift song.

With lyrics straight out of the Evanescence greatest hits collection, “Jar of Hearts” doesn’t even try to hide the simplicity of its main metaphor, if you could call it that at all.

If you did one of those magnetic poetry poems on your refrigerator the only words available to you would be :
Ice, Soul, Cold, Scars, Tearing, Broke, Promises, Alive.
Groundbreaking concepts Christina. Absolutely groundbreaking.

Surely the video will add a much needed layer of depth to the situation. Surely.

Nope.
Good to see modern dancing still making a comeback on the Billboard Top 100
It’s sort of the equivalent of Avril Lavigne being the opposite of Britney Spears because she wears a tie and a beater. I’m not buying it. But despite all of the faults with the song, the artist and the overall package, “Jar of Hearts” hits ladies right in the soft parts. In that special place where they are genetically inclined to swoon at Zac Efron and attend Hanson concerts.

So Christina, I have a poem for you:

Broken promises alive, tearing at cold, ice scars. Who do you think you are?


A Critical Analysis of O-Town’s “Liquid Dreams”

In Catholic School, there was this magical year, I believe it was 6th or 7th grade, when we got to watch “the video”.
There was one for the boys, and one for the girls. And at the end, we received a goody bag filled with deodorant.
The girls, because they always get better stuff, got to watch a 45 minute video about pancake batter being ovaries and received deodorant, tampons and other hilarious lady products. The boys video was only 15 minutes and talked mostly about something I didn’t understand: nocturnal emissions. Having, at least to my knowledge, never had one, I could not understand why this was such a crucial part to our 6th grade 1950s-style puberty education.

Our video consisted mainly of a boy talking to his mother about why his bed was wet in the morning because only babies wet the bed. The rest of the video was the same boy (he had a lot of issues) wondering what is the best way to handle an erection in math class. The video’s advice was something along the lines of, excuse yourself to the bathroom, which, when you think about it, getting up and walking around in front of people is probably not the best way to handle that kind of “surprise”.

Puberty is a confusing time. And had I grown up post-making the band, I would have had a much easier go of it. No one has ever explained with more clarity and tact the phenomena of nocturnal emissions, more clearly than O-Town with their song, “Liquid Dreams”.

Let’s have a look:

Lyrics:

“Liquid Dreams”
Posters of love surrounding me, I’m lost in a world of fantasy
Every night she comes to me and gives me all the love I need

Now this hot girl, she’s not your average girl
She’s a morpharotic dream from a magazine
And she’s so fine designed to blow your mind
She’s a dominatrix supermodel beauty queen

I dream about a girl who’s a mix of Destiny’s Child
Just a little touch Madonna’s wild style
With Janet Jackson’s smile, throw in a body like Jennifer’s
You’ve got the star of my liquid dream

Angelina Jolie’s lips to kiss in the dark
Underneath Cindy C’s beauty mark
When it comes to the test well Tyra’s the best
And Salma Hayek brings the rest

Now this hot girl, she’s not your average girl
She’s a morpharotic dream from a magazine
And she’s so fine designed to blow your mind
She’s a dominatrix supermodel beauty queen

I dream about a girl who’s a mix of Destiny’s Child
Just a little touch Madonna’s wild style
With Janet Jackson’s smile, throw in a body like Jennifers’
You’ve got the star of my liquid dreams

Looks ain’t everything she’s got the sweetest personality
Like Halle B
My mama thinks I’m lazy, my friends all think I’m crazy
But in my mind, I leave the world behind every night I dream
Oh..

Liquid Dreams, my Liquid Dreams
Waterfalls and streams, these liquid dreams

I dream about a girl who’s a mix of Destiny’s Child
Just little touch of Madonna’s wild style
With Janet Jackson’s smile
Throw in a body like Jennifer’s
You’ve got the star of my liquid dreams
My liquid dreams
(repeat 3 times)

Conclusion:
Well that’s just disgusting. It really, really is. Essentially what Jacob, Eric, Ashley Parker Angel, Trevor and Dan (all names are real) are saying here is that instead of living in the real world, every night they go to bed and dream about what is under Cindy Crawford’s mole. And in the morning, waterfalls and streams. The laundry bill alone….

Moving past the obvious disgusting metaphor these boys are playing with here there are a whole host of other hilarious notes they touch on. The word “morpharotic” for instance. Meaning, I guess, to morph into something erotic. One also has to wonder what Madonna, Tyra, Selma Hayak, Halle B, Destiny’s Child and Jennifer think about this odd and moist tribute to their utter hotness and morpharotic ways.

And speaking of Jennifers in the early 00s, which one is it? C’mon now Orlando Town, you need to be more specific.

The possible candidates and odds that it’s their bodies who cause Dan and Ashley Parker Angel’s waterfalls and streams:

Jennifer Lopez:

Odds: Likely.
With all the talk of her luscious booty, managing to remain so “real” and “from the block” despite the rocks that she got, JLo seems to be a likely candidate for Orlando Town’s fantasies.

Jennifer Love Hewitt:

Odds: Probable
She knows what you did last summer and she sings about being “barenaked”. See also: her breasts. Jennifer Love just could be the girl of O-Town’s dreams. But by looking at the demographic of the other ladies in the song, I think that in this case, Jlo trumps Jlove.

Jennifer Garner

Odds: Possible
While Jennifer Garner’s body could do some pretty amazing morpharotic things in your dreams, I can’t buy that Orlando Town has enough to class to recognize all that she’s packing. They seem easily distracted. Especially Trevor. Or Dan.

Jennifer Paige

Odds: Not Great
Sorry Jennifer. The song “Crush” is great. But I don’t think butterfly clips in your hair are really gonna do it for the sophisticated gentlemen of Orlando. It’s hot down there, remember?

And as if this whole kit and caboodle doesn’t end. There’s a music video. And yes, there’s liquid.

Whoa.
I think these guys all have really promising gay porn careers ahead of them.
Looking past the unbelievably shotty choreography and strange white-boy dreadlocks (is that you Trevor? Or are you Eric?) the video consists of synchronized dancing around water-women who all sort of look like Alex Mack (of Secret World Fame). And they sort of look like sperm. A little. Okay a lot.

I also love how they could not book one of the 10 women they mention in their song for the video. Not one of them. Not even Janet Jackson’s smile. What a shame Orlando Town. What a shame.


A Critical Analysis of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

In a famous scene from the 1978 John Carpenter film “Halloween”, Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, joy-rides in her friend Annie’s car, smokes a little weed and jams to the Blue Oyster Cult song “Don’t Fear the Reaper”. Unbeknownst to her, and her other teenage friends, the reaper is Michael Myers and they are about to meet him in a most unsavory way. It’s a really chilling juxtaposition. So chilling, in fact, that Rob Zombie, in his two Halloween remounts, included the song in his film.

Released in 1976, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” might be famous to anyone under the age of 30 as the subject of the Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell sketch on Saturday Night Live where “more cowbell” is fitfully demanded. It’s a hilarious sketch, and certainly one of SNL’s most famous, but it’s a bit of a shame that the song has lost some cred because of it. I think it’s a brilliant and moody song with a really interesting point of view. Let’s look:

Lyrics:

“Don’t Fear the Reaper”

All our times have come.
Here but now they’re gone.
Seasons don’t fear the reaper,
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain (we can be like they are)
Come on baby (don’t fear the reaper)
Baby take my hand (don’t fear the reaper)
We’ll be able to fly (don’t fear the reaper)
Baby I’m your man…

Valentine is done
Here but now they’re gone
Romeo and Juliet
Are together in eternity (Romeo and Juliet)
40,000 men and women everyday (Like Romeo and Juliet)
40,000 men and women everyday (Redefine happiness)
Another 40,000 coming everyday (We can be like they are)
Come on baby (don’t fear the reaper)
Baby take my hand (don’t fear the reaper)
We’ll be able to fly (don’t fear the reaper)
Baby I’m your man…

Love of two is one
Here but now they’re gone
Came the last night of sadness
And it was clear she couldn’t go on
Then the door was open and the wind appeared
The candles blew then disappeared
The curtains flew then he appeared (saying don’t be afraid)
Come on baby (and she had no fear)
And she ran to him (then they started to fly)
They looked backward and said goodby (she had become like they are)
She had taken his hand (she had become like they are)
Come on baby (don’t fear the reaper).

Conclusion:
“Don’t Fear the Reaper” is a song based most importantly on the idea of transcending death, most specifically the grim reaper. If you look at the last verse of the song, the woman is upset by the death of her lover, and in a truly cinematic fashion, the candles blow out, the door fly open and the grim reaper appears to take her away. But it’s personified in a way that’s really romantic. She takes the grim reaper’s hand and then they fly, they look backward and say goodbye and she becomes like they are.

The song also references archetypal figures like Romeo and Juliet but does so in a way that assumes the audience is intelligent. We aren’t being hit over the head with exposition or anything for that matter, just reminded of two characters in literature whose story everyone knows. No need for shmaltz (I’m looking at you here Taylor Swift).

I think that when you peel back the layers of the song you really end up finding some pretty awesome stuff. We shouldn’t fear death because the seasons don’t. That if we become like the “wind, the sun and the rain” we can somehow accept death and see it for something other than sad. The point is to just exist, without fear and when the reaper comes we should simply just take his hand.


A Critical Analysis of Reba McEntire’s “She Thinks His Name Was John”

I’m not gonna lie. I like Reba McEntire a lot. I’ve had this plan in my head since I was maybe 8 or 9 that I would write her a letter telling her I was dying so she could come and visit me. I never thought it through much after that, but I just assumed she would be so taken with my charms that she wouldn’t even remember that I faked a terminal illness to get her there. The worst part of this scenario, the absolute worst part, is that I still consider doing this sometimes as a 23-year-old man.

Last night I was walking home from the gym and listening to my iPod on shuffle. “She Thinks His Name Was John” came on and I found myself walking up Bergen street with tears welling up in my eyes. I guess the juxtaposition of the cool night air, my exhaustion from the treadmill and the fact that I haven’t listened to the song in ages just brought about more emotion that I was prepared for. It’s also a damn sad song. Let’s look:

Lyrics

“She Thinks His Name Was John”

She can account for all of the men in her past.
Where they are now, who they married, how many kids they have.
She knew their backgrounds, family and friends,
A few she even talks to now and then.

But there is one she can’t put her finger on.
There is one, who never leaves her thoughts,
And she thinks his name was John.

A chance meeting, a party a few years back.
Broad shoulders and blue eyes, his hair was so black.
He was a friend of friend you could say.
She let his smile just sweep her away.
And in her heart she knew that it was wrong,
But too much wine and she left his bed at dawn.
And she thinks his name was John.

Now each day is one day that’s left in her life.
She won’t know love, have a marriage or sing lullabies.
She lays all alone and cries herself to sleep,
‘Cause she let a stranger kill her hopes and her dreams.

And all her friends say what a pity what a loss.
And in the end when she was barely hangin’ on,
All she could say is she thinks his name was John.
She thinks his name was John.

Conclusion
This song came out in 1994. And in terms of HIV / AIDS, 1994 was light years away from the awareness of 1984, but compared to 2004, it was the still the dark ages. Reba faced a lot of backlash from performing a song not only about a woman having promiscuous sex, but about a woman, not a gay man, dying of HIV/AIDS.

The song so perfectly captures with its lullaby melody and quiet tone the way that someone can be swept away in another’s eyes and the next thing you know, the bad decisions come screaming out of the ether. I enjoy the way the song tells an AIDS story in an unconventional way. Reba is not hitting us over the head with anything. She’s using subtle language and clues to explore the narrative of a woman facing up to her sexual misconduct.

And I think that the real grief of the song comes from it’s title: She thinks his name was John. The fact that this man, this one-night stand, has essentially killed her is sad. But the saddest part comes from the fact that she only has a vague recollection of his name. That she thinks his name was John. It just breaks your heart.

The Numbers
Creepy: 15%
Sweet: 5%
Gut-Wrenching: 80%

The Queen of Country does not need a flashy production / Nicholas Sparksy music video to accompany her song. The power of the lyrics and the power of her voice do all the work for her. Although had she made a music video for this, with her track record, it would have been stellar.