Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I'll invoke the "My Aunt's Dog Theorem" and declare myself correct (What's That Song About 6)
I used to, before iPods and the Internet came around, get most of my new music from the radio, and I used to collect a lot of my new music by having a cassette tape in my stereo, ready to tape. I'd sit by the stereo, reading or doing homework, and when a song came on that I thought I wanted to tape, I'd hit the button and record it.
Which I'm pretty sure was legal, and also I'm pretty sure it's way past the statute of limitations on. But that's how I got today's song, which is "Pepper" by The Butthole Surfers. That was back when radio stations existed that would occasionally play a song by a group named The Butthole Surfers, mostly on Sunday mornings when all right-thinking people were in church, not listening to the radio, so complaints to the FCC were less likely.
What I Thought It Was About: A lot of teen angst and screaming guitars and a slow, ponderous beat: I assumed it was a depressing version of Dawson's Creek, set to song. Preppies would have Dawson's Creek to mope about (Will Dawson ever get Joey? And what about Pacey's boat?) and punkers would have Mikey and Charisse to mope about (I don't mind the sun sometimes, either.)
What It's Actually About: There's actually quite a bit of debate about the meaning of the song... and I'm not counting as debate the guy who wrote " I have no idea what this song is about, but this band f-- rules." I think we all know what life has in store for that guy. Some of the debaters thought it was about "living life to the max," or living on the edge (while one thought it might be a "cutting reference" to the Dallas Cowboys. Another thinks it's saying that "Life is a giant and unstoppable force and that it's easier to be dead then to live the struggles of life. "
I come down myself this way: The song is told from the perspective of a teen or young person who is ensconced (nice word, huh?) in a group of people who are depressed, who take unnecessary risks, whose lives are generally terrible, but terrible because the kids don't understand how beautiful life can be.
The singer, though, isn't in love with dying. He/she says:
I don't mind the sun sometimes, the images it shows I can taste you on my lips and smell you in my clothes Cinnamon and sugary and softly spoken lies You never know just how to look through other people's eyes
The singer has learned, a little, how to look through the eyes of someone who has shown him a better, or brighter life. While not completely removed from the crowd he was hanging with, he's pulling away -- he doesn't mind the sun, the light, the things he can see when he looks around.