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There Must be Some Misunderstanding – Of These Lyrics!
At midnight, January 1st, millions of people will ring in the New Year with the song, “Auld Lang Syne.” But do you know what the phrase “auld lang syne” means? Do you know what this song is about? If you’re one of the millions of people who celebrate midnight with this song without knowing what it means, don’t worry – it’s a lot harder than you might think, and it doesn’t just happen on New Year’s.
Every day, wherever you go, seemingly intelligent people sing along to a catchy song at the same time without paying attention to what they are actually singing. I’m not talking about when you say the wrong words, but especially when you say the right words without paying attention to what you’re actually saying.
I recently saw Genesis in concert and for some reason they chose the song, “Losing It All,” to turn the cameras towards the audience. For the rest of the song, they just showed different members of the audience on the big screen. When the camera was on them, the person or people being shown danced and had fun, and one couple even got to kiss.
First of all, I don’t understand the idea of going to the crowd during a concert. The whole practice seems silly. I paid money to see Genesis, not Joe or Jane Philadelphia. Put the camera on the band, please.
What’s more confusing to me is why Genesis chose this song to focus on the audience. It doesn’t make any sense. This is not a happy song. This is not a happy song. This is definitely not a song that couples should kiss passionately. This is an angry song sung by a guy who tells his ex that he is stupid for dumping her and that he will regret it one day. If the camera had panned to an angry woman running towards a man who was begging her not to go, it would have been more appropriate.
“Losing It All,” a great song though, has one purpose: If you’re a man in your thirties and forties and you’re desperate enough to make a mix tape to try to get a girl back. and you, then you absolutely put this song on that tape. That is the sole purpose of this song. By the way, duct tape doesn’t work. At the time, it may seem like a smart idea that is guaranteed to work, but it doesn’t. We all try, but no woman in the history of the world has ever divorced a guy because she was moved by the sounds of Phil Collins singing “Lose It All,” or “Against All Odds.” I would ask you not to do it, but I know you will anyway. Now, if you have a story about a girl who got back with you based on a mix tape, I’m all ears.
People don’t have to dance and smile and kiss to “Lose It All.” It’s like when people make “All Your Breath,” and The Police their wedding song. This song is about a guy *stalking* his ex-girlfriend. Sting, lead singer of The Police, also said, “It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn’t know at the time how bad it was. I guess I was thinking about Big Brother, controlling and controlling.” These are the three concepts I want to use to remember my lifelong relationship with another person: Big Brother, supervision, and control…
Speaking of wedding songs, I just picked a girl who is going to use “Kiss Frog” by Peter Gabriel as her wedding song. On the one hand, this could be a song about inner beauty; On the other hand, it may be related to something completely different and inappropriate. I don’t know how it *would* be right now, but if you want to know go ahead and Google it, then ask yourself if that’s what you want your wedding guests to think when they look at the couple. you have taken your first dance….
“Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen can be a big hit with people who only listen to one small part of the song and thereby miss the whole point. “Born in the USA” sounds like a patriotic song, but it’s not. Unfortunately, many people miss that. When the rocking song starts playing, everyone starts raising their American flags. I remember as a child in the eighties watching Saturday morning WWF (now WWE) professional wrestling and hearing this song accompany American national wrestlers Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo when they came to the ring to fight the “evil” of the world. Russia and Iran, Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik (it’s amazing how much xenophobia is accepted in pro wrestling). “Born in the USA” was sure to get the crowd going for their country.
If you think that pro-wrestling is not the best example of intelligent people, then you should know that at the time President Reagan said that the song had “a message of hope that many young Americans admire.” Yes, you might think that President Reagan is not the best example of a smart person, but come on, the guy won 525 out of 538 possible votes. He had to do something right.
Unfortunately, “Born in the USA” may be the least patriotic song ever written! It’s about a man who is in trouble with the law, gets sent to Vietnam, and has a very difficult time when he returns home. It paints a very unflattering picture of the US. Don’t be happy. Not patriotism. And yet, I’m sure the same people who boycotted and mocked the Dixie Chicks for being Americans still feel a jingoistic sense of pride when the boss starts yelling, “Born in the USA!” again and again. (I’m sure there’s a joke in there about country music and the “smart band,” but I don’t want to go there J )
The point here is that these songs are very misinterpreted when we only listen to one small part. “Should I say I love you, should I say I care?” it makes “Losing it all” sound like a love song. “Every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be watching you,” might be the most romantic line with the Police. “Born in the USA,” repeated ad infinitum sounds patriotic. But when you look at the whole picture, well, then you realize that it’s a completely different story.
You can’t sing it verbatim, but sometimes we all make quick judgments based on what isn’t written. The job applicant has a pleasant smile, so you think he is angry. The waiter is a little difficult, so he must be a rude, unhappy person. You see one picture of a beautiful vacation home, and you fall in love with the idea of going there. Don’t worry that the job applicant is stupid, the waiter is just having a day off, and the picture of the villa is from twenty years ago (not from a hurricane!).
When you think about it, this approach makes sense. We are currently living in the “Information Age,” although I think it would be more appropriate to call this the “Information Age.” To get things done quickly, we often focus on the small parts and details and forget to look at the whole picture. In his excellent book, “Blink,” Malcolm Gladwell calls this “Thin Slicing.” I call it a possible disaster. If you don’t pay attention to the whole picture, you may find yourself doing very stupid things.
We know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we do. To be honest, I’ve read quite a few books that are best based on their cover, but that’s the smallest decision in life. The next time you have to make an *important decision* make sure you have the whole picture. Otherwise, you may find yourself, “losing it all.”
PS “Auld Lang Syne” literally means “long ago,” or more colloquially as, “long ago” or “days ago.” Ironically, although many people look forward to the New Year, the song we all play and sing is actually about remembering the past.
Now you know. And knowing is half the battle…
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