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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lightnin' Striking?


Nothing like listening to the words of a songs to destroy your illusions. I think the first time this happened to me was with the Police song "Every Breath you Take". I started listening to the words and realized the guy singing the song was a control freak, a stalker, a really scary guy.

I was away from home most of the past week and I took my laptop with me. I set up the laptop in the room I was staying in but I couldn't get on the internet. So I played a lot of freecell, solitaire and minesweeper. And I listened to the one music cd I had -- it had about 15 songs and in the course of my few days there, I heard that cd probably 10 or more times.

One of the songs that I got the opportunity to hear over and over and over again was Lou Christie's "Lightnin' Striking". And, while it was playing, I began singing with it. Now, mind you, it's not that I didn't know the words before, it's just that the subtleties of their meaning escaped me as a naive child.

I don't know how many of you know the words, but it starts with "Listen to me, Baby, you gotta understand/ You're old enough to know the makings of a man/ Listen to me, Baby, it's hard to settle down/ Am I asking too much for you to stick around?" -- so far, it sounds relatively innocuous. But it continues. "Every boy wants a girl/ He can trust to the very end/ Baby, that's you, won't you stay/ but 'til then/ If she's put together fine/ and she's reading my mind/ I can't stop/ I can't stop myself...."

So I listened over and over to the words and I realized (despite comments I have seen about how this is a nice little love song) that, far from being a love song, is an apologia -- an excuse, an explanation of how and why he is cheating on his "lady love" -- yes, one day, he vows, he will be faithful to her (after they get married -- SOMEday....) and, you feel that underneath it all he totally expects her to be "pure" when they do get married one day. It's the double standard, the whole "there are 'girls' you s**** and 'girls' you marry and they aren't the same" hypocrisy, the "men are expected to be experienced but women are expected to be pure" thing. (Mind you, I feel that sex is only appropriate within the confines of marriage, so I think both parties should be "pure")

I hope that some day I can forget (or forgive) the meaning of the words. I hope that some day I won't always think of the machismo or overbearingly "full of c***" words of this song. But for now, when I listen, all I can hear is a man making excuses for his infidelity.

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