Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If I die young, don't let them play this song at my wake.

If, any time in the last few weeks, you've been in the presence of a radio, you've probably heard the song "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry.  (They're the emo cowboys in the picture to the left.)

The song is catchy, and beautiful, and it really, really bothers me.  It bothers me in the way that the poem "Leda and the Swan" or the novel "Lolita" bothers me; it's a beautiful glamorization of a very disturbing topic.

And, no, I'm not one of those idiots who thinks teenagers are going to kill themselves because they think the song is telling them to (though it wouldn't surprise if they played the songs during suicide attempts, like happened with "Adam's Song" by Blink 182).  This song bothers me because the pretty vocals and slightly country twang are masking lyrics that would be too emo for even Hot Topic shoppers.

The lyrics are selfish, overdramatic, and immature.  And they're stuck in my head.  While a more sane individual might just try to get another song stuck in their head, or sing it once to just try and get it out of their system, I'm a blogger, and therefore slightly insane.  So I'm going to break down the lyrics of "If I Die Young" and explain why they're absolutely ridiculous.

If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
What are you, the queen?  You think your parents have budgeted this much for your untimely funeral?  Get over yourself, chick.

Sink me in the river at dawn
No.  We're not going to let your decomposing corpse pollute an entire ecosystem because you think it will look pretty.

Send me away with the words of a love song
Sure, which one off the "Twilight" soundtrack were you requesting?

Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother
She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and
Yes, I'm sure every parent who has ever lost a child instantly feels better when light refracts through water droplets.

Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
Ain't even grey, but she buries her baby
In addition to not making much sense, this is just vicious.  Considering how young the members of The Band Perry are (oh yeah, and they're all siblings), I'm assuming this girl's mom is alive to hear her daughter sing about a parents' greatest nightmare on the radio.

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I've had just enough time
If I were related to The Band Perry, I could probably use these lyrics as proof enough to get a 48-hour court-mandated psychiatric hold on this chick for purposes of a suicide watch.  Besides, this girl barely looks 20.  She's had just enough time to write this song, and maybe vote in one election.  Wait...is she trying to end it all before she writes any more depressing country pop?

The chorus and bridge repeat, and then we get...

And I'll be wearing white, when I come into your kingdom
Look, Ms. Nashville Hot Topic.  You can't try and do the country thing where you excuse yourself by making this a pseudo-Christian song.  There's a big difference between, "I can't wait for Heaven," and, "I wish I was dead."

I'm as green as the ring on my little, cold finger
What?  You're going to Heaven as a zombie?  You want to die young because you're family was too cheap to buy you a ring made of real gold, and the fake one turned green?  This is starting to make about as much sense as a Ke$ha song, and I'm pretty sure the only language she speaks is hieroglyphics made of glitter.

I've never known the lovin' of a man
But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand
Oh...it's all starting to make sense now.  You're oversheltered, and you play in a band with your siblings.  You're homeschooled, aren't you?  Not that that's bad, or anything, but it explains why you think you've lived enough already.  There's a much bigger world out there, kiddo.

There's a boy here in town who says he'll love me forever,
I really hope it's not one of the boys playing back-up in your band.  You're in Tennessee, not West Virginia.

Who would have thought forever could be severed by
The sharp knife of a short life, well,
I've had, just enough time
Who would have thought forever could be severed?  Everyone who's not a necrophile.

So put on your best boys and I'll wear my pearls
Based on all the valuables this girl wants to be buried with, I'm starting to get suspicious that she's an Egyptian pharaoh, and these "boys" are the slaves she's going to have buried with her.

What I never did is done
This is one of those things that sounds profound until you realize it means absolutely nothing.  Plus, I'm pretty sure Don Draper said this to Peggy some time in season 2 of "Mad Men".

A penny for my thoughts, oh no, I'll sell them for a dollar
The Band Perry thinks they're thoughts are worth 100x more than everyone elses'.
They're worth so much more after I'm a goner
I know it's probably difficult finding words that even pseudo-rhyme with "dollar", but the term "goner" is so casual and old-fashioned, it feels really out of place with the rest of the song.

And maybe then you'll hear the words I been singin'
Funny when you're dead how people start listenin'
Aaaaand this is the part where the whole mess really starts to unravel.  I'm pretty sure she lifted that line directly from a middle school girl's Xanga page.  It's the classic cry for attention.  "They'll all wish they'd listened to me once I'm dead!"  Seriously, when I imagine this song being written, I picture these words in cursive with hearts over the "i"s in a spiral notebook with Taylor Lautner on the cover.

There's some more after that, but really, I can't take anymore.  Long story short, this song is really stupid.

And I can't...stop...singing it.

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