Had a dream, you and me and the war at the end times…
By the end of the opening line, this song has me tapping my feet. It’s uptempo, it’s catchy, it’s fun- everything a good song should be, unless you’re actually listening to the lyrics that is. Despite its apocalyptic content, I still enjoy this song very much. It may be its tongue-in-cheek treatment of the end of days or its persistent beat and peppy melody, but when I hear this song it always makes me smile.
My connection to this song definitely lies in the music rather than the lyrics. I love the guitar and the driving beat that open the song and lead into the first verse- the only one I know all the words to. The music of the song is just fun, it inspires a lot of head nodding and heel bouncing. The singer’s voice also contributes to the song. I only know maybe the first verse of the song, but I enjoy listening to the whole thing because the overall sound of the song is so interesting. When I hear this song, I actually feel happier. I almost always smile, and I will usually hum along–even though I don’t know the words, I really like the tune! I usually end up laughing at myself too, because if I stop to consider the song’s content, it’s kind of a downer, and then I have to wonder why I like it so much.
I first heard this song at the store where I work. Normally, I don’t really notice the music playing as I am busy with other things, but over time, I realized that I always notice when this song is playing. Even though work is sometimes stressful, I notice that hearing this song actually does lighten my mood. Eventually, I started noticing when I heard it other places and then I actually looked it up. Before I looked up the lyrics to this song, words I most associated with it were things like fun, happy, bouncy, and upbeat. Once I really looked at the content, I had to add apocalypse, contradiction, and irony to the list.
I’ve always been a person who actually listens to lyrics. For me, to really consider a song, all parts must be included. One of my favorite things about this song is that while the content is definitely not upbeat, the music certainly is. This is a great example of how sound, in a song or elsewhere, can be used to enhance or underscore a meaning that words alone might not convey. Take these lines:
And I believe/ California succumbed to the fault line./ We heaved relief/ as scores of innocents died.
This is not at all a lighthearted topic to be singing about. Yet people listening to this song will find themselves singing along. Then, like me (hopefully), they’ll stop to think about what they’re singing and it will help them gain insight into themselves. Why would we heave relief as scores of innocents died? Would we? Do we? How often do we make light of things that we really should probably care more about? I think the fun melody of this song actually rooks people into thinking about issues such as tragedy and suffering in a deeper way, and therefore is a really interesting rhetorical strategy.