Thursday, August 27, 2015

Whatever Happened?

Hi guys. 

Sorry for not posting in a while. Life has been very hectic, both in my life and in the world.

I feel sad. Why? For America. Religious troubles aside, we cannot deny there is trouble in this country. So I want to kinda deviate from the usual and post about a song. 

The song in question: MKTO's "American Dream". I saw MKTO in concert a week or so ago. They're awesome. But that's beside the point. The concert introduced me to the song. 

So, here's the lyrics. I'm going to analyze them in sections.

Let's go.

Do something with your life, do something with your life
Do something with your life, do something with your life
Do something with your life, do something with your life
Do something with your life, do something with your life
(Ooh) With your life, with your life, with your life"

This is just your general statement. Do something. Don't let life pass you by. 

We broke down, trying to leave town
Lying on the road to change
We were born to run, Cali here we come

Escape from Nowhere, USA

So the bridge can be taken to be about small town kids (Escape from Nowhere, USA) wanting to be people, leaving their hometown.  Innocent in a way, but remember: they're heading for California. When you think of California, what comes to mind? If you guessed "fame", then you're most likely correct. They're leaving their small town, looking for fame. 

Say good-bye to white picket fences
Say hello to palm trees and Benzes
They say you got to fall, to have it all
And we don't want two kids and a wife
I don't want a job, I just want a life
Sometimes the underdogs rise, and the mighty fall (And the mighty fall!)

Here we go, the first verse. In this, we see the deconstruction of the American Dream as those who grew up in the 1950s-1960s knew it. (Say good-bye to white picket fences, say hello to palm trees and Benzes) To people my age and even sometimes older, the old "We'll survive on love and what little we can" routine is gone. Nowadays, we want more. We want more than just enough to live on. We can't live without our iPhones and the Internet. We crave our fast cars, our 21st century lifestyle.

They say you got to fall, to have it all says enough about it. Sometimes we do need to fall before we can truly stand up and claim what we earned. 

As for And we don't want two kids and a wife, well...this too is explanatory in itself. That old "live together, happy-ever-after ending" is seen to some as just the ways of the old generation sometimes too. Kids today thrive on what's called their "side chicks" (read: One in a relationship is cheating on their SO with someone else) I think the recent Ashley Madison hack shows the consequences of that thinking. As a 18-year-old, I want that fantasy. I want to love and to be loved by someone. I want to carry on my legacy to my children when I have them someday. I want that old-fashioned dream. 

I don't want a job, I just want a life is pretty big. Remember, we're examining the American Dream here. In the 1950s-1970s, you were expected to have a job, to provide for your family. Nowadays, kids want to live their dreams. While I support that for certain things, we cannot ignore that you cannot just drop everything and go for it. We need that job, not just for what it provides, but for what it teaches. It teaches responsibility. 

Sometimes the underdogs rise, and the mighty fall (And the mighty fall!) is good. We as a society love to see the underdogs win. We want the modern-day Davids to win against their Goliaths. 

And the chorus: 

This ain’t the same summer song that you used to know
Cause Jack left Diane thirty years ago
The world is spinning too fast for you and me
So tell me whatever happened to the American dream?

Replace the lyrics "summer song" with American dream. This truly isn't the American Dream people once knew. 

Cause Jack left Diane thirty years ago is both a statement and a reference to the John Mellencamp song Jack and Diane, which is another song talking about the American Dream. The statement, believe it or not, is the kicker. Jack left Diane? Divorce. Think about it. Divorce is horribly huge. Again, religious reasoning aside, my opinion is that people can't work it out. They aren't willing to suffer a short while for a lifetime of love. People, people, people, the only reason I would ever support divorce is in the case of adultery or physical, psychological, and/or emotional abuse. Otherwise, take the bullet. Work it out. We're never promised that once we're married, everything will be perfect.

The world is spinning too fast for you and me/So tell me whatever happened to the American dream? Indeed. What did happen to the American dream? It changed, as must all things save for God. Life changes. But that doesn't mean we should get rid of everything. 

I knew a girl, I met her last night
She was fresh off the plane
She whispered in my ear
"Baby come here, I'll do anything to make a name."

What have we wrought? The last line is incredibly relevant to our time. To achieve fame, people will do anything. I bring you Anthony Riley. Name sound familiar? You might have heard him bust out I Feel Good! by James Brown on the Voice last season. He was amazing. You know what happened? He wanted to do anything to get famous. He ended up on a long and depressing road that led to him taking his own life a few months ago. Terrible, right? Think about other deceased celebrities. What happened? To some, fame was too stressful. (Robin Williams) Depression is harmful, but it's one of only many issues that fame brings. But look at my fellow teens. How many have wanted to be famous? A lot. Some make it, but they've maybe had to do things they didn't like to do. Sad, isn't it? Let's keep moving. 

Honey take my hand and follow me, cause
I don't want to hurt you and he does
I just want to give you some real advice
Never take candy from stranger
And keep your eyes open for danger
Because this right here is a twisting paradise

Again, what have we wrought? In a world where anyone can step into a world and shoot children, or kill two newscasters because he felt he was mistreated... Why? The world is not a safe place anymore. (Never take candy from stranger/And keep your eyes open for danger) 

That last line too..What does it mean by twisting paradise? Well, look at it from this way: We already established that the American Dream has changed. It has been twisted by perspectives. We all have our own ideas as to what the American Dream means to us personally. There's nothing wrong with that. But we must acknowledge that things are no longer as they were. Paradise has twisted. 

This ain't the same summer song that you used to know
So baby let's live and die before we get old
You know that nothing is the way it used to be
So tell me whatever happened to the American dream

This part has changed. So baby let's live and die before we get old speaks to our generation so much too. Our mindset as a generation is built upon the idea that we need to live the best we can before we get too old to enjoy life to the fullest. I'm not denying that, it's pretty poignant. A lot of us do have that idea. But just because we grow old doesn't mean that we cannot live life to its' fullest. We can, but in different ways. 

Finally, there's this: You know that nothing is the way it used to be/So tell me whatever happened to the American dream. Incredible, and it's the way I want to end this part of the post. We all know that society has changed. Look at the trends as of recently. Look at public opinion. This isn't the 1950s-era America, where we knew where our faith was, what we felt was right. 

So, what happened? We changed as a nation. We changed as a world. We changed as a society. We became less focused on what was best to pursue what the world said was right. 

I'm grateful to know Christ. I'm grateful to have that old set of morals instilled in me. I know that whatever the world says, I can ignore. The American Dream is still there. It's different for everyone, but we all just want to be who we are, do what we feel is right for us. 

I think Captain America said it best: 

Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move."

I'll see you all later.


1 comment:

  1. Well said, my dear nephew! You shine a ray of hope on an otherwise gloomy future. Stay true. Keep Christ at your center. And make an impact on your world. God has great plans for you, Nathaniel. I'm more proud of you than I can say. I love you!