Should we parse our pop songs for their "meaning"? Is this even a real question? With the Loverboy exegesis I was utterly convinced that it said something about US all. About our loss of, well, self, I guess. A loss of the ways in which we understand our significance (and this is a sense of value). I guess first we might wonder at what point significance started to matter to us. I don't have the answer. By "we" I mean us common folk. I know kings and emperors and pharaohs and other members of the worlds human rulers likely had this sense of "self-concern" as soon as real self-awareness dawned (13k BCE with the "swimming reindeer" sculpture? see above) but when did we lowly near-beasts begin to worry over our singular value in life? Is this religious primarily (a god who loves me, yes, I know, this yields value here below...)?
Well, let's not go down that road now--this is pop song philosophy!
Let's do another favorite of mine (but I won't be so, um, detailed, this time)--Jesse's Girl! You know you love it.
Jessie is a friend, yeah
I know he's been a good friend of mine
But lately something's changed that ain't hard to define
Jessie's got himself a girl and I want to make her mine
And she's watching him with those eyes
And she's lovin' him with that body, I just know it
Yeah 'n' he's holding her in his arms
Late, late at night
You know, I wish that I had Jessie's girl
I wish that I had Jessie's girl
Where can I find a woman like that
I play along with the charade
There doesn't seem to be a reason to change
You know, I feel so dirty when they start talking cute
I wanna tell her that I love her but the point is promptly moot
(the lyric site I took this from had "probably mute" here...I changed it but don't know if moot is correct...makes more sense to me)
And I'm lookin' in the mirror all the time
Wondering what she don't see in me, I've been funny
I've been cool with the lines
Ain't that the way love supposed to be
I want, I want Jessie's girl
This one seems simple, and I think it is...but here we have the mind yearning, longing for another. But this song isn't about love and it isn't about the nameless "possessed" girl. It's about wanting someone to want you and being jealous of Jesse's "significance" (made "real" by the attention of another).
We start with the friendship, Jesse is "a good friend of mine" (a possessive)...something's changed. But probably nothing's really changed here in terms of this man's psychology--he wants now to make another "thing" MINE.
And he tries--funny and cool with the lines (this is his idea of "love"?) but seems to have failed. But as the song doesn't end the obsession (I want I want) I assume he's going to keep trying.
But the focus is on him--what doesn't she "see" in him? (He looks in the mirror to try to figure this out.) And this is what he wants most--her watching him and physically loving him (adoring).
It's a very pathetic song. This is jealousy and it erases the particulars of the "wanted" "thing"--the I must be wanted. (Friendship is not real here either as it's focus is that it's MINE and not a reciprocal relationship.)
How do we hear these kinds of songs if we don't ever think about them? I assume one believes that there is an over-thinking too...but what we often repeat in these cases (in that great jukebox called mind) is the chorus. The primal toddler chant here is what we sing aloud without attention.