Tag Archives: passion

Bo Burnham: what.

My favorite comedian is Bo Burnham, a 23-year old satirical singer-songwriter and stand-up comedian from Massachusetts. He recently went on tour with his comedy show, “what.” which I had the pleasure of seeing live at the State Theatre in October. Although I find all of Bo’s work to be clever, what. features material that is refreshingly deep and introspective, while still staying in the realm of comedy. I wasted a lot of time on youtube trying to pick one song to focus on, but I couldn’t bring myself to choose, so I decided to do a brief overview of a few.

bo1

The first piece I will discuss is called Left Brain Right Brain. A disembodied voice asks how Bo is doing, to which he replies that he is not doing well and is struggling to connect with people and feel happy. The voice says that he is unhappy because the left and right sides of his brain are at war. She initiates a separation of the two sides, and then the song starts. Throughout the song, the lighting changes from blue/dark to red/purple as Bo switches character from the left brain to the right brain. Bo changes his inflection, posture, and facial expressions from flat, stiff, and serious for the left brain to whimsical, flexible, and starry-eyed for the right brain. The two sides argue about Bo as well as confront situations that occur during the song (like a female walking by). At the end, they decide to work out their differences by doing something productive together– comedy. I think Left Brain Right Brain does an excellent job in capturing what makes up Bo’s personality and explaining his passion for comedy. It provides an insightful look into his character while still being hysterically funny.

bo3

The next piece I will discuss is called From God’s Perspective. This song satirizes the various customs associated with religion that Bo believes to be completely man-made. He talks as if he is God and makes fun of humans for being so caught up in their own misguided world, while missing the whole point of any religion: to love one another. A pretty deep message to come across during a comedy show, right? This song puts religion in the perspective of a removed observer, which allows the kind of distance needed to realize how silly it seems to place so much importance on the tiny nuances that infuriate so many people.

bo4

 

The last song I will discuss today is Repeat Stuff. This song is a satire on modern pop love songs and how they all follow the same formula. Bo brings the audience’s attention to vicious cycle inherent in pop culture where teenage girls will inhale media that makes them feel awful about themselves and then listen to pop songs that tell them they are beautiful, only to take in more media featuring the artists who wrote those songs. In addition to this message, Bo makes fun of how repetitive and vague these songs are, claiming they are repetitive because teens have to be able to know all the words after one listen and vague because every girl needs to think the songs are about her. This monotonous formula makes a lot of money, so here it will stay until it stops doing that.

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I highly recommend looking up this show and other work by Bo Burnham. What. is available on netflix and on Youtube. Also, here is a link to Bo on Conan talking about the unfortunate time when Justin Bieber came to see what.

Paul Is Dead

In 1969, a lot of the world believed Paul McCartney of the Beatles to be dead. Seeing as he is still making music today, that is clearly not the case. How did the “Paul is dead” rumors begin and what “clues” did the Beatles leave for their conspiracy theory fans to obsess over? Let’s take a look.

paul is dead1

The myth held that on November 9th, 1966, Paul had gotten into a car accident and died. He was then replaced by a look-alike who stood in for all the subsequent album covers. Fans drew on evidence from song lyrics as well as album art. Here are some examples of lyrics that intimated at Paul’s demise:

  • The opening words of Got To Get You Into My Life: “I was alone, I took a ride, I didn’t know what I would find there”.
  • The line “He didn’t notice that the lights had changed” from A Day in the Life.
  • The opening line of She’s Leaving Home, which highlighted the moment of the accident: “Wednesday morning at 5 o’clock as the day begins”.
  • The suppression of the story in the news found its way into Lady Madonna: “Wednesday morning papers didn’t come”.
  • At the end of Strawberry Fields Forever, Lennon can be heard muttering “cranberry sauce”. This was misheard as “I buried Paul”.
  • “Bury my body” and “Oh untimely death” appeared in the radio feed towards the end of I Am The Walrus, taken from a BBC production of King Lear.
  • At the end of I’m So Tired, John Lennon mutters “Monsieur, monsieur, monsieur, how about another one?” When played backwards, this was interpreted by some as “Paul is dead, man, miss him, miss him”.
  • “I’m sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair/You were in a car crash and you lost your hair” – from Ringo’s Don’t Pass Me By.
  • The line “Find me in my field of grass” in Mother Nature’s Son was taken as a reference to a cemetery.
  • There is the sound of a car crash, followed by an explosion, in Revolution 9.
  • The same song, when played backwards, is said to contain the repeated phrase “Turn me on, dead man”.
  • “And so I quit the police department”, a line from She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, supposedly referred to William Campbell’s alleged former career in Ontario, Canada (see the Sgt Pepper visual clues on the next page).

(Source: http://www.beatlesbible.com/features/paul-is-dead/2/)paul is dead2

People also drew on the album covers of Magical Mystery Tour, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road to provide proof of Paul’s death. The rumors hold that the outfits of the four Beatles reveal a hint that Paul had passed: John Lennon is wearing white to symbolize a priest or spiritual figure; Ringo is next wearing black to represent an undertaker; George Harrison is fourth in line and wearing denim to symbolize the gravedigger. Several things stick out about Paul’s appearance: he is the only one not wearing shoes, his eyes are closed, and he is out of step with the other three band members. These observations were taken as a subtle clue that Paul was no longer “walking among us.” In addition, Paul is holding a cigarette in his right hand. McCartney was left-handed, so this observation led many people to believe that a look-alike had been used instead of Paul for this photoshoot.

paul is dead3

 

The Paul is Dead rumors largely dissipated after this edition of LIFE magazine featured pictures of Paul with his family. Paul said in this article: “Perhaps the rumour started because I haven’t been much in the press lately. I have done enough press for a lifetime, and I don’t have anything to say these days. I am happy to be with my family and I will work when I work. I was switched on for ten years and I never switched off. Now I am switching off whenever I can. I would rather be a little less famous these days.”

 

HAIR: the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical

In April 1968, the musical HAIR took the Broadway stage by storm, leaving quite a controversial aftermath behind. “HAIR: the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” brings to life the counter-culture of the 1960’s and 70’s through the story of Claude, Sheila, Berger, and their hippie friends living in New York City during the Vietnam War.

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One of the musical’s biggest criticisms is that its plot line is not very sophisticated, but I think this is what makes it so intriguing. In most musicals, the songs help to tell the story and further the dialogue along; however, in HAIR, the songs mainly focus on portraying the essence of the hippie movement: their values, morals, style, way of life. (Even if the songs did not touch on hippie sexuality, the choreography alone would suffice– not only are the dance moves suggestive and provocative, but there is a song where the entire cast stands naked and sings.) So rather than explaining events that are happening to the characters within the context of the musical, the songs explain the lifestyle that the characters are living in and illustrating the effects of a large-scale problem on a small group of people, representative of an entire movement. To understand what I mean, let’s take a look at the lyrics. (All the music was written by Galt MacDermot and Tom Pierson.)

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The songs “Air” and “Hashish” establish the acceptance and widespread usage of drugs throughout hippie culture. “Hare Krishna” does this as well as introduce the influence that Eastern religions played in forming hippie ideals. Here are the lyrics to Air:

Welcome, sulfur dioxide
Hello, carbon monoxide
The air, the air
Is everywhere

Breath deep
While you sleep
Breath deep

Bless you, alcohol blood stream
Save me, nicotine lung steam
Incense, incense
Is in the air

Breath deep
While you sleep
Breath deep

Cataclysmic ectoplasm
Fallout atomic orgasm
Vapor and fume
At the stone of my tomb

Breathing like a sullen perfume
Eating at the stone of my tomb

Welcome, sulfur dioxide
Hello, carbon monoxide
The air, the air
Is everywhere

Breath deep
While you sleep
Breath deep
Deep, deep de deep

(Read more: Hair – Air Lyrics | MetroLyrics )

In the song “Where Do I Go?,” the lyrics convey the restlessness and disillusionment that led so many young people to join in on the hippie movement and continued to drive many young people to find a purpose in fighting back against what they viewed as an unjust war. (Read the lyrics here.)

hair4

In the songs “Electric Blues” and “The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In),” bring to life the distrust of the government and its abuses:

[from Electric Blues]

They chain ya and brainwash ya
When you least suspect it
They feed ya mass media
The age is electric

[from Let the Sunshine In]

We starve- look at one another
Short of breath
Walking proudly in our winter coats
Wearing smells from laboratories
Facing a dying nation
Of moving paper fantasy
Listening for the new told lies
With supreme visions of lonely tunes.

(Read the rest here.)

Sadly, the 2009 revival of HAIR is no longer on Broadway, but there is a 1979 film adaptation that I enjoyed just as much! There is much more of a plot to the movie, which makes sense considering there can’t be people handing out flowers and dancing over audience members in the film version. I definitely recommend checking it out, or just listening to the music! hair3

This: Bukowski

San Francisco is a beautiful, pulsing city, full of culture and diversity. When I visited a few summers ago, one of my favorite areas was North Beach. Although the outdoor murals and sculptures splattered all over the buildings and sidewalks definitely played a part in that, the main reason I loved North Beach so much is a bookstore called City Lights.

city lights3

City Lights was the oasis of the Beatnik generation. Poets and authors would gather there throughout the 1950’s and 60’s to discuss controversial prose and banned literature. In the present day, City Lights remains a safe haven for the alternative and presents a labyrinth of books to venture through. I spent several hours wandering through the stacks and trying out various genres. Eventually, I came upon a sign leading me towards the poetry section. Here, I discovered one of my all-time favorite poets/authors: Charles Bukowski. I picked up a collection of his poems called “The Last Night of the Earth Poems” and fell in love.

city lights

Throughout Charles Bukowski’s fifty years of writing, he composed six novels, several books of short stories, and dozens of collections of poetry. The overwhelming majority of his writing overflows with disillusionment, anger, and (copious amounts of) alcohol. Though Bukowski is one of the most cynical authors I can think of, his work continues to charm me. I think this is due to the unapologetic realism Bukowski injects into his writing. (His weariness towards society is characteristic of the Beatnik generation, though Bukowski was not a Beatnik himself.) **For more information on Bukowski or to browse some of his work, click here.

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The poem “This” illustrates Bukowksi’s style well.

this

 

self-congratulatory nonsense as the

famous gather to applaud their seeming

greatness

 

you

wonder where

the real ones are

 

what

giant cave

hides them

 

as

the deathly talentless

bow to

accolades

 

as

the fools are

fooled

again

 

you

wonder where

the real ones are

 

if there are

real ones.

 

this

self-congratulatory nonsense

has lasted

decades

and

with some exceptions

 

centuries.

 

this

is so dreary

is so absolutely pitiless

 

it

churns the gut to

powder

shackles hope

 

it

makes little things

like

pulling up a shade

or

putting on your shoes

or

walking out on the street

 

more difficult

near

damnable

 

as

the famous gather to

applaud their

seeming

greatness

 

as

the fools are

fooled

again

 

humanity

you sick

motherfucker.

 

Bukowski separates the “the little things” physically by moving to the next line after each one: “pulling up a shade/ or/ putting on your shoes/ or/ walking out on the street.” This is effective because it interrupts the flow of these words, making them harder to progress through. This syntactical challenge matches Bukowski’s implication that simple, mundane tasks become difficult when one has to deal with “self-congratulatory nonsense” all the time. I also like how Bukowski starts the second and third to last stanzas with “as.” The repetition of “as” allows the reader to connect the two stanzas and compare them. “The famous” become “the fools.”

bukowski

Dancers Among Us

Have you ever noticed how little children can abandon all their cares and become completely absorbed in a fantasy world? Kids are completely present in whatever they are doing. They experience emotions similar to adults, but display their feelings honestly. If a child is upset, he or she will cry and whine until it is better. Although some people may find this honesty annoying, I think it is part of the beauty of childhood. Several years ago, an artist named Jordan Matter realized the same thing. He realized that adults often seem cynical, bored, or indifferent to the everyday wonders that capture children’s imagination. He wanted to find a way to portray the active presence children take in their world through art. His solutions: dancers. (To read more about how this idea came to Jordan, read here.)

jordan matter

Jordan Matter created the now-sensational book of “Dancers Among Us.” It features dozens of pictures of dancers around the world at various stages of life and various emotions. The common factor for all of the pictures is their life. Matter captured dancers truly living in whatever they were doing. For the rest of this blog post, I will show examples of these pictures and analyze their individual messages.

dance among us boardwalk

This photograph features a man and a woman under a boardwalk as the tide is rushing out and frothing around them. The woman, standing on the man’s thighs as he hinges forward, bends backward over herself to kiss him on the lips. I think this picture beautifully captures the leap of faith people take in falling in love. The water is choppy and strong; it rises around them. The water represents all the instability and risks in life that will rise around all of us. The dancers, however, are steadfast despite the tide. They are precariously posed, yet strong. This represents how loving someone requires trust that your partner will be there to hold you up, and that you will be there for him or her, too. The precariousness of their position represents that this stability comes from instability: to find support and balance from love, one must take the risk first.

dance among us scaffold

 

This photo features a man holding onto a scaffolding and dangling over the city street; however, he strongly holds an arabesque with a paintbrush in his hand. The quote that accompanies this photo is: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” For most rational human beings, climbing up onto a scaffolding several stories above the ground would instill fear. We are uncomfortable at such a height. The dancer, however, exudes confidence and strength. His power in this unsettling position sends the message that in order to reach such a heightened sense of accomplishment and confidence, one must take risks and “live at the end of his or her comfort zone.”

If you are interested in seeing additional pictures from the collection, click here.

I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

I hope that many of you have witnessed the beautiful cinematic perfection that is the 2007 film “Across the Universe.” If you haven’t, I highly suggest dropping whatever you are doing and watching it right now. It’s worth it. (I might be slightly biased considering the story unfolds through covers of Beatles songs, but it also stars Jim Sturgess and Joe Anderson, so who can have a problem with that?)

across the universe

This movie tells the story of several protagonists who get wrapped up in the hippie counterculture movement of the 1960’s. One of the main characters is Max Carrigan (his namesake is Maxwell’s Silver Hammer off of Sgt. Pepper), who drops of out of Princeton University and moves to New York City with his friend, Jude (Hey….Jude). Since Max is no longer enrolled in college, he receives a draft notice and must report to an Army health screening. This happens through the song I Want You (She’s So Heavy). You can watch the clip of this scene here.

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When Max walks into the building, he sees the famous “I Want You (for the U.S. Army)” poster. Uncle Sam sings “I want you…I want you so bad” and reaches out to him beyond the paper. I think the motion of Uncle Sam lunging forward looks as if he is fiercely trying to grab Max, making Uncle Sam seem overbearing and forceful. This aligns with the counterculture’s distrust of their “tyrannical” government, and Max trying to run away represents the counterculture’s resistance to the draft.

I want you

However, through the song, Max cannot keep running away and the army men gain increasing control over him. One brilliant way that the creators of Across the Universe demonstrate this transfer of power is through the choreography in the song. Each new recruit pairs with a current soldier. The dance begins with both men staging a fist fight (fighting for dominance), but the current soldiers eventually knock the recruits to the floor (soldiers winning control) where the recruits start army crawls and push-ups while the current soldiers stand over them, making them lift their feet from time to time. The soldiers fling the recruits over their shoulders and onto a conveyor belt that carries the recruits to the next level. I think the sequence of choreography in this scene does an excellent job representing the power struggle between draft-dodgers and the government during the Vietnam War.

max2

Later in the song, just in time for the first time they sing “She’s so heavy,” the movie shows the new draftees marching over a barren jungle, carrying the Statue of Liberty. They are wearing only white underwear and shoes. The choice in clothing makes the recruits seem vulnerable and ill-prepared, which is another complaint the counter culture movement (and even those not affiliated with the movement) maintained about the soldiers who were sent to Vietnam. The boys carrying the State of Liberty represents these men carrying the burden of America’s choices on their backs. At this point in the song, the beat is repetitive, heavy, and slow, making the march seem exceedingly arduous. Therefore, I think this sequence accurately represents the grueling duty American soldiers were forced to carry out against their will in Vietnam.

I want you2

Paper Doll

So let me preface this post with a disclaimer. I know when you hear that I am about to analyze a song by John Mayer, many of you will roll your eyes and a few of you may even groan. However, before you go basing your opinions of John Mayer off of “Your Body Is A Wonderland” or other hits of the early 2000’s, go listen to his new album, Paradise Valley. He returns back to his bluesy, folk roots in this album, released this past August. It is slowly working up the ranks as one of my favorite albums and it features an entirely new sound for Mayer. (A little known fact about Mayer is that he began his career trying to make it as a blues guitarist, was told that he would be more successful if he stuck to pop and sang as well, so that is the route that he took initially. Read more about Mayer’s style of guitar-playing and the artists who influenced his style here.)

paradise valley

Now, although I think musically this album is really interesting, most of the lyrics are pretty straightforward. The exception to this is the song “Paper Doll.” I take this song to be an assail on Taylor Swift and also a response to her 2010 hit song, “Dear John.” (Read more about John Mayer’s initial reaction to “Dear John” here.)

Here are the full lyrics:

Paper doll, come try it on
Step out of that black chiffon
Here’s a dress of gold and blue
Sure was fun being good to you

This one we made just for fall
And winter runs a bit too small
This mint green is new for spring
My love didn’t cost a thing

You’re like 22 girls in one
And none of them know what they’re runnin’ from
Was it just too far to fall?
For a little paper doll

Fold a scarf, Moroccan red
And tie your hair behind your head
Strap into some heels that hurt
You should’ve kept my undershirt

You’re like twenty-two girls in one
And none of them know what they’re runnin’ from
Was it just too far to fall?
For a little paper doll

Cut the cord and pull some strings
And make yourself some angel wings
And if those angel wings don’t fly
Someone’s gonna paint you another sky

‘Cause you’re like twenty-two girls in one
And none of them know what they’re runnin’ from
Was it just too far to fall?

‘Cause you’re like twenty-two girls in one
And none of them know what they’re runnin’ from
Was it just too far to fall?

john mayer

The first and most direct allusion to Taylor Swift is in the line “You’re like twenty-two girls in one,” which references Taylor Swift’s song “22.” In addition to this allusion, he references lines in Dear John such as “You paint me a blue sky / Then go back and turn it to rain” when he sings “And if those angel wings don’t fly/ Someone’s gonna paint you another sky.” Here, Mayer is essentially telling Swift patronizingly that she needn’t fret about how things turned out with him because she will inevitably find a shiny, new boy to take care of her.

I think Mayer’s mention of various colors in dresses and scarves and such plays two purposes. First, it alludes to Taylor’s song “Red” where she says that “losing him was blue,” but “loving him was red.” It could also allude to the somewhat excessive outfit changes that Swift goes through during her shows. Second, it paints a picture of Taylor that she is shallow, materialistic, and immature. She is more concerned with the pretty dresses she wears than anything real– such as letting herself fall in love.

Also, by comparing Taylor to a paper doll, he compares the physical flimsiness of a paper doll to Taylor’s fickleness in personality. Mayer claimed that his relationship with Swift ended very suddenly, without a phone call or visit for explanation. Take this with a grain of salt, but if this is true, then it would make sense that Mayer thinks of Swift as flaky and fragile.

The last allusion I will talk about is in the lines “Cut the cord and pull some strings/ And make yourself some angel wings.” Taylor Swift is famous for writing songs about boys who have wronged her, which always paints her as the innocent victim. Mayer comments on her tendency to always make herself seem innocent when he says to “make yourself some angel wings.” Angels are pure and innocent, just like Swift claims to be.

Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins

Introduction To Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

billy_collins_1

Billy Collins was born in 1941 and grew up in Queens, New York. He became a professor of English at Lehman College in the Bronx in 1968, and taught there for over thirty years. Now, he teaches poetry workshops both nationally and internationally. Billy Collins held the title of Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003. **

In “Introduction to Poetry,” Billy Collins expresses his frustration with teaching the process of writing poetry. His students do not seem to grasp the creative process correctly. Billy Collins uses this poem as a way to both express his frustration and demonstrate what proper creative poetry sounds like.

Many people who want to write poetry have a preconceived notion of how the poem should look and sound or what specific message they want to convey. Although this sounds like a good idea, it often becomes forced and ruins the poem. I believe this poem preaches the necessity of honesty in writing poetry. In “Introduction to Poetry,” Billy Collins explains that in order to write a good poem, a writer cannot  “tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.” He means to say that the creative writing process should not be forced- otherwise, it is a fair indication that the author is doing something wrong. There should be no challenge to “find out what [the poem] really means” if the author is writing honestly. The writer must open his mind and allow the ideas to flow out naturally into the poem, rather than manipulate them to fit a preconception.

Instead of trying to jam the poem into a certain mold, Billy Collins suggests letting the poem take on its own form. He gives various ideas of how to stir up some genuine imagination such as dropping a mouse into the poem, waterskiing across the surface of the poem, and feeling the walls of the poem for a light switch. I find it very clever that Collins preaches the importance of creativity and allowing a poem to take on its natural form by incorporating several absurd ideas of what to do to a poem himself. He somewhat personifies the poem in question by suggesting that his students do physical actions to it, as if the words and concepts of a poem are tangible. This demonstrates the creativity that he claims is missing in his students’ work.

It is difficult to say without having talked to Billy Collins, but I would venture to assume that he does not usually know how his poetry will turn out. He may start with an idea that, by the end, has completely transformed into something else. I think the fleeting nature of poetry as Collins suggests sounds somewhat frustrating, but it could also be part of the magic involved in the creative process. People are accustomed to being in control at all times; I think it would be cathartic to allow the brain to take the backseat and have creativity guide the way.

**Read more of Billy Collins’ poetry here.

The Dangling Conversation

I assume many of you are familiar with Simon & Garfunkel’s songs The Sound of Silence and Mrs. Robinson. I love these songs, too, but they do not even scratch the surface of the heavenly pool of pieces produced by this powerful duo. I often just read Simon & Garfunkel songs without any music because their lyrics can stand as poetry on their own. Combined with complex acoustic guitar fingerings and mind-blowing harmonies, Simon & Garfunkel’s beautiful words create thought-provoking, inspiring, and enlightening songs.

simon and garfunkel

One of my favorite pieces by Simon & Garfunkel is The Dangling Conversation. I could not bring myself to pick just one section to share with you, so here is the full song:

It’s a still life water color,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room.
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
The borders of our lives.

And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost.
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time
Lost in the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
“Can analysis be worthwhile?”
“Is the theater really dead?”
And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
You’re a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation.
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.

The music in The Dangling Conversation is rather simple and quiet, but the lyrics expose Simon & Garfunkel’s creative genius. I believe this song tells the story of two people falling out of love. There is an important conversation to have that neither person is willing to bring up, and so it becomes “the dangling conversation” that rips them apart.

The idea presented in the very first line: “It’s a still life water color,” intrigued me. Water color is a form of painting where precision does not matter. In fact, the whole point of water color is to have soft edges, mixed colors, and a more impressionistic appearance. Still life is the exact opposite. The point of still life painting is to portray stationary items (usually something mundane like a bowl of fruit or candles on a table) as accurately as possible. I think Simon & Garfunkel use the juxtaposition of “a still life water color” to express the tragic paradox in the lovers’ relationship. Where they should have clarity, they have obfuscation. The “dangling conversation” causes their still life relationship to become blurred like a water color.

The lines “and the superficial sighs/ the borders of our lives” repeats throughout the song. Through these words, the listener can easily see two lovers sitting in the same room…no speaking, only the occasional unnoticed sigh. These sighs are superficial because they convey no meaning to the other person. Whereas a lover in a thriving relationship would hear his or her partner sigh and ask what was wrong, these lovers simply ignore the sighs and accept them as the “border.” Neither lover asks what is wrong because they both know. They refuse to talk about the “dangling conversation,” and so accept the occasional sigh as the limit.

simon and garfunkel 2

A Very Serious Analysis of “What Time Is It? (Summertime)”

On December 2006, Disney released the first film of the trilogy High School Musical. America fell in love with Troy and Gabriella’s forbidden romance, Sharpay and Ryan’s ambitious odyssey to the top, and the thrilling tale of Wildcat betrayal and redemption. Not even a year later, Disney released the second installation of America’s favorite romance story. High School Musical 2 captured our hearts all over again. In a stroke of brilliance, the writers applied an identical plot line to a slightly different setting with slightly different songs to create a concordant masterpiece.

To provide an example of this musical’s creative ingenuity, let’s take a close look at the opening number to High School Musical 2: “What Time Is It? (Summertime).”

What time is it?
Summertime
It’s our vacation
What time is it?
Party time
That’s right, say it loud

What time is it?
The time of our lives
Anticipation
What time is it?
Summertime
School’s out, scream and shout!

Repetition is a method in poetry and song-writing used to emphasize the importance of a certain concept. Throughout the piece, the Wildcats repeat the question “What time is it?,” emphasizing their uncertainty. Without time, there is no basic mechanism to keep people on track and keep our society running like clockwork. Through their repetition of “What time is it?” these misguided teens are expressing their overwhelming disorientation and misguided “anticipation.”

The group is “off the clock” and they turn to controversial means to handle their underlying purposelessness:

[Sharpay]
We’ve got no rules
No summer school
I’m free to shop till I drop

[Ryan]
It’s an education vacation

[Sharpay and Ryan]
And the party never has to stop

[All]
Let’s live it up
Party down
That’s what the summer’s all about

Unfortunately, the Wildcats are responding to their crisis with excessive partying and neglect of their responsibilities. Sharpay caves to her shopping addiction, Ryan takes an “education vacation,” and the whole team simply wants to “live it up” and “party down.” If these teens are not careful, they could permanently injure themselves or their futures. “What Time Is It? (Summertime)” starts High School Musical 2 on a heart-wrenching, suspenseful note as the struggle of our favorite Wildcat characters fills our ears and our hearts. Watch the rest of this clever sequel to discover the stunning and unpredictable resolution!
Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmania.com/what_time_is_it_summertime_lyrics_high_school_musical_2.html
All about High School+Musical+2: http://www.musictory.com/music/High+School+Musical+2