Theme Song: “The Right Stuff” New Kids on the Block
Projects: Revising a book chapter, updating blogs, sending out newsletter, editing
Right now, I’m listening to “The Right Stuff.” I know it’s totally cheesy, but would you expect anything less from a reformed Blockhead? I put on my “NKOTB Playlist” on iTunes, because for some reason, whenever I’m stressed out, I do such a thing. I think it’s because returning to a simpler time musically is relaxing. It’s interesting though, because this particular time, when I put it on, I really noticed the lyrics:
“All that I needed was you/O
Cover of New Kids on the Block
h, girl, you’re so right/And all that I wanted was you/You made all my dreams come true”
Now, to many people, this won’t seem like a big deal. These lyrics are innocuous enough. I’ve listened to this song thousands of time over my lifespan since I was a wee preteen. Never once did I notice the interesting connotations of these lyrics until today.
I’m having a problem with the word “All” in the lyrics. Really? “All” I needed was you? That seems strange. It would seem that more would be needed – food, shelter, clothing, friends, a career, etc. All I wanted was you? Really? All dreams?
Granted, I’m possibly reading a little much in this, but it made me look at other songs by the group…take this set of lyrics, for example:
“Please don’t go girl/I just can’t live without you/Please don’t go girl/So listen to me… (Don’t go, girl)/Please don’t go girl/You would ruin my whole world/Tell me you’ll stay/Never ever go away “
Really? “I can’t live without you?” “You would ruin my whole world” YIKES! This is another song I’d listened to hundreds of thousands of times while growing up.
Here’s one more:
“There’s so much I like in you I can’t go on,/I wanted a girl like you I’ve looked so long,/girl, nothing will make us wrong, I know our love is too strong,/let’s leave the rest behind, our dreams ask what we will find.”
I’m not going to get into the logistics of solo albums. Jordan Knight‘s “Give it to You” was banned in Canada b/c it seemed to advocate date rape. Okay, so where am I going with all this, you wonder? That’s where it gets interesting. Imagine that you grow up listening to these lyrics – over and over again. You begin to get a very skewed idea of what “The Right Stuff” is. These lyrics are indicative of very, very unhealthy relationships! I mean the guy can’t live without her! She’s EVERYTHING he needs. He can’t go on! YUCK!
Healthy relationships happen when two people recognize that there’s more in life than just the relationship. Each person is whole in his or her being. There are individual goals, interests, etc. The other person is like seasoning to the individual’s life – and life will go on (albeit possibly uncomfortably for a bit) once that person does leave. If I ever again dated someone who said “I can’t live without you,” I’d run faster than you can say “On your marks, get set, GO!” I’ve had enough of that kind of crazy NKOTB song-worthy “drama crapmance” for a lifetime. YET, this is what we’re feeding our young girls. Let’s look at some of Justin Bieber’s lyrics real quick.
“My prize possession, one and only/Adore you girl, I want you/The one I can’t live without/That’s you, that’s you
You’re my special little lady/The one that makes me crazy/Of all the girls I’ve ever known/It’s you, it’s you”
So these girls are learning that they’re someone’s “possession” and there’s that not being able to live without someone thing again. And this one:
“Running out of time, where is my runaway love?/Searching low and high, know that I’m not giving up/I’d give it all up for us, it’ll never be enough/I won’t stop until I find my runaway love”
So now stalking is okay too? Sigh. I will grant that I am pulling lyrics out of context of an entire song, but it’s still quite disturbing that teeny-bopper music seems to espouse a celebration of unhealthy relationship patterns. I’m not quite sure what the effects are or if there is a causal relationship. However, I think it’s interesting that pop culture seems to hold these sorts of sentiments as being ones to strive for in relationships/as being “romantic.” Quite possibly this is why many girls do pass up on the good guys…which is sad, because good guys are WAY more romantic and cool than people who look at women as possessions they can’t live without! (And I know that, because I’m with a good guy, and he’s quite romantic!)
Real, healthy relationships develop over time, they’re more like really close friendships than crazy love affairs, and at the end of the day – that’s what’s important, right? Having a companion who will stand by you when things are hard and when things are easy!
I’m really interested now in song lyrics and connotations about romance from them. What are some lyrics from your favorite songs that are questionable?