Filed under: Way too much thought went into this
I’m often behind the curve, unfortunately, but I was shocked yesterday* when I realized how truly far away I was when it came to the context of this particular Britney Spears song. Truth be told, I didn’t understand the song’s meaning so I didn’t entirely care for it, until I was informed last night what “if you seek Amy” actually means.
“If you seek Amy” = F-U-C-K me. Say it once or twice and you’ll catch on, too.
Love me, hate me
Say what you want about me
But all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to
If you seek Amy.
Love me, hate me
But can’t you see what I see?
All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to
If you seek Amy.
Needless to say, the pop tune’s connotations were obvious once that brief tidbit was discovered. And as I further thought about this earlier today** I realized how knowing just a bit more about a song, a book, an author, etc. can vastly change not only one’s perspective on the piece, but its framework, subtext and even general meaning.
When I was in high school, an English teacher of mine frequently asked us students to disregard the author and his/her life as we read a book. He wanted each of us to look at the words as they were on the page without any prior knowledge of how the author’s life might have played in a role in the text’s creation. An excellent example of this from my senior year AP English course is James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. You can either take the text at face value, or you can delve into Joyce’s life and an entirely new novel is seemingly born. Honestly, I think knowing about Joyce’s relationship with his homeland is crucial to understanding that particular book whatsoever.
And that seems to be the case with Britney Spears’ tune. “If you seek Amy” was one of the songs I’d easily change the radio station to avoid or I’d skip over on my iPod. Now, however, knowing the subtle message she’s actually attempting to convey, I strangely have a greater appreciation for the song and I can better understand it as a whole.
So what are some other songs or books that require some “outside” knowledge to comprehend? I can’t seem to think of any at this moment, but if you can, feel free to share.
* “Yesterday” is actually Sunday. I started this post on Monday and simply haven’t had the time to finish it ’til days later.
* Why it was still on my mind, I have no idea…
NOTE: If you’re extremely bored – and I’m talking boredom bordering suicide – you can explore this topic much more in depth. English professors often refer to it as “authority,” such as “who truly has authority over the text?” I studied this briefly as a junior at Penn State*** and it’s honestly a quite interesting discussion (unless you don’t really care, and then it’s just a bunch of useless college crap being tossed your direction). The crux of “authority” asks if the reader has the right to interpret the text in front of them however he or she chooses, or if the author’s initial meaning is the only true interpretation of the words.
Okay, okay, I’m a huge nerd and I find this a valid and thought-provoking argument, and in reality, it’s that “authority” that changes the meaning of Britney’s words. Plus, for once in my lifetime, I actually applied a somewhat trivial concept that I learned in college to something a bit more mainstream and “real life,” if you will. It may never happen again, so I’m taking this moment to make a note of it.****
*** Truth be told, it’s the ONLY thing from my horrible rhetoric class I remember.
**** It may have literally taken me five days to finish this post, but WOOHOO, I did! And just as I was about to give up on it…
16 Comments so far
Leave a comment