Friday, September 01, 2006

Modern Poetry Deconstruction!

Many people are familiar with so-called "classic" poetry such as Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken, O Captain My Captain by Walt Whitman, and Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss, but these are all works which have been deconstructed over and over by scholars throughout the world.

That is why I have taken it upon myself to usher in a new era of poetry analyzation. Kicking off the series will be what I consider the quintessential modern poem: Unpretty by TLC.T-Boz:
I wish I could tie you up in my shoes
Make you feel unpretty too

The first two lines of this song give you the essentials. You learn who she is talking to and what she wants to discuss. It is obvious, from the first two words, "I wish," that she is talking to a genie. So she has found a magic lamp and her first wish is to have the genie wear her shoes. At first the reader may be thinking, "But why would she waste it on making a genie wear her shoes?" Well, it's common knowledge that genies do not have legs, hence no feet; they are a constantly-hovering torso composed of smoke which flows from a lamp. This request is a catch-22 in the world of geniedom and more than likely would result in the genie becoming mortal and dying of old age immediately.

Only two lines in, and T-Boz slayed a genie already. Powerful stuff, people.

I was told I was beautiful
But what does that mean to you

This interrogative is meant as a rhetorical question. Ms. Boz does not want an answer from the dead genie body. She's being ironic because it's hard to believe anybody could find an old genie attractive (except for Barbara Eden's husband, am I RIGHT?)

Look into the mirror who's inside there
The one with the long hair
Same old me again today (yeah)

Who is inside a mirror? Well, obviously T-Boz has been hauled into the police station for questioning concerning the gruesome murder of an ancient wish granter and she's calling out the people who she knows are watching her from behind the glass. She's a clever girl. She's getting inside their head. She creeps them out even more when she specifies that she's talking about "the one with the long hair." It's like when psychic mediums say they're getting a message from "Joe" from the other side. You know a dead Joe, don't you? Spooky. The final line is her preparing to make an insanity plea. If you notice the use of parenthesis, you'll obviously realize that she is agreeing with herself--classic schizophrenia.

My outsides look cool
My insides are blue

She's letting you know who is saying this part. Her name is Chilli and she's describing symptoms one may have when they are, in fact, chilly.

Every time I think I'm through
It's because of you

A warlock is putting words into her brain via telepathy.

I've tried different ways
But it's all the same

I think she's saying, "Once you go black, you never go back." Admittedly, however, this part is over my head.

At the end of the day
I have myself to blame
I'm just trippin'

"I'm just trippin'." Do you feel that? The goosebumps? It's this scholar's opinion that that line is the modern "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." My man John Keats said that. John Keats! That's my man.

T-Boz & Chilli:
You can buy your hair if it won't grow

This is a risky move. In the middle of the song, they've decided to target the alopecia demographic. Risky, but I think it works. What say you, America?

You can fix your nose if he says so

This is obviously a call upon the old saying, "Don't cut off your nose to spite your face." They're updating by saying, "You know what? DO cut off your nose to spite your face, but only if he tells you to." Who is "he" in this case? Jesus.

You can buy all the make-up that Mac can make

This is a trick statement because everybody knows that Mac is actually a bearded old cobbler and he doesn't even manufacture make-up.

But if you can't look inside you

Yeah, idiot. Can't you look inside you? They're calling upon the reader or listener to disembowel him or herself in an act of defiance against X-ray specs and also those bullies at the beach who kick sand in your face in the back of comic books.

Find out who am I to
Be in the position to make me feel so damn unpretty

This is where the ladies bring it home. It's basically a reiteration of their mantra, "Once you go black, you never go back" with the addition of "The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice."


Anonymous said...

Brilliant! You need more of these.

Anonymous said...

I vote you do Fifty Cent next. BRING IT.

Unknown said...

Hi : ) !!!!! I loooved this! Ive been looking up meanings of this song for years! since as long as ive had schizophrenia! wow! a busted clue of who tried to take over my soul! : ( !!! my life however is F I N E! so my soul cant be too wimpy can it??