Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

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Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Aspiemom on March 13th, 2011, 5:18 am

It's Sunday somewhere- let's get this discussion started. The Song 'o the Week is "Miss America" from Feelings. Here is a YouTube clip of the famous kilt performance, along with an introduction by DB himself. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flqPQ6wMck4&feature=related[/youtube] :breakdance: :breakdance:

The first time I heard DB belt out "I love America," I thought "Where are you going with this?" I'll lead with that question. What's the song about? Do you find it funny, sexy, offensive?

Also, what's your favorite performance of this song? Did you ever hear it performed live? Please share.
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Aspiemom on March 13th, 2011, 5:31 am

Here are the lyrics:

I love America
Her secret's safe with me
I know her wicked ways
The parts you never see

Oh Supergirl
You'll be my Supermodel
Although you have a reputation
Can I afford?
Are you above my station?
I'm not the only heart you've conquered.

I love America
But boy can she be cruel
I know how tall she is
Without her platform shoes

Oh Supergirl
You'll be my Supermodel
Although at times it might seem awkward
Don't run away
Oh don't you recognize me?
I'm not the only heart you've conquered.

I kissed America
When she was fleecing me
And she know I understand
That she needs to be free

I miss America
And sometimes she does too
And sometimes I think of her
When she is fucking you

I love America
Siempre Confiado en ti
I love America
Porque metratas a si?

Oh Supergirl
You'll be my Supermodel
Although you pants are 'round your ankles
And when you're down
I'll be your Dirty Harry
It will be just like in the movies.

Oh Supergirl
You'll be my Supermodel
Although at time it might seem awkward
Don't look away
I'll be your teenage fanclub.
I'm not the only heart you've conquered.
:rockdude:
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Oedepus on March 13th, 2011, 6:23 am

Here's the music video:

http://www.vh1.com/video/david-byrne/53 ... rtist=1047

and some behind the scenes footage:

http://vimeo.com/10870116


Aspiemom wrote:The first time I heard DB belt out "I love America," I thought "Where are you going with this?" I'll lead with that question. What's the song about? Do you find it funny, sexy, offensive?

Also, what's your favorite performance of this song? Did you ever hear it performed live? Please share.


Good question, the first time I heard the song I watched the music video, so based on the images, I somehow instantly gathered that he was being sarcastic with the opening line.

What is the song about? it can be about different things, for some people it's satirical, for other people it seems to be honestly patriotic (as in America is really fucked up but damn we love it) and for me, for example, it's about an actual female archetype.

I find it really sexy, not offensive at all, funny? yes, when I show the video to people they always laugh.

I'm too young to have witnessed a live performance, and it seems I never will as Byrne fully dropped it from his setlists after the Feelings tour :(
The live performance is pure sexual energy, pure sensuality, it's all about the man going in circles around the woman. The weird moves, they could be interpreted as an attempt to get her attention like when animals try to impress their potential mates (though I could be stretching, maybe he just wanted to do a funny dance) also that's an interesting contrast, a man singing "I love America" while looking so scottish with a kilt.

My favorite live performance of the song would be the one found in the Live in germany bootleg (it's avaliable in the tape section of this board) he kinda messed up the final vocal harmony but that's actually one of the reasons I love it, also because they add some extra I love america verses to the end, and the way Byrne sings them, they sound really different to the opening verses, because in these ones, he sounds very compassionate and warm when he says He loves America, it's not sarcastic anymore, he actually means it with his heart.

I want to make emphasis on the final vocal harmony in the song before the instrumental outro, I think it's so perfect and takes the song the extra mile.

The remix found on Visible Man is also really great.

Now...

Please take a look at the music video and share your opinion on the bizarre man Byrne plays, the one smiling at us from the tv set. In my opinion it is the first and only time Byrne has looked positively frightening:

Image

What does this man represent? the grotesque qualities of America? is he smiling becuase he is proud of them? is he some sort of news person trying to make us think about the things we enjoy watching?

And isn't this man making references to Byrne's past work?

Blind

Television Man

...it seems like this hole goes down really deep!
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Aspiemom on March 14th, 2011, 3:14 am

AAAAK! That's a scary picture!

Your VH-1 link made me watch an ad for red lipstick and then announced that the video was unavailable. It was kind of appropriate, considering the subject matter. I found another link that worked, so I'm going to try to put it here: http://new.music.yahoo.com/videos/DavidByrne/Miss-America--2139935

I had never seen the video before, but like your friends, I found it funny. DB dresses up as various pop star archetypes- rapper guy, Latin guy, bottle-blonde guy. The Bono-type guy has a shirt that says "evil," so maybe this DB/Bono feud has been going on awhile. The character in the black t-shirt seems to be "David Byrne," but the doll and the various other characters hint that this is just another character. ("I am just an advertisement for a version of myself.") Did Americans force pop-stars into these roles? Are they just giving us what we asked for/paid for?

I don't know what's up with the cataract-suffering t.v. guy. Television Man is a t.v. viewer, not a broadcaster. I think you're onto something with the blind reference. How can the broadcaster report the news that he can't see? (Assuming the blindness is metaphorical, as actual blindness should not be a barrier to a career in broadcasting. My blind friend gets a little pissed at the use of blindness in this negative metaphoric sense. . . )
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Oedepus on March 14th, 2011, 5:09 pm

The Miss America music video can also be downloaded here in great quality:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=0GVN5DIL

The TV man is not literally blind in my opinion, he just seems to be refusing to see certain things that are infront of him, and that's why he seems so happy despite of his condition, he's in denial.
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby muleskinner on March 14th, 2011, 6:41 pm

Have read the "song of the week" topics with interest. "Miss America" is one of the few songs of DB and/or TH which actually lends itself to fairly easy interpretation. Plain and simple, it's a clever and ironic protest song.

As for interpreting/analyzing many (I'd argue most) of his songs, it's probably worthwhile to consider DB's song writing process before spending too much time trying to decipher them. By his own description, he usually lays down a melody or basic song structure first, then spends days, weeks, or months recording what he describes as random statements, words, quasi words, or "found phrases" (whether overheard on the street or on a plane, or in some graffiti under a bridge, into a mini recorder he carries with him on the go).

If you've read the book by Sytze Steenstra "Song and circumstance", in which he makes a very convincing argument that DB ultimately draws from the Romantics of the 1800s, who in turn influenced the surrealists, the Dadaists, etc., then you might find that trying to decipher or interpret much of the lyrics is, well, futile. DB, and all of these mentioned categories of artists also subscribed to a creative method of tapping into the subconscious, and especially dreams.

So, if we have any Jungian psychologists/analysts among the group, discuss amongst yourselves.

I'm getting verklempt.

Best
JG
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Oedepus on March 14th, 2011, 10:00 pm

I ordered that book recently, can't wait for it to arrive, I'll probably finish it in a few sessions.

Your post reminded me of Buñuel and Dali's film "Un chien andalou" which is impossible to analyze or explain because it was done with the intention of avoiding any rationality. David Bowie would also cut up phrases and construct them into lyrics.

With some Byrne songs I'm sure this is the case, but with Miss America, I think there is real world fabric to think about. The song of the week threads are great because they display what a talented artist he is, he might have created songs which could be pointless, but we find meaning or (create one) for them, like all great art, you make out of it what you like best.
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby muleskinner on March 14th, 2011, 10:29 pm

Oedepus wrote:impossible to analyze or explain because it was done with the intention of avoiding any rationality. David Bowie would also cut up phrases and construct them into lyrics.


"Done with the intention of avoiding any rationality". Let me think...is there a different way to say that...hmmm..well I think there is: "Stop Making sense"

Bowie is another of many musicians/artists who can be traced with a pretty straight line to the Romantic movement (in Bowie's case, with a long pit stop at the William S. Burroughs station).
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Aspiemom on March 15th, 2011, 2:49 am

muleskinner wrote:Have read the "song of the week" topics with interest. "Miss America" is one of the few songs of DB and/or TH which actually lends itself to fairly easy interpretation. Plain and simple, it's a clever and ironic protest song.


I'm with you on that. I hear the song as an extended metaphor describing America as a woman of questionable moral character. But I enjoyed hearing Oedepus' reaction to the song as well. As a woman who has long been puzzled/angered by some men's fascination with "bad girls" (I have struggled for a better term), I have a bit more understanding from reading his post. If I understand the metaphor better, I understand the song better.
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Aspiemom on March 15th, 2011, 3:04 am

muleskinner wrote:As for interpreting/analyzing many (I'd argue most) of his songs, it's probably worthwhile to consider DB's song writing process before spending too much time trying to decipher them. By his own description, he usually lays down a melody or basic song structure first, then spends days, weeks, or months recording what he describes as random statements, words, quasi words, or "found phrases" (whether overheard on the street or on a plane, or in some graffiti under a bridge, into a mini recorder he carries with him on the go).


This is a big arty issue that I have not studied. But I'm not sure I care about DB's process, or even how he would interpret the songs he wrote. I agree that we would be wasting our time trying to figure out what DB "really meant," especially with some songs from "Speaking in Tongues."

But we can valuably spend our time discussing what a song means to us. A song exists only within the mind of each listener. Here we have a whole board full of listeners. Who better to share our interpretations? I get tired of interviewers who ask the same questions over and over, and reviewers who seem to have listened to an album one time and then jumped to their word processors. I'm more interested in the opinions of those who have listened for a long time. We're all co-creating the songs in our own minds. Apparently, the same brain regions light up when we listen to a recording and when we remember a recording. Our mental constructions have a huge influence on how we hear the song. So, if I can get a good idea from another listener, I'm going to build that in to my version of the song.

Also, I'm learning that surprise is one key element to why we enjoy listening to music. It releases Dopamine! :jumpyjumpy: Most of these songs we are discussing are old. I find that once my mind has fully-processed a song, I can't pay attention to it anymore. Hearing a new perspective might restore mental focus.
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Aspiemom on March 15th, 2011, 3:15 am

muleskinner wrote:If you've read the book by Sytze Steenstra "Song and circumstance", in which he makes a very convincing argument that DB ultimately draws from the Romantics of the 1800s, who in turn influenced the surrealists, the Dadaists, etc., then you might find that trying to decipher or interpret much of the lyrics is, well, futile. DB, and all of these mentioned categories of artists also subscribed to a creative method of tapping into the subconscious, and especially dreams.

So, if we have any Jungian psychologists/analysts among the group, discuss amongst yourselves.

I'm getting verklempt.

Best
JG


I did read "Song and Circumstance," and I agree about the Romantics influencing DB's work. I thought the book gave short shrift to DB's solo albums though.

Now I'm getting verklempt. I'll give you a topic: Post-modernism, neither post nor modern. :coffee: :coffee: ;)

Thanks for joining the discussion. :)
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Oedepus on March 15th, 2011, 4:14 am

Aspiemom, I'm so dumb for not reading your name correctly, all this time I thought you were a guy :lol:

The song totally exploits the bad girl fascination, in a way in which she's not at all a dislikeable character to the listener. I'd also like to point out something I mentioned in the essay, the line "you'll be my supermodel" it's really interesting because it could go either way, she's the narrator's private super model, or she's the narrator's archetype (a super model as in a female ubermensch?) or, she's his super model because he's the only one that really sees her that way...
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Aspiemom on March 16th, 2011, 12:06 am

Oedepus wrote:Aspiemom, I'm so dumb for not reading your name correctly, all this time I thought you were a guy :lol:

The song totally exploits the bad girl fascination, in a way in which she's not at all a dislikeable character to the listener. I'd also like to point out something I mentioned in the essay, the line "you'll be my supermodel" it's really interesting because it could go either way, she's the narrator's private super model, or she's the narrator's archetype (a super model as in a female ubermensch?) or, she's his super model because he's the only one that really sees her that way...


Glad I'm not the only one who makes that mistake! :lol: This is a weird way to meet people. We're disembodied with made-up names. Maybe I need a hyphen- Aspie-mom?

I agree that the song is not 100% negative on America, or Miss America. The singer sees her many flaws but orbits around her despite, or maybe because of, them.

Supermodel is an interesting word, especially after Supergirl. Have you considered that it may be a play on Superpower, or on America's holding itself up as a model for the rest of the world to emulate?
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Aspiemom on March 16th, 2011, 2:29 am

s!mbells wrote:And thanks for the clip links - The film clip is beauty and madness. if it was the best party you ever went to, better that parties they have have in heaven - would you have the will (or want) to leave?


Really? I see layer after layer of grotesque at that party. It looks more like Hell to me. :twisted:
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Aspiemom on March 16th, 2011, 3:47 am

s!mbells wrote:My head is a bit fuzzy but I have some questions:

Is this really the America you live in? I feel it's the America we all live in - who's really in control anyway - is this song a conspiracy theory?
Whats' her secret?
What's the parts we haven't seen - is this good or bad, dangerous or safe - do we want to know?
What doe she look like without platform shoes?
When does she fuck us?
Does it feels like I'm in Mexico???
Does he a a favorite Superhero - the future President maybe?
Pants down her ankles - what perfect comedic imagery - yet makes a huge statement! Has someone been exposed?
:twisted:


Hi, S!mbells,

Good to hear from you. Hope we're providing some pleasant distraction.

Fucking has a double meaning in the song: 1) having enthusiastic sex; 2) hurting someone deceitfully. I'm telling you, this woman is bad news!

I think the Latin beat and the kilt make it more fun. We're getting an outsider's perspective. Plus, it reminds me of "America" from West Side Story, another Latin sounding song written by white men, but less ironic. I'm a musical theater geek. :geek: Not saying DB had this in mind when he wrote the song. I'd post a link if my wi-fi were working.
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Oedepus on March 16th, 2011, 7:23 pm

Aspiemom wrote:Supermodel is an interesting word, especially after Supergirl. Have you considered that it may be a play on Superpower, or on America's holding itself up as a model for the rest of the world to emulate?


In the satire/patriotic aspect of the song, that fits perfectly.

Aspiemom wrote:Really? I see layer after layer of grotesque at that party. It looks more like Hell to me. :twisted:


Hell to us, heaven to them!

s!mbells wrote:Oedepus - You are obviously a huge fan of this song and I'm glad that you found the world of DB / TH. Your passion for the song is clear in your essay. I'm sure DB would be grateful he has infected your world in a such a positive manner . They (DB / TH) are truly unique. It is a special song and the film clip is a masterpiece.
:breakdance: :breakdance: :breakdance: :breakdance:


I'm very thankful to this song for introducing me to the universe of DB which is so full of surprises, I've already listened to all the TH albums, and I've arrived to Rei Momo now, I've loved everything so far, but I'm sure Miss America will remain #1 by the time I'm done with all his work.

I would absolutely love to have the chance to tell DB about me and Miss America someday...but maybe I already did, apparently he reads this board :o

Thanks for your input s!mbells!

I'm also glad you 2 watched the music video, no matter how long you've been a fan, there always seems to be a surprise waiting, for example have you seen the Angels and Back in the box music videos? there's another surprise waiting there.
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Aspiemom on March 17th, 2011, 2:47 am

s!mbells wrote:What I was looking for with my questions were examples of what the secret might be - he comes across like he has an insight. Is it what the foundations of what USA is built around or could it be corruption etc
"What doe she look like without platform shoes?" - is he saying, she's not so tall, not so powerful etc
I'm trying to imagine what are the parts we've never seen - homeless, corruption (again), all the conspiracy theories one can think off???

I also wonder if this song is gender specific - ie he chooses to present her as feminine but is it really gender specific? (ie like a boat or ship is refereed to in the female gender)


I think it's just a complaint about the country America presents herself as being (a shining beacon of democracy and freedom for the world to emulate) and what she does (pursuing selfish interests by propping up "presidents for life" in the developing world, justifying brutal capitalism by calling it freedom). Interesting play on words in the song "she needs to be free," btw. I don't think these flaws are secret necessarily, they're just not perceived by everyone.

This song would not work if it were called Mr. America. A promiscuous man is admired; a promiscuous woman is supposed to be ashamed of her behavior and try to conceal it.
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Aspiemom on March 17th, 2011, 2:54 am

Oedepus wrote:for example have you seen the Angels and Back in the box music videos? there's another surprise waiting there.
[/quote]

No, I haven't. Not that I haven't looked, but I just can't find them. All I could find of "Angels" was Beavis and ButtHead, but I saw enough of the video to know that there was spinning. So now I'm on a mission to see the rest of it! Any hints?

If you're listening to "Rei Momo" now, then I think you should listen to "Uh-oh" when you're ready for another album. They complement each other. :breakdance: :breakdance:
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Oedepus on March 17th, 2011, 5:31 am

I'm going through everything chronologically, Uh-Oh is still a bit far, since I got a few unplugged sessions before that one, but so far I love Now I'm your mom, Girls on my mind, Hanging upside down and A Walk in the dark!

The Angels video has vanished, but I saw it last year at a site called Spike. Yeah there's a lot of spinning, and each lyric is somewhat represented, something that I found rather interesting was Byrne spinning in the supermarket covered in tin foil (during the version of myself lyric)

And Back in the box is right here:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=612A0BPZ

thanks to Ruben!
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Re: Song of the Week- March 13- "Miss America"

Postby Oedepus on March 17th, 2011, 11:24 pm

You were right, I was blown away by Rei Momo, every single track on it is fantastic!
The Rose Tattoo has some really interesting lyrics, there's a potential song of the week for when you feel like taking a good challenge :)
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