Friday, July 22, 2011

Music Review: Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)

Today, 22 July 2011, marks the one-year anniversary of the founding of the Strawberry Dragon Project blog!  ...Okay, so the first thing I published on that day was only a mission statement, not an actual review.  But the first review I did (on 7 August) was for the song "Hey, Soul Sister" by Train.  In that review, which I still regret and intend touch up a little more, I mentioned how I hated their other biggest hit, "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)".  The reasoning for my intolerance of the song was complex; the only way I could describe it was "[...] anything that makes me visualize the Muppets in a poorly animated chorus line can't be good".  Well, I suppose I could temporarily get that image out of my head, and prevent you from suffering the same, by watching the music video.  Anything to help me out as I give you pleasure through my pain on this, the first anniversary special of the SDP!

Now that she's back in the atmosphere
With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey, hey

Hmm, space symbolism seems to be the name of the game here.  Those of you for whom Sailor Moon comes to mind, believe it or not, you are luckier than I.  ...Then again, if I try to take the lyrics word-by-word, I can't pin any hidden meanings onto each example.  Like "drops of Jupiter"?  What's that supposed to be?

She acts like Summer and walks like rain
Reminds me that there's time to change, hey, hey
Since the return from her stay on the moon
She listens like Spring and she talks like June, hey, hey

For some reason, the vocal rhythm of these lines seems to go out of sync with the piano running the backbeat.  Throws me off every time.  Fortunately, once we throw in the drums and other instruments starting with the next verse, we will cease to have that problem.

Tell me, did you sail across the sun?
Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights of Vega all faded
And that Heaven is overrated?
Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star?
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?

Okay, so the central message of this song is that our man's lover has returned from some trip or other.  With the lyrics being buried neck-deep in thematic elements, it's hard to tell if his welcome wishes are sincere or sarcastic, like how "Good Riddance (I Time of Your Life)" is the latter.  Or so it would seem, but Pat Monahan claims the song was really inspired by the death of his mother.  Still, I suppose this is the sort of song which lends itself to alternate interpretations.  Oh, and with his voice as... blurry as it is, for the longest time I mis-heard some of the lyrics, which I have written and crossed-out for your convenience.

Now that she's back from that soul vacation
Tracing her way through the constellation, hey, hey
She checks out Mozart while she does Tae Bo
Reminds me that there's room to grow, hey, hey, yeah.

...Really?  You're name-dropping Tae Bo?  First of all, that name's a trademark, so even if you had to pay licencing fees and did so, it's just so... jarring.  I don't know, I'll explain it later.  All I know is I've dealt with it before.  Second, who does aerobics to classical music?  Of course, assuming someone does that in real life, I'd really have no choice to respect that, you never know.  Oh, and way to date yourself!  Wasn't that fad already on its way out the door in 2001?

Now that she's back in the atmosphere
I'm afraid that she might d??n bill think of me as

Back on the subject of mondegreens: before I learned what the FCC does, I thought some songs on the radio cursed a lot more than they did, and despite involving a "mild" word that would get a pass on American airwaves, this happens to be an example of that phenonemon..

Plane, no train, no Plain ol' Jane told a story about a man
Who was doing pretty fly stuff Who is too afraid to fly so he never did land.

That's not the way I heard the story.  I seem to recall Mr. Play-It-Safe's flight crash-landing as he thought, "Well, isn't this nice".

Tell me, did the wind sweep you off your feet?
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the latter-day light of day
And head back to the Milky Way?
And tell me, did Venus blow your mind?
Was it everything you wanted to find
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?

The problem with mentioning dancing is a song is that everyone envisions the idea of dancing differently.  Let's just say when I picture it in my mind, the dancing involved is just... awkward.  I won't force my mental image onto you; I just wanted to get that off my chest now that I've had some time to think about it.

Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chick chicken
Your best friend always sticking up for you?
Even when I know you're wrong
Can you imagine no first dance, freeze-dried romance
Five hour phone conversation?
The best story soy latte that you ever had, and me?

...WHY is the bridge one of songwriters' favorite places to ruin songs.  Heck, Train did it again in "Hey, Soul Sister", with their "so gangsta, I'm so thug" line.  And here we get fried chicken and soy lattes name-dropped for seemingly no reason whatsoever!  It's hard to describe why that sort of thing gets to me, maybe it throws off the innocence that pop music is supposed to take you away to?  I don't know.  Going back to the point of the song, with, well, mostly the other things he listed, I suppose he's reminding the other woman of what they missed while she had gone off doing whatever... or whoever.  You ever think of that, huh?  You ever think she could have had an affair without telling you?  Yeah, Mark Sanford says hi.

So in summation, this song is pretty stupid, if not at the level set later by "Hey, Soul Sister".  The core sentiment is pretty... pretty, depending on how you choose to interpret.  If you chose to sing or play it as a love song, your significant other would be less likely to slap you in the face for insulting her intelligence.  That said, it falls apart in more places than one, but like I said, its problems don't dig in quite as deep as some other songs that are out right now.  If I am able to face my fears and admit that, then the exorcism I set out to perform on my self must be a success.

The Call: 2 planets out of 5 (D)

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