For today’s Song of the Day I’m going back to a classic. This has always been one of my favourite U2 songs, but I never really paid a lot of attention to the lyrics.
Have you ever had insomnia? It’s amazing how quickly the human body starts to break down when deprived of sleep. Concentration, motivation, aspiration — they all suffer. Insomnia basically attacks on all fronts, with both mental and physical repercussions — and sometimes it seems like the more one tries to fight it, the worse it gets. You can’t will yourself to sleep, so what are you left with? Hour upon hour of relentless consciousness.
I paint a bleak picture. Forgive me. That is not my intention. For here is a song that, when I was listening to it today, made me think of the turbulence of sleeplessness, but also of the peace that sometimes comes in the early morning hours. This is song that, to me, explores the beautiful dark corners of a sleepless mind with gentleness and compassion. I picture this song soothing a restless brow, stroking a mind fevered with lack of sleep, whispering “it’s okay…it’s going to be okay”. Let’s not fight this. Let’s celebrate being awake, and conscious, and alive.
I don’t know what U2’s Bad was written about. But this is how it speaks to me.
To let it go
And so fade away
I’m wide awake
I’m wide awake
I’m not sleeping, oh no, no, no
After posting my Song of the Day on Friday, I was accused of having bad taste, a claim that is impossible to refute since I genuinely like the song and have indeed now outed myself as an Enrique Iglesias fan in general (which surely must be the epitome of questionable judgment).
However! I would like to share with you two examples of my Song of the Day, ‘Hero’ being employed satirically with highly amusing results. The people behind both ‘Scrubs’ (one of my favorite TV shows) and ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ (a great movie, with John Cusack in top Cusackian form**) clearly appreciate the over-the-top amazingness of this song, and I think you will be entertained by these topical clips. Enjoy!
**Please note that I am referring in this case to ‘Better Off Dead’-style Cusackian brilliance rather than ‘Say Anything’-style Cusackian charm.
Okay. I am about to tell you something that I’ve never told anyone except the Finn. It is kind of embarrassing. Here it is: I love Enrique Iglesias’ music. Like, I totally do. It’s poppy and it’s cheesy and it’s euro and it makes me happy. My song of the day for today was a toss-up between my two Enrique favourites. Option #1 was ‘Escape’ which yes, has lyrics that are slightly stalker-esque, but OMG ENRIQUE AND ANNA KOURNIKOVA MAKING OUT THE BATHROOM THAT IS HOT. I’m sorry, but I would totally watch the two of them having sex. Is that super pervy? I don’t care. I would. Don’t lie, you would too.
However, I ended up going with ‘Hero’ because this song is just amazing on so many levels. And by amazing I mean ridiculous. And by ridiculous I mean fantastic. First of all, I am kind of fascinated by the whole phenomenon of these over-the-top love ballads. There is no irony here. Enrique truly believes that love will conquer all, and when he sings “I can be your hero baby / I can kiss away the pain / I will stand by you forever / You can take my breath away” you know that this is meant as a grand romantic pledge. But what does any of it mean, actually? I had this conversation with some friends a while ago. I was telling them about an ex of mine who once professed to me that I was his “sun, moon and stars”. I was like “well that’s all very nice and good my friend, but WHAT DOES IT MEAN?” Nothing. They’re just empty words. You can say all the pretty things you want, but if there’s nothing backing them up then they are as flimsy as the proverbial house of cards. Anyway, these types of lyrics are used all the time in pop songs, and I know that love is a difficult thing to write about without sounding like an idiot, but surely we can do better than this? And yet…and yet…sometimes there is nothing better in the world than singing along to a ridiculous ballad with hideously cheesy lyrics (see also: Extreme’s ‘More than Words’). Because really, in the end, love IS cheesy. It makes you do stupid things and feel heightened emotions and take foolish leaps of faith. But we all need a little of that in our lives, don’t we? I mean, just to keep things fun? And if unabashedly maudlin love songs help us to connect with that part of ourselves, are they not helping to make the world a better place? Yes they are.
The other thing I love about this song is that the video for it is literally AMAZE x 1,000,000 for so many reasons, including:
– Mickey Rourke as the villain
– Jennifer Love Hewitt in the only role I’ve ever seen her in that didn’t make me want to punch her in the face
– The scenes of them driving with the money flying out of the car. This makes me crazy. Yeah yeah I know, the (not at all subtle) point is that money means nothing compared to their undying love. But every time I see it I want to leap into the screen and run after the money because IT IS A LOT OF MONEY!!!! I need some. Send it over here Enrique!
– How everyone in this video is so well lit. J.Lo.Hew looks like a million bucks.
– The storyline that has absolutely nothing to do with the lyrics of the song. I mean, how exactly is Enrique being a “hero” in this scenario? I guess if being heroic means stealing money from a shady drug lord (?) and putting the lives of yourself and the woman you love in danger, then yeah…a hero you are, sir. ???? None of it makes any sense.
– The best, best, BEST ever dying scene at the end of the video. When I die I hope it is lying on a street in the rain with the Finn clutching at his chest and sobbing like J.Lo.Hew. Probably the most overwrought piece of acting I’ve ever seen. In fact, everything about this video is completely overwrought, which is what makes it SO GOOD.
So that’s my Song of the Day. Happy Friday to you all! Now enjoy one of the best videos of all time: