Conventional Wisdom

This week’s Discover Challenge focuses on conventional wisdom, and gives participants some options, including a different interpretation of a song.

What a great subject!

When I was in my junior year of college, I took a General Arts and Humanities class called Women, Minorities, and Mass Media.  It was a writing intensive class, which was not only up my alley (for my obvious reasons), but also because we watched alot of movies and topical documentaries.  I loved the class, particularly the weekly papers.

Early in the semester, we were asked to pick an emotion, and make it the basis of choosing several different songs to write about.  I remember being on the outs of a relationship, but for some reason, chose love songs.  I don’t remember what other songs I chose (I wrote the paper in the fall of 2003), but I distinctly remember picking the Al Green song “Let’s Stay Together.”  I excitedly listened to the song in the college library – this was my pre-iPod, pre-MP3 downloading, pre-You Tube days.  But I was of the firm belief that Google was the all-knowing (a belief I hold firmly to this very day), and knew it was perfect for my paper.  I wrote a page-long interpretation for my paper to include with my other two songs.

About a week later, my professor (a very energetic instructor who engaged our class – mostly Communication Studies majors like myself) passed the writing assignment back, and the notes he left on mine were interesting.

It turned out that my one “love song” choice of “Let’s Stay Together” was not as it seemed.  My music-loving professor told me that the song was actually about unity and coming together, and not some lovey-dovey romantic song like I had initially believed.  The very thought of it being anything other than a love song baffled me – I looked up the lyrics and read through them, and I’d heard it in one of my favorite movies from my teen years, Down To You, so it HAD to be a love song, right?

This article on Baltimore’s Today’s 101.9 from 2011 argues in my favor.  Of course, it was written eight years after I wrote that paper, so I couldn’t exactly back up my interpretation, but since I wasn’t supposed to do research other than listen to the song or read the lyrics, I felt I had to be right.

Apparently, I was all along.

Oh, and the grade I got on the assignment (considering the other two parts of the paper)?  A 100.  Yes, I cannot forget getting that 100 – my teacher absolutely loved my interpretation of music.

And that love of music I had even then?

Whether times are good, and bad, happy or sad, we’re still together.  And it is a beautiful harmony…even if I can’t sing a note! 🙂

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