Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Inside The Lyricist's Studio: Pussycat Dolls Edition

In today's analysis, we shall cover a stanza from "Beep," the Pussycat Dolls song:

"I don't give a...
Keep looking at my...
'Cause it don't mean a thing if you're looking at my...
I'm a do my thing while you're playing with your...
Ha, ha-ha, ha-ha, ha-ha"

In this cryptic, deliciously nuanced verse, the Pussycat Dolls adopt a lighthearted approach to the concept of "taboo" as a means of cultural control, while at the same time providing general commentary on the illusions of liberty and free will that characterize human thought. Employing a groundbreaking, vocalized usage of the ellipsis, the Dolls appear to withhold from us, to tease us with incomplete phrases and inconclusive thoughts. However, this harmless device only serves as a cleverly disguised means of providing us with even more in the end; by acting as musically inclined, scantily clad Robinhoods, stealing from the ends of their sentences in order to further enrich our ability to think critically, the Dolls actually render the Final Truth all the more rewarding.

As is the case with all great poetry, art, and music, it is precisely that which is left unsaid in this masterwork that grips us, pulls us from our chairs, and drags us to the forefront of our collective consciousness. Looking at my...what? Playing with your...what? Your Tickle-Me Elmo? Your Sony PlayStation? It could be anything, and this sense of infinite possibility wreaks havoc on our intrinsic craving for information, for knowledge, and for answers. But the Dolls are smarter than we are. They know that we know that they know the exact nature of the message they wish to convey, and they also know that, in reality, there is not one drop of mystery to be squeezed from this carefully constructed verse. Sure, the songwriters may very well have envisioned a lyric that proclaims, "I don't give a darn, keep looking at my yarn." But we know better, and that is not what we see. Our well-trained neocortical matter is not fazed by the ellipsis, and it easily "reads" those words that are, in fact, unwritten. We may loathe ourselves for possessing this knowledge, but try as we might, we cannot fight against a force of this magnitude, an unstoppable momentum generated by year upon year of cultural conditioning.

"Ha, ha-ha, ha-ha," the Pussycat Dolls taunt with smug derision at the end of the verse. We are the humbled victims of their mockery because we have reached conclusions, but not conclusions that they have forcefully imposed upon us. The song is the medium, but the Dolls did not compose this message; they merely pressed "send" and watched it weed-whack its way through our preexisting cosmological order. And they chuckle heartily, secure in the knowledge that we have incriminated ourselves with filthy, smut-laden, gender specific thoughts while they remain innocent of any crime other than that of mere suggestion. Yes, this verse is but a Rorschach Test for American culture as a whole, and our interpretation indicts us. Like a mirror held up to a figurative face, the reflection of who we are as a People is cast back upon us each time "Beep" soars out of our speakers and collides with our cochlear nerves. But we mustn't panic. We must use this as an opportunity, a chance to embark on a perilous voyage of self-discovery, a reason to pause and ponder the means by which preconceptions and socially-generated thought processes beyond our control hold us captive, prisoners of our own minds. And then we must laugh, "Ha ha-ha, ha-ha," with our sagacious, erudite Pussycat Doll friends, and then we must press the forward arrow on our i-Pods and wait with open arms and open minds for whatever new diversion the "shuffle" function has selected.

1 Comments:

At 8:52 AM, Blogger bowling with no panties said...

YES!!! I flunked the TEST!! I saw the video and realized that while the Dolls could have been talking about ANYTHING, I had a BIG HEART but I was looking at their ASS!!! Their ASS! Does this make me a lesbian?

 

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