Saturday’s Theme Music

Well, this one is a baffler.

I’d fed the cats, done some dreamflecting, emptied the dishwasher (and put the stuff away), and was making breakfast (and writing in my head) when some neurons took a sidebar to discuss today’s theme music. Without any apparent deliberation, they decided it’d be “American Woman”.

Why? “That’s why,” they answered. My neurons can be so immature.

So now, “American Woman” is rumbling through my head. Which version? Oh, several. Lenny Kravitz led off, but the neurons switched back to the original version by The Guess Who (1970), followed by the Butthole Surfers’ cover (which is always interesting). In the end, the original led the way.

Here we go. I selected several of the versions as theme music at least once before, so this is a redux, but the neurons have spoken. Here we go.

Today’s Theme Music

Today’s song is right out of the American pop-rock scene of the nineteen seventies. It’s by a Canadian group who had a handful of hits and multiple excellent albums.

That’s the Guess Who. Love those rock band names. Today’s song is ‘American Woman’. People have argued about the lyric’s intentions since it came out. I once read one of the song-writers quoting John Lennon to the effect that a song’s meanings emerge after they’re recorded and that someone else needs to interpret them. I was writing a paper comparing the writing styles of Kurt Vonnegut and Mario Puzo at the time. I’d read some comments by them about how readers find meanings that the writers never intended. That doesn’t make those meanings wrong or illegitimate.

I was beginning to see and understand that in literature, art and music. People find their own meanings. It’s always fascinating then to hear people argue about these things as though they’re absolutes, and not shaped by own lives and dreams.

And it reminds me of eating food. People are always insisting to others, “Try this, it’s great, you’ll love it!” But tastes buds are also tastes, aren’t they? Sure. Try convincing others of that. They take your disagreement as a personal insult.

That’s what many Americans did with ‘American Woman’. They disagreed with what they saw as the song’s meaning and rejected it. I’ve had people tell me that they hate this song, because it was about hating America to them.

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