Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Case Against: "The Rainbow Connection".

Remember that happy little ditty that Kermit the Frog was singing at the start of "The Muppet Movie"? That sweet little song about rainbows? Well folks - I'm here to tell you that "The Rainbow Connection" is, quite simply, THE MOST DEPRESSING SONG EVER WRITTEN. It's so damn... defeatist! "But no, Uncle Spike," I hear you cry, "Kermit the Frog wouldn't intentionally bum us out! You must be mistaken and you were listening to The Smiths. Or Leonard Cohen." No m'friends, I'm not. Let's take the lyrics to "The Rainbow Connection" and analyse them bit by bit, and you'll see why the song is worthy of a minor key Morrissey makeover.

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.

Here we go, then. First line and already the tone has been set with a question asked in a semi-sarcastic tone. Why are there so many songs about rainbows? Because people like them, that's why. They are pretty anomalies of nature. They look nice. They're sweet. But, the song reminds us, they don't actually exist. You can't reach out and touch it or keep it. It's just an illusion. Optimists look at a rainbow and see something that looks beautiful. Pessimists, like the author here, look at one and say "pff! It's just light reflected off water particles." Well thanks, Mr Bum-Me-Out. Bugger off back to your half-empty glass.

So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

What does this actually mean? If you were going to be nice, you could say that the first two lines apply to the last verse. Is he saying that the people who choose to believe that a rainbow is just an illusion are wrong or is he saying that the lovers, the dreamers and him aren't all going to find this hallowed rainbow connection. The fact that these lines start a whole new verse makes me think that it's the latter option. F'rinstance, look at the last line. "The lovers, the dreamers and me", the inference being that he is neither a lover nor a dreamer, the sort of people in an idyllic state of mind who would look for the magic and mysticism in a rainbow. It looks to me that he doesn't believe there's a rainbow connection. Stick in the word "that" before the third line and you'll see what I mean. "So we've been told and some choose to believe it - I know they're wrong, wait and see - that someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me."

Who said that every wish would be heard
and answered when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it's done so far.

Jack shit, that's what it's done so far - that's what he's saying here. He's being sarcastic! He's telling us, presumably the lovers and dreamers, that wishing on a star is pointless and just something that someone made up. His evidence? "Look what it's done so far." Has your wish ever come true? Are we millionaires? Are we successful and happy? Are we princess astronaughts? No! Wishing on a star, says the author, is, essentially, pointless.

What's so amazing that keeps us star gazing
and what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

So he's alluding to the previous verse here. He's telling us we're looking up to the skies, trying to find something that's not there. In his rational and logical mind, he's chastising the romantics for thinking that there's something amazing about looking up at the stars. Nice pick-me-up, Mr Spock.

All of us under its spell. We know that it's probably magic.

Your guess is about as good as mine on this one. All I'll say is take notice to the way he uses the word "probably". Is this more sarcasm?

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors.
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it.
It's something that I'm supposed to be.

So now I'm getting really creeped out here. This is clearly a reference to Sirens - in Greek mythology, the Sirens were these pretty little creatures (sometimes birds, sometimes women, sometimes a combination) that sang sweet little songs to attract sailors. BUT WAIT! Before you non-mythology lovers say "aaww, that's nice - it was like the 'American Bandstand' of ye olde times", they did this for reasons above and beyond entertainment. They did it to attract young and innocent sailors to the rocky island they lived on, in order to kill them! Yes!! They sang sweet, attractive songs to sailors in order to get them to crash into the rocks and die! So what does this mean in the context of the song? He hears voices in his sleep and he thinks they are calling him to his doom. The writer admits that he hears them with a frequency that won't allow him to just mark it down to chance and that "it's something that I'm supposed to be". Hmm. What does this actually mean? Does he think that he is supposed to be a siren, or is he referring to something that the sirens are calling him? Is the theory that the sirens are tailoring a sweet song specifically aimed at him with the express intention of making him a past-tense person? Is he crazy? Is this a suicide note? Is he about to do away with himself and say "the sirens made me do it?" Tell me that verse isn't creepy as all getout and I'll tell you you're smoking crack.

And finally, we end with another

Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

So there you go. Happy ditty, or the swan song of a schizophrenic? You decide!

Lyrics and Music


Senihele said...



You want a serious answer or irreverence? I can do both.

Spike Nesmith said...

go on then, gimme both! And, to answer your first question, obviously not enough.

Senihele said...

The irreverent: "It's telling us that it's all Bill Clinton's fault! Don't you get it, you left winged liberal!? The rainbow connection has to be a reference to Cinton's im "peach" ment since both refer to colors!!! It's all a conspiracy aided by Michael Moore to hypnotize us into watching F-911."

(How's that for a schizophrenic answer? LOL)

The serious one?
It's about hope. It's about even after you've been told something is a dream, that it's not possible, that you still know somewhere - it's out there - and you'll find it. Kinda like: Never let em get you down.

Nice to see you blogging, Spike.

Spike Nesmith said...

I'll accept answer number two. I would have accepted answer number 1 if it didn't remind me of 60% of the callers we used to get back when we started 58Live.

I'm glad someone other than me is reading the blog. I'll soon be starting another, which will be the text version of the much demanded return of the Showbiz Update. I've not done it for the best part of 6 months and I still get on average a call a week from people asking for it back.

Somtimes, I love people... =D

Senihele said... recognized my voice! *grin* just kidding. That was my Michael A immitation. *meow*

Actually, I've found your blog linked from several pages so I'd say there are more reading than you know.

We are everywhere.....

It's that kinda day..sorry

Anonymous said...

Your Blog is great. Please update it as much as possible.

The Guy Running the Beer Booth at the Dr. Who Convention