Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pop culture punch #1 - Bruno Mars a man descending further into delusions

This sudden return to Brian in the Write signals not only a sudden return to something I've abandoned but also a new purpose. While political commentary will still be offered on occasion when something relevant and easy for me to rant about comes to the fore, I may indeed stick to the original mission.

However, the pop culture punch now takes aim at the themes that pervade pop culture, and how it I can apply my neglected English major to help the less enlightened see the deeper themes in our developing culture (or lack thereof, some may argue).

This first pop culture punch takes a look at the tortured artist Bruno Mars whose works indicate a certain downward spiral into deeper and deeper levels of disillusionment, of if I am to be more charitable, simply the speaker that he wishes to convey to the audience.

What many consider to be his breakout single, "Billionaire" sets the tone for this discourse. A song that echoes the times of economic hardship, it captures the feeling of many who can simply wish for success that isn't coming in a time of high unemployment, tough competition and overall depression. In this piece Bruno sets up the tone of wishing for something that is either unachievable or overly hopeful, setting himself up for failure and disappointment, for in the great majority of instances, wishing does not make it so.

His next radio single "Just the Way You Are" continues this view of hopefulness, but is tinged by delusion. Here Mars is profuse in his compliments, heaping praise upon praise of his object saying that nothing she (I am assuming a female muse in this instance) can do will change his perception of her, and that everything she does is good enough. This relentless onslaught of putting "Pussy on a Pedestal" definitely sets up Mars for future disappointment, as no real woman can compete with an idealized version of herself for long. Ultimately, one would suspect this imbalance of affection would lead to alienation, disappointment and separation.

For many artists who rise and fall, such a single if left unanswered should leave the listener wanting more, curious as to whether Mars matured past his idealization or did he crash and burn horribly in a way that, while tragic, would entertain the audience.

Thankfully, Mars follows perfectly with his next single "Grenade," with the title alone evoking the kind of disastrous scenario that many feared (or were secretly hoping for).  The lyrics of this piece evoke several conflicting elements indicating an unstable mind and inconsistency in message that helps describe a broken down mind.

The first part indicates a woman who clearly does not return his affections (perhaps tired of his worship hm?), indeed rejecting him wholly. He however, not able to move on, goes on to describe how he would embark upon all manner of self destructive actions, several of which speak of a certain sort of death wish that only the most unrealistic and romantic of us can hope to achieve.  This in itself would speak volumes except for a statement he makes in surprise, that she would not reciprocate these actions for him. It would be far too much to expect someone who already loved you to subject themselves to such risk. To expect that this woman, who has clearly moved on by now to do the same speaks to the complete unreasonableness of the speaker, who expects a person, apathetic at best, to die on his behalf.

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