Mr. Eure | Brewster High School
Always Coming Back Home to You
August 13, 2012Posted by on
Our penultimate text this summer is a song by the indie rap group Atmosphere. In the original assignment, I called this a non-fictional narrative; it might be better called a pseudo-fictional narrative, however. This could be a real memory with a few poetic embellishments. It could also be a kind of composite of several memories. As Didion suggests, the point may not be veracity or verisimilitude. Keep in mind what she and your authors have written as you consider the video below. Click this link to view (and buy, if you are so inclined) the full album through iTunes. The unofficial YouTube clip serves as our fair-use placeholder, since you need access to the fully constructed song, not just the lyrics, in order to respond to it. Notice that “Always Coming Back Home to You” is in the first portion of this nine-minute track:
As you listen, take notes, and talk to each other, you might also ask yourself why it is we seek meaning in the music we listen to. Your preference in music can’t be debated, so that isn’t the question; you like what you like, and while those tastes can be altered or evolved, they aren’t really open to debate. In a course like ours, we’re interested in the debating over the insight in a song like this, how that insight is presented, and what it contributes to our understanding of the world around us.
School has a funny way of stripping the search for meaning of its authenticity, though; the question of what someone’s art means gets murky as soon as you fold in grades, eventual college acceptance, and some sort of nebulously understood future happiness. A common response is to reject the prompt—the “just enjoy it to enjoy it” approach to experiencing something. But you are primed to find patterns and create meaning; you might say it is fundamental to the way we live our lives. And to argue that we should “just enjoy” raises all sorts of questions about what enjoyment means, why it should be separate from thoughtfulness or analysis, and why you are trained to believe that false dichotomy.
All of which is soapboxing to tell you to enjoy music for music’s sake, but not to assume that there isn’t any deeper meaning, nor that your author doesn’t intend for you to grapple with themes or symbols. He does. All authors do. Even the denizens of YouTube recognize this:
no plot? what the **** are you talking about? the kid with the gun is part of the plot you idiot. if you haven’t noticed one theme in this song is how people view slug as a criminal, and he sometimes catches himself having criminal thoughts as well. when he’s in the store, he has a vision of robbing it, so he runs outside. then the lady gives him a stare because she thought he was going to steal his car. then the kid gives him the gun, and slug can “smell trouble”…
-platinumchefindia in reply to 1990cmcauliffe 2 months ago
a website interpreted it beautifully:
the first half of the song is Slug being surrounded by criminal temptations (robbing the liquor store, jacking the car, the gun).
but the closer he gets to home, he starts reminiscing about his childhood and the good times (hip hop and comic books, memories of his youth, his neighborhood)
when he finally arrives home, it hits him: his childhood and innocence are long gone. but no matter what happens, he will always come back to where he grew up..
idkwhat2puthere in reply to esialdor 1 month ago
Of course, you don’t need to delve into symbolism or themes to respond to Atmosphere’s song. Continue to build a notebook of insights and reactions, and then visit the comments here to speak to your classmates. As always, send me an email if you have a question or concern.
[Note: I apologize to those of you who wrote me over the last two weeks and did not receive a reply until now. It turns out that getting married is time-consuming, hence also the delay in posting this portion of the assignment. I will be more readily available in about a week.]