Sunday, February 8, 2009

Breakdown over Daughtry!

Greetings my Frothy friends after a long hiatus. I come back to sing the praises of - wait for it - a MAN! Being an avid fan of American Idol, I knew of Chris Daughtry and succumbed to buying his CD even though he came off kinda douchey about his Idol roots the instant he was off the show. Aside from some great pop-friendly rock hits (It's Not Over, Home) I'd written the CD off as mostly being assembly line Nickelback-esque "hack rock." The sort of thing that was well produced, but little soul behind it. Watch me eat those words as I recommend a lesser known song from the CD that I've recently discovered: Breakdown! Funnily enough I was exposed to this song via Wal-Mart radio (they seem to have a contract to pimp any and every Idol related star no matter which label they record for.) Over the Wal-Mart speakers, it sounded like a decent, melodic rock anthem, with beautiful harmonies, crunching guitars and a "love" theme. Getting home and reading the lyrics while listening to the song, though, gave me a whole new interpretation of the track. Check this out:

Open up the book you beat me with again.
Read it off one sentence at a time.
I'm tired of all the lines,
Convictions and your lies.
What right do you have to point at me?

Well, I'm sitting alone thinking about it all over coffee.
And still crowdin' my space are the things you still hold against me.
You cannot save me.

Well, it's not the time to breakdown.
It's not the time to breakdown.
It's not the time to break up this love,
Keep it together now.
Well, it's not the time to break.

Read it all, no need for separating it.
You see what you want and try to justify.

I have no idea what inspired this track, but my first thoughts upon reading the words while listening to it were that it reflected the ongoing struggle between gays, religion, and the fight for acceptance. The "book" mentioned could be seen as the Bible. (Especially with the imagery of being "hit" with it.) It could reflect the way that some religious extremists contort the meanings into whatever hateful bile they can to rally support for their homophobic beliefs. "I'm tired of all the lines, Convictions and your lies. What right do you have to point at me?" Those are the words from so many who have struggled for equality, acceptance, and the general exhaustion from still having to fight for human rights. This interpretation might be fueled a bit by seeing the movie Milk (the excellent film about gay rights trailblazer Harvey Milk) and watching how important it was to mobilize and fight hatred and take on something so easily widespread via bigoted beliefs. The chorus kicks in with the key lines: "It's not the time to breakdown." This is essential to the idea that the fight is never over. With the passing of Proposition 8 - mentioned in many media outlets as a bizarre modern parallel to the struggles shown in Milk - it's clear there are still battles to be fought. As Margaret Cho has said, "Love is love is love." Daughtry sings "It's not the time to break up this love, Keep it together now." The fact that people spend so much time and energy hating people for who they are is disturbing. Yet there is still so much to be done before that kind of hate can be turned around.

I don't know how Daughtry would feel about this song being appropriated for the gay rights movement, but it fits suprisingly well. I wrote this before Googling anything about the song's inspirations or meanings, but I'm curious if there are any personal stories behind it.

You Tube has a video with the song and lyrics you can watch here:

Enjoy and comments welcomed!