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Analysis of the song "Dear Mr. President" by Pink

Term Paper 2010 6 Pages

Musicology

Excerpt

For this lecture we were obliged to write a paper about a song which is related to the theme of the course which is Gender, Race and Social Justice in Anglo-American Popular Music and we also had to choose a song which has impressed us in a very special way. There were a lot of artists which came into my mind like for example: Eminem, 50cent, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Queen, Madonna, Lady Gaga and a lot more. Nonetheless it is quite hard for us Germans to analyze a song of them, not knowing specific political background moreover not being sure if they mean it seriously or if they are just being sarcastic, like it is very common in Eminem’s texts.

For my analysis I have chosen the song Dear Mister President by Pink which is a direct criticism of President George W. Bush. The first time I heard it, I was really impressed by it because the song is very critical and provoking, but the music is in a slow way and creates a very reflective and melancholic atmosphere which makes it a very touching song for me. The music of the song is, asjust mentioned, very slow,just going along with the text, so you really have to listen to the words and are not distracted by it. This song was one of the most important songs on her album called I’m not dead and it is an open letter to the former President of the United States George W. Bush. It was written on Martin Luther King Day in 2005, but released for the first time in 2007. An interesting fact is that this song has won the Amadeus Austrian Music Award as the best international single of the year.

Another interesting fact is that Pink didn’t publish the song in the United States, only in Europe, Canada and Australia. This is a contradiction to one ofher statements in an interview:

"I hope the president is proud of the fact that we live in a country where we can do things like that, where we can have dissent, talk, communicate and share our opinions."[1]

In my opinion it’s a very cynical and provocative statement because we hear that the people in the United States are getting only filtrated information and that they can’t speak out their minds openly without seeing consequences. We have learned that Pink wrote the song to attack George W. Bush as President and his administration and furthermore it is said that criticism is allowed to be expressed in a country like the United States.[2]

After the Election of Barack Obama, as new president of the United States, Pink declared that she’d never sing this song during his president ship. From that one can conclude that this song is only an open attack against George W. Bush.

The song starts with the lyrics “Dear Mr. President, come take a walk with me. Let's pretend we'rejust twopeople andyou're not better than me.”[3] It seems to be an open invitation for the President, but in reality she is diminishing his respect because she makes him socially equal with herself, which is underlined by the fact that she addresses him not in a formal way, but calls him “Dear”.

“I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly.” With this phrase Pink tells him that she wants to be honest with him and tell him all the things everyone is thinking about him, but because of the lack of courage no one ever would pronounce loudly. In return she expects him to be as fair-minded as she’ll be and that he’d give her an honest answer or at least an answer at all.

“What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street?” With this line Pink may refer to the people which were left homeless after the hurricane Katrina in 2005 because Bush was very slow with his reaction to the threat as well as with the help after the destruction. [4] Another important fact, referring to this line, could be the increase of the homeless people in the United States, whose number has quadrupled in the last twenty years, but it is said, that it didn’t have anything to do with the presidency of Bush.

“Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep? What do you feel when you look in the mirror? Are you proud?” With these three questions she asks him if he has kept his promise to help people. He had the chance to change society or have a positive influence on it, but he failed to do so.

“How do you sleep while the rest of us cry? How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?” These two lines seem to refer to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the death of many American Soldiers. Bush always did send a lot of them to fight for their country, but has made a huge loss of soldiers and also innocent children and their parents, especially mothers, who have lost their children without having a chance to say goodbye.

“How do you walk with your head held high? Can you even look me in the eye and tell me why? ” Here she wants him to show some emotion. She knows that he isn’t proud of himself and uncomfortable to face his own actions, but she would like to hear him admit that he is proud ofhis actions and doings.

“Dear Mr. President, Were you a lonely boy? Are you a lonely boy? Are you a lonely boy?” This sentence is hard to analyze exactly because it can have a lot of different meanings. On the one hand it could be seen as a question if he is a bad person. He had an excessive youth but is living a life as a good boy now, trying to do and make everything better. On the other hand it could be interpreted that he stands alone with his opinion about some topics, such as being against abortion and against homosexual relations.

“How can you say no child is left behind? We're not dumb and we're not blind. They're all sitting in your cells while you pave the road to hell.” With the “No child left behind act” he wanted to improve the education system in the United States, but this never worked out during his president ship because the government wouldn’t provide any money to support it, a huge amount of money was wasted for making war instead.

“What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away?” This part is referring to George Bush’s policy of anti-abortion, he wanted to deny a woman the right to abortion because as a Methodist he believes that life begins at conception and therefore abortion would be a murder, a crime.

“And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?” This line demonstrates Bush’s attitude towards homosexual relations, which violates the Methodist standards as well. He also wanted to create a piece of legislature which would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman solely, called Marriage Protection Amendment. [5] You can recognize his attitude from the example of the daughter of Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States, who revealed that she lived in a homosexual

[...]


[1] http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1519661/20060103/pink.jhtml (last access 07.06.2010)

[2] http://www.as.wvu.edu/~tsloane/students/current/pdf/songssp09/kaplansong.pdf (last access: 07.07.2010)

[3] http://www.songtexte.com/songtext/pnk/dear-mr-president-bdb7d22.html (last access: 06.07.2010)

[4] http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/290013/analyzing_a_political_anthem_pinks.html?cat=9 (last access 07.06.2010)

[5] http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2042516&page=1 (last access: 06.07.2010)

Details

Pages
6
Year
2010
ISBN (eBook)
9783656230663
File size
392 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v196947
Institution / College
University of Vienna – Institut für Musikwissenschaft
Grade
1,0
Tags
Pink Dear Mr. President Bush politic analysis song Uni Wien Musikwissenschaft Sophie Houriez

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Title: Analysis of the song "Dear Mr. President" by Pink