I listen to a lot of music and I tend to overanalyze lyrics. So from time to time, I'll use this forum to rant about one song or another. Like the 1979 Rupert Holmes hit, "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)". This karaoke classic has the unique distinction of being the last #1 Billboard hit of 1979 and the first #1 Billboard hit of 1980. Or, to be more dramatic, the last of the '70s and the first of the '80s. Is there anyone who is unfamiliar with the lyrics? Click on the title above.
"Escape" did nothing when it was first released, but that was because no one knew it was called "Escape." Once it was renamed "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)", it started shooting up the charts. It tells the story of a guy who is bored with his current relationship. "I was tired of my lady. We'd been together too long." Too long? I wonder what "too long" is to this ADD case. And who is this person? Girlfriend? Wife? It's unclear in the opening line, "I was tired of my lady." In the third verse, the narrator refers to her as, "lady" and then, "my old lady" so maybe that means she's his wife. By the 5th verse, she's been downgraded to "my lovely lady." '70s songs always referred to women as "ladies." "Babe" was used a lot as well but "lady" was a biggie. But I digress. When the song starts, this guy is in bed with his lady. She's right there sleeping next to him. And he's so bored that he decides to look for another lady right in front of her. He opens up a newspaper (making sure not to wake her up, I hope), reads the personals (jdate being many years away) and his eyes fix upon one ad which is not only very suggestive, but it rhymes as well! You all know it. Sing it with me:
"If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain,
if you're not into yoga, if you have have a brain,
if you'd like making love at midnight in the dunes on the Cape,
I'm the love that you've looked for.
Write to me and escape."
(or maybe it's "write to me at Escape", like that's the name to whom he should respond.)
First of all, what's wrong with yoga? I know it's not for everybody but in 1979? I get the sense that yoga was very big in the late 70s but I don't know why.
So this chick (it's 2006, not 1979) is looking for someone very specific. He has to like tropical rum drinks and getting wet. He has to shun relaxation and be relatively intelligent. And he has to want to make love (because no one had sex in 70s songs, they made love) on a beach at night. So that last part pertains to, like, every guy reading the ad. No one's looking at that ad and thinking, "well I hate yoga and I like getting wet but the making love in the sand part? Yuck!"
Our hero decides he's the guy for this woman. And Mr. Thoughtful, who has started looking for a new lady less than 4 inches from his current lady sings, "I didn't think about my lady. I know that sounds kind of mean." Kind of mean? When he kicks her out of bed, will he put pillows on the floor to cushion the fall? But he explains himself: "...me and my old lady had fallen into the same old dull routine." Oh, well then. I didn't know that you were bored. I thought you were just a jackass.
And this narcissistic schmuck thinks that his response to the ad "wasn't half bad." He probably would have called it "friggin' awesome" but that didn't rhyme with the line, "took out a personal ad." So it turns out that he likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. He doesn't mention anything about yoga or intelligence but he's "not much into health food. [He is] into champagne." He also likes green eggs and ham (okay, I made that up). And things are so bad with his current relationship that he's "got to meet you by tomorrow noon." Where is this ad being published? In an age before internet and fax machines, he's got to write out the ad, call it into the paper and wait for it to be printed. Tomorrow noon? Maybe he's doing all this scheming in the morning.
Well, tomorrow comes in the 5th verse. He's gone to O'Malley's as requested in his ad. I'll chalk up the fact that this must be the only bar in town because he didn't leave an address to poetic license. So he's waiting and then she "walked in the place." And who was this perfect match? "It was my own lovely lady." Huh? His wife/girlfriend/whatever is the one who wrote the ad in the first place? And her response to seeing him there? "Oh, it's you." Even in a song you can hear the disappointment in her voice. But they laugh about it and all is well.
Now hold on just a minute. According to Wikipedia,
"the song ends on an upbeat note, showing that the two lovers have more in common than they suspected, and that they may not have to look any further than each other for what they seek in a relationship."
I don't buy it. These two schmucks deserve each other. First of all, the guy thinks he's so smooth looking for a new lady and all. But it turns out his current love was more bored than he was! She wrote the ad in the first place! So instead of, I don't know, having a conversation or something, they take out personal ads looking for something better. And in the end, they learn there is nothing better. They're stuck with each other. What if the guy didn't read and answer the ad? Would the woman have gone off with someone else? Is that where the tragedy lies; that this seemingly perfect couple could have broken up if fate hadn't lent a hand? I hope these two skip having laughs over a quick drink and head straight for a marriage counselor. These two...jeez, they make me sick.
But you have to admit, it's a catchy tune.
Stay tuned for my next rant. It'll be about Frank Capra's, "It's A Wonderful Life."