[Music DV] Violence is not fun and youth is no excuse

I’m going to drive the wrong way down a crowded freeway and admit I don’t like this song, the first song to sell over 300,000 singles for more than six weeks; it makes me ill. We’ve been taken in by a charming abuser.

Violence in “We Are Young” by Fun

I know! I know! You’re thinking, What!? Are you crazy? I love this song. This is so great.

I have the unfortunate habit of listening to words. When I get them right, it’s pretty exciting. Except when it’s not, and this is one of those.

I also have the unfortunate history of literature as a major. When I decipher a story, it’s pretty exciting. Except when it’s not, and this is one of those.

No one story has only one interpretation. Two roads diverge in many places.

There’s Number #1 Song Rd.         ~          And there’s Underlying Violence Ave.

What is “We Are Young” about?

He’s coming out of the bathroom, and needs to re-figure his surroundings. Of course it’s his friends smoking pot in the bathroom. It was just unfortunate timing that he was in there at the same time. He’s the fun guy who incites excitement, raises a glass to his friends, and keep the celebrators celebrating.

He’s been gone long enough for someone to have sat in an empty seat. Someone demeaned into an object. Not a man, a dude, a boy, but some sunglasses. Sunglasses are nonthreatening; they can be snapped in half easily. Or, that was some damn good pot he just smoked. If the day comes that a pair of sunglasses start talking to me, I hope I’m already surrounded by white walls.

He’s close enough to hear the conversation. Once again, surely, someone wants to know the story behind the scar: was it a gnarly wipeout biking the backwoods or car accident? Did she walk thru a sliding glass door? What is her story? What’s the actual story? We won’t know because he doesn’t have time to tell us, because it has nothing to do with him, and no one knows it was him but her.

He doesn’t listen for her response. He tells his ghost, his soul knows, she knows, he knows, but the group doesn’t know. He gave her that scar.

He gave her that scar months ago.  It’s visible enough to garner attention. He’s probably the only one who doesn’t notice it anymore, at least from time to time an anonymous friend will shiver, but from time to time she faces “some sunglasses asking ’bout a scar.”

He constructs his apologies to be anything but apologies: full of holes, insignificant words for significant actions. It’s going to be a tough night. It started with him disappearing with his friends, then she had to storytell around the story, and everyone else is having such a good time.

She’ll drink to not show that something horrible is happening. He’ll rescue her in public heroism and remind her how lucky she is to have him to carry her home.

She’ll drink. She’ll drink some more, and she’ll give up. He knows this. He keeps the party going. She’ll pressure herself to maintain with the group, the laughter, the shots, the beers. They are young! It’s a night out! Loosen up and have a good time.

Now the sunglasses come back, subtly, as he mentions to her he knows, he knows he not the only man for her. It’s not true. He was gone long enough for the seat to appear available. It doesn’t matter. She is causing their relationship to split, so why doesn’t he just get a new girl so she’s not all he’s got. Period, not question mark.

But before the conversation can continue, the friends return with another round and everyone raises their glass to cheer good cheers. He raises his glass because she is there to carry his image. She will carry him until they get home because he knows he’s got it all: power, control, and her self-image.

Just remember, just don’t screw up, “just carry me home tonight”. Because if you don’t, you lose, he reminds her, “the world is on my side”. He doesn’t have to hide because she will hide.  She will carry him home, but it won’t be rewarded. Her actions won’t be hailed on high by the sweet voices ringing down from the clouds.

She’ll drink. She’ll drink some more, and she’ll give up. He knows this. He keeps the party going. She’ll pressure herself to maintain with the group, the laughter, the shots, the beers. They are young! It’s a night out! Loosen up and have a good time.

She’ll drink to not show that something horrible is happening. He’ll rescue her in public heroism and remind her how lucky she is to have him to carry her home.

7 thoughts on “[Music DV] Violence is not fun and youth is no excuse

    • A catchy sing-along chorus is all it takes, no matter what the words that come before and after. I ask people what they think of the scar. What scar? The scar he gave her…nothing. I recite the words, and usually I get a shrug and a “well, you know.”
      These songs are everywhere. Glad You Came by The Wanted isn’t a casual hook-up, it’s rape. Somebody That I Used to Know also carries a story of domestic violence, if you listen.
      With the rate music comes out, if I spent the time, I could probably go back for decades and find one a week that glorifies or excuses intimate partner violence.

      • Um, I’ve listened to Someone I Use to Know many times, I know the lyrics and there is NOTHING even close to “domestic violence” in there. Not sure what but you are doing a terrible reading on something in the song. Fun’s Young is fucked up and I do hate the domestic violence in that song, but you are WAY off on the other.

        • Hi Joe,
          Thank you for reading and taking time to share your thoughts.
          I maintain that Somebody That I Used to Know is about domestic violence. DV isn’t just about the kind of violence that leaves scars. There is emotional, sexual, financial, and spiritual abuse that usually comes long before the punches and pushes. That’s the DV I hear in the Gotye song. He had her believing that it was ALWAYS something SHE had done. That is one example of what makes me uncomfortable with the song.
          Thank you, also, for reminding me I need to write a post to expand on what I see as evidence of DV in Somebody That I Used to Know.

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