Although I am generally content with my meager day-to-day existence, there are a few days when I feel that I might as well have not been born. These are the days when I feel like asking the world” “Why is this happening to me?” These are the same days Alanis Morissette denounces in her aptly named song “Ironic” However, despite the verbal lyrics, there is an overall message that is quite the opposite.
Alanis is quite good at setting the mood of her chart-rocking songs and “Ironic” is no exception.
The song has an overall feel of loneliness and despair to accompany the lyrics. You can almost see her singing this song is some lonely bar for losers in the middle of nowhere. Her sarcastic tone also compliments the whole theme of the song quite nicely. With the final touch of her haunting backup singers, Alanis successfully sets the stage for the telling of her story.
The real beauty of Alanis’ song is her use of a bagfull of ironies that the average person can relate too. Maybe not all, but at least a few will make you remember an experience or two from your past. A good example of a common irony found in this song would be the line Aten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife@. It always seems that things we need are never readily available. But I think we can take this beyond just material things in life to the important ideals, such as our dreams and goals.
Usually we have to go through so much more that we do not need until we finally reach what we want. A common example would be going through ten thousand classed to get to the one class we really need. AIt=s like meeting the man of your dreams, then meeting his beautiful wife.@ Finally, you think you found the most important thing in your life and then find out you didn=t.
For a moment your dreams are standing right in front of you and can be a reality that you can grab and becoma a part of. However, the next moement, It=s like going through 2 years of biology and chemistry courses to become a nurse and then finding out you hate blood. You have a degree you=ve worked so hard for and then have absolutely nothing to do with it. The final stroke of irony comes with the line, AIt=s like the 87 year-old man who won the lottery and died the next day.@ I=m sure that lottery money will buy him a really nice casket and a huge cemetery plot but not much more. Alanis reminds us in this line that although we strive for one goal, oftentimes we forget that there are other goals. A current model for this catastrophe would be Dr. Ted Kaszinski, aka the Unabomber. Here is a genius who was enamored with his education and climbed to the highest academic pinnacle. However, he neglected his social and economic responsibiities, thereby forsaking his long-term sanity.
All those Chemistry and Math courses helped him create his explosive concoctions rather than benefitting himself or humanity. This Harvard graduate and former Stanford professor is now singing the jailhouse blues and hammering out license plates while awaiting his slow trip to AThe Chair@. Our lives are riddled with ironies but without them perhaps we would not see the true beauty of our accomplishments. ALife has a funny, funny way, of helping you out.@ This is her chorus after her ten thousand ironies that she throws out at you. She still says that life helps you out Even the Unabomber might actually have been helped out of his miserable life by getting turned in by his brother.
After eluding the police and FBI for two decades, isn=t it strange that his brother is only now Aturning@ him in? Alanis= song is at first deceiving in its lyrics but the end message is quite clear. You really can=t feel the joy of winning unless you=ve soaked in the pits of losing. If everything was given to you then nothing would be worth having…now isn=t that ironic?
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