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Love –the universal fixation that consumes all people. Love can overtake one to the point of no return. Everyone seems to look at love with no faults, but studied and looked at very deeply, love can devour. Everybody seems to write about love in a positive way, but The Jonas Brothers unconsciously acknowledge the dark side of love. In “Burnin’ Up,” while The Jonas Brothers try to paint a pretty picture of love, they unintentionally show that love can also consume and destroy.
In “Burnin’ Up,” the motif of heat symbolizes passion, longing, and desire. When a boy first meets a girl that he grows fond of for the first time, most times he develops a fascination for her to the point of obsession. He describes his love’s “High heels, red dress,” and realizes that he is “slippin’ into the lava” (lines 12, 14). By repeating such words like “red” and “lava,” it gives the listener no choice but to acquire a sense of how passionate the boy feels.
These words spur on a connotation of adoration and infatuation so the listener cannot help but feel that as well. Rather than turning away from the heat, he keeps getting drawn into it. He pleads, “Baby who turned the temperature hotter? ‘Cause I’m burnin’ up, burnin’ up for you baby” (lines 22-23). He wants to have a relationship with the girl to an immense extent. Integrating these lines to the song paints a clear picture of adoration and want. While the boy builds a burning infatuation for the girl, she does not return this feeling to him.
Since the burning passion does not go both ways, tension builds between the girl and the boy.
The juxtaposition of certain words assembles tension within the song to build up a separation and then a return of desire. Juxtaposing these words by each other shows the boy and the girl’s difference. The speaker announces, “I’m hot, you’re cold” to symbolize him and the girl (line 1). “I’m” and “you’re” distinguishes the boy from the girl-seeing that the writers placed it at the very beginning of the song-while “hot” and “cold” shows a disconnect (line 1). Pairing “I’m and “you’re” with everyday conflicting worlds like “hot” and “cold”, shows lack of togetherness (line 1). Tension mounts, and conflict begins to arise. These opposing words show that he looks at her, and feels so much passion, but she appears very passive towards him. The girl looks very unreceptive of his fervor. It seems as though the boy expresses his feelings and emotions, but the girl just does not concern herself with him. The polarity that these opposite words create increases, as the reader realizes that this boy and girl exist on two different pages. The boy has a crazed obsession with the girl, but the girl does not seem into him, which forces him to pull away from her.
A shift in point of view from first person singular to first person plural shows how separation from love keeps drawing one back to it. A new narrator substitutes the original ones. A rapper intercedes, “Yo, we’re burnin’ up in this place tonight / Your Brothers sing it loud and we’re feelin’ right/…/ I got JB with me playin’ it down” (lines 28-34). We as readers can see that substitution takes place when the original “I’m slippin,” and “I fell so fast” turns into a different type of point of view (Line 5, 10). We as readers notice that the boy appears obviously sidetracked from his obsession with the girl that he becomes infatuated with. His friends see how consumed he becomes with the girl, and realizes that he needs to retreat from the separation. They intentionally pull him away from the circumstances, by sidetracking him from his thoughts about the girl. The shift in the point of view symbolizes the break from his ‘day dream-like’ obsession into reality where he gets drawn back to his friends. Here we see that the boy’s interest shifts, and he focuses his attention on his buddies. He shows more interest in relaxing with his friends, than with ‘love’/ the girl. He now talks and interacts with his buddies. The rapper continues to chant, “Come on boys, let’s bring the chorus around” (line 35). Including this line brings the point of view ‘back around’ to its original set up. We see the boy’s attention reverts back to the girl as the song reverts back to its original first person point of view. Incorporating this shows how love keeps pulling the boy back. Love seems to have a firm grip on him and will not let go.
The Jonas Brother’s song takes one on a journey to re-evaluate this craze called love. The Jonas brothers mistakenly show that love can demolish while trying to show the good qualities of love. The powerful motif of heat and burning coupled with juxtaposition forces one to consider the whole truth about love. It forces one to rethink the whole thought of love and the ideas surrounding just that one notion. Using the motif of temperature helps the reader obtain a sense of the speaker’s obsession. The re-occurring connotation of these words helps spark something in the readers where they can truly relate with the boy. Though they can relate with him, the readers also acquire a sense of how unhealthy the relationship could become-if one should occur-because of how infatuated the boys seems with the girl. Then the artists juxtapose words and phrases which build up the tension within the song as the listener continues to listen and notice the boy plunge into a never returning pool of love. The Jonas Brother’s then alter the point of view by adding a rap segment to further prove their point of how love sucks one right back even when one tries to dodge it. Love should not be messed with or taken lightly because it can transport one into a world of its own.
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