Thursday, 9 August 2012

Ironic


” And isn't it ironic... don't you think

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures”

Ironic – Alanis Morissette

I have a friend who hates this song. Every time it comes on the radio or someone mention the song she starts going on about how the song doesn’t make any sense. Her argument – and it’s a fair and true argument – is that none of the things which Alanis Morissette says are ironic are actually ironic. Oxford dictionary defines “ironic” as “happening in a way contrary to what is expected, and typically causing wry amusement because of this”. Therefore, the events in Ironic aren’t actually ironic, they are just misfortunate. And so, Alanis wants us to think it is ironic, but the real irony is that it is not ironic but we think it is ironic and this creates the wry amusement.

Follow me?

Probably not. But if music didn’t make us think then it would get old and boring pretty fast. I like the straightforward, somewhat meaningless fun songs for a good time, but I also like a challenge. Hidden messages which only a few people will understand and many people will misinterpret are all around us in music. I refer to this example a lot, but I feel it is one of the best – Hotel California by The Eagles appears to be about California but it’s really about the downward spiral of drug abuse. A fair few people would pick that up after a couple of listens, but there are more which are likely to think it is simply about a creepy hotel in the middle of California.

Returning to Ironic, Alanis then, as if to make us all the more confused, throws out a completely obscure video clip which has nothing to do with irony. Instead, there are four Alanis Morissettes singing about how everything which isn’t ironic is ironic. And all four Alanis Morissettes are looking rather sad about the misfortunate events. So is the irony of this song that everything in life seems so rosy but then we find out the truth or something happens to make our lives misfortunate? Is Alanis actually saying that all those little incidents are ironic, but really she’s saying if all those things happen to one person when they thought everything was okay ironic?

I’m confused.

I think I might go listen to some no nonsense, straight forward, commercially marketed to be easily absorbed without messing with minds music from One Direction. 


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