Representations of Identity
Representing identity through songs is in other words sharing with the world a little piece of who you are with the perfect platform to do so but it is in other ways a glimpse into the artist so called ‘soul’. For many years songs have been used to represent anger, protest, love, loss and sadness but within each theme there is self-Identity shining through. Regardless of your own self beliefs and what you stand for you can appreciate someone who is standing up for their identity through music as, as I said before music is a huge platform where you can share too thousands of people and they will hear you.
‘Another day in paradise’ performed by Phil Collins is the song I want to focus on as this song really screams a representation of identity when It comes to social class and injustice. The lyrics focus on social class and poverty and these two themes go hand in hand with each other when it comes to identity. The song starts off with going straight into the main issue and it all enfolds within the first two verses…
‘She calls out to the man on the street
“Sir, can you help me?
It’s cold and I’ve nowhere to sleep
Is there somewhere you can tell me?”
He walks on, doesn’t look back
He pretends he can’t hear her
Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there’
Straight away you are introduced to a female character who is on the streets, the bottom of the social class ladder who has resorted to begging for money but it is quite clear that she is nothing to the man who walks past ’embarrassed to be there’. This is such a strong lyrics as it addresses the fact that people are embarrassed to even stop and help someone who is in need of help but due to this social hierarchy they are too ‘above’ them too help. The lyrics show how social class drastically labels the identity of someone.
The lyrics also demonstrate how someone is judged purely by where they are in a certain moment or point in their life, we just judge that person in a cruel light if we see them on the street and think the worse but the truth is we don’t know the full story behind why someone is in that position and truthfully we choose to ignore it and carry on with our own lives, this song I feel also gives the listeners a wakeup call to their own self-identity… are they the person who ‘pretends he can’t hear her’, the person who pretends they are not there?
The song makes you think…
‘Oh think twice, cause it’s another day for
You and me in paradise
Oh think twice, cause it’s another day for you
You and me in paradise’
Again another set of straight to the point lyrics which I feel completes this songs, the ‘think twice’ lyrics really involve the reader which brings me back to my point of how the song makes the audience question themselves and their identity. These words focusing on the idea of ‘paradise’ suggests that your paradise is completely different to another’s idea of paradise but this is all on that particular person and their identity and their ideas.
Overall the song focuses on the insensitivity of people and their quick disregard of someone who isn’t as fortunate as themselves.