I woke up at 4am with The Maine and John Forte on my mind. Relax. This isnâ€™t a post about dreamy guys (although they certainly qualify). What woke me up from my sleep are two songs that share more than the word â€œPrettyâ€ in their titles.
â€œAm I Pretty?â€
Iâ€™ve read a few accounts that speak to the satirical nature of this otherwise upbeat song. There is a certain irony in the contrast between the music and the lyrics. The classic American pop-rock The Maine does so well makes you want to dance (there are â€œba ba bah badasâ€ in this song for Yeezusâ€™ sake) and yet the versesâ€”like the one that followsâ€”are astute social commentary, not parody:
You make me feel like (Like what?) Confetti for the gathering So I’ll get used to getting used I’ll do that for you So maybe then you’ll have me Maybe then you’ll have me
This ainâ€™t satire, lovelies. We could call it that but thereâ€™s no exaggeration or mockery here. This is in-yo-face emotional honesty. Itâ€™s a conversation between the band and their fans.
In the lyrics above, John Oâ€™ steps into our shoes. What heâ€™s singing about is the same thing many of us wonder each day. Are we enough? And if not, what do we have to doâ€”how badly do we have to be used in order to be appreciated. Every verse of â€œAm I Pretty?â€ poses this question in various ways until the band does a role reversal and answers them all:
There’s beauty and grace in the flaws of your face All candor and style in the crook of your smile There’s beauty and grace in the flaws of your face All candor and style
The video illustrates this conversation perfectly. The lighting shows off the beauty of imperfections, while The Maine lets loose with sublimely goofy dance moves. Most importantly a group of people, whoâ€™re just like us, tell their personal stories of abuse, to ridicule, to coming out. And by the end of the video theyâ€™ve reached the same conclusion The Maine wanted viewers to discover all along. Are we pretty? The Maine says, â€œhell, yeah,â€ and they donâ€™t even have to be looking at us to see it. –
â€œAll The Pretty Peopleâ€
In 2002 John Forte, of Fugees fame, sang a very similar song. However, the music and the content do not diverge from each other the way they do in â€œAm I Pretty?â€. The melody here is sweeping and just a tad melancholy, but Forteâ€™s tune is also a conversation about how we feel about ourselves. Specifically, how we feel when we compare ourselves to the razzle-dazzle of celebrity and celebrities:
â€¦We made you beautiful To make the tough times suitable Itâ€™s easy to see who Made us not so equal The TV told us We werenâ€™t the pretty people Who am I? What am I? Where do we classify in your stories?
Isnâ€™t it funny how those issues of social inadequacy that John Forte pondered in 2002 have become more poignant as weâ€™ve become more social media inclined? Itâ€™s funnier still that the question Forte posed back then mightâ€™ve finally been answered by The Maine. Where Forte wondered if the glare of celebrity would blind us to our own beauty, The Maine tells us it doesnâ€™t matter if youâ€™re beautiful like anyone else because your â€œprettyâ€ is entirely your ownâ€¦and that realization, lovelies, goes beyond being all up in-yo-face. –
Did you miss our staff’s reactions to the new “Am I Pretty?” video from The Maine? Shh, we won’t tell anyoneâ€”catch up here!