Don’t over-analyze messages in music, interpret media content as is

Abigail Kruse and Abigail Kruse

I enjoy music, even though I am not choosing to turn my passion for it into a career.

Songs get stuck in my head, which is helpful as a member of three choirs on campus.

It’s also annoying, because some songs I would be fine not hearing ever again, like the one about the horrors of having no coffee at work, which is from the musical we did my freshman year of high school.

My entire family still remembers every word to it and sings it frequently. We’re weird; don’t judge us.

I spent time analyzing lyrics and, with some songs out there, you would think I would be offended, but I’m not.

Take for example a song I’m learning in one of my choirs. It is a piece by Johannes Brahms called “Neckerein,” which is subtitled “Flirtation” in English and makes me giggle because it sounds like “necking.”

It’s a bouncy song that quickly got stuck in my head, but I felt guilty about that as soon as I checked out the English translation of the lyrics, which are in German.

The song, alternating between men’s and women’s lines, is a conversation between a man and the woman he intends to be his wife. The woman at least claims she wants no part in this.

She declares that she’ll turn into a dove and fly away into the woods, to which the man replies he has a pistol and will shoot the dove down.

The conversation goes back and forth as she plans to turn into a fish and swim away, then into a rabbit that hops away. All the while he pursues her and the song ends with the men and women singing together, no resolution in sight.

Initially, it seemed a little off-putting. I mean, gosh, the guy’s relentless and surely this is nothing we should be singing.

But then I took a step back and considered: is it really offensive? Does it actually sound like a “Robin Thicke song,” as a friend put it? I don’t think so.

I think it’s just innocent [albeit strange] banter; simply silly. After all, if she felt all that threatened, she could have quit talking to him, but she eggs him on by continuing the


The same could be said for the holiday classic, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” I remember last year around Christmastime when there was a big stink about the song as a symbol of date rape.

I couldn’t disagree more.

It was written in the mid 40s when things were more innocent. For the most part, there didn’t seem to be such a societal inclination to look for the bad and ill-intentioned in flirty, fun songs like that.

The raciest part about that song is the fact that the woman was out so late with a man she wasn’t married to, which for the time was quite risqué and not generally done.

It’s not a good idea to borrow trouble.

Of course there are songs with filthy lyrics and books, movies and video games with disturbing themes.

Some things, though, are merely a product of their more innocuous time — good clean fun — and ought to be taken that way.