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The Poetics of Popular Music
November 25, 2014
What’s in a name?
To name something is a way to identify. However, what this means depends on the meaning of names, the meaning of identity, and the relation between the name and the thing named. If there was a song that could have a strong meaning with a person’s name in the title what would it be? A song titled by a person’s name would give much more dept and value to its title, such as the song “Natalie” by Mars/Lawrence/Hernandez/Levine. The reason why I chose this song is because we see Mars telling a story of his revenge about a gold digger named Natalie. She stole his money and left him broke, in which this would be the perfect song to analyze the title and its correlation to the composer. Natalie is a woman who Bruno started dating and fell in love with her. He eventually found out that she was a gold digger who ran out on him. The speaker added this name, because he wanted the readers to know the person that he was in love with, until he finds out her true colors. Although Natalie played with his emotions, the writer describes the situation with a positive tone; for example when he tells us that “I spend a lifetime in jail (yeah, that's what I'll do)/ I'll be smiling in my cell (yeah, thinking about you)” (32-33). The composer is admitting that he doesn’t care about the consequence of murdering Natalie; As long as he can get his revenge on her, he’ll be happy to spend the rest of his life in jail, knowing she’s long gone. I realize that the writer uses a technique in the song, which is the synecdoche of lines. This method changes the way you interpret the song, because the speaker uses words that refer to the whole thing. A lyric that illustrates well this situation is “But when I put my bet on her/Little Miss Snake eyes ruined my life” (10-11). Here Bruno uses the words “Snake eyes”, in which getting snake eyes in a game of dice results in a loss and also it has been associated with people who possess traits of dishonesty, betrayal and treachery. For that reason the speaker used these words to refer to Natalie, for which these are quality she seems to have.
Word count: 353 words
Lyrics
Oh, I never done this before
Never wanna do this again
Wrong turn on a dusty road
I did it to myself, I can't pretend
Well, I learned just a little too late
Good God, I must've been blind
'Cause she got me for everything, everything, everything, alright
Like my daddy I'm a gambling man
Never been afraid to roll the dice
But when I put my bet on her
Little Miss Snake eyes ruined my life
She better sleep with one eye open
Better make sure to lock her doors
'Cause once I get my hands on her, Imma oh
Natalie ‒ she ran away with all my money
And she did it for fun
Natalie ‒ she's probably out there thinking it's funny
Telling everyone
Well, I'm digging a ditch
For this gold-digging bitch
Watch out ‒ she's quick
Look out for a pretty little thing named
Natalie ‒ if you see her tell her I'm coming
She better run
The good lord better bless your soul
'Cause I done already cursed your name
Don't matter which way you go
Payback's gonna come your way
You'll be begging me, please, please, please
And now I look at you and laugh, laugh, laugh
While you sit there and cry for me, cry for me, cry for me all night
I spend a lifetime in jail (yeah, that's what I'll do)
I'll be smiling in my cell (yeah, thinking bout you)
Can't nobody save you now
So there ain't no use in trying
Once I get my hands on you, Imma oh
Natalie ‒ she ran away with all my money
And she did it for fun
Natalie ‒ she's probably out there thinking it's funny
Telling everyone
Well, I'm digging a ditch
For this gold-digging bitch
Watch out ‒ she's quick
Look out for a pretty little thing named
Natalie ‒ if you see her tell her I'm coming
She better run
I should've known better (I should've known better)
'Cause when we were together ('Cause when we were together)
She never said forever (She never said forever)
I'm a fool that played