Thursday, February 26, 2015

And She Was

In seventh grade music class we had to analyze a song for the music theory part of the class.

I don’t remember if the teacher took requests or not, and if she had, undeniably the song we all would have picked was Like a Virgin. 

Because when you’re twelve there’s nothing more sizzling than a song about having sex for the very first time.

Much to our dismay our teacher had other plans and chose the relatively innocuous song “And She Was” by the Talking Heads.  Sing with me, children of the 80s!

I know you totally sang it like I did.  It’s uplifting to know that although I can’t remember where I left my house slippers, I still know allll the words to a thirty-year-old song.

You can imagine what went on in our tweenage minds as we read the lyrics and listened to this sort of obscure song.  After all, in the mid-80s we were mostly listening to the pop hits station on our clock radios, and if you were me you could only get a clear signal from the soft rock station and had to make do with adult contemporary hits by Chicago and Billy Ocean.  If you were lucky you knew Talking Heads from watching Friday Night Videos or MTV.

And she was lying in the grass
And she could hear the highway breathing
And she could see a nearby factory
She's making sure she is not dreaming
See the lights of a neighbor's house
Now she's starting to rise
Take a minute to concentrate
And she opens up her eyes

She fell asleep in the yard, the more innocent among us offered.   She’s really relaxed, said a few intuitive students.  She’s having a hard time waking up and is stuck between dreaming and sleeping, the cerebral kids said.

She’s on drugs, said the tough kid.

The world was moving and she was right there with it (and she was)
The world was moving she was floating above it (and she was) and she was

She’s still sleeping! She’s still dreaming! we cried.

She’s on drugs, the tough kid repeated.

And she was drifting through the backyard
And she was taking off her dress
And she was moving very slowly
Rising up above the earth
Moving into the universe
Drifting this way and that
Not touching ground at all
Up above the yard

We giggled.  She’s naked now?  Why would she take off her dress?  Isn't she embarrassed?  How is she floating?  Is she a superhero?  Maybe she’s a GHOST!! SHE DIED!!  Things were getting interesting.

SHE’S ON DRUGS.  Louder, now. 

She was glad about doubt about it
She isn't sure where she's gone
No time to think about what to tell them
No time to think about what she's done
And she was

And she was looking at herself
And things were looking like a movie
She had a pleasant elevation
She's moving out in all directions

Total confusion.  What, she’s lost?  Who’s she telling what to?  What did she do?  If she’s dead, she’s going to heaven, right?  Stories were getting tangled.

She’s on drugs, the tough kid sighed.  What a bunch of dopes.

I don’t remember what exactly was about the girl in the song.  We went on to our next class maybe talking about it, maybe not.  “Drugs” may have been whispered carefully as we tried out the taboo word and wondered what exactly it meant.  Drug education was spotty back then.

And She Was became one of those nostalgia-triggering songs for me.  Sometimes I still hear it on the new wave channel on satellite radio.  I never bothered to look up what it was about until now.  I wasn’t surprised to find out.


This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #5: Analyze a popular song you heard on the radio (present or past).
What exactly does it mean?


  1. I loved this song when it came out.
    I was 15.....sigh.

    1. I don't like to be reminded how old I was in the 80s, especially when I think about what my hair probably looked like.

  2. Your 7th grade music teacher sounds way cooler than mine - who was a nun that pulled on my ears because my voice was too low.

    1. I feel like she wasn't, which is why her selection of this song seems unusual now.

  3. Lol! I love that song... I never thought about it before!

    1. I know, right? It's because the music is so dreamy.

  4. This is hilarious. I love that that one kid just *got* it immediately.

    1. There's always that one kid. I, however, was one of the ones who giggled at the taking off her dress part.

  5. Hmmm, missed that song. After my time. I do remember the fun of analyzing "I am the Walrus & You Are the Eggman" by the Beatles. ooh-ca-choo.

  6. I loved how you broke it down..we just did something similar at youth group with a Beatles song, "Eleanor Rigby". The song has a whole other meaning now.

    1. Thanks, Gema! I hardly ever listen to lyrics, and when they are broken down it makes the song much more interesting. I've been very surprised at the lyrical content of my favorite songs from time to time, in good ways and OMG WHAT DID THEY SAY? ways. :)

  7. The tough kids that everybody overlooks always know what's up.

    1. In my experience the tough kids can also be the smart kids. For better or for worse.

  8. I just loved this post. Everything about it was just..readable.
    From the memories, to the nostalgia to the breakdown of the song.

    Lyrics are my favorite. I've been known to be listening to a "new song" and Google the lyrics before the song is over. It's what makes a song more special or meaningful to me. Or to finally find out the lyrics to a song I grew up with. (Like this one)

    1. Thank you Kir! I admit that I never look up lyrics except if they're particularly troublesome for me. I usually end up making up my own that just sound like the actual ones.

  9. Tough kid was right kid, eh? ;) I've heard it takes one to know one. LOL.

  10. That is one of my all time favorite songs. I love it. And of COURSE she was on drugs.