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Allusions in Modern Music

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Courtney Grim

on 12 January 2014

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Transcript of Allusions in Modern Music

Allusions in Modern Music
I am the Walrus by The Beatles
There is an allusion to William Shakespeare's King Lear in the end of this song, and adds probably no meaning to this song that already makes no sense, but is still cool none the less. It says "Now good sir, what are you? A most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows.", a direct quote from King Lear, and was added directly from the radio John Lennon was flipping through when he found a live broadcasting of King Lear playing.
Judas by Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga talks about her guilty pleasure for a "bad boy" with her allusion to Judas from the Bible in this song. An example of this is "...he’s so cruel but I’m still in love with Judas..." and "Even prophets forgave his crooked way". These both show how Judas was a bad man like he was in the Bible, a traitor to God. Like the prophets, she gives in to his rebellious ways. These comparisons with allusions all help show her guilty pleasure.
You're Gunna Go Far Kid by The Offspring
This song has an allusion to literature, Lord Of The Flies. It directly addresses the book when it says "Clever alibis, lord of the flies." The book is all about manipulating people to get what you want, which is basically what this song is about, and it mentions the book to further reveal this.
Dear God by XTC
This is yet another allusion to the Bible, directly speaking to God in the song. They ask God "Did you make mankind after we made you? And the devil too." They are talking about God's creation of mankind in the Bible, as well as referring to "the devil" or Satan. Obviously this song argues God's existence, and by asking if he made mankind "after we made you" shows this argument being made.
Love Story by Taylor Swift
This entire song is an allusion to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but also has an allusion to The Scarlet Letter. "I was a scarlet letter, and my daddy said, 'Stay away from Juliet." This very directly referrers to The Scarlet Letter as she compares herself to the letter that people were avoided and shunned for having in this novel. One example of allusion to Romeo and Juliet is "So I sneak out to the garden to see you. We keep quiet 'cause we're dead if they knew". This is talking about the garden scene when Juliet sneaks out to see Romeo, as well as including the fact that no one can know they are together. This song is about her love for a boy (shocking) and how she isn't supposed to see him, so comparing their relationship to Romeo and Juliette's relationship works well in showing this.
Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley
This song is an allusion to the Bible, talking about King David. "Well I saw her bathing on the roof" for example, is referring to David's temptation to his wife (pre-marriage). As well as the lyrics "That David played and it pleased the lord" Which is very directly referring to King David and God. This whole song is about this part of the Bible with King David, so this allusion helps get that across.
Goddamned by Jay Brannan
This song is not only allusion to the Bible, but to mythology. Allusion to the Bible for example is "virgins don't have babies and water, it isn't wine" referring to virgin Mary and God turning water into wine. The allusion to mythology in the song "He bore forth Athena when they cracked open his head" is talking about when Zeus had his head cracked open, and Athena popped out. Since this song argues God's existence, comparing the unrealistic events in mythology to the unrealistic events of the Bible helps get is point through.
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