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Loosening the Buttons of Literature

I don’t think that people these days really appreciate the poets of our time. Our modern Shakespeares are left unnoticed and unappreciated, the profundity and meaning of their writing tossed into the gutters of our minds as worthless and forgettable. Well I’m here to sing a different song; a song of triumph, a song of admiration, and most of all a song of freedom. So please, sit down by the fire with your bubble pipe and a warm mug of chocolate Ovaltine as we take a mystical journey through the masterful narrative poetry of The Pussycat Dolls’ “Buttons.”

These six sirens are a fine example of writers whose depth is masked as superficial; an ocean disguised as a puddle, using the parlance of our times as a costume. Let’s take a look at the first verse: “Typical/Hardly the type I fall for/I like when the physical/Don’t leave me asking for more/I’m a sexy mama (mama)/Who knows just how to get what I wanna (wanna)/What I want to do is spring this on you (on you)/Back up all of the things that I told you (told you)” Hmmm. Wow. It just strikes a chord inside you, doesn’t it? What chord is that, you ask? The chord of struggle. She says that she’s “a sexy mama,” obviously signifying that she is pregnant. But as a soon-to-be single mother trying to find her way, she is conflicted by her need for personal fulfillment (line 4) and the seemingly conflicting need to find a suitable father to help raise her child, which she describes in the last two lines.

Let’s see how the writer expands on these themes in the next verse: “You’ve been saying all the right things all night long/But I can’t seem to get you over here to help take this off/Baby, can’t you see? (see)/How these clothes are fitting on me (me)/And the heat coming from this beat (beat)/I’m about to blow/I don’t think you know” This woman’s struggle is palpable at this point, literally “about to blow,” much like the child in her womb. She’s obviously suffocating emotionally, which is why she’s wondering why this man who has said so many things the whole night will not help her “take off” the burdens of single motherhood. She doesn’t think he knows. She feels alone in her struggle; isolated. Her mention of the way that her clothes are fitting is also a way of mentioning that she is indeed with-child.

“You say you’re a big boy/But I can’t agree/’Cause the love you said you had/Ain’t been put on me/I wonder (wonder)/If I’m just too much for you/Wonder (wonder)/If my kiss don’t make you just/Wonder (wonder)/What I got next for you/What you want to do? (do)” This verse is where the clash within the speaker is truly vocalized. Is this suitor really father material? Is her child too much for him, not to mention her own emotional needs? Does her kiss somehow, perhaps spiritually, notify him of her secret dilemma?

“Take a chance to recognize that this could be yours/I can see, just like most guys that your game don’t please/Baby, can’t you see? (see)/How these clothes are fitting on me (me)/And the heat coming from this beat (beat)/I’m about to blow/I don’t think you know” The speaker wants this man, this potential father for her coming infant, to sit down and take a breather. This child in her womb could be his. Line 2 states that she does not think he is worthy, as his “game don’t please.” She is faltering in the heat of the moment, torn between her desire for companionship and the strict standards with which she must assess every man that approaches her.

Thank you for joining me for this moving exploration of “Buttons.” Join me next time as we continue to discover the wonderful poetic arts that are hidden all around us, right before our eyes.

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