American Woman The struggles America has dealt with have been expressed in the lyrics of popular songs, specifically issues pertaining to government, politics, the period of the Cold War and Vietnam War. Another American issue that has been expressed in popular music is the drug world and its complications, creating a strong and forceful depiction of America. The song titled “American Woman” has been expressed through many different medium of art. American Woman” has two versions; the first version was made by the Canadian rock band the “Guess Who”, the second version was made by the American singer and composer Lenny Kravitz. “American Woman” is a successful song that has caused many controversies over the years; for example, regarding the “Guess Who” version, it refers to attacks on U. S. politics and government, especially for the Cold War and Vietnam War, while Kravitz’s version expresses his personal take on drug use and his personal battle with drug addiction. “American Woman” is a product of the Vietnam War and its issues.
When the vocalist of “The Guess Who” referred to American woman, he actually referred to The Unites States. Some lyrics of the song reflect the political and government issues of the U. S. For example, “Don’t come hangin’ around my door, I don’t wanna see your face no more, I got more important things to do, that spend my time growin’ old with you” (L. 18-21). This part of the song is basically saying that Canada has its own troubles that they have to deal with, and they don’t need to get into some wars over opinion with the U.
S. The “Guess Who” version also refers to America’s imperialistic attitude at the time of the Vietnam War. For instance, “I don’t need your war machine; I don’t need your ghetto scenes” (L. 35-36). This phrase is referring to the nuclear weapons that the U. S. used in Vietnam and the after math of the explosives. During the time of the Cold War and the Vietnam War, America tried to get Canada to adopt nuclear missiles and join in the war. The “Guess Who” showed in the lyrics of “American Woman” the rejection of war activities.
For example, “Colored lights can hypnotize, Sparkle someone else’s eyes, now woman, I said stay away, American woman, listen what I say” (L. 37-40). These lyrics basically refer to the explosions of the bombs that occurred in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from 1955 to 1975 (Vu Tung). The phrase implies that Canada does not like wars, and it tells the U. S. government to bother someone else. At the time of the Vietnam War, Canada had economic growth, political independence and regime survival in a post-Cold War environment.
In the Kravitz’s version of the song “American Woman” the original political themes of the song were replaced by his personal takes on drug use and his personal battles with drug addiction. When Kravitz mentions American woman as a white girl, he actually refers to the use of cocaine. For instance, “Huh, American Woman, stay away from me, American woman, mama let me be” (L. 1-2). In this phrase, he is refusing to use drugs, especially, cocaine. Furthermore, he is also saying that drugs don’t let him be the person that he wants to be.
In America, the number of drug users increases every year. Drugs are everywhere, especially at parties and night clubs. Kravitz used the lyrics of “American Woman” to transmit the message of avoiding drugs. For example, “Colored lights can hypnotized, Sparkle someone else’s eyes” (L. 13-14). This phrase also reflects how the use of drugs can captivate people by making them feel good; however, Kravitz refuses to take drugs, and he wants to stay away from them. In the song “American Woman” Kravitz shows his personal experience using drugs and the negative effects of the illegal substances.
For instance, “Don’t come knocking ‘round my door, I don’t wanna see your shadow no more” (L. 11-12). In these lyrics the singers is referring to his personal experience using drugs. When he mentions shadows, he refers to how painful and hard is the addition of these illegal substances. Kravits throughout the song shows how he fought to quit drugs. In the following lyrics expressed “I gotta go, I gotta get away, Baby, I gotta go, I wanna fly away” (L. 29-30). Although the drug world at first glance seems amusing, from Kravitz’s experience, he prefers to get away from temptations.
In conclusion, “American Woman” is an extraordinary song that has caused many controversies over the years; for example, regarding the Guess Who’s version, it refers to attacks on U. S politics and government, especially for the Cold War and Vietnam War, while Kravitz’s version referrers to the rejection of the drug world and his personal experience with cocaine. The challenges that America has had over the years, have been subjects for songs, paintings, poetry, films and art in general, especially those themes that are related with the U.
S. government, politics, wars and illegal drugs. America will always be the subject of inspiration for artists around the globe because it is a country with a variety of cultures and population issues. Work Cited * The Guess Who. “American Woman”. Elyrics. net. 200-20013. Web. March 20, 2013. * Kravitz, Lenny. “American Woman”. Elyrics. net. 200-20013. Web. March 20, 2013. * Vu Tung, Nguyen. “Vietnam’s Membership of ASEAN: A Constructivist Interpretation”. Military and Government Collection. Vol. 29, Dec 2007. Web. March 20, 2013.