With every aspect of our lives we are making a point, arguing a belief, or refuting some other aspect of our existence. Aesthetic pieces, most avidly poems and songs, argue a message both in the lyrics and in the meaning posed between the lines. “American Pie,” in a multitude of ways, argues that American lives and memories are closely intertwined with the music of the time period. Not only does “American Pie” argue a message it also pulls many generations together. Today, thirty years after the initial release, “American Pie” still has an effect in our music and continues to be popular with all age groups. Don McLean accomplishes this task through using the context of the time period, placement of words, the words themselves, the punctuation and grammar, the rhythms, and many other facets involved. Because of this, the people of a nation and even the world are influenced.
One major concept needed in order to understand any song thoroughly is to comprehend the period in which it was recorded and released. Don McLean released the song, “American Pie,” in 1971. During the late 1960s and the early 1970s, the United States was becoming progressively commercialized. With the commercialization, Americans began losing touch of the “little things in life,” and the things that make life worth living; instead they were more interested in the materialistic things. Throughout the time period there were many clashes around the world—most famous being the conflict in Vietnam. With the amount of turmoil that was present during the late 1960s and early 1970s, McLean writes about the 1950s (a period of calmness between two storms—the World Wars and Vietnam) as an escape for the people of his time. Several classics in other part...
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... placement of words, the words themselves, appeals, imagery, figurative language, the punctuation and grammar, the rhythms, and all the other facets involved, shows that the people of a nation are influenced. Through all of these methods Don McLean uses “American Pie” to argue that American lives and memories are closely intertwined with the music of the time period. Not only does the argument and its message span over a period of time it inevitably pulled many generations together.
Howard, Allen. (November 3, 2001). Don McLean Online, American Pie Man’s Internet Home. [World Wide Web]. Available: http://www.don-mclean.com. [November 28, 2001].
McLean, Don. American Pie. American Pie. Released by United Artists (1971).
Super70s.com. (2001). Super70s.com: Timeline. [World Wide Web]. Available:
http://www.super70s.com. [December 1, 2001].
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