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Join date : 2010-06-09
Age : 56
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PostSubject: HUMAN NATURE   Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:39 am

Some thoughts on Human Nature, a brilliant song from the Thriller album. Here are the lyrics:


Looking out
Across the night-time
The city winks a sleepless eye
Hear her voice
Shake my window
Sweet seducing sighs

Get me out
Into the night-time
Four walls won't hold me tonight
If this town
Is just an apple
Then let me take a bite

If they say -
Why, why, tell 'em that is human nature
Why, why, does he do me that way
If they say -
Why, why, tell 'em that is human nature
Why, why, does he do me that way

Reaching out
To touch a stranger
Electric eyes are everywhere
See that girl
She knows I'm watching
She likes the way I stare

If they say -
Why, why, tell 'em that is human nature
Why, why, does he do me that way
If they say -
Why, why, tell 'em that is human nature
Why, why, does he do me that way
I like livin' this way
I like lovin' this way

(instrumental section)

Looking out
Across the morning
The city's heart begins to beat
Reaching out
I touch her shoulder
I'm dreaming of the street

If they say -
Why, why, tell 'em that is human nature
Why, why, does he do me that way
If they say -
Why, why, tell 'em that is human nature
Why, why, does he do me that way
I like livin' this way

(Repeat Chorus - Ad-lib/fade-out)

In its 1982 review the New York Times called "Human Nature" Thriller's most "striking" song: "This is a haunting, brooding ballad by Steve Porcaro and John Bettis, with an irresistible chorus, and it should be an enormous hit." In its 2003 review Slant Magazine concurred, calling the track "probably the best musical composition on the album and surely one of the only A/C ballads of its era worth remembering." Rolling Stone called it "beautifully fragile...open and brave."

The first thought that strikes me when I just read the lyrics through is how many of our senses it touches on. In the first verse the city is personified as a woman who tries to get him outside his "four walls" , shaking his windows with "sweet seductive sighs".

In the second verse "she", the City, has managed to wet his appetite and has got him outside thirsting for a bite of an apple. She might be an apple- tree of knowledge? He wants to be a part of this knowledge and he wants to learn by interacting with people in the streets?

In the third verse the imagery first turns tactile and we get an image of someone reaching out to touch a girl.Then we get the visual with "the electric eyes are everywhere" and the girl who knows someone is watching her - and she likes it. Both observing and being observed- interesting!

In the final verse the city is beginning to wake up, as in her heart is beating. Back to the auditive again. The beating heart of the city can also be seen as visual, as when you observe its activity by looking out through a window. The singer touches her shoulder ( the City's ) and dreams about the street.

Has he really been outside or is he just daydreaming? He wanted to be an ordinary guy walking down a street but this was not possible, those darned electric eyes were everywhere. Michael and the city have something in common- insomnia. Perhaps this is the bond that unites them in a feverish way...

The chorus is rather puzzling. "Tell them"- who are they? Unidentified, anonymous quizzkids asking him to justify his actions or what?"Why , why does he do me that way?" Even more puzzling....Who is he?

I keep writing "He " here instead of MJ as he has not composed this song. But of course it is MJ's song in every sense of the word. The way he sings it, the way he lives every word. I just wrote like this in order to try and get a distance to the bare lyrics.

"Music with wings"- indeed it gives you a lovely floaty feeling right from the start with the intro with the synths......A bit like wings flapping, a butterfly wanting to escape from a confined space....

Human nature- I get an association to I Am Only Human. Michael is only human like the rest of us and wants to be treated as a human. He also wants to get out of his glass bubble and explore the world. I read that the music was written before the lyrics. Thus the composers might have collaborated with MJ on the lyrics, or have been inspired by him when they added the words. This would mean that we can look upon the lyrics as being relevant to Michael's life at the Thriller period of his life.

On the other hand, the lyrics might not be as significant from a linguistic point of view as from the phonetic sound and the feeling this creates. I mean the song has a really sensous feel to it. When MJ sings it it is as if he is enjoying taking a bite out of a particularly juicy apple!

But everything is not all peaches and cream as the persistent"Why, why, why"
keeps bugging him, asking him to justify his actions. The whys come from different places and are built up like an echo in the arrangement of the song. There is a sense of feeling trapped and wanting to get out."Why does he do me this way" might be directed at Michael, someone is asking why he behaves towards this person in a certain way.And the electric eyes of the paps are everywhere also asking their incessant "whys" with their cameras poised to flash him in the face.

I find the song very harmonious to listen to but he lyrics are quite disturbing when you look at them more closely. They are about feeling trapped and wanting to get out. And in light of Michael*s further life...... Sad Shocked

Any further/other thoughts/ideas etc are most welcome! sunny

Herkules the Magical Mystery cat /aka Titania Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: HUMAN NATURE   Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:20 am

ok...this took me a lot to read but it really deserved! this lyrics analyze is very very good! thanks! when you firstly listen to human nature you immediately know it is hiding something... thank you again Smile
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