“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Rainbow Connection

I love this song because it's whimsical and, even more importantly, deceptively profound. Under the simplistic banjo strumming and presentation from a beloved childhood character, the singer uses a series of rhetorical questions to make some really insightful statements about why humans are optimistic dreamers who cling to hope.

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side

These lines are self-explanatory and introduce the topic: rainbows inspire whimsy in people.

Rainbows are visions
But only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide

Despite their whimsy, in a coldly rational way, rainbows aren't even actually there; they're an optical illusion.

So we've been told
And some choose to believe it
I know they're wrong, wait and see
Some day we'll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me

Yet, beyond that purely logical assessment, he knows they still have a certain magic that is real somehow to people like him: dreamers and lovers.

Who said that every wish
Would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that
And someone believed it
And look what it's done so far

So, to expand the rainbow motif, he's saying that if the belief that we can make wishes is so pervasive, there must be some truth to it. And that belief has made people do great things.

What's so amazing
That keeps us stargazing
And what do we think we might see

Even though we know that stars, rainbows, and other natural phenomenon are inanimate, what is it that makes us look at them with wonder and amazement? What do we hope to see?

Someday we'll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me

One day we'll find out.

All of us under its spell, we know that it's probably magic
Have you been half asleep?
And have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name
Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it.
It's something that I'm supposed to be.

I think this is pretty self-explanatory as well. I've experienced that dream-like state as I'm waking up. That sensation you get when you're between the dream-world and real world is the same sensation that motivates people, like sailors, to explore. That voice is what pushes people to try new things and go out of their comfort zones, and that's why he doesn't ignore it.

Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
the lovers, the dreamers and me.

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