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Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:07 am Reply with quote
Hypocrisy in Society
Everyone says one thing and does another. Hypocrisy becomes a problem when feelings are hurt or when politics are involved. Imogen Heap’s “Aha!”, from her 2009 album, Ellipse, cheekily explores the problems that hypocrisy causes on both the personal and social levels.
The first line of the first stanza of the song is the ordinarily playful phrase, “La la la la, la la la la, la la la la, la la la,” which then repeats once more in the second line.This phrase is typical in a child’s speech when he or she is in unimportant, carefree situations. By using a phrase reserved for carelessness and playfulness to begin her song, Heap alludes to the idea that one’s word is a carefree child’s game to a hypocrite. Heap then implies vulgar language in the third line; “Eat, sleep, breath it you’re full of the stuff.” In that context, “stuff” is a pronominal noun to which shit is the implied antecedent; Heap wishes to say that hypocrites, people who speak so carelessly, are “full of...[shit].” The lyrics continue by alluding to the event that inspired the song: “Wheat meat, dairy free, t-total happy-clappy//High on life, you should try it you know” refers to the anecdote Imogen Heap shares with her fans at concerts before playing the song. Heap invited a potential boyfriend to her house for a dinner date for which she had cooked a meal that followed his strict dietary restrictions: He did not eat wheat, meat, or dairy. Heap slaved over making a suitable meal for her date. After the meal, Heap made peppermint tea and brought-out the biscuit tin to eat a chocolate biscuit. So, she had one, and then, he also had one. The biscuit had wheat and dairy in it. She then questioned him as to why he was eating the biscuit, and he said, according to Heap, “Oh, it’s just a biscuit.” The anecdote is further alluded to in the chorus: “Aha! Gotcha now//Caught red handed in the biscuit tin....” This anecdote, the core of the song, is very dear to me, because I share a similar experience: My sister-in-law and I are both ovo-vegetarians. On Thanksgiving, she didn’t want to come have dinner, because she didn’t want to eat any of the food that was going to be on the table and she didn’t want to burden anyone, so I encouraged her to come, because I was going to cook something for myself that she could also eat. After the meal, my mom brought out flan. My sister ate some of the flan. I inquired. She shrugged it off, saying that it was just flan. The mood of the song remains moderately happy until the last line of the chorus, which examines the actions of the person caught in the act of being of a hypocrite: “cost you to keep me quiet.” This line introduces the notion that, when caught in the act of hypocrisy, hypocrites would like to keep the people who witnessed the act quiet. Thereafter, the song moves to the third stanza, which focuses on political hypocrisy. The first line, “Golden boy boots, pocket pedal stool,” characterizes stereotypical politician. “The golden boy boots” are a metaphor for the politician’s perfection in character, and the “pocket pedal stool” is a misnomer for “pocket pedestal.” Heap purposefully uses the misnomer to further the idea that hypocrites don’t speak truthfully. Subsequently, the “pocket [pedestal]” speaks of the politicians ability to preach anywhere at anytime. The third and fourth lines of the stanza give an example of said preaching; “plastic, tin can, paper separator,//Busy bee wave, wave save the planet flag.” Despite the politician’s preaching, he is then caught in an act of hypocrisy in the chorus of the song: “Aha! Candid camera//Hook, line and sinker for the 4 wheel drive//Cost you to keep me quiet.” Though not a politician, the political group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) advocates for animal protection. Every year, PETA spends a fair portion of its budget to advertise its image. However, from 1998 to 2009, PETA has killed over 85% of the the pets has had up for adoption. That is, it killed over 23,640 adoptable pets, because of budget shortages. Instead of spending so much money advertising, PETA could have better used the money to increase the adoption rates, thereby preventing the holocaust of pets of which it partook. Heap continues to reprimand hypocrites in the fifth stanza of “Aha!” by characterizing a character nearly equivalent to the character she characterized in stanza three. The first line of the stanza references the creative, playful language exhibited in the first and second lines of the song, reconfirming that hypocrites are not careful in speaking; “nicest, sweetest, upmost in everythingest.” Heap then makes an allusion to the Nazi gold; “Deepest Swiss bank trust in you.” During the Second World War, Nazi Germany transferred $440,000,000—of which $318,000,000 are estimated to have come from looting—of gold into the Swiss National Bank. Many of the gold bars that Germany transferred read “Auschwitz,” one of the most infamous concentration camps. (The gold was sometimes even ripped from the teeth of the Jews.) Thus, The Swiss National Bank very well knew that it was aiding Germany fund its war effort and fund its holocaust effort. Recently, when the Swiss National Bank was questioned about the gold, it denied the accusations, in accordance with the lyrics “Well read, can play the fool.” Later, in the chorus, Heap states that in helping the Nazis, The Swiss National Bank “...killed a man.” Surely, it did so by aiding the Germans during the Second World War. However, Imogen’s accusation is nearly unheard in the crescendo of the music. It is as if the playful instruments were covering-up her voice, solidifying the lyric “Cost you to keep me quiet.” Therefore, the playful instruments—one of the instruments used in this piece is a toy piano—further the frivolity and carelessness in speech of hypocrites. Finally, Imogen Heap ends with two distinct sounds. Though many listeners would not pay attention to it, the unashamed use of the piano is the last sound of the song. In her VBlog, Imogen stated that she took-out the piano from the song, because, without it, the song had more life. She went against her word, however, by putting the piano into the song. She then reprimands herself by shouting “Oi!” as the final lyric of the song. In juxtaposing the piano into the song and shouting a reprimanding word in unison, Heap asserts that we are all hypocrites. Even though we are fantastic at catching other people in the act, we are also guilty of going against our own word.

[I apologize for the formatting oddities. I had to copy and paste it from Pages. Enjoy!]

<a rel="license" href=""><img alt="Creative Commons License" style="border-width:0" src="" /></a><br /><span xmlns:dct="" href="" property="dct:title" rel="dct:type">Hypocrisy in Society</span> by <span xmlns:cc="" property="cc:attributionName">Reymon Fortea</span> is licensed under a <a rel="license" href="">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License</a>.
Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:52 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 28 Jul 2010 Posts: 75 Location: Detroit
Thought provoking! Very good in-depth analysis. Thank you! Very Happy
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