26 October 2019
- Jolene – Dolly Parton
In this piece, Dolly sings about a woman who is capable of taking her “man” from her and begs her not to take him. She compares herself to Jolene and exclaims how she herself could never find anyone else to love, whereas Jolene, who is more beautiful than herself, could find anyone at any time and begs her to do so. Dolly claims a bank worker who flirted with her husband Carl Dean inspired her to write Jolene and wrote the song while her husband began spending time with the bank worker. The song gave of a lighthearted tone while the lyrics were laced with a melancholic tone. Dolly uses pathos as she pleads and repeats Jolene’s name throughout the song. She says, “there’s nothing I can do to keep from crying when he calls your name Jolene… You could have your choice of men but I could never love again he’s the only one for me Jolene ” (Parton, Dolly. “Jolene.” Jolene, 1974. Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/track/2SpEHTbUuebeLkgs9QB7Ue?si=yXkyEbgdSjW_tnKzuc1wVw). As she sings this, she triggers a feeling of sadness in her listeners as she mentions that she cries because her husband calls out another woman’s name in his sleep. Listeners also feel pity as she compares her love life with Jolene’s as she says that Jolene could get any man she wants because of her beautiful looks, meanwhile she can’t and isn’t beautiful enough to capture another man’s love. Dolly begs Jolene to leave her “man” alone and by doing so she gets her listeners to side with her while she makes them feel bad about her situation— she’s being cheated on with a woman way more beautiful than her and she’s going to lose her one and only love, her listeners can feel bad and even relate as they enjoy the sad lyrics mixed with the upbeat instrumentals.
- Before He Cheats – Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear (performed by Carrie Underwood)
The song is about a woman catching her partner cheating on her and getting revenge. She sings about how he’s cheating and sings about keying his truck, making him think again before cheating. The song’s tone is aggressive as Carrie sings, “I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive, carved my name into his leather seats” (Underwood, Carrie. “Before He Cheats.” Some Hearts, 2006. Spotify https://open.spotify.com/track/0ZUo4YjG4saFnEJhdWp9Bt?si=USmfmx6IQJqDuu6G3BHF4w). The song contains pathos as the singer rages on about her cheating boyfriend. She wants her audience to know that cheating has consequences as she says, “I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights, I slashed a hole in all four tires, maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats” (Underwood, Carrie. “Before He Cheats.” Some Hearts, 2006. Spotify https://open.spotify.com/track/0ZUo4YjG4saFnEJhdWp9Bt?si=USmfmx6IQJqDuu6G3BHF4w). This shows the anger the singer portrays as she vandalizes the cheater’s car and then implies that he should think twice before cheating ever again. She wants everyone to know that cheating will lead to terrible consequences.
- Ready, Set, Don’t Go – Billy Ray Cyrus
This song sends out parental feelings as Billy sings about his daughter moving and leaving him. He’s a father who raised his daughter with love and she’s moving away, any parent would be sad and heartbroken. Billy wrote this with Casey Beathard and sang this to his daughter who was moving away, he wrote it to touch other parents’ hearts and to let children and his daughter know how much they mean to their parents. He uses pathos to convey his message as he says, “She says things are fallen into place Feels like they’re fallen apart I painted this big old smile on my face To hide my broken heart” (Cyrus, Billy Ray. “Ready, Set, Don’t Go.” Home At Last, 2007. Spotify https://open.spotify.com/track/4SSUj4OC7giqpMNCqSQSCf?si=zFRrPTnLSvmgXYM5_6HekQ). Billy sets the tone of sadness and longing as he implies that his heart is broken but he puts on a smile for his daughter who’s moving away because it’s what’s best for her. This can trigger sadness in the listeners, especially his daughter. Parents who listen will be able to relate and think about how it’s for the best that they move away and the children will be able to understand their parents will miss them.
- Achy Breaky Heart – Don Von Tress (performed by Billy Ray Cryus)
This song was about a man singing about a breakup and begging her to not make it official. Billy sings about how she could let everyone know they were over, but once she tells him and his heart that they’re over, he’ll be broken into pieces. Billy uses pathos as he sings, You can tell the world you never was my girl, You can burn my clothes up when I’m gone… if you tell my heart, My achy breaky heart, He might blow up and kill this man” (Tress, Don Von. “Achy Breaky Heart.” Some Gave All 1992. Spotify https://open.spotify.com/track/2EoIt9vdgFRNW03u5IvFsQ?si=X37VQsLzRJ2gs0x6zTetgw ). This shows his use of pathos as he mentions that once his heart knows it’s over, then his heart will break and he’ll be broken up. He wants to relate to his audience that have experienced breakups and heartbreaks and have them know that they’re not alone and to have others know how a breakup might affect the other person.
- 9 To 5 – Dolly Parton
In Dolly’s song “9 To 5”, Dolly sings about inequality in the workplace that women face. She makes the song and lyrics upbeat to have it attract listeners while also making the lyrics inform those who listen as she says “Tumble outta bed and I stumble to the kitchen…It’s a rich man’s game… And you spend your life puttin’ money in his wallet ” (Parton, Dolly. “9 To 5.” 9 To 5 And Odd Jobs, 1980. Spotify https://open.spotify.com/track/4w3tQBXhn5345eUXDGBWZG?si=veLBWqX2Ru-WkmXXI85kIg ). Showing how she goes from upbeat lyrics to serious relatable lyrics to draw listeners in. She sings about how she works hard, from 9 to 5, trying her best, with potential to surpass the males in her job, but in the end the men dismiss her or take her ideas. She uses pathos as she says, “They just use your mind… never give you credit… They let you dream just to watch ’em shatter, You’re just a step on the boss-man’s ladder…” (Parton, Dolly. “9 To 5.” 9 To 5 And Odd Jobs, 1980. Spotify https://open.spotify.com/track/4w3tQBXhn5345eUXDGBWZG?si=veLBWqX2Ru-WkmXXI85kIg ). This shows how she’s broadcasting the issues women face in the workplace, using phrases that women can strongly relate to, forming an emotional bond with the listeners to the song. This song is a way of relating to struggling women in the workplace and letting people know that women struggle no matter how hard they work.
- Take Me Home, Country Roads – Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, John Denver (performed by John Denver)
The song is about someone being home sick and reminiscing his old home. He sings about how great it is and how he wants to go back. The tone is very reminiscent and soothing. As John sings, “take me home To the place I belong, West Virginia… All my memories gather round her…” ( Denver, John. “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Poems, Prayers, and Promises 1971 Spotify https://open.spotify.com/track/1YYhDizHx7PnDhAhko6cDS?si=S-4pVQQLQ5OnzCTNYUOs6g) . This demonstrates the writer and singer’s use of pathos as they combine their feelings with West Virginia and call it a home with memories. Many people relate to this because many move out of their childhood homes and feel sad when they look back at their memories because of the sentimental value their old home. The song triggers memories of the listeners’ old homes and makes them reminisce just as the song writer and singer wants.