Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sledgehammer


When I was in 4th grade, our teacher (for a writing assignment) asked each of us to pick a song that was popular on the radio at the time, write down the words to the song, and then write an analysis of what we thought the song was about. I picked "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel. I found my paper I turned in back then, and I'm copying over what I wrote, word for word:

~~~~~

"Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel

You could have a steam train
If you'd just lay down your tracks
You could have an aeroplane flying
If you bring your blue sky back
All you do is call me
I'll be anything you need


The man tells the woman that she could be anything she wants and do anything she sets her mind to, if she would stop looking down on herself, and be proud of who she is. Then he says that if she would just call to him, that he will be whatever he needs to be to make her feel powerful.

You could have a big dipper
Going up and down, all around the bends
You could have a bumper car, bumping
This amusement never ends


He tells her that she has such a big imagination, and she is so powerful in her mind that she can make her whole world into an amusement park, and that she is so much fun that he never gets tired of being her friend.

I want to be your sledgehammer
Why don't you call my name
Oh let me be your sledgehammer
This will be my testimony


He says he wants to be her sledgehammer. He wants to be called HER sledgehammer. Maybe he wants to be the tool she needs to break out of her prison. He can stand up for her. Protect her. She owns the sledgehammer, and holds the sledgehammer, and he protects her when they are together.

Show me round your fruit cage
'Cause I will be your honey bee
Open up your fruit cage
Where the fruit is as sweet as can be


He asks her to show him the secret part of her. The part that nobody gets to see. Maybe she doesn't trust other people to see it. So she keeps it hidden.  He wants to know her secrets and says that if she lets him in to her heart, that he will be so sweet to her, and love her the way she deserves to be loved.**

I want to be your sledgehammer
Why don't you call my name
You'd better call the sledgehammer
Put your mind at rest
I'm going to be-the sledgehammer
This can be my testimony
I'm your sledgehammer
Let there be no doubt about it


Maybe he wasn't the biggest kid in school. Maybe he was the little kid who got made fun of. A bulldozer is big, but a sledgehammer is small. Both of them are powerful, though. It's just that the sledgehammer is small enough for her to hold. So she can control the sledgehammer, and when she holds it, even though he is just one man, he gets to be powerful in her hands.

I kicked the habit (I kicked the habit)
Shed my skin (Shed my skin)
This is the new stuff (This is the new stuff)
I go dancing in, (We could go dancing in)
Oh won't you show for me (Show for me)
I will show for you (Show for you)
Show for me (Show for me), I will show for you

He says that he will stop being just himself. Pretending to be only who he is. He will get rid of the bad stuff so he can be good for her, and take off his protective armor so he will be vulnerable to her. He asks her to do the same thing for him. If she will kneel to him, then he will kneel to her.
~~~~~

My teacher wrote on my paper, next to the big red letter "A", "You're going to be a good Daddy one day."

**(Yes, I know this part of the lyrics are actually about wanting to fuck, but it would be another full two years before I knew anything about fucking.)