Response to Tracy Chapman, Cold Feet

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  • Topic: Life, Tracy Chapman, 2006 albums
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Reading Response 3

Title: Cold Feet
Author: Tracy Chapman
Category: Song Lyrics

The song Cold Feet by Tracy Chapman is an inspirational song about how our wants and needs can drive us to not only success but also to our graves. The song which was released in 1995 describes the story of how one man had everything he could have dreamt for in life, love, a roof over his head and a loving wife. But naturally in the society we live in not only today in the 21st century but also the society that was mid 1990’s, man desire more to satisfy themselves and others around them. Initially he wanted to give himself more to keep him from suffering the hard times in life; the “Cold Feet”. When he met his wife, he naturally wanted to provide her with more of life’s treasures that she currently didn’t have. He wanted to be the provider, he wanted to be a man and leave behind the shadows of his boyhood. He needed to show that he could provide for her, and in order to do so he would work hard and do anything to get what he required. In the end the superficial things that weren't the things that made him the loving, hard-working man he was, would become his undoing. The man, just like many people in today’s world fell into society’s dangerous trap of “Getting Rich quick”; speeding up the process of getting their desires but unfortunately facing no luck and winding up dead. Tracy Chapman artistically describes throughout the song how the dangers of society and our superficial world can lead you to a world six feet under ground.

I highly recommend that Year 12 students listen to this song as it sends out a great warning towards today’s society about how desires can have dangerous effects upon our lives. As the song begins by telling the story of the boy at a young age, I think Year 12 students will be able to relate to this as currently most students would be in similar situations. They will be living at home, where their parents are providing warmth, shelter, food, and love towards them. At this age we are content with our lives, any desires that we may have are just minor; things like the latest electronics, clothes, money…just superficial desires. However as we grow older, we suddenly have desires of proving ourselves to one another. Proving that we are worth putting money into, worth helping and worth being with. Life becomes a competition, always competing against one another to prove who the best man is. Tracy Chapman portrays this perfectly in the song when she describes the line “He grew up to be a worker determined to succeed”. This line shows the competition of life and how hard people have to work to be able to succeed at it. This is where a subtle warning is stated within the song to listeners and particularly in this case Year 12 students as Tracy wants them to know that succeeding is a good thing, but not when it is in life’s competition. Succeeding in life’s competition can only lead to bad things, when you run out of time like the boy did in the song to complete the competition. “He thought he'd set his clock right, He though he'd read his watch, He left in such a hurry he didn't think to wish for luck” In this case, life is like a clock, one day we all will eventually run out of energy to complete the full circle. However as this line states, competing in life as a competition of proof requires setting your clock and constantly checking the time you have left. It puts life on a faster timer that is powered by our ever growing desires. Life should never be about a competition to gain all the desires that are accessible to us; it is about living in content with the life we have been giving. Sure we can work to gain more, and be more successful however once we achieve that success it is important that we don’t seek for more. Seeking for more is entering the competition and entering the competition is entering a world of crime and danger which almost always leads to death. Tracy’s lyrics are a valuable life lesson and...
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