Cats and the Cradle Analysis

Topics: Family, Cat's in the Cradle, Song Pages: 3 (998 words) Published: May 24, 2011
‘Cats in the Cradle’ was originally recorded by Harry Chapin, in 1974, featuring in the album, Verities & Balderdash. Although originally intended to be poem, its lyrical and rhythmic nature has led to it becoming regarded as one of the most successful folk rock songs. Its success was evident with the single topping the Billboard Hot 100 in December the same year of its release.

‘Cats in the Cradle’ starts out with a natural harmony that depicts the tale of a father with his newborn son. The first verse introduces the subject matter indicating the troublesome relationship shared between father and son, “He came to the world in the usual way, but there were planes to catch and bills to pay. He learned to walk while I was away”. It is clear that although the father provides the necessities for the child, his career driven lifestyle restrains him from spending quality time with his son. The lyrics continue to follow the growth of the child in rapid stages, subtly indicating the lack of connection with the father. “My child arrived just the other day” which then moves to the second verse, “My son turned ten just the other day”.

Following this path of progression, the father has now retired and can allocate time for his son. Unfortunately, a similar process is repeated as the son grows into a similar life role as his father, ringing true the recurring verse, "I'm gonna be like you Dad, you know I'm gonna be like you...” The direct impact of a bad role model is made evident as the song reaches the fourth and final verse, featuring the powerful lyrics “As I hung up the phone it occurred to me he'd grown up just like me, my boy was just like me." This line conveys the father's realizations that his behaviours have been mimicked by his son.

The message is interpreted as a criticism to society identifying a common challenge each generation is facing. The songs intention is to make the listener think about the balance of time spent with the family and...
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