Belief, Journey, Life, Moral Issue, Nature, Poem, Reaction, Relationship

What It’s Like

Whitey Ford Sings the Blues

Whitey Ford Sings the Blues (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What It’s Like” is a single from Everlast’s 1998 album Whitey Ford Sings the Blues. The song is typical of the style Everlast embraced after leaving hip-hop trio House of Pain, being a combination of rock, hip-hop and blues incorporating characterization and empathy towards impoverished protagonists.

The song went to #1 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for one week and #1 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks for nine weeks. It also peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the singer’s only solo Top 40 hit on the US pop chart to date. In the United Kingdom, the song reached #34 on the UK Singles Chart.

Structurally, the song consists of three verses, a chorus and a bridge. The last line of the chorus varies in accordance with the particular situation faced by the character in the preceding verse. Each character is presented in a sympathetic light as a victim of circumstance and as being an object of derision. Each verse ends with the line God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his/her shoes (in the third verse, “…you ever had to wake up to hear the news“) and Cause then you really might know what it’s like to, with the action varying depending on what the character has to do (sing the blues, have to choose, and have to lose, respectively).

The characters are:

  • A beggar (the man at the liquor store beggin’ for your change)
  • Mary, a pregnant girl who decides to have an abortion (Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom who said he was in love); when she goes through the door of the clinic, she gets called a “killer“, “sinner“, and “whore“, reflecting criticism thrown to her namesake, Mary Magdalene.
  • The life of Max, a man with violent friends and an alcohol problem (He liked to hang out late, he liked to get shit-faced and keep the pace with thugs)

At the end of the music video for the song, all of the characters (along with other people) are crowded around a window. Behind the window, an idyllic family is having an enjoyable dinner, oblivious to the less fortunate who are outside.

The Video and Radio Versions use sound effects to cover up the numerous profanities in the song. The Radio Edit omits the third verse that deals with the character Max, cutting about 1 minute off the 5 minute song.  Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_It%27s_Like

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What It’s Like – Everlast

We’ve all seen the man at the liquor store beggin’ for your change
The hair on his face is dirty, dreadlocked and full of mange
He ask the man for what he could spare with shame in his eyes
Get a job you fuckin’ slob’s all he replied

[CHORUS]
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to sing the blues
Then you really might know what it’s like [x4]

Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom who said he was in love
He said don’t worry about a thing baby doll I’m the man you’ve been dreamin’ of
But three months later he said he won’t date her or return her call
And she sweared god damn if I find that man I’m cuttin’ off his balls
And then she heads for the clinic and she gets some static walkin’ through the doors
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore

[CHORUS]
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to choose
Then you really might know what it’s like [x4]

I’ve seen a rich man beg
I’ve seen a good man sin
I’ve seen a tough man cry
I’ve seen a loser win
And a sad man grin
I heard an honest man lie
I’ve seen the good side of bad
And the down side of up
And everything between
I licked the silver spoon
Drank from the golden cup
Smoked the finest green
I stroked the baddest dimes at least a couple of times
Before I broke their heart
You know where it ends
Yo, it usually depends on where you start

I knew this kid named Max
He used to get fat stacks out on the corner with drugs
He liked to hang out late at night
Liked to get shit faced
And keep pace with thugs
Until late one night there was a big gun fight
Max lost his head
He pulled out his chrome .45
Talked some shit
And wound up dead
Now his wife and his kids are caught in the midst of all of his pain
You know it crumbles that way
At least that’s what they say when you play the game

[CHORUS]
God forbid you ever had to wake up to hear the news
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to lose
Then you really might know what it’s like [x3]
To have to lose…

.

The lesson of the story is , never judge someone due to his or her bad day. Because your God (if it does exist) “forbid you ever had to walk a mile” in their shoes, because then you will really might know what it’s like for being like them.

Peace..

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About Darc xeD

Sometimes its good to write a lil' story about your life, for it's about sharing the experience you have to the world.

Discussion

One thought on “What It’s Like

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"Sometimes, it's good to write a lil' story about your life, for it's about sharing the experience you have to the world." - Frederick Bolastig
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