Just like animals?

Baby, I’m preyin’ on you tonight
Hunt you down eat you alive
Just like animals, animals, like animals-mals

Maybe you think that you can hide
I can smell your scent from miles
Just like animals, animals, like animals-mals

Well dammit, yet another song with lyrics that probably won’t work as pick-up lines. I don’t know though…something about the hyper-masculine-aggression-veiled-as-animalistic-and-so-therefore-natural-and-so-therefore-excusable tone (sorry, I really don’t know how to hyphenate to excess like DFW) seems like it just might…

…hopefully blow up in my face were I to be so stupid and obnoxious to try it.

I get it. The first purpose of pop music is to entertain, but isn’t that a bit of an easy way out these days, especially when these songs are so infectious that they pass right under your conscious care and straight into your unconscious, where god knows what’s happening to your worldview as a result? Am I suggesting that Maroon 5’s “Animal” is engaged in a war for your mind? No. Or at least not alone. It’s one soldier in a cultural army that is completely usurping our self-control, all the while making us feel like we’re still in command. Quite a coup, really.

So what happens with these lyrics in particular? It’s not much of a leap to say that the song does nothing to diminish the type of gender positioning that fosters rape culture. Here we have a male voice openly embracing his inner animal, projecting it onto his “prey” (helpless ladies), arguing – in classic male peremptory fashion – that it’s only natural to behave as he does (you know, like animals), and finally, maniacally celebrating the fact that his prey can’t escape (they can’t even hide).

Is this supposed to be sexy or appealing and not degrading and dehumanizing? Or am I foolish to think that…no wait…am I simply foolish to think? That’s not what animals do, right?

4 Comments

  1. dasfuller

    Maroon 5’s “Animal” as “one soldier in a cultural army that is completely usurping our self-control, all the while making us feel like we’re still in command”? What is Maroon 5 doing today that’s any different than what’s been going on in Western culture for at least the past 3,000 years? What are they _usurping_ that isn’t already the *default*?

    Maroon 5 isn’t the one engaging in war for your mind. They’re part of the culture’s National Guard, protecting the Homeland from radical feminist revolutionaries. Get with the program, man!

    Reply
  2. Luigus (Post author)

    True, true. That is a better way to frame it. Woo hoo default setting!

    Reply
  3. rosellaeleanor

    Admittedly, I’m torn. I find Maroon 5’s music in general to be very sexy (“Sunday Morning,” for instance, had an incredibly sensual vibe). But it does seem (especially in the context of that creepy video) to carry on the ‘boys will be boys’ party line of rapist culture.

    I have another theory as to the motivations behind the song.

    Whereas their earlier songs were more about sex as equals, the shift in sexual power dynamic at play in this song might be indicative of the songwriter’s own shift in sexual power after becoming so mightily popular. As in, they probably have a lot more sex on the table now that they’re rich musicians (because let’s face it, no one band member is all that attractive out of context) and that’s shifted their perception of women as partners to women as prey…

    Reply
  4. Luigus (Post author)

    He’s certainly exonerated through his celebrity to utter such vile garbage. It’s an extra layer of power that he can use to shield himself from accusation. Not only a white male, but a rich, iconic white male? He’s practically invincible. Everything must seem like objects of prey to him.

    Reply

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