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Top 40 Philosophy: TLC, “Waterfalls”

Posted in Friendly Philosophy, Music, and Top 40 Philosophy

The #2 song for 1995 was TLC’s “Waterfalls,” which is a riff on the opening lines of the first two verses of Paul McCartney’s “Waterfalls.” (The “Baby is good to me” line in the 2nd verse also seems to be a reference to the Beatles’ “I Feel Fine.”)

The “waterfalls” talk in both songs makes little sense (it is, after all, from the guy who brought us, “The movement you need is on your shoulder“), but it’s interesting, and both songs are musically very good.

(What is up with the dance they’re doing as water-people in front of the waterfall?)

The #1 and #2 songs of 1995 were clearly about social issues. “Gangsta’s Paradise” said we’re all trapped by the social environments in which we live, unless someone intervenes from a different environment. “Waterfalls,” in contrast, says we should stay close to home; the environment in which we were raised is safest. It’s adventuring and living “fast” that gets us into trouble.

In the song’s rap verse, however, there is an interesting mix of personal and social responsibility. Ms. Lopes says that “the system’s got you victim to your own mind.” That is, it is possible to be fooled into doing something wrong, while still being the one who is doing the wrong.

This, of course, should remind us of yesterday’s song. 1995 was a heavy year.

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The Hidden Track

Q: What kind of philosophy were we doing today?

A: Ethics (or Social Philosophy).

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One Comment

  1. […] had the #2 and #3 songs for 1995. We’ve already covered “Waterfalls,” (which argued — against the years #1 song, “Gangsta’s Paradise” — […]

    January 15, 2015
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