Unsurprisingly, my youngest is attached to another Tom Petty song and rightfully so. When he first heard Petty’s Free Fallin’ on a drive, he immediately said it was good and then asked what it meant. No one had ever asked me what the lyrics meant, and I had never bothered much myself to find out. The melody and the chorus are so amazing, I typically got lost in the song, somewhat oblivious to the message throughout. I listened to it again earlier today and was immediately struck by how relevant this song is, even now, especially now.
She’s a good girl, loves her mama
Loves Jesus and America, too
Does loving Jesus and America make someone good? Why are those two tied together at all? What was happening in 1989 when this song was released that may have prompted this?
She’s a good girl, who’s crazy ’bout Elvis
Loves horses, and her boyfriend, too
Does loving a significant other, having one, make someone good? What was happening in 1989 that this depiction of a girl is given as good? What would a bad girl have looked like in 1989?
Whatever it was, it must have been strong, because it’s still here. There are U.S. flags and crosses displayed together on a near constant basis, proclaimed to be the right way to be a Christian, to be a good girl. When you speak against America, suggest it isn’t handling itself well, you cease to be good. What about the girls who realize they have value outside of who they love? Are we bad because we see ourselves as important without the people and things we love? Or are we bad because we know who the real bad boys are? We know who is really breaking our hearts.