Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Same Love

As an A-level English literature student, particularly interested in the poetry aspect of the course, I found Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ song Same Love inspiring in terms of analysis. On first listening I could immediately pick out the various techniques usually associated with poetry and started to appreciate the way in which the lyricist had used language and method to manufacture such a heart-warming, gripping piece of writing.

The use of imagery, for instance ‘man-made rewiring of a predisposition’ suggests the altering and editing of an ideology and belief assumed and agreed by society without real thought. He suggests there needs to be an active role acquired by humanity in order for the ‘predisposition’ or inclination to be altered or ‘rewired’. The term ‘rewiring’ also articulates the argument held by many that it is an inbuilt feeling and attitude rather than a choice and in order for change a ‘rewiring’ process has to arise. This is heightened and furthered in the preceding line “And you can be cured with some treatment and religion” taking into account social attitudes and beliefs, in terms of religion, which is very often used as an ‘excuse’ in cases such as these to take the back seat and watch the changes happen rather than assist and push them along. The term ‘cured’ in the statement also raises ideas of disease and illness proposing it as an infection or something that needs to be rid of. This mirrors the outlook held by a proportion of society that to love someone of the same sex is a disease and they need to be ‘cured’. It’s almost as if they feel they are doing the right thing by suggesting it? As if they are offering a service by ‘curing’ them.

He later mocks America and the ideas connected with it as a ‘free country’. This is done by the composition and structure as the line is placed directly after ones clearly illustrating and presenting the negative and discriminative beliefs. The juxtaposition of these two ideas clearly portrays the opposing ideas that are meant to be parallel in meaning and conviction. Hence the mocking and irony in the sentence “America the brave still fears what we don’t know”.

The semantic field of religion weaving and threading in and out of each stanza creates an undertone of communal and collaborative agreement of disagreement. The idea that religion encompasses a large majority of the population in one united and agreed attitude and belief, of disagreement to single-sex couples, becomes a threat to anyone who differs from the accepted. This gives the song a threatening and claustrophobic feel and tone as if the people talked about and referenced throughout the song are being ganged up on and pushed to a corner and closed in on. The field specific lexis of ‘religion, ‘God’, ‘book’, ‘church’, ‘preach’ and ‘holy water’ all bring out these notions. They also link with the final verse where same sex marriage is alluded to. They use this idea of marriage in the line “With the veil over our eyes” in an ironic sense as here it is stating the disillusionment of mankind and how people are blinded by preconceived ideas of what is right, the ‘veil’, and thus preventing any progress, for instance in terms of single-sex marriage.

The repetition of “I don’t know” at the end of each stanza creates a very ominous and concluding tone as if the speaker is giving up as although all that he has said is true and sincere none of it is taken much further forward in terms of laws or public opinion. This therefore provides both anticipation of change and also neglect of it in the short line; “I don’t know”.

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