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Musicians' view of teen social networking

Sidebar to 12/21/07 issue of NetFamilyNews

Of After Forever's CD Invisible Circles, Daniel Cardoso at the Nova University of Lisbon writes:

"If you listen to the entire CD - which in this case is almost the same as "if you read the entire book" - you'd notice how complex the thinking behind the lyrics is. Here's the story in a nutshell:

"A man and a woman, both of whom crave for success and professional fulfilment, marry. But an "accident" happens and she becomes pregnant. While he's not so happy about it, she is - sort of. She thinks that it can make their bond stronger, that they can love each other more. But alas the husband leaves all responsibility to the wife, who has to completely forsake her career to look after their daughter (the mother at a point in the story says, "You are the cause of my domestic captivity"). This makes her bitter, and both parents end up blaming their child for their constant quarrels.

"Fast forward some years. The daughter, now presumably a teenager, just seeks to be understood and loved (in another track, she says, "So please stop your screaming and love me"). But what's different about the way this familiar story is handled is that there isn't the common divide between good and evil. There are several questions asked by the chorus (which acts in similar fashion to the chorus in Greek tragedy), suggesting it's not easy to blame others for giving up one's dreams. Rather than making the father and mother seem like the bad guys, the songs ask the listener: "Do we have the right to force someone to forgo his or her dreams?" And the daughter does the same: Rather than just blaming her parents, she tries to understand them and why she's treated the way she is. The lyrics also point out recurringly that a story always has "two sides":

Two sides, one can become a reflection of the truth, a lie
You'll be judging soon
Two sides, they both have their emotions, opinions and thoughts on who's to blame on reality
Can you tell?

"In the penultimate song, the daughter finally seems to come to a full understanding. She reflects upon her own life, and those of her parents, and her conclusion is amazing: I see but now I see more, even feel their side of this tale / I realise their fate, no one's to blame, two sides.

"She holds no anger, she knows what she needs, her parents: My lifeĀ“s a mirror I need them to see, / So they would open up to me and fill up my emptiness. This track ends with the chorus commenting again on the state of affairs: This could mean the breaking point in these three lives / The moment of insight that could change their misfortune / Let this help be enough to make it / Let this be stronger than pain, the ancient wall between love and the comprehension / that will lead to the inner forgiveness / A reflection outside the circle of your life is all you should seek."

Daniel kindly sent a more detailed annotation of the CD as a whole, which I'd be happy to send anyone who writes me for it. Just email annecollier at The CD's complete lyrics are here.


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