Happy Monday and Happy April Fool’s Day internet! In honor of the silliest holiday of the year, we won’t be following our usual pattern of sticking to a single genre this week. Instead, we’ll look at a collection of songs that involve fools and fooling. I know. I’m pretty excited about it too.
This week will be all about honoring St. Fool, who the holiday is named for, of course. He became a saint in the middle ages by lying, and was subsequently torched at the stake when the lie came crashing down. Since then, we’ve honored his day by lying to each other and playing pranks. And that’s the truth. This isn’t at all because we couldn’t think of what genre to cover next. Nope. This right here is a one-hundred percent effort to give St. Fool the proper respect he deserves.
So let’s kick off this April Fools’ week with our first song, which comes from The Strokes.
“Taken for a Fool”
“Taken for a Fool” was the second single from The Strokes’ fourth album, “Angles”, released as a 7″ vinyl and mp3 download in 2011. The song was written by guitarist Nick Valensi, and as far as singles go, this one didn’t do too well. It managed to peak at No. 47 on the Canada Alternative Rock chart, so there’s that, at least.
In “Taken for a Fool”, the narrator (Julian Casablancas) addresses a nameless other who gets (insert title here) over and over. But let’s go ahead and take a look at the lyrics, and see what they have can tell us.
From the first few lines, it seems like “Taken for a Fool” is a brother’s plea to his sister to wake up and get out of a toxic environment. There are other interpretations we could make, of course, but I think this one holds up. For starters, the first two lines start, “Sister, it feels like just yesterday / Sister, don’t you forget my number”.
The rest of the first verse continues to address the sister, with a compliment followed by a sort of, backhanded compliment.
“You’ve got something and it’s so good to see
Something wonderful that I could not be
Everybody hanging on for their lives
But you can’t help them cause you don’t have the time”
Throughout the rest of the song, there’s some evidence that the narrator is responding to past arguments or points brought up by their sister. Take the pre-chorus, for example. “I know everyone goes any damn place they like”, and “Blame yourself for once, quit putting it on me” in the second verse.
In the chorus, the narrator points out the facts, and tries to shake their relative out of whatever stupor they’re in.
“You get taken all the time for a fool
I don’t know why
You’re so gullible but I don’t mind
Oh, that’s not the problem”
We also get a reprise of the pre-chorus, though slightly modified to point out the toxic environment the narrator’s sister is in.
“I know, everyone goes any damn place they choose
And I hope everyone well on the toxic radio
A tourist in the ghetto, not afraid of anything
Except death and anything else that could maybe hurt them, oh yeah”
The narrating voice in “Taken for a Fool” wants the recipient of their message to be the “Something wonderful that I could not be”. They consider them a fool, not because they’re gullible, but because they won’t change their behavior, and blame others for the position they’re in.
That about does it for today. Tomorrow, we’ll look at another foolish song.