Hey, it’s finals time! Stay calm, y’all, this second installment of Between the Lines (a column that looks at songs inspired by various types of literature) is easy AND enjoyable, no matter how little you feel like reading anything at all ever again.
First, read this quote from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road:
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!‘”
Did this surprise anyone else? Katy Perry, right? Reading a book? Reading THAT book? And then writing a song about it? When it comes to Kerouac I usually get depth overcharge. Grudgingly, however, I’m going to have to say job well done to Miss Perry on this one–she didn’t get it WRONG. She did it right! She did Kerouac right, all things (SO many things) considered. She may have put the song through a strainer and only let the concepts appropriate to a pop song come through, but simplicity sells these days, and she somehow got “Firework” right.
I can’t help but wonder if, by some stroke of fate, Katy Perry had opened On the Road up to a different page whatever fateful morning she stumbled across the book. What if it had been to my favorite quote from the novel? What would the song have been that time? (Something like…”I like things / I get confused / It’s dark out here / Toniiiiight.” In my professional opinion, of course.)