Walk In The Sun

In his minor 1995 hit “Walk In The Sun,” the last time (to date), that he has entered the Hot 100, Bruce Hornsby captures a memorable reflection on a man in love with a dancing girl who longs to have an openly acknowledged relationship with her, away from the prying eyes of the men who come to the establishment to ogle the ladies. When a musical artist opines about a secret love–and this was especially true in previous ages but still persists to this day in some songs–there are only a few options that are possibly involved. There are only a rare amount of cases where a man in love with an attractive partner would feel any sense of shame about openly acknowledging the relationship. A few decades ago, for example, songs like “Dirty Work,” and “Mrs. Jones” acknowledged the shame of people engaged in a long-term affair. Such shame is exceedingly rare these days. Other songs, like “Perfect Gentleman” or “Walk In The Sun,” reflect on the shame that is involved in seeking or having a relationship with someone who could be considered a sex worker. Even songs like Ray Parker Jr’s “The Other Woman” seems to reflect on the shame that results from seeking a relationship with someone who is seen as suitably only for a fling and not for a relationship.

There are many people, of course, who have preferred for various reasons to keep the nature of their shame more discreet. The reasons for this are complicated, but there can be at least a few advantages in ambiguity when it comes to matters of shame. For one, a great many people may that they can relate to a song that leaves open the reasons, allowing the listener to insert their own feelings and situation into the material rather than force a particular interpretation. Many people may be able to relate to songs that allow for a variety of possible meanings but may be turned off by the specific source of the shame that may motivate a singer or a songwriter. Similarly, it is easy to pity someone when we recognize some sort of shame but a knowledge of the evil ways that are often connected with shame is likely (and not wrongly) to cut against this sense of pity with a harsher sense of justice.

Why is it important to walk in the sun in the first place? Some of us, without feeling any special shame in matters of the heart, are perfectly content to walk in the shade. If walking in the sun is a sign of pride and the absence of shame for what one is doing, one need not parade what one is doing to not be ashamed about it. If one is a bit sensitive to sunlight and does not wish to make a spectacle of oneself, walking in the shade is far more comfortable than walking in the glare of the open sun. To be sure, when one is living under incessant rainclouds, it can be tempting to wish that one could walk openly in the sun without being rained on or having to deal with inclement weather, but direct sunlight is not always something that is to be appreciated in practice. Most of us would prefer that sunlight to be cut with at least a few clouds or to have some sort of shaded and air-conditioned space to enjoy the sun from when it gets too hot and dry.

One of the notable aspects of living the wrong kind of life is that it throws everything out of balance. When we are too extreme in any aspect of our lives, it is far easier to go to the opposite extreme than it is to find the happy and proper balance in life that exists between various qualities. If someone is tired of feeling ashamed and living in the shadows, it can seem tempting to want to walk in the sun. It is far less obvious to think that one can live one’s life quietly without making a fuss or drawing too much attention to oneself. Such a thought does not cross one’s mind, and the respect that other people have for living a quiet and peaceful life is not often considered as well. Life would often be better if pendulums were in the habit of remaining at rest rather than swinging, but few people stop to consider what is better rather than what is easier for them.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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