Final Exam for the Class “Listening to Music”

by Lincoln Sedlacek

Please answer each question in essay form in the space provided.

  1. All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
    This is a multi-faceted question. Is it asking where people themselves come from, simultaneously insinuating that all people are lonely? Or is it asking how it is that people arrive at loneliness? I tend to read the latter interpretation, in which case I would say that lonely people come from their mistakes, like taking a course that you think will be your “easy” class for the semester but instead requires weekly, harshly-graded bullshit interpretations of music from the past half-century.
  2. Who let the dogs out?
    Commonly regarded as your typical “nonsense lyric” today, this lyric was actually regarded as a cutting commentary on the state of American politics when it first appeared in the famous Baha Men song in 2000. As the presidential debates between George W. Bush and Al Gore moved further away from the issues and more toward underhanded personal attacks, one could only help but wonder: Who started it? Was it one of the candidates? Was it one of the parties backing them? Was it the media? Who, metaphorically speaking, “let the dogs out”?
  3. How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?
    Since the early 80’s, this question has been read as a question of experience: How many experiences must someone have had before you can claim that they are able to make sensible, adult decisions? However, during the Vietnam War, this lyric was intended to be read as, “How many roads must a man be willing to walk down…” It’s not what someone has done that determines whether they are an adult. It’s what they’re willing to do, like buying drinks for their middle-aged music professor in order to shmooze them into giving the A- they expected, which is required for their GPA to be good enough to get into UC Berkeley School of Medicine.
  4. Fellas! Has your girlfriend got the butt?
    Hell yeah!
    Ha ha, just kidding. Intended to invoke the conflict between someone’s desire to have an attractive significant other and their desire to be the more attractive one in a relationship, this line is, without a doubt, one of Sir Mixalot’s most philosophical. Yes, one wishes to be able to say that their girlfriend (or boyfriend) “has the butt” – but at the same time, they would like to be able to say they have the butt, too. This struggle is a universal for anyone who has ever been in an exclusive, romantic, sexual relationship. However, I can say that while my girlfriend does indeed “have the butt,” I’m a man with quite an ass myself. It’s perfectly proportioned, really tight, and pretty much willing to do anything in order to pass this exam.
  5. What is love?
    Love is an emotion my father ceased feeling for me when I told him I was effectively paying $6250 in tuition to take this class. It’s an emotion my TA obviously wasn’t feeling when he graded my midterm. But maybe, just maybe, love is an emotion that can be felt if I score at least a 92.25 on this test – by med schools, for me; by my father, also for me; and by me, for you, in the motel bedroom of your choosing while Barry White plays in the background.
  6. Do you wanna touch me there?
    You’re opening up this extra credit option to the entire class? There goes the curve; guess I’ll start on that application to CityTeach.