Do you remember your early adolescence, when everybody was interested in the same thing just because it was a fad? Sure it happens all the time, but the teenage years seem to epitomize the obsession with trends. The first time I heard “Heaven” by DJ Sammy was in my junior high school years. The song features an upbeat melody, coupled with somewhat clichéd lyrics. Despite the lack of substance in the lyrics, however, the catchy melody does make the song somewhat enjoyable. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I discovered that the song was actually a cover of a famous song from the 80s. DJ Sammy simply remixed the original melody and added female vocals. After my discovery, I listened to the songs sequentially and noticed that, although the main melody and the majority of the lyrics remained, the overall feeling of the remixed song was different.
DJ Sammy’s cover of “Heaven” appeals to a separate audience and conveys a differing message. First off, the DJ Sammy version has a faster tempo and an electronic melody. Immediately, this makes the song more youthful and playful. Whenever I hear this song, I picture an adolescent couple, bounded by puppy love, in the middle of a dance floor. I would definitely doubt the possibility of an adult “starring” this song on his iTunes; there is nothing about this song that would appeal to an adult. This mental association may have something to do with the style of music, but the lowbrow lyrics further confirm that this song was designed for a young demographic. Not surprisingly, the cover song misses a few important lines from the original; the most notable line that is missing from the original is: “Oh once in your life you find someone who will turn your world around”. DJ Sammy’s exclusion of this line infers that he’s not talking about the love of his life, like Adams, but rather a temporary love, like a teenage romance. The singer also states: “love is all that [she] needs, and [she’s] found it [there] in [his] heart”. This statement seems typical of an adolescent mindset; the singer feels that she needs nothing else in life, only love. The target demographic of DJ Sammy’s song is apparent through the lyrics and melody.
Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” is also a love song, but it seems to address a much older audience. It is about the happiness associated with being with one’s soul mate. (In case you were wondering, I do feel that there is a difference between teenage romances and adult relationships, but that is a matter that I shall save for another blog post!). The first lines of the song reflect the nostalgic nature of Adam’s love. He reminisces of the “younger years,” suggesting that he has an extensive background with his lover, making it all the more meaningful. Also, the slow pace of the song, paired with the line, “I’ve been waiting so long,” represent Adams’ culmination of effort in garnering the love of his partner. The song is describing the moment the two are finally “in each others arms” and mutually cognizant of each other’s feelings. Adams’ purpose in singing this song is to express his insurmountable happiness that results from being with his woman. As opposed to the DJ Sammy song, which can easily describe a one-night encounter, Bryan Adams’ song reflects years of hard work. He compares it to being “in heaven,” which many would describe as the epitome of bliss. Overall, Adams’ song is a song that comments on the rewarding feeling of finally experiencing a long sought reciprocation of love.
It is clear that both songs have different purposes. DJ Sammy, in using an exuberant melody, attempts to emphasize the fleeting years of adolescence. The fast tempo and blissful description of love indirectly tells listeners to cherish their teenage years and that teenage romances are completely normal. As I mentioned previously, DJ Sammy excluded the line: “Oh once in your life you find someone who will turn your world around”. This probably reflects his disagreement with the concept of a soul mate, especially in teenagers. He doesn’t want adolescents to think that their first love will be their lifelong partner. DJ Sammy wants his listeners to know that if one relationship should go awry, there many other potential partners in the world. The message conveyed by Bryan Adams’ song, however, disagrees with this sentiment. The singer states that he had been pursuing the woman for countless years, never having given up hope on her. Adams’ song is a declaration of happiness upon finally obtaining the woman that he had lusted for. His song expresses the idea of being persistent. He wants his listeners to know that hard work reaps rewards. Adams, unlike DJ Sammy, believes in the concept of a soul mate. Having met the woman as a child, Adams pursued her for countless years; he did not even consider the possibility of another partner. It’s amazing how slight shifts in a song can alter the message so significantly.
Although “Heaven” by both artists seem inherently identical, they actually have much different implications and effects upon listeners. When an artist chooses to cover a song, he or she puts the original song in his or her perspective, which may completely warp the effect of the song. Both Bryan Adams and DJ Sammy successfully conveyed their messages successfully.
In re-reading my X1, I found many areas where I could expand on and sentences that were unnecessary. Most notably, was the overall meaning and purpose of the two songs. I found this difficult to pinpoint, but I eventually described it in my fourth paragraph. I also tried to make my original piece more like a blog-post by making the language more casual. I feel like the informal nature of a blog post allowed me to insert some insight and commentary into my piece, giving me more freedom and allowing me to be more personal. I modified parts that were unnecessary, like the original introduction, which focused a bit too much on the idea of cover songs and added a personal anecdote to make my blog post more interesting. Basically, I followed Professor Harris’ advice on my original X1 and made my piece less impersonal.
I would like to thank my middle school peers for introducing me to this song, Youtube for helping me find the original version of “Heaven”, and Professor Harris for a great semester.
<Adams, Bryan. “Heaven.” Rec. 9 Apr. 1985. Reckless. Bryan Adams, Bob Clearmountain, 1985. Youtube. Google, 30 Oct. 2008. Web. 7 Sept. 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eT464L1YRA>.
<DJ Sammy. “Heaven.” Rec. 9 Apr. 1985. Heaven. Rec. 6 Aug. 2002. DJ Sammy, Yanou, 2002. Youtube. Google, 14 July 2006. Web. 7 Sept. 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhifPQ55Z7Q>.