Traditionally songs don’t follow the three-act structure, unless it comes from a bard, and I wouldn’t mind showcasing some of that in a future installment of this series. The three-act structure (introduction, conflict, resolution) is hard to fit in a three or four minute piece that includes refrains and occasional instrumental moments. So they go for moments in time, like an audio snapshot. If you look through previous installments, everyone from Miley Cyrus to Johnny Cash has just captured scenes but not a full story.
Tonight’s offering isn’t any different, but it’s pretty close. It’s still a short moment, but it might work as a short story. Shannon’s “Let The Music Play” is her only #1 hit and managed to survive the dance music drop-off that came in the wake of the disco backlash. Dance music was still around, but rarely played on major radio stations, much less hitting #1 in the US. (Other countries were friendlier to dance hits on their music charts in the 80’s.) But if you go into analysis mode there is a story to be told here, and one that can possibly even be overanalyzed. Let’s have some fun.
Shannon’s character (people forget that sometimes the singer is playing a role…which is why some of them think they can move into a movie or TV appearance, only to learn it’s a whole new form of acting) meets a man at a club and they seem to be hitting it off on the dance floor, but then he moves off, leaving her sad. (I can relate.) However, true love (or let’s be honest, lust—they met on a dance floor) wins out and he returns to her. As “love” told her, he’d be back as he decided she was the better dance partner.
Now this could be a metaphor for a larger romance. Maybe “the dance” represents an actual romance but he hits a mid-life crisis or feels stuck in the relationship and wants to see other people. But she’s convinced he will return and (unlike Jewel in “You Were Meant For Me“) he does in fact return to her and their relationship continues. Or it’s just as it sounds and he wasn’t as sold on “love at first boogie” just yet.
And if somebody does know a song that follows the three-act structure, point me to it. As long as it isn’t “Trapped In A Closet” (did that ever finish?) I’ll take a look at it. The song itself, not a video based on it.