Apple-Obsessed Author Fella

In Which I Ponder The Lyrics To “The Rainbow Connection”

I am, of course a Muppets fan.

Who isn’t? Al Qaeda. The Manson Family. Rick Santorum.

But everybody else — Muppets fan.

Having a Tiny Human in the house (now ten months old!), I’m slowly steeping him in the warm waters of approved pop culture goodness, which means it is time for a slow but ever-increasing dose of things like The Muppets. Yes to Kermit! No to Barney the Dinosaur. Stuff like that.

In the process, I’ve got a few mix CDs I play in the car with kid-friendly tunes (They Might Be Giants is particularly delightful in this regard). One such track: “The Rainbow Connection.” As sung by The Muppets.

And, as sung by me. Singing along in the car.

Thing is, as you start to sing songs to your kids, you start listening to the lyrics. I mean — Rockabye Baby? In the tree-tops? Wind blows, cradle rocks, baby falls out of tree? Why was the baby in the tree in the first place? Who puts a cradle up there? Ben Franklin? Nikola Tesla? And why are we singing songs about babies falling out of trees as a means to get babies to sleep? Is there a subtle threat in there? “You don’t fall asleep, I’m going to stick your bediapered ass in a tree and you better hope the wind doesn’t knock your chubby cheeks to the forest floor, kid. Now shut up and slumber.”

Anyway. So. Rainbow Connection.

I sing along and now I’m forced to ask:

What the hell is going on in this song?

Let us examine.

Why are there so many

Songs about rainbows

And what’s on the other side?

Right up front I’m forced to ask: are there that many songs about rainbows? I can think of… mmm, one other one. “Over the Rainbow.” Do we possess a secret canon of rainbow songs? More specifically, how many songs about rainbows do we have where the song ponders what’s on the other side of said rainbow? (We know what’s on the other side, by the way: goddamn leprechauns. A whole bloody cabal of ’em. Wizard of Oz had Munchkins, a thinly-veiled metaphor for an unruly host of leprechauns hoarding gold in the form of a “yellow brick road.” Filthy little fair folk! Greedy little Rumpleforeskins.)

Rainbows are visions

Only illusions

And rainbows have nothing to hide

Except leprechauns. Rainbows are hiding the shit out of leprechauns.

So we’ve been told and some choose

To believe it

But I know they’re wrong wait and see

Wait. What? What’s happening? Rainbows aren’t just illusions? This is starting to sound like a crazy person’s conspiracy theory about rainbows. “Hey, man. HEY. BUDDY. Psst. All that shit you thought you know about rainbows? LIES TOLD BY BRAINWASHED SCIENTISTS. You think rainbows aren’t real but I’m here to tell you they’re real as you and me, man. It’s a ploy by Homeland Security. I’m stocking up on ammo and so should you. Because one day the rainbows are coming to come for us all. And then what happens, man? THEN WHAT HAPPENS.”


Okay, onto the chorus.

Someday we’ll find it

The Rainbow Connection

The lovers, the dreamers and me

Someday we’ll find “it.” Find what? What the fuck is a rainbow connection? What does it connect? Is it a bridge? A Delta flight? A drug connection? “Yo, you wanna get high, you gotta see my man Jimmy the Skeev down under the overpass. He’ll hook you up with the real rainbow connection, if you know what I mean. Right? Right? I mean drugs. He’s going to give you drugs for money. In case that wasn’t entirely clear.”

Also: saying, “The lovers, the dreamers, and me,” indicates that these are three distinct entities. Lovers cannot be dreamers and vice versa, and further, the singer identifies as neither of those things.

Now, given that the singer is generally a frog made of felt, I’m comfortable not imagining him as a lover. Because then he’s going to be (alert, incoming pun) porking Miss Piggy, and I don’t need to see that outside of an early Peter Jackson film. But Kermit isn’t a dreamer? Really? How sad for the gangly frog.

Who said that every wish

Would be heard and answered

When wished on the morning star

Okay, I don’t know that anybody ever said that. Is that a thing? “Sure. You want something, you gotta wish on the morning star. Someone will hear it. And that someone will answer it. No, I don’t know who the fuck it is. Could be a giant Space Manatee for all I know. Just shut up and get to wishing already.”

Though, now that I re-read it — “morning star?” Morningstar? Isn’t that a title of…

LUCIFER? Morningstar and Lightbringer? Is this song advocating Satanism? Or is it trying to teach us to turn away from the Devil’s wiles? “Oh, sure, Old Scratch will tell you that he’ll listen to and answer your every wish, but then he’ll stick a trident up your butt and remove your soul through your anus. That’s a true story. That’s in the Bible. It’s in… uhh, Mordecai 7:11. I dunno, shut up and just don’t worship the Devil.”

Somebody thought of that

And someone believed it

And look what it’s done so far

Who? Who thought of that? Who believed it? And what has it done?

I’m asking. Seriously, song. I’m asking. Because now it sounds like you’re just making shit up. Are we supposed to wish for things? Or not wish for things? Is this a war between the Morning Star and the Rainbow? Are we trying to get those two to connect? Come together, like the Beatles sang?

What’s so amazing

That keeps us stargazing

What do we think we might see

I’m getting a real mixed message here. Stargazing is cool? Stargazing is stupid? Wishing is for assholes? What’s so amazing that keeps us star-gazing…? Can’t it just be like, y’know, stars? Stars are cool.

Someday we’ll find it

That Rainbow Connection

The lovers the dreamers and me

Back to the chorus again. Still don’t know what we’re hoping to find. But, okay. I’m listening.

Have you been half-asleep?

And have you heard voices?

I’ve heard them calling my name

This sounds like a nightmare I had.

That’s some hypnagogic hallucination type of shit right there. “I was half asleep. Then… I heard voices. I heard them… calling my name.” That’s fucking creepy is what it is. Is it the rainbow? Is the rainbow calling you? Why? What does it want? Or maybe it’s the Devil? What’s happening? Am I high right now?

Are these the sweet sounds

That called the young sailors?

I think they’re one and the same

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Are we talking about the sirens? The freaky shipwrecking seductresses calling to sailors? This is getting terrifying. You’re saying that the voice I’m hearing while half-asleep, the voice that’s calling my name, is actually the same song that calls to sailors? To crash them against rocks? There’s a whole Christian analog here to when sirens were used to represent not a literal song toward deadly rocks but as a metaphorical representation toward worldly sins. And given earlier lyrics talking about dreaming and wishing and what might be a reference to the Devil…

What the hell is going on in this song?

I’ve heard it too many

Times to ignore it

There’s something that I’m supposed to be

If you’re hearing this with some frequency — these name-calling siren song voices — I’m maybe thinking you need to get jacked up on a Thorazine drip. Like, ASAFP.

And are the voices telling him what he’s supposed to be? Which is… what, exactly? Lover, dreamer, rainbow hunter, Satanist, non-Satanist, leprechaun felcher, what? What’s happening? Why my pants undone? How did I get here? Why am I surrounded by monster puppets in a swamp? Why does my anus hurt?

Someday we’ll find it

The Rainbow Connection

The lovers, the dreamers and me