Clark Kent

*I don’t blog as much as I (or my legions of fans) would like.  One of the easiest ways for me to generate content is to post one of my songs with the lyrics and and some background info.

The song “Clark Kent” was written about 7 years ago and was heavily inspired by the books The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon and Men of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones.  Men of Tomorrow is a non-fiction account of the early days of the comic book business in the 1930’s and 40’s.  Superman was famously created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster while they were teenagers living in Cleveland, Ohio.  Both would have clearly been considered typical geeks today and the creation of Superman is obviously a work of wish fulfillment for a couple of poor, nerdy teenagers. The more I read these books (Kavalier and Clay is a pretty epic novel that tells a similar but fictional story) and the more I thought about  Siegel and Shuster’s creation, the more I realized that Superman wasn’t the only wish fulfillment character they created. So was Clark Kent.

The idea of secret identities is a curious one.  That familiar trope is a near essential part of super-heroes but on the surface it makes very little sense as an extension of wish fulfillment.  The wish is to have great power and accomplish amazing things yet not fully reap the glory that accompanies it.  Part of the wish fulfillment fantasy is secrecy. Perhaps because nerdy, unpopular, unloved teenagers already want to believe that they are secretly great.  They might consider their secret greatness to be internal things such as intelligence or bravery.  Clark Kent emblematizes this internal, hidden greatness perfectly by hiding his Superman outfit underneath his regular clothes.  This allows the nerd stereotype to identify with Clark Kent/Superman to such a degree that Superman has become one of the most iconic fictional characters in history.

The song came together reasonably easily, it is pretty straightforward.  I probably spent more time on the bridge then the rest of the song put together, but I think most songwriters would say that’s not unusual, even if a bridge is just four lines.  A favorite memory was performing the song at a Halloween party I played while I was dressed as Clark Kent. The recording was made very quickly, with all but the finished vocal being recorded in one night.  Bandmate Chris Vogt and I played everything on it, with both of us layering mandolin and acoustic & electric guitar parts.

Stream it right here and try to sing along!

Clark Kent

So you feel like Clark Kent
Like you’re so much more than you appear to be
And you are faster than a speeding bullet
If no one is watching

It’s a brilliant disguise
To hide yourself as a coward
‘Cuz prides a greater weakness
Than green kryptonite

So you feel like Clark Kent
Like you’ll never get the girl
And Lois looks right past you
At that spit curl

You hide yourself from the ones you love
For fear of their lives
It’s so hard to hide the truth
When you’re a man who never lies

So wear your glasses proud
And slip out of the crowd
I can see thru you
As well as
You can see through me

So you feel like Clark Kent
Like you’re so much more than you appear to be
And you are faster than a speeding bullet
If no one is watching

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About ronfreeman42

I'm trustworthy.
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