It’s A Hit – Dissecting the Satirical Genius of a Modern Anthem


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Rilo Kiley's It's A Hit at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Prism of Satire: Unwrapping the Sarcasm
  5. Discontent in the Mundane: Unveiling the Song’s Hidden Message
  6. The Struggle for Authenticity Amid Applause
  7. Echoing the Contemporary Zeitgeist: Memorable Lines
  8. Holiday for Hanging: The Cynical Celebration

Lyrics

Any chimp can play human for a day.
Use his opposable thumbs to iron his uniform,
And run for office on election day,
Fancy himself a real decision maker,
And deploy more troops than salt shakers.

But it’s a jungle when war is made,
And you’ll panic and throw your own shit at the enemy.
The camera pulls back to reveal your true identity.
Look, it’s a sheep in wolf’s clothing.
A smoking gun holding ape.

Any asshole can open up a museum.
Put all of the things he loves on display
So everyone could see them.
The house, a car, a thoughtful wife
Ordinary moments in his ordinary life.

But if she breaks a smile, she’ll give you away
Cause no one wants to pay to see your happiness.
No one wants to pay to see your day to day
And I’m not buying it either
But I’ll try selling it anyway.

Any idiot can play Greek for a day
And join a sorority or write a tragedy
And articulating all that pain
And maybe you’ll get paid.

But it’s a sin when success complains,
And your writers block-it don’t mean shit.
Just throw it against the wall and see what sticks.
Gotta write a hit
I think this is it.
It’s a hit.

And if it’s not,
Then it’s a holiday for hanging
Yeah it’s a holiday for hanging
Yeah it’s a holiday for hanging
Yeah it’s a holiday for hanging
Yeah shoo-bop-shoo-bop my baby

Any fool can play executioner for a day,
And say with fingers pointed in both directions
‘he went thataway’,
It’s only a switch or syringe,
Aww, exempt from eternal sins.
But you still wear a cross,
And you think you’re gonna get in.

Ah, but the pardons never come from up-stairs.
They’re always a moment too late,
But it’s entertainment
Keep the crowd on their toes,
It’s justice, we’re safe.
It’s not a hit, it’s a holiday
Shoo-bop-shoo-bop my baby

It’s a holiday for hanging, yeah
It’s a holiday for hanging, yeah
It’s a holiday for hanging, yeah
It’s a holiday for hanging, yeah

I’m a holiday for hanging,
I’m a holiday for hanging,
I’m a holiday yeah
I’m a holiday for hanging,

It’s a holiday for hanging, yeah

Full Lyrics

At first glance, Rilo Kiley’s ‘It’s A Hit’ might echo the traditional chords of indie rock purity, but scratch beneath the surface, and you’ll find a treasure trove of cultural critique encased within its melody. The track is a masterful blend of articulate storytelling and societal observation, draped in the guise of a foot-tapping tune that is as biting as it is infectious.

With Jenny Lewis’ sugar-coated vocals and Blake Sennett’s coiling guitar work, ‘It’s A Hit’ offers a rich tapestry of metaphor and allegory, poking at the underbelly of sociopolitical issues with a sardonic smile. This article seeks to untangle the web of meaning spun by Rilo Kiley, understanding what makes ‘It’s A Hit’ not just a song but a statement.

The Prism of Satire: Unwrapping the Sarcasm

‘Any chimp can play human for a day,’ opens the song, immediately setting up the satirical stage upon which Rilo Kiley will perform their cynical ballet. The lyrics wield irony as a weapon, slashing through the façade of societal norms with precision. It’s a magnum opus of scorn directed at the playacting involved in the daily roles humans undertake, be it political prowess or the exhibition of personal success.

The juxtaposition of humans with animals, primarily chimps and sheep, serves to undercut the perceived sophistication of human behavior. It insinuates that beneath the surface, our primal instincts kick in, particularly in stress-inducing scenarios such as warfare, thus revealing our true, unflattering identities.

Discontent in the Mundane: Unveiling the Song’s Hidden Message

The ordinary life, with its seemingly innocuous routine, becomes the canvas for Rilo Kiley’s critique. The museum metaphor, ‘any asshole can open up a museum,’ comments on the vanity of showcasing one’s life, a behavior magnified in the age of social media. True happiness is not for display, and the irony is that while everyone seeks it, no one is willing to witness another’s joy.

It’s more than just an observation; it’s a commentary on the commodification of personal life and the paradox of the pursuit of happiness. Are we truly living or merely curating our lives for the voyeuristic pleasure of an audience that’s too self-involved to care?

The Struggle for Authenticity Amid Applause

‘Any idiot can play Greek for a day,’ jabs at the attempts of creating art or expression that is coastal on prevailing stereotypes or cultural motifs. The ‘Greek’ here symbolizes a trope, an easy-to-digest image of worldly pain and suffering that can be commodified. Art loses its sincerity when it’s packaged as a product for consumption, rather than a creation of passion.

‘But it’s a sin when success complains,’ Lewis sings, criticizing those who have attained success yet lament their position, showing a disconnect with the reality faced by those without the privileges of success or platform.

Echoing the Contemporary Zeitgeist: Memorable Lines

The song’s chorus, ‘Gotta write a hit, I think this is it. It’s a hit.’ loops over itself with a mix of hope and skepticism. It embodies every creator’s internal argument — the balance between making art that is true to oneself and creating something that has mass appeal.

Another memorable line, ‘But you still wear a cross, and you think you’re gonna get in,’ laces religious imagery with critique, questioning the moral dichotomy that exists within society; outward symbols of faith starkly contrasting with inner or institutionalized corruption or vice.

Holiday for Hanging: The Cynical Celebration

The repetition of ‘it’s a holiday for hanging’ encapsulates the album’s title, ‘More Adventurous,’ presenting a dark, unsettling picture of celebration, ideally linked to joy and togetherness, being repurposed to signify something sinister or punitive. It’s a metaphor for public spectacle that often accompanies punishment, historical or modern, and our collective appetite for schadenfreude.

This phrase becomes an emblem for the inherent sadism in society’s consumption of misfortune and scandal, piercing through the faade of civility to reveal a morbid festivity lurking within our cultural psyche.

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