“Superman (It’s Not Easy)” by Five for Fighting
The easiest way of describing “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” is as the vocalist taking on the role of Superman. Superman, as you may well know, is the DC Comics’ character who, as far as fictional superheroes go, has been a more consistent American icon than even Captain America himself. His powers include the ability to fly really fast, super strength and virtual invulnerability.
And basically, herein Superman is coming off sorta like a depressed celebrity, perturbed by the notion that the masses perceive his life as being more ideal than it actually is.
In fact Superman is going as far as to say that despite his multitude of enviable gifts, “it’s not easy” being the Man of Steel. For instance, let’s not forget that his “home” planet, Krypton, has been destroyed. Also, it would appear that what he is most frustrated about is people actually believe he’s invulnerable.
Or, let’s say it is true that Superman is nearly impossible to kill from a physical standpoint. But as for his emotional side, he’s just as tender as the rest of us. Also there is this loneliness that comes from possessing the ability to fly for instance. Therefore, he is asking the general audience, in a roundabout way, to sympathize with what he is going through internally.
That said, Five for Fighting is not a kiddie band. For instance, you will notice that Superman is nowhere to be found on the colorful cover art to this piece. And yes, that reality may have something to do with legal issues concerning his image. But whereas the character itself may be trademarked, as alluded earlier what he stands for transcends the world of fiction.
Indeed the word “superman” predates the aforementioned comic book character. And it can also be argued that Five for Fighting is using Superman as a reference point to rather allude to real-life superheroes. Therefore, many of these lyrics, while perhaps having DC canonical backing, would be metaphorical also.
And as far as practically understanding the concept this song speaks to, let’s take Michael Jordan for example. This is a professional athlete who, as the result of his multitude of successes, Oprah Winfrey once certified as “the most famous man on the planet”. So that’s about as close to a real-life superhero as we can unanimously get.
And somewhere along that line, he embarked on 1991’s Be Like Mike campaign which, as its moniker entails, more firmly established Jordan as a role model. However, in looking back, the present-day MJ notes how “if (he) had to do it all over again, (he’d) never want to be a role model”.
He was like the Superman in this song. Everyone was able to perceive all of the benefits of being “like Mike” but none of its detriments. And that’s conclusively what the vocalist is saying. No matter what he’s able to accomplish on the field, on the inside he’s just like everybody else.
Facts about “Superman (It’s Not Easy)”
This Gregg Wattenberg-produced song is featured at #3 on the tracklist of the singer’s sophomore project entitled “America Town”. Wattenberg also holds production credit for the entirety of “America Town”, which was released through Aware Records in September 2000.
This pop rock song was authored by Five for Fighting, whose legal name is Vladimir John Ondrasik III.
“America Town” was accompanied by four singles including “Superman (It’s Not Easy)”, which is the project’s second single. The album’s title track was released as its third single in 2002. The other two singles are:
- “Easy Tonight” (which was issued in September of 2000)
- “Something About You” (which came out in 2003)
When was “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” released?
This was officially issued, as a single, on the 16th of April 2001.