Media Literacy Forum

Merry Go Round

I chose ‘Merry Go Round’ because I was always curious about what this song actually meant. This song was written as a joke, but it became one of Kacey Musgraves most popular songs. This song started with one of Kacey’s friends that was talking about one of her neighbors down the street. She said, “Well, I don’t know if she’s selling Mary K or Mary Jane, or something down there. I don’t know what she’s doing.” She started writing a song to see how many ‘Marys’ she can put in a song, but after she started writing the song, a deeper meaning was created.

“A deeper meaning came to life whenever we started really tossing the idea around. We’re all from small towns so we all can relate that way. It’s just a special song about life in general and the patterns that you get into. I feel like it’s something everyone can relate to.” She also said that the main message of this song is to, “never settle.”

The first verse shows a stereotype that you can’t start a family during your middle ages.

‘Same hurt in every heart,’ means that we all have the same struggles, we just deal with them differently.

The broken merry go round is comparable to life. You plan your life ahead of time and expect to know where you’re going to end up, but life just keeps spinning and getting out of hand until you end up somewhere you never thought you would.

I never knew what the Jack and Jill rhyme meant at the end. The reference to Jack and Jill implies that the couple were on a journey together, but things didn’t last. Jack became a drunk and drug addict. It also refers Jack to the cheating husband. “Mary had a little lamb,” refers to the neighbor having a kid.


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  • I definitely can relate to this song and I believe it relates to other people to. I got from the song that it's about how we are supposed to fit these molds society put us into. I thought it was cool how she wrote a song about neighbors and turned it into a song with a deeper meaning. Country songs usually tend to have a story line. Although I couldn't tell who it was about, there was definitely a story there. Even the last stanza of the song was a story within itself.
  • I felt like this song was about a girl born and raised in this small town and wasn’t considered very popular in this town. Especially when is says that her mom's hooked on Mary kay, brother being hooked on Mary jane, and her dad being hooked on Mary to doors down. I basically thought this part was that everyone is hooked on something because it distracts us and that’s what we want. We don’t want to think about our real reality because it’s not what we want, so we find things that distract us from that. In the choirs when is said “ on this broken merry go ‘round” I wondered if it wasn’t exactly the merry go ‘round that was broken but them being broken, going around and around with the same stuff their are hooked on breaking them more and more because they need to be distracted so they don’t realize how broken they really are. Even in one of the verses is says “ same checks we’re always cashin’ to buy a little more distraction” because they need to “buy” or get those certain things that help them be distracted from what’s really going on. All in all I thought this song was very deep and very fun to critic and figure out because it had so many things that you could try and figure out.
  • The song merry go 'round, is one that is not like every country song that I've heard before. Why I say that, is the song doesn't follow the whole country stereotype, but it does a little bit because of the whole small town girl being sad and everything. What I take the song as is that a family is basically falling apart, living in a bad area, and they all have to find ways to deal with it. The mother to possesions,Father to affairs,Brother to drug use,and her to living somewhere else besides her small town trailer park that she despertly wants to leave.
  • This song had many words that had different meaning to them, like the Mary had a little lamb, the word play made this song more enjoyable. The only thing I could connect this song with was the remakes or remixes that other artists have done. I'm not a country fan so it was harder to listen to this song and annotate. The ending of the song was deep and sad though. The song definitely made me think and was an all around good song choice.
  • I did not get that much from the song, but what I did get from it was that she lived in a broken home, and her love life. I got that it was a broken home by the lines "Mamas hooked on Mary Kay", "Brothers hooked on Mary Jane", "And Daddies hooked on Mary two doors down". How I got that it was her love life is from the lines "If you ain't got two kids by 21","You're probably gonna die alone", "Mary Mary quite contrary", "We're so bored until we're buried", and "We get bored so we get married". Then in the small group we talked about how the ending is about her, and her husband, and her husband is now a alcohol drug user. Also that the Mary is her.
  • I really like the song and the way it connects to the traditional things. We are all living in this world full of people doing bad and good. The song kind of creates a depressing mood due to the way it talks about not caring, drugs and just settling. I don't think that you should just settle, but sometimes that's how it goes. I thought this song was just about how life goes on and you can adjust it, if you need to slow it down. It's always up to you, whether you want something to be in your life or not. The ending established that based on what she said, "Mary just don't give a damn no more." Overall, I loved the instruments in the background -- especially the banjo and guitar. Thanks for sharing this song with us, Mariah!
  • Initially, I thought that the song was about the struggles of life and how people cope with the pain. The three lines, "Mamma's hooked on Mary Kay. Brother's hooked on Mary Jane. Daddy's hooked on Mary two doors down," helped me to come to that conclusion about the song. At least I wasn't far from the mark. The thing that surprised me the most was that this song was made initially as a joke, and it is a little funny of how they tried to fit in as many 'Marys' though. The one thing we discussed in class that caught em off guard was, "Just like dust, we settle in this town." Because I had just seen it and went on to the next line, but I never thought that it would have a more important role in confirming my thoughts.
  • This was my first time hearing this song because I don't really like country, but I actually like this song. The first thing I noticed in the first stanza is that she was talking about stereotypes and how you're born into this world being expected to do so much. Another one of the things that I kept noticing was the story references. On the back of the page I kind of came up with my own meaning of the song. I was thinking that since she used so many references, she was basically trying to say that life isn't as great as stories make it sound. I find this song meaningful, because it talks about family issues and just life issues.
  • When I was little I listened to a lot more country but now that I am older, I don't really listen to it as much. I would listen to country because I could relate to most of them and then I moved into Carroll from the farm and just stopped listening to country. I totally agree that there is a way to plan life ahead of time but when you plan ahead your usually more organized. Sometimes I feel like you shouldn't have to plan your life because you should always be really to whatever life throws at you. It may be smart to plan things out during certain circumstances but sometimes you should just sit there and wait for whatever life throws at you.
  • I am not a fan of country, but this song has an interesting meaning. This was a good choice because you kind of have infer on some of the lyrics that are in this song and what these lyrics mean. That's crazy how it started out as a joke to the artist, but as they kept writing it, it became a very meaningful song. There are many emotions going on in this song that is why it is hard to know the real meaning. I think that overall this song is about a girl who has a ton of family problems in this small town and who has a boyfriend, but doesn't really like and she is just not caring and letting everything happen to her. When it said, "just like dust, we settle in this town," I thought that was saying how is just settling for her life, and that she is done trying and doesn't care anymore.
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