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 think the message of this song, which I interpret as being about live itself and its problems, is very good and effective. I wouldn't really listen to this song in my free time because it's just not really my type of song but I think that the message and the metaphors etc. were great. Especially because probably most people can relate to the message and see them selves or someone they no in some of the parts of this song
  • I have listened to a lot of Kacey's music, and I definitely have noticed the quirkiness to it along with the deeper meanings at the same time. I took the meaning of this song is that if you settle in life, you are going to get bored of doing the same thing and be expected to act a certain way. The circle of life tends to become dull and fade when you aren't happy with the results. I looked at this broken family on the merry-go-round like they turned to other things to find happiness. Mom is into makeup and he self image. The brother is hooked on drugs, possibly to avoid the way he feels about his life, and dad is unhappy in his marriage, so he finds happiness down the road. People seem to end up in places where they didn't expect to be, and they lead normal lives. I think that this is what the song is mainly about.
  • There were many different messages in this song. The first is the line about how even if you dont belive, you still have to come to church every sunday. I was able to make a connection to that, the majority of people who I know who to go Church every Sunday and are really invested in it, are not nice people. And I know some who hardly even attend church and they're like saints. The Mary Kay Mary Jane part meant to me that everyone is going through life and they're all going to have problems, so different people turn to different things to ease the pain. And even though these people want to change their lives, they dont. They settle in the same town they've been living in all their life, and continue to ease the pain through whatever helps. And its really sad, a majority of the world goes through this, and no one has the courage to spin the Merry Go Round in their own direction and take control of their life.
  • From the beginning of the song, I could tell it was a country song that didn't apply to the stereotype of "beer, trucks, tractors and girls", but instead it was the artists' own personal story put into a country-tune. The message of the song -- the "never settle" concept can be applied to almost everyone's lives. If you get to that point where you reach all of your goals, you don't just stop there -- you keep creating new and higher goals that you can reach. As said, we all have problems in our lives that we deal with differently and this is also true. We don't deal with a problem how someone says we should, we create our own way to get over these obstacles. Overall, this was a unexpected song, I thought it was going to fit into the country song stereotype, but I was pleasantly surprised.
  • I love this song! From listening to it from along time ago, I kind of just know what is going on. I knew that it was about life. I got the gist of the Mary Kay and Mary Jane things and all and how you cope with things differently than others. My overall new thing was the ending I thought of it just as like jack being an alcoholic and mary jsut gave up on life period not that Jack and Jill split and not that mary had a child and doesn't care for it. Overall this was a great song choice.
  • I've never heard this song before but it is a really good song. I like how this female artist is a rebel and she's taken that role. The 'Same hurt in every heart' line is very true because no one is the same and everyone does deal with tragedy or happiness in a different way. I just really liked that line. The merry go round I like how she compared that to life, you never know what is going to happen. No matter what happens everyone is different on how they handle it. I liked the beat of the song because it really had no change and the ending I actually liked when it just stopped.
  • I have heard this song before and it's really depressing after actually listening to the lyrics. The whole song just talked about a broken family. The brother was on drugs, the mom was self-centered, and the dad was having an affair. What kind of threw me for a loop was if the girl singing the song was supposed to be apart of the family? I took it as she is apart of the family and this is what she's seeing from her point of view. This song really does show the basic stereotype. You're looked down on if you don't get married by 21, or have two or more kids. You're looked down on if you don't go to church. This all is just a huge stereotype that the media created. Like we talked about in class, the ending was very different compared to all songs, and I really didn't notice that until I had the lyrics in front of me. It is talking about a broken family all throughout the song, and you would expect there to be an ending where they are starting to get on the right path, but in this case, that wasn't true. But at the same time, I liked it because not every family has a happy ending. That's not life, that's not real. There isn't always a happy ending. Great song choice!
  • I thought this was a really good song because it was different then most of the songs that we have had so far. Although the singers voice didn't show a lot of emotion, the lyrics spoke a much deeper meaning and really gave the song a deeper feeling. I feel that a lot of people can relate to this song especially growing up in a smaller town. Although we like to all say that we just want to get out of here, a lot of us will end up living back in Carroll.
  • I feel like this song hit a lot of the typical stereotypes of small towns and trailer parks. Even if someone did not live in a small town or trailer park, they could probably relate in some way. Life is like a merry go round. We can't always control what happens and sometimes we don't even bother to try. I think this is where the idea of settling down is used in the song. Many people settle of a spouse because they think they will end up alone if they don't pick someone out soon and get married. I also thought the song was about following they way your parents lived because that's all you've ever known. No one wanted to take risks to get a better life. They settled for what was good enough. I think the song had a dark meaning to it and I expected it to have a happy ending, but it cut off with even more sadness. I was actually surprised. It was a very pessimistic view.
  • I don't really listen to any country, but I still thought this song was alright. It took a step outside the normal country song singing about booze, women, or their country and touched on something a little more intimate. She sang about societal norms and how people tend to blindly follow them, and then she sang about what goes on behind the curtain with the mother being and alcoholic and the issues with the brother, the infidelity of her father. The end of the song kind of leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, it leaves you kind of thinking that life might not work out.
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