Critical Reading Log #1 John Lennon vs. A Perfect Circle “Imagine” by John Lennon and “Imagine” by A Perfect Circle are both powerful songs with powerful videos. However, even though they are the same song I feel as though the two contradict each other in many ways. I feel as though in Lennon’s song, he is trying to convey a message of peace, and say that if people want to get through dark times, if they try hard enough they can. In contrast, I feel as though A Perfect Circle’s version is conveying a message that people need to change.
By showing those dark images, I feel as though Leonard is trying to convince people to be better and saying that no one should want the world to be that way, so we need to change and be good people to avoid reliving the dark past that our country has had. John Lennon’s “Imagine” and “Imagine” by The Perfect Circle have the exact same lyrics, but because of the imagery, tone, and its heaven vs. hell themes, they can be viewed as completely different songs. One of the main differences between these two songs is the imagery. I feel as though in “Imagine,” by John Lennon, the imagery is positive.
They are coming out of the darkness into light, and to me it represents coming out of depression and the transition between a depressing life and a happy one. The whiteness of the house that Lennon and Yoko Ono are in also gives off a peaceful feeling. Throughout the video, Ono is opening up all of the windows and letting the light in, and that itself gives off a positive message. To me it’s saying that if one wants to be happier with their life, it’s up to them whether they want to be happy or “let the light in. ” In A Perfect Circle’s version of “Imagine,” the imagery is dark and frightening.
It’s showing dead people/people dying and warfare. It also shows an image of the Pope sitting behind bulletproof glass which itself gives off a depressing vibe. Throughout the video, the bottom of the screen is showing different news headlines, most of which are depressing. Another difference between these two songs is the tone of the videos. In Lennon’s version, the tone of the video and Lennon’s voice is very hopeful, happy, and cheerful. It’s much higher of an octave than A Perfect Circle’s version, and most of the time when you hear a higher octave in a song, it will come off as much more positive.
Also, in Lennon’s version, at the end of one of his verses he adds a little “you-who,” which adds a little positive note to the song, and I feel like he does it to prove to his audience that he is trying to be hopeful, and trying give his listeners hope, since the time period that the song was written was very dark and depressing. In contrast, A Perfect Circle’s version was very dark and the tone of Leonard’s voice was a very low octave and, and in my opinion, sounded like something out of a horror movie. One major contrast between the two songs was the theme.
I feel as though these two songs had a heaven/hell theme. Lennon’s version reminded me of something you would see in heaven. Many people think of heaven as a place with a lot of light and a lot of white. In Lennon’s video, the light coming into the room was very heaven-like, and the white house reminded me of a place that I would see in heaven. Whereas A Perfect Circle’s version reminded me of hell by the way it showed disturbing images, and the way the music sounded like a nightmare or something that would be in a horror movie.
Also, when people think of heaven they think of hope. Hope that there is an afterlife and that they will soon be in the most peaceful place. Lennon’s version of the song had a very hopeful message to it. In contrast, Leonard’s version gives off a message of despair and hopelessness, and when many people think of hell, they think of despair and hopelessness. If people don’t change for the better, then the world will continue to be a dark place. It’s similar to how hell is. If bad people don’t change for the better, they could end up in hell.
In conclusion, these two songs prove the theory that even two things that sound the same can be taken in different ways. Many times in life, two people can say the same thing, but the meaning can be interpreted differently. In these two songs, even though they are the similar with the exact same lyrics, it’s up to the listener to determine how the song and the lyrics should be taken and what they should mean. The imagery, tone, and heaven vs. hell theme are the main differences that I discovered from listening to these two songs.