Author Topic: The Playboy Mansion  (Read 13782 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Boom Cha!

  • Guest
The Playboy Mansion
« on: October 29, 2008, 11:40:26 AM »
Is The Playboy Mansion used as a metaphor for Heaven in this song? If not than what else could it be?



Offline DGordon1

  • Elevated
  • ***
  • Posts: 3,199
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2008, 05:27:00 AM »
I always thought the Mansion was meant to symbolize the world of vanity that we're all meant to aspire to in popular culture. I thought the song was about someone feeling desperation and aspiring to be considered cool, sexy or relevant in modern society, figuratively to earn the right to enter the "Playboy Mansion". That fits in well with the theme of the album. But actually it probably is a metaphor for heaven, this is just my interpretation of the song.

Offline u2yooper

  • Airborne Ranger
  • ***
  • Posts: 7,978
  • Life should be fragrant- rooftop to the basement
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2008, 06:36:32 AM »
i think you're right on, Boom Cha.  That was my thought, too.  The chorus sounds like a funky gospel song to me.  Who else but our guy Bono would make the Playboy mansion a metaphor for heaven?

Offline B-Wood

  • Headache in a Suitcase
  • *
  • Posts: 303
  • AchtungCloud on old forum
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2008, 07:09:13 AM »
The first time I listened to Pop I had just thrown it in my car stereo right after buying and hadn't even bothered to read the tracklist.  By the time he gets around to saying "The Playboy Mansion" I had already assumed the song was about heaven.  And if it wasn't for the track being named as such, I would have thought the point was to suck the listener into thinking it's about heaven and then flipping it since he never says playboy mansion until near the end of the song.

Offline Dali

  • Child of Grace
  • **
  • Posts: 1,716
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2008, 05:57:56 AM »
When the financial crisis hit (or at least hit the news) recently, I was reminded of that song

the banks they're like cathedrals / guess casinos took their place / love come on now / and let my numbers come around

Offline Starfish

  • Acrobat
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,069
  • Yay, it's Larry!!!
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2008, 06:38:45 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I always thought the Mansion was meant to symbolize the world of vanity that we're all meant to aspire to in popular culture. I thought the song was about someone feeling desperation and aspiring to be considered cool, sexy or relevant in modern society, figuratively to earn the right to enter the "Playboy Mansion".

I also thought of the above as the interpretation, but heaven makes sense too  ;)

Offline DGordon1

  • Elevated
  • ***
  • Posts: 3,199
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2008, 07:19:53 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I always thought the Mansion was meant to symbolize the world of vanity that we're all meant to aspire to in popular culture. I thought the song was about someone feeling desperation and aspiring to be considered cool, sexy or relevant in modern society, figuratively to earn the right to enter the "Playboy Mansion".

I also thought of the above as the interpretation, but heaven makes sense too  ;)

Yeah, it's the lines like "If beauty is truth, and surgery the fountain of youth" that make it feel quite critical and biting. It's an interesting song that is very consistently (and unfairly imo) bashed.

Hawkmoon2e

  • Guest
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2008, 06:34:16 PM »
This is  U2's finest gospel song ever. Props to "Thacraic" on the old forum, who wrote up the following about 'The Playboy Mansion':

"I think this song could be written from the perspective of someone seeking
the truth (while Bono adds his own personal experiences in towards the end of the song).
Bono starts out in explaining how upside down this world really is. The
world's values are beyond corrupt and it results in utter confusion and emptiness.
Knowing this he realizes the difficulty of making it through this world. He
poses the question of "what am I to do? have I got the gift to get me
through the "gates of that mansion"? This is in reference to heaven without a doubt
and he is wondering what it takes to get there.
He continues to address the problems with this world, and then pulls a
Pascal "What have we got to lose?" Then he speaks of how good he is. "I
never bought a lotto ticket, never etc..." In other words, I have never done anything
really bad etc. I mean considering what others in this world do I am pretty good.
Also in terms of a double meaning (which their songs are filled with) I
think Bono could be making a reference to Pascal's Wager, that it is not
just like buying a lotto ticket in terms of believing in Christ. But then he also says
"love come on down and let my numbers come around". Confusing? Not really.
Anyway the keyword from this point on is "Love".
"Love come on down...". He is starting to see. He gets it. It is love, or I
should say Love. Now that he knows it is Love and he is starting to accept it.
Once he has found it he acknowledges the difficulty we all face in striving
towards the goal. Doubting if he can really "hold on and wait that long" because again this world we live in, as corrupt and confusing as it is, can still lure us.
Love come on down takes on another meaning as well, that of Jesus hurry it
up already when you gonna come back? (Even so Lord come...)
Once He does, "The colours come flashing and the lights go on" and "then
will there be no time for sorrow then will there be no time for shame"
Bono can not explain it mind you. He doesn't know why, but he knows he's
"got to believe." (None of us who believe can really "explain" it to someone that doesn't see it. We know why but to truly convey the power of God indwelling
within us through mere human words can prove to be difficult).
He is now confident of his salvation. He is assured. He goes on to express
how truly incredible it is going to be. "We will go diving in that pool, its
Who you know that gets your through, the gates of the playboy mansion." He
knows that what he thought was "good" enough to get him through in the beginning of the song ain't it at all. He explains his anticipation of being there and
the realization of how he is going to get there.
Finally that this song is called the "Playboy Mansion" is ironic. But is it
really? Is heaven going to be filled with a bunch of people that were
perfect
while they were here on earth? No! Heaven is going to be filled with
playboys, and liars, cheats, drunkards etc. Any kind of "bad person" you can
imagine,
has the potential to make it there but only by knowing the One that will get
them "through those gates". Heaven will be filled with sinners who, while
on earth, choose to know and follow the One that can make them sinless.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2008, 06:39:23 PM by Hawkmoon2e »

Offline DGordon1

  • Elevated
  • ***
  • Posts: 3,199
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2008, 02:27:53 PM »
Hmm interesting last post. A lot of good points, and a lot of personal interpretation which show the openness of the song. Don't really get the bit about Heaven being full of sinners though...  ::)

Offline u2yooper

  • Airborne Ranger
  • ***
  • Posts: 7,978
  • Life should be fragrant- rooftop to the basement
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2008, 07:09:35 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Hmm interesting last post. A lot of good points, and a lot of personal interpretation which show the openness of the song. Don't really get the bit about Heaven being full of sinners though...  ::)

I guess, because we're all sinners, in one way or another, and I believe in an endlessly forgiving God.  I would vote to keep the bad guys out, and let me in (of course), but because of God's grace, we're all forgiven.  (Wow, I sound like Billy Graham today.  I'm not even evangelical!  We Episcopalians don't normally talk like this.  Too embarrassing!)

Offline TraKianLite/Zooropa

  • Numb
  • **
  • Posts: 877
  • The land was flat, the highway straight and wide.
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2008, 10:20:33 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
the banks they're like cathedrals / guess casinos took their place / love come on [down?] / and let my numbers come around

Also when Coldplay insanely close to a hefty lawsuit that would've boosted Universal Records at said difficult time.

Offline Ro~Jo

  • Stateless
  • *
  • Posts: 157
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2008, 10:13:15 PM »
Bono really does something quite brilliant in the lyrics of this song; in fact, this is one of my favourite U2 songs lyrically.  Pop as a whole centers around the conflict between faith and a wayward consumerist culture, and how Bono's position as a Christian rock star places him squarely in an intersection of the two.  Within the larger context of Pop, I believe this song is about the fundamental wrongness of consumerism: that it transforms the acquisition of wealth and possessions into a spiritual quest, making people mistake the profane for the sacred.  In the first stanza, Bono sets the scene:

If Coke is a mystery
Michael Jackson, history
If beauty is truth
And surgery, the fountain of youth
What am I to do
Have I got the gifts to get me through
The gates of that mansion

Here Bono is equating the icons of modern consumerist culture (soft drinks, pop stars, "beauty", plastic surgery) with the timeless (mystery, history, truth, the fountain of youth).  This sets the tone for the rest of the song: from the singer's perspective, the culture and all the baggage it carries reign supreme.  Everything else he says is through the lense of this notion.  At the end of the stanza, the tension is introduced: the singer is wondering what he can do to attain the "mansion".  This struggle is obviously supposed to parallel the notion of trying to attain "heaven"; however, the mansion is the consumerist version of heaven: wealth, prestige, etc.  We continue onto the second stanza:

If OJ is more than a drink
And a Big Mac, bigger than you think
If perfume is an obsession
And talk shows, confession
What have we got to lose
Another push and we'll be through
The gates of that mansion

This stanza continues in the same mode as the first, underscoring the theme of modern consumerist culture having spiritual authority.  The religious imagery of "confession" juxtaposed against the cultural reference of "talk shows" in particular affirms this. The singer still desires to gain access to the mansion.  This time, however, he is a little more desperate, asking himself, "What have we got to lose?" implying reckless action.

I never bought a lotto ticket
I never parked in anyone's space

These lines are a consumerist version of the commonly used rationale, "I never did anything wrong, so therefore I deserve heaven."

The banks they're like cathedrals
I guess casinos took their place

One more equation of wealth to the sacred, and then Bono sets the next scene: a casino.

Love come on down
Let her wake up, she'll come around

Chance is a kind of religion
Where you're damned for plain hard luck
I never did see that movie
I never did read that book
Love come on down
And let my numbers come around

The singer is at the roulette wheel.  As in "Lady with the Spinning Head", the wheel here is personified as a woman.  With nothing left to lose, the singer is taking his shot at winning big and hence securing his place in the mansion.  The line "Love come on down" is a religious invocation - but here it's placed in the context of consumerist pseudospirituality, where spiritual fulfillment is money and possessions.  This is essentially the singer's prayer - to "let [his] numbers come around."

Don't know if I can hold on
Don't know if I'm that strong
Don't know if I can wait that long
'Til the colors come flashing
And the lights go on

In this critical moment, the singer once again wonders if he has what it takes to make it into the mansion.  Can he last through the hard luck until at last his number comes up?  He envisions the moment of fulfillment as being like the start of a show: the "colors come flashing/And the lights go on."

Then will there be no time for sorrow
Then will there be no time for shame
And though I can't say why
I know I've got to believe

Here the song reaches his climax, as Bono reaches into his gospelish falsetto.  The imagery clearly evokes the Kingdom of Heaven, yet in the context of the song, it's a false Heaven, one set up in the popular mind by the media.  (During the Popmart tour, Bono made the brilliant move of snippeting the first two lines of this stanza at the end of "Where the Streets Have No Name", a song about the actual Kingdom of Heaven.)  The word order is "will there be" rather than the more obvious "there will be", adding a dimension of uncertainty to the singer's exclamation.  He has some doubts about whether the culture can actually bring spiritual fulfillment, and in the last two lines he even admits that his faith in consumerism is unquestioned.

We'll go driving in the pool
It's who you know that gets you through
The gates of the Playboy Mansion

It's here that Bono at last tips his hand and shows that he doesn't agree with the perspective articulated in the song.  "Driving in the pool" is a reference to Keith Moon driving his car into a swimming pool, one of the ultimate acts of rock star excess.  This is the sort of thing that happens once you attain the mansion.  He also informs the audience of the real criteria to do this: "It's who you know that gets you through".  This is a reference to the popular axiom "It's not what you know, but who you know" that determines your success.  In his experience, this has apparently proven to be true.  And in the last line of the song (not counting the chorus repetition), he reveals that the mansion isn't heaven, but the Playboy Mansion, an icon of modern culture's excesses.  With this Bono completes his portrait of how for many consumerism has become a spiritual pursuit.

Offline u2yooper

  • Airborne Ranger
  • ***
  • Posts: 7,978
  • Life should be fragrant- rooftop to the basement
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2008, 03:54:16 PM »
Couldn't have said it better myself.  (I wish I could, but really I can't.  That was beautiful, Ro-Jo)  I just remembered today, didn't Michael Jackson release an album called 'History'?  Is that what that line means?

Offline DGordon1

  • Elevated
  • ***
  • Posts: 3,199
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2008, 05:55:34 AM »
Yeah that was a good summing-up of things Ro~Jo. Shows how farcical it is that so many people hate this song, how short-sighted of them.

Offline TheFly

  • Intellectual Tortoise
  • *
  • Posts: 440
Re: The Playboy Mansion
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2008, 07:09:41 AM »
I agree about it being about vanity, i also think it's about hedonism - from a certain point of view anyway.