A Childhood Song Analysis

Shortly before my wedding, I was hard at work getting my lunch ready to take with me to work. On this particular day, I was making a batch of soup beans to go with ham and cornbread((I’ll share the recipe in another post if people are interested, but it’s one of the easiest things to make ever.)) when a childhood diddy got stuck in my head. By now, I’m sure most of you already know which song I’m talking about, however if not, here it is in its entirety.

Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So let’s eat beans for every meal!

I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself a little bit when I realized what song was going through my head. I was instantly transported back to late elementary school when my cousins and I would sing said song while camping with my grandparents, as there was typically a significant amount of soup beans made on the trip. But then adult me realized that something wasn’t right with the song. For that matter, there are quite a few childhood songs that leave some major gaps in their storytelling — or worse, have inaccurate information. I’m here today to help clean that up.

Beans, Beans, The Musical Fruit

Let’s start right away with the beans song mentioned above. Surprisingly, the first line is not the line I take issue with. After all, according to the Mayo Clinic, beans are a fruit, just like corn, avocado, pea pods, and nuts. That’s right. Technically speaking, when you’re eating a handful of almonds, you’re eating fruit. To me, intelligence is understanding that tomatoes, beans, and nuts are fruits, but wisdom is realizing that they belong nowhere near a fruit salad.

I’m also not going to dispute the natural ability of beans to induce flatulence on those who consume them. I mean, this song has its own Wikipedia page for heaven sakes. No, my issue is with the final line of the song. I am certainly not the type of person who believes that foods have set times of day you must eat them. I’m a strong believer that you can have ice cream for breakfast, pancakes for lunch, and cold cereal for dinner, and you’ll be a champion at adulting for it. That said, if there’s one food that really doesn’t sound appealing in the morning, it’s beans. I’ll take my traditional breakfast of a root beer float with a side of strawberries and call it a day.

K-I-SS-I-N-G

Our second song is a derisive playground song typically directed at any weird/nerdy kid who has an interest of a member of the opposite sex. The song goes something like this.

Eric and Amy((Obviously the names of the two parties in question will replace the names of Eric and Amy.)), sittin’ in a tree
K-I-SS-I-N-G

First comes love
Second comes marriage
The comes baby in a baby carriage

I can recall to this day the first time I heard this song jeered at me. It was third grade, late in the year. I had barely talked to anyone for most of the year, and had just started making friends a couple of months prior. My first female friend was a girl named Ashley who would play football at recess with me and a few of our friends. I didn’t realize it at the time, but she had a crush on me. In addition to this, neither of us were particularly popular. It was only a matter of time before a couple of popular kids in our homeroom would sing this at us at recess. It was extremely annoying.

That said, the song has a lot of errors. First and foremost, it has a very pro-religious slant by assuming that love and marriage must come before having a baby. I’ve met a few people((including potentially a member of my immediate family, depending on whose story you believe.)) who got married because there was a baby and a baby carriage on the way. Furthermore, what if the married couple doesn’t want kids? What if they’re only getting married so that one person can get a green card and move to a country with new opportunities? What if it’s an arranged marriage? I have so many questions.

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

Finally, let’s take a look at a song that predates my elementary school time, though I can certainly imagine it being sang in pre-K/kindergarten classrooms.

It’s raining, it’s pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed
And bumped his head
And couldn’t get up in the morning

First of all, fuck limericks.

Secondly, I didn’t realize this as the time as a child, but this song is terribly morbid. I mean, I have to believe that the old man in this song is dead. Not only that, but no one knows about his death until the morning after. Let’s look at the facts here.

  • At one point in time, the man is alive, as evidenced by the fact that it’s snoring.
  • Likewise, he’s elderly. That may not seem important, but stay with me here.
  • It’s raining outside…quite heavily as indicated by the usage of the word pouring.
  • We know that the man suffered some sort of head trauma either in his sleep or as he went to bed.
  • It’s unclear what the specific trauma was or who caused it. We’re left to presume it’s accidental.
  • The trauma is serious enough to cause the man not to be able to rise from his bed in the morning.

It’s possible that said trauma is paralysis, however since the fact that the old man couldn’t get up is where the song ends, I’m lead to believe he has died. That said, how didn’t his family hear him hit his head? On one hand, the bumping of the old man’s head could easily be muffled out by the rain outside, however I have a different opinion. Since the song itself is not found in books prior to the 1930s, I have to believe that the family let the old man die so they wouldn’t have to feed another mouth admist the Great Depression.

Not going to want to sing that song to your kids anymore, are you?

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6 thoughts on “A Childhood Song Analysis

  1. This is awesome. It’s funny how dark and/or nonsensical a lot of children’s songs and stories are, but we never realize it when we’re kids! We’re just like, “Oh ok. This is a fun thing to say!”

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    1. Oh, it’s fantastic. I feel like there’s so many more songs I could do this with, but I don’t know if I want to. At least this is better than someone today who tried to tell me that the song “Oh Happy Day” was written for Sister Act…never mind the fact that it was an 18th Century hymn and was a huge hit twice before that movie was ever in theaters.

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    1. I’m taking suggestions for a sequel to this list. I feel like “Rock-a-bye Baby” likely makes the list, though I’m sure there are others that are equally morbid.

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  2. Interesting. The Beans song was different here:

    Beans, beans, the magical fruit,
    The more you eat, the more you toot;
    The more you toot, the more you fart,
    And that’s what makes them good for your heart.

    As for the Raining song, I remember bringing that up in the second grade. Due to my mother passing away three years earlier, and my step-mom nearly dying during Grade 1, I understood death more than my classmates. The first time we sang the song, the teacher had us skipping around in a circle singing it to a happy melody, and I was like “What?” So I asked her why we were singing happily about an old man dying and she was mortified that I drew that conclusion.

    I never liked that song much.

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    1. I’ve heard the Beans song with that variation before, however the one I stated was far more well known in the Midwestern USA from what I understand. It’s the one I grew up with, so it’s the one I went with. It makes me laugh regardless.

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