City Girl

Have you ever tried writing a song before? If not, let me tell you something — it’s hard. And I didn’t write an original song, or even base it on my own material. What I did was use the music and lyrics from Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey, and change the lyrics based on Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie to show how the conflict is resolved in the end. I have a whole new respect for songwriters now after this experience.

My version of the song is about the relationship between Luo and the Seamstress. Luo has the idea that he is somehow ‘better than her’ because he is from the city and his father is a dentist, whereas the Seamstress has lived in the mountains her whole life and her father is tailor. They only meet when Luo is sent from the city during the Chinese Cultural Revolution to be re-educated in the countryside.

After they get together, he starts a mission of trying to teach her things he believes will ‘civilize’ her. One those things are reading her Balzac, and even going so far as to steal a case of books from his friend to further educate her, in addition to helping her look and speak more like a city girl. Even though he really does love her (in his own way), he still patronizes her with all these constant little lessons, continuously reminding her that he’s smarter and better than her. However, in the very end, all of those teachings and his plan backfires on him when she finally masters all his lessons so completely that she no longer has any use for him, leaving him behind without a warning”…to change her life and try her chances in the city” (180).

Below is the song I wrote to try and tell their story, and what Don’t Stop Believin’ sounds like, which is the tune my song follows.


Background Image: here

Don’t Stop Believin’: original lyrics

Don’t Stop Believin’: song