Jann Arden: At Seventeen

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At Seventeen

I learned the truth at seventeen
that love was meant for beauty queens
and high school girls with clear skin smiles
who married young and then retired

The valentines I never knew
Friday night charades of youth
were spent on one more beautiful
seventeen I learned the truth

And those of us with ravaged faces
lacking in the social graces
desperately remained at home
inventing lovers on the phone
who called to say: "Come dance with me"
and murmured vague obscenities
It isn't all it seems at seventeen

The brown-eyed girl in hand-me-downs
whose name I never could pronounce
"Pity, please, the ones that serve
they only get what they deserve

The rich-relationed hometown queen
married into what she needs
a guarantee of company and haven for the elderly

Remember those who win the game
lose the love they sought to gain
in debentures of quality and dubious integrity
Their small-town eyes will gape at you
in dull surprise when payment due
It isn't what it seems at seventeen

To those of us who knew the pain
of valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called
when choosing sides for basketball

It was long ago and far away;
The world was younger than today
And dreams were all they gave for free
to ugly duckling girls like me

CHORUS: We all play the game and when we dare to cheat ourselves at solitaire
inventing lovers on the phone
repenting other lives unknown
that call to say: "Come dance with me"
murmur vague obscenities
at ugly duckling girls like me at seventeen





songwriter: Janis Ian

performed by: Jann Arden

date released: 1975 by Janis Ian; covered by Jann Arden in 2007

"At Seventeen" was a hugely successful recording by American singer-songwriter, Janice Ian, for which she won a Grammy Award in 1975 for Best Pop Vocal Performance. Jann Arden later covered the song for her album, "Uncover Me", which was a collection of her favourite songs.

The song is a heartbreaking ballad of teenage alienation and cruelty Adolescents live with an illusory code of popularity where many are excluded as misfits for the stated reasons: "ravaged faces", "lacking in the social graces", "those whose names are never called in choosing sides for basketball," etc. In the greater scheme of things, teenaged values haven't changed much over the years.








At Seventeen

I learned the truth at seventeen
that love was meant for beauty queens
and high school girls with clear skin smiles
who married young and then retired

The valentines I never knew
Friday night charades of youth
were spent on one more beautiful
seventeen I learned the truth

And those of us with ravaged faces
lacking in the social graces
desperately remained at home
inventing lovers on the phone
who called to say: "Come dance with me"
and murmured vague obscenities
It isn't all it seems at seventeen

The brown-eyed girl in hand-me-downs
whose name I never could pronounce
"Pity, please, the ones that serve
they only get what they deserve

The rich-relationed hometown queen
married into what she needs
a guarantee of company and haven for the elderly

Remember those who win the game
lose the love they sought to gain
in debentures of quality and dubious integrity
Their small-town eyes will gape at you
in dull surprise when payment due
It isn't what it seems at seventeen

To those of us who knew the pain
of valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called
when choosing sides for basketball

It was long ago and far away;
The world was younger than today
And dreams were all they gave for free
to ugly duckling girls like me

CHORUS: We all play the game and when we dare to cheat ourselves at solitaire
inventing lovers on the phone
repenting other lives unknown
that call to say: "Come dance with me"
murmur vague obscenities
at ugly duckling girls like me at seventeen





songwriter: Janis Ian

performed by: Jann Arden

date released: 1975 by Janis Ian; covered by Jann Arden in 2007

"At Seventeen" was a hugely successful recording by American singer-songwriter, Janice Ian, for which she won a Grammy Award in 1975 for Best Pop Vocal Performance. Jann Arden later covered the song for her album, "Uncover Me", which was a collection of her favourite songs.

The song is a heartbreaking ballad of teenage alienation and cruelty Adolescents live with an illusory code of popularity where many are excluded as misfits for the stated reasons: "ravaged faces", "lacking in the social graces", "those whose names are never called in choosing sides for basketball," etc. In the greater scheme of things, teenaged values haven't changed much over the years.








+60 -66
Quiz #: 3464
Jann Arden borrows a page from Janis Ian's songbook,
Quiz by: Sharon Michiko Yoneda
High Intermediate

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