Rhetorical Analysis of Wings by Macklemore

February 28, 2018

In the song “Wing$” written by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Macklemore sings about his experience with consumerism during the “sneaker culture” and expansion of Nike in the 1990s. Macklemore uses juxtaposition, metaphors, and appeals to pathos while singing to his fans and younger people who feel the need to conform to society in order to point out the flaws of following what's popular and a consumerist society.


Macklemore and Lewis use juxtaposition to show the flaws of following a consumerist society. Macklemore states, “We want what we can’t have, commodity makes us want it” (line 36). By using the contradictory words of “can’t” and “want”, Macklemore is proving that big name companies, such as Nike, are trying to get people to buy their products so that they can fit in with society despite not needing it. It is also stated in the song, “So much more than just a pair of shoes./ And now I see it’s just another pair of shoes” (lins 59 and 63). In the first line, Macklemore is saying that his Nike shoes are part of what gives him confidence, but in the last line, he is saying that the shoes he wears shouldn’t mean much to him. The juxtaposition of “much more” and “just” when talking about the sneakers shows when Macklemore realized he was being materialistic and acting as someone who lives in a consumerist society. He now sees that shoes don’t say anything about what kind of person he is. The use of Juxtaposition points out the flaws of following what is popular.


The use of metaphors in the song help convey the message of not following a consumerist society. Macklemore states, “That’s my air bubble and I’m lost if it pops.” Macklemore is referring to his shoes when he says air bubble and is saying that they make him feel confident. Macklemore is also saying that he would no longer feel confident if he didn’t have his shoes when referring to a bubble that pops and loses its shape. This shines light on how companies want people to feel so that the consumers feel the need to buy their products. It is also sung, “For $100 and some change, consumption is in the veins” (line 62). Macklemore says this after he realizes that what he wears has nothing to do with what kind of person he is. He is comparing want to fit into society to a drug addiction. The use of metaphors in the song help shed light on the flaws of a consumer a stick society.


Macklemore appeals to pathos throughout the song to prove that flaws of doing what’s popular. He does this do personal anecdotal evidence when stating, “I was seven years old, when I got my first pair” (line one). Macklemore is appealing to the audience’s emotions by telling a story about his first six years experience in a consumerist society. He also states “It started out, with what I wear to school/ The first day, like these are what make you cool” (line 55 and 56). By appealing to pathos, Macklemore is able to share is realization of not mattering what brand he wears because it doesn’t define who he is as a person so there is no point in conforming to a consumerist society. Through his appeals to pathos, Macklemore is able to connect with the audience by showing that he was also impacted but by consumerism and sharing how he was impacted.


Through the use of juxtaposition, metaphors, and appealing to people is, Macklemore is able to point out the flaws of a consumerist society and following what’s popular.






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