Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Music Poetry!

Shout out to all my College English sections. This playlist is looking good.


Monday, December 11, 2017

The Devil's in the Details

The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" was released in 1968 on their 7th British studio album Beggars Banquet. The song was written by Mick Jagger alone, unlike most Stones songs which were written by Jagger and Keith Richards. Influences in the creation of the song included the French poet Baudelaire and The Master and Margarita, a novel by Bulgakov.  The song's rhythm is a samba rock and lyrics can be easily cast as poetry.

The song begins by presenting the listeners with the speaker of the song. His identity is not revealed explicitly until the end of the song, but it is rather easy to guess that the speak is the Devil. This specific speaker makes make the entire song much more interesting. The introduction is a good example:
Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul and faith 
Here we are given a description of the Devil that doesn't really fit with his traditional image. Instead of horns and torment, he is described and an old gentleman of wealth. The only reference to his evil is the idea of stealing souls. The personification of evil gets a new look from Jagger's pen.

For the rest of the song, the Devil takes us through world history and describing his perspective of famous events. He references the crucifixion of Jesus, the 1917 Russian revolution, World War Two,
European Religious Wars, and the assassinations of the Kennedys. For each event, he implicates himself with the evil side, however in the chorus he asks a difficult question:
Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you is the nature of my game
The first part we've already answered, and the Devil know it. The part is figuring out why he does it. A question that humans have been asking forever: Why does evil exist? The use of the word "game" is important because it refers to life itself as the Devil's game, but also refers to the religious idea of a trickster god. 

The last verse of the song offers the big twist, the volta if you will. It begins:
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails, just call me Lucifer
Cause I'm in need of some restraint
Here the Devil argues that good and evil are a lot more similar than people think. This verse also builds on the idea that evil isn't some outside force but something that is inside all of us. The idea was first introduced in the third verse where all people are implicated in the death of the Kennedys.

Overall, the song deepens the experience of all human life through its exploration of the conflict between good and evil.


Loves me Naked

Ella Mai is a young upcoming artist who uses her angelic voice to draw young audiences in. Ella competed in the X factor as apart of  trio and ended up turning a trio into a solo career. Ella Mai has the ability to captivate an audience with her song writing, and she really impressed a lot of people with her recent EP.  She dropped 5 songs on her EP (which were all extremely impressive), but in particular Naked touches me. I've heard a lot of love songs, but this one makes me feel something.
Her chorus begins with this line.
"There's nothing I want more in this world, than somebody who loves me naked."

To be naked, is to be completely bare and open. I think a lot of people are incapable of loving people completely naked, or to be completely naked and to be loved; because that means to be vulnerable and let someone completely in on both sides.

"No matter how hard I try, I still runaway from love at the end of the night."

This line backs up my last statement, but being loved can be just as hard as loving. You want to run away from it, although it can be good for you.

I recommend everyone to listen to this EP, it's extremely personal, which I think is poetry. Poetry is about making an audience feel something, and Naked makes me feel something.

Blessings

In 2016, Chance the Rapper released a song titled Blessings feature on his mixtape titled "Coloring Book".  Chance the Rapper is currently known as Chicago's most influential and well known rapper. Chance frequently incorporates gospel music into his raps which is what sets him apart from other rappers and makes his type of rap different. The song Blessings is one of the songs where Chance incorporates gospel beats and lyrics within his rap. Chance is a walking testimony that when you continue to do things in life recognizing God's role, you will receive many blessings. Chance says so himself in the hook of his song when he states

When the praises go up, the blessings come down

Since the song is titled Blessings, many of Chances' blessings were noted in his lyrics. A striking line in the first verse about one of his blessings was

 I don't make songs for free, I make 'em for freedom
 Don't believe in Kings, believe in the Kingdom

 This is powerful because Chance releases music for free and he isn't signed to a record label but he is still successful and is making an impact in his city and in the world. Not too many artists can make it big without being signed to a record label. Chance wants to send a message to his younger audience that you need to believe in yourself (the kingdom) and don't put all your trust in record labels (the kings) to bring you success. Chance the Rapper has music that possess deep, meaningful lyrics which is why he will continue to maintain a legacy in the rap industry.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

College Wahoo

On November 28, I completed and turned in all of my college applications! All the stress of making sure everything was organized and perfect was so tremendously draining; now all of that hard work is in the hands of another human being...a terrifying thought.

I watched my three older sisters go through the college process, and it seems the stress student's experience has increased with every year...which is kind of ironic, you would think it would be the other way around! I feel the electronic processes have added some malfunctions and glitches that leave student's in a frantic state, emailing counselors and admissions officers. I had a freak out about my ACT scores being sent out. I had to call and wait for 20 minutes to speak to an ACT representative, then I realized the reason why my scores weren't sending was because I put in a wrong number somewhere, something silly like that.

One thing that is freaking me out is knowing where to go. Yes it depends on where I get accepted and how much money I hopefully will receive, but what about where your heart is telling you to go? My sister's each easily found their perfect college match. I helped moved in and out each sister, for 6 years. Now it is finally my turn to be the one moving in. I have been waiting for this day since fourth grade when I helped my oldest sister Hannah move into her freshmen dorm room at the University of Illinois. Looking back, her room was in pretty poor condition...hopefully that has changed...but as only a nine year old, I recognized the pure happiness on her face. I just hope I am able to find the perfect match financially and physically!

College is a time to grow and develop your character and knowledge. A time for new and exciting experiences. To meet new people from all across the country and world, and form lasting relationships. The happiness on Hannah's face is something I cannot wait to enjoy. I am beyond ready for college.

La Vie En Rose

My song "La Vie En Rose," is a cover by Louis Armstrong, on his album called, Tribute to Edith Piaf. I chose Armstrong's version of the song because it was the only version I heard while growing up. My parents had danced to this song at their wedding, and always play it while we eat our Thanksgiving meal as a family.

The song was originally written post World War 2, in a time when people wished to see the world through "rose colored glasses" instead of reality. "La Vie En Rose" translates to, "Life in Pink" or "Life Through Rose-Tinted Glasses". In a time of destruction and depression, the song was meant to create a nurturing and loving atmosphere for suffering people through its poetic lyrics.

The song is a strong love song from the perspective of someone who only wanted to be with their lover, and ignore reality.

There is an abundant amount of figurative language in the song. The song starts off with:
Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
Right off the bat, the speaker is directing the song to the person they love. Asking them to hold them and cast their magic spell over them. Obviously magic spells do not exist in real life, the speaker is comparing their love to a magic spell, and is therefore a metaphor. Through that spell can the speaker see life through their rose colored glasses, and truly enjoy life with their wholesome love. This theme is further portrayed in the next stanza:
When you press me to your heart
I'm in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
Again, just by physically being with their love, they are able to separate themselves from the destruction and sadness of the real world. The symbolism is displaying how powerful love is. It can help one through the challenges and hard ships life throws ones way.

There are only six stanzas in the song, repeated twice, so it is quite short. In the last two stanzas, the speaker uses hyperbole to truly demonstrate their devotion to their love:
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose
I thought that love was just a word
They sang about in songs I heard
It took your kisses to reveal
That I was wrong, and love is real
When the speaker asks for their lover's heart and soul, he/she uses such extremes to illuminate the true devotion of their love. They would put themselves in such a vulnerable position because they believe in their love, and want to see through the rose colored glasses of a loving life with them. The speaker uses another hyperbole when they say it took your kisses to reveal love is real. Meaning that they had not felt love before they met that person, had not experienced such a deep connection with another to see life through rose-colored glasses. To be happy.

I think "La Vie En Rose" is a great love song, that demonstrates love is a very powerful feeling that can help one live through the harsh realities of life.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

#WhereIsTheLove

The Black Eye Peas, an american music group consist of the rappers, Will.i.am, Taboo, Fergie, and Apl.de.ap.  "Where Is The Love", is on the music group 3rd album, Elephunk released in the summer of 2003. This song refers to the fight against racism that took place and is taking place in our country. It talks about kids being involved in gangs at young ages and caught up in things that should have been avoided. People are being killed from these wrong-doing decision that others make. The bible says: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. If you think about your relationships with others.. is it really love? "Where Is The Love," is also telling us that what this world that we live in is turning into without love, genuine love. The artist do a good job of listing all the awful things that have been happening in society, not to make us feel bad and guilty to open up awareness for those who are blind.

Just a year ago The Black Eyed Peas reunited to release a remake of the music video entitled #WHEREISTHELOVE ft The World, because we are not sure after all the tragedy's that occurred. Some of their celebrity friends were asking to participate. The video features war images, the migrant crisis, and protest across the U.S.

#WHEREISTHELOVE ft. The World

Strong lines:
"But if you only have love for your own rce
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate
yeah"
Racism is being expressed in violent and humiliating methods in today's society.

"As I'm getting older, y'all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin'
Selfishness got us followin' our wrong direction"

Materialism is getting even more common! Making money seems to be everyone's most important main goal.

"Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema"

The youth are easily influenced by the media. Leading to more criminal and violent acts in the long run.






Friday, December 8, 2017

Burn

"Burn", from the Hamilton soundtrack by Lin Manuel Miranda is sung by Eliza Schuyler-Hamilton after she finds out that her husband, Alexander Hamilton, had an affair with another married woman. Alexander, in order to keep his political career intact, writes the Reynolds Pamphlets, detailing his exploits with his mistress, and releases them to the public. Eliza reads the letters, and, unable to handle her grief and anger, burns both her copy of the Reynolds Pamphlets as well as the love letters Alexander wrote her before they were married, hence the name of the song- "Burn".
Obviously, the speaker is Eliza, the audience Alexander (as shown through her use of "you," addressing her husband). The meaning of the song is that Alexander made Eliza's world burn both in their love for each other, and with her hatred of him.
In the third stanza, she recalls the beginning.
"You and your words flooded my senses
Your sentences left me defenseless
You built me palaces out of paragraphs
You built cathedrals"
Her language builds a world with him in it, uses imagery and metaphor to illustrate the world he made her, her paradise, her everything. Then she switches to analyzing the new letters he published.
"You and your words obsessed with your legacy
Your sentences border on senseless
And you are paranoid in every paragraph
How they perceive you
You, you, you"
The use of repetition throughout the entire song of "you" is particularly striking because it emphasizes that in his act of self-preservation, in thinking about only himself, his actions had casualties. The final line contributes to the meaning because it subtly summarizes Eliza's grief and hatred in simple words.
"I hope that you burn"

The Lyrics Arn't Important

*I would like to preface this by saying that I believe the live version of this song found in the class Spotify does not do it poetic justice. In order to truly understand my forthcoming argument, I ask that you listen to the original version instead, which I stored here as a Google Drive MP3.*

The notion that poetry is about comprehending is misleading.

Aware that this is an asking us to evaluate the meaning of a poem's words, I then venture to question, what then makes song and music such a uniquely powerful medium of poetic expression? Like any powerful spoken word piece, music is poetry meant to be performed. Music is poetry meant to be felt and experienced as much, if not more, then it is meant to be read and understood for its language. Is it not then possible that, if a song is conveyed to the listener so powerfully, we can understand its emotion and meaning without even beginning to comprehending its lyrics at all? When a poem is able to tug at that hollow sorrow within us all, to convey the heartbreak of its words without the listener understanding a single one of them, it has achieved an emotional poetic resonance that transcends any language barrier that may stand between us and our experience of it.

In a display that can only be described as a heart-wrenching gutting of the soul, I dare you, the reader, to listen to Masayoshi Yamazaki´s 1997 single ¨One More Time, One More Chance¨ and feel absolutely nothing. Unless you speak Japanese you will not understand Yamazaki´s work, but even if you did I would ask you to listen to it as if you did not. Even without understanding the words, through how the song is so intimately and powerfully performed to us, it becomes evident that Yamazaki is revealing the deepest longings of his heart to the listener in its rawest form. Never before have I felt so strongly that a piece of poetry was created to be experienced rather than to be read or understood. It's an emotional display that trying to describe or evaluate simply does not do poetic justice. If you are at all skeptical as to the impact of the song's emotional weight, the revealing of the soul in its deliverance, and how the text on paper is simply not enough to understand this song's meaning, the best-supporting evidence I can provide is simply telling you to go experience it for yourself. Yamazaki's song shows us what it means to suffer, to lose our grip on something we hold dear, to be raw and unrestrained in presenting our emotions.

"One More Time, One More Chance" is a song of longing for lost love (as if the emotional carnage in Yamazaki's voice was not already enough to convey this to you). I now venture to analyze the song for its lyrics, but only out of requirement because I otherwise feel that it is completely unnecessary and beside the point, I am trying to make.
"Summer's memory is revolving
The sudden disappearance of heart beat"
The sense of longing in Yamazaki´s words, while more evident in the tone and bravo of his presentation of them, is pervasive. The ¨sudden disappearance of heart beat¨ alludes to a love and warmth so quickly lost to him. Memories of summers are nearly personified, circling the speaker, reminding him of what we assume to be a happier time. Using heartbeat" instead of "love" makes his loss feel more human, like he lost something more intimate to him then some short-lived love.

"If my wish is to be granted, please bring me to you right nowBetting and embracing everything To show you there's nothing else I can do"
The one wish of the speaker is to be with the one for whom the song is written. The "betting" and "embracing" comes off as a double meaning. The speaker longs for the embrace of the one he loves while struggling to embrace the thought that it may just be impossible. The idea of betting, of putting everything on the line to see the fulfillment of his final longing shows how this person means everything to him, the meaning and motivation to his life.
"Because the stars in the night sky seems like falling, I can't lie to myself
One more time, please don't' change the season
One more time to the time when we fool around"
This stanza is interesting. The only instances where Yamazaki uses English, like in the song's title itself, is for the phrase "One more time" and "One more chance". In addition, every time he uses one of those phrases in the song, it repeats itself in the next line. There is something heartbreaking in the way Yamazaki speaks these lines in English. The way he carries out the phrase, the way he ends the words "time" and "chance" with the quiver of a suffered man makes his longing for another chance,  with the person he sings of seem all the more genuine. The use of English in these instances in contrast to all the Japenese gives the impression that Yamazaki is pleading to some higher power to acknowledge his plea, someone, anyone who can understand his longing for one more chance, one more moment with the one he loves. The stars falling around him in the sky, the quiver in his voice, the use of English to reach absolutely anyone he can with his words suggest the speaker knows his plea is futile. It's heartbreaking yet, how hard he pleads none-the-less.

Before leaving you, I chose to conclude this post with a rather important piece of context to Yamakazi's song very much intentionally. I strongly recommend that if at this point, you haven't listened to the song yet yourself, you should do so before you continue to fully experience the revelation I am about to disclose.

Yamazaki wrote this song just weeks after losing his longtime girlfriend, his companion since childhood, the love of his life to the Kobe earthquake of 1995. If you listened to the song, I would bet such context doesn't come as much of a surprise to you. In ¨One More Time, One More Chance¨  Yamazaki vets the longing of his soul in a performance that requires you to listen to it to truly understand how powerful it is. Simply trying to describe the song does not do the emotions it conveys justice. The words we don't understand aren't important because the true poetry is in how he presents them. Because of how genuine the sorrow in his voice, how heartbreakingly real the sense of longing, how effervescent the sadness in his performance, it certainly did not surprise me.

Taylor Swift: Today's Pop Culture Poet

  "Clean" by Taylor Swift appears on the multiplatinum Grammy Album of the Year 1989. Despite the image that the media and general public have crafted for her, and the constant belittling and patronizing attitude towards her and her work, Swift is a brilliant and incomparable songwriter, and her six albums, the first two of which were written IN HIGH SCHOOL, AT OUR SAME AGE OR YOUNGER,  have been the poetry books to my life, and the lives of so many others, for the past nine years.
Clean utilizes two main extended metaphors throughout its lyrics - water and alcohol, both conveyed in the title alone.

The drought was the very worst
When the flowers that we'd grown together died of thirst
It was months and months of back and forth
You're still all over me like a wine-stained dress I can't wear anymore
Hung my head as I lost the war
And the sky turned black like a perfect storm

The abundant metaphors and similes in the first verse alone paint a vivid picture for listeners or readers. The drought is a metaphor for the downfall of her relationship, and the flowers signify their good relationship, which was failing because it wasn't being taken care of or fueled. This introduces the water metaphor that will continue throughout the song. The wine-stained dress image begins the alcohol metaphor. She can't get rid of him, and he's still stuck in her mind even though their relationship is over and there's nothing to be done about it. Losing the war means losing both the relationship she fought for and the voice inside her pushing her to hold on, no matter how bad the relationship was. A perfect storm is a rare circumstance that produces drastic change - letting go changed her drastically. In just the first six lines, the audience develops such a strong visceral reaction to the feelings she's describing through her imagery.
Then, the chorus hits.

Rain came pouring down
When I was drowning, that's when I could finally breathe
And by morning, gone was any trace of you
I think I am finally clean

The rain and water imagery/metaphor is now in full force. Water is cleansing, and refreshing after the drought Swift previously described. In the midst of letting go of her past, she felt strong emotions (the rain/drowning) but they helped get a toxic ex out of her system and wash her clean.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, here comes verse two:

There was nothing left to do
When the butterflies turned to dust, they covered my whole room
So I punched a hole in the roof
Let the flood carry away all my pictures of you
The water filled my lungs
I screamed so loud, but no one heard a thing

The butterflies refer to the giddy, nervous excitement you feel in the beginning, honeymoon phase of a relationship, but for Swift, the butterflies are now gone. They're merely dust or fragile broken remnants that are consuming her life.  Punching a hole in the roof is a metaphor and hyperbole of an outburst of anger, leading to freedom. The water metaphor continues with the flood. Washing away the pictures signifies Swift finally being cleansed of painful memories and refusing to cling to the long gone good times. The water filling her lungs and screaming so loud lines could mean she was crying for help but it was going unnoticed, or it could mean that through all of the pain, she kept it together and maintained her cool in the face of endless publicity and media attention - the world, with a constant eye on her, couldn't even tell she was suffering.
AND THEN, THE BRIDGE COMES AT US, LIKE A PUNCH TO THE GUT:

Ten months sober, I must admit
Just because you're clean don't mean you don't miss it
Ten months older, I won't give in
Now that I'm clean, I'm never gonna risk it

This bridge to end all bridges (it's even more incredible if you just listen to the song omg) ties up the alcohol metaphor perfectly, discussing the literal aches and withdrawals that come from becoming sober, but also meaning the aches and withdrawals that come from losing a relationship and moving on without it. Ten months has gone by since she let go of this person, and despite the withdrawals that she sometimes feels, she's not going to relapse. This entire song is showing us through vivid images and comparisons what grieving a lost love is like. There is no telling, nothing is straightforward or easy, but gets the point across so effectively. I feel the tightening in my lungs and the freedom of fresh air every time I listen to it.
Say what you want about Taylor Swift, but I could analyze any one of her songs like I just did, and I guarantee you will see how it's poetry. This song saved my life. It was exactly what I needed when I was going through the worst period of my life, and I honestly believe that I would not be the person I am today if I hadn't screamed the words to the song with 50,000 others at Soldier Field, tears streaming down my face. If you have a minute and want your heart to be broken and put back together all at the same time, watch the Clean tour speech. She gave a version of this speech at every show on her 1989 tour, and the iconic Clean speech is a Swiftie staple. I will cry every time.
I bet nobody read this far, but like, your loss.



Bright

About a year and a half ago, I was introduced to an artist named Kehlani. She is an extremely talented singer who originally was in a band called Poplyfe. When the group began to fall through, she split off and has been coming out with her own music since 2014. Her first big album came out in 2015, called "You Should be Here." Now I listen to apple music, and when in search for some new songs, I go to the apple radio, usually on the pop station, and just skip the songs I didn't want to listen to. When I first started doing this, This one song called "Alive" would maybe pop up on the radio, and I would always skip it, because I had listened to the first verse and didn't like how it sounded. Months later, I met a friend who was obsessed with this artist names Khelani. She introduced me to some of her favorites, which I kinda liked.

One day, I decided to look her up myself, after recognizing her voice and name in the Suicide Squad sound track with the song "Gansta." I discovered how many amazing songs that she had, and realized that that one song I absolutely hated a few months ago was hers, so I decided to listen to the whole song, and realized that it was actually a pretty cool song. I began to listen to all the song's on that album, "You Should be Here," and one song stuck with me more than the others. The second to last song on her album is a song called "Bright," and I think this song is one of the most poetic works of art she has ever made.

In the song, she tells the story of a little girl, young woman, little boy, and young man. In individual ways, they are are struggling to love themselves. The little girl doesn't like her hair, and how it curls, and when comparing herselve to other's that she finds pretty, she doesn't look like them. The young women is always reading magazines and thinking that she looks very different than her ideal woman. Kehlani says the girl is thinking "oh I've got all these curves, all this nerve, why can't I keep a man?" And Kehlani reassures her with "But baby girl, if you love yourself, you can." Then in the second verse, she talks about the little boy, who looks down at his shoes, knowing that they aren't very clean, and feeling that if he had cleaner shoes or more money, then he would be able to get a date. The young man is always working out, trying to look more muscular, or look a certain way saying,"You see those guys, they get all the girls, I just want to be like them." And then Kehlani again soothes by saying, "But baby boy, your spreading yourself thin."

Then when she hits the chorus, all she sings about is self love. "Can't nobody love somebody that do not love themselves. You are what you choose to be, it's not up to no one else. So be great, be kind, don't let them dim your light. Cause a man like the sun should always stay bright."

The message that she sends with song really hits me personally, along with many others who sometimes find it hard to love who they are, and these are the kinds of genius songs that I call poetry.








Praying


The song Praying by Kesha was the first single she released after four years. The powerful song gives listeners the experience of finally overcoming an abusive relationship. While the song is literally directed at her former producer, Dr. Luke, who tried to tear down her confidence and self worth so that he would have complete control over life, it speaks to anyone who has been in an abusive relationship.

Perpetrators for abusive relationships tear down the self-esteem of their partner so that they don’t think they deserve better. Kesha starts her song by singing about how she felt like nothing.

Well, you almost had me fooled
Told me that I was nothing without you

Kesha then goes on to describe the freeing feeling that escaping a relationship like this is.

I'm proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again

The use of the words monster and breathe in this line are multidimensional. The word Monster has a literal definition but also evokes the emotions of being scared and overpowered. Here, Kesha is referring to the abuser and the depression that she faced. The word breathe contrasts the emotions that she felt due to her “monsters” and shows the freeing feeling that those in abusive relationships feel when they finally realize their self worth and can escape.

While it is possible to read in books or online about how harmful abusive relationships can be, this song makes the listener feel the anger, power and freedom she is now allowed to feel.  This is poetry because it helps people in abusive relationships to know that they are worth more than they believe and that they will find the strength to move on.




And we both know all the truth I could tell



I'll just say this is "I wish you farewell"

Running on Reminiscences

"Blood Bank" was released on an EP of the same name by Bon Iver in 2009 following their first album. Justin Vernon, a native Wisconsin, folk singer-songwriter and founder of the band composed the EP. Although Vernon has been a part of many bands, Bon Iver is by far his most successful, the name of the band derives from the french greeting "Bon hiver" meaning good winter and the music they produce is commonly classified as indie folk or folktronica.

"Blood Bank" is the most conventional song on the EP, and one of my all-time favorites due to how the music sounds, however up until this assignment I had never really listened to the lyrics. The song is starts with a couple, narrated by the man, who meets for the first time at a blood bank while presumably donating blood. The couple starts talking and flirting when the woman makes a joke:
See look that's yours!Stacked on top with your brother'sSee how the resemble one anotherEven in their plastic little covers
Obviously all blood looks the same to the naked eye, so the primary purpose this line serves is to show the comfortable atmosphere between the two. However she also says the blood around his is his "brother's" possibly implying that we are all brothers. This is even more evident when it is revealed that we all have similar blood, bringing to mind the familiar maxim that 'we all bleed red'.
That secret that you knewBut don't know how to tellIt fucks with your honorAnd it teases your headBut you know that it's good girlBecause it's running you with red
In the next verse it is revealed that the woman is married as the relationship "fucks with your honor" and is secret. In the last line in the verse the narrator claims that despite her marriage the girl is relying on this relationship as the use of "red" relates back to blood demonstrating how the relationship is pumping blood in the woman's veins, keeping her going every day. Additionally in-between verses the narrator repeatedly states "I know it well." This and the woman not "knowing how to tell" creates a dichotomy between the narrator who knows what he wants and the woman who is conflicted between her marriage and more intimate relationship.

However it is in the following verse that the woman makes up her mind, the song goes "As a moon waned to crescent / We started to kiss." The moon waning symbolizes the end of the relationship and in the following verse the fate is sealed as the narrator says his final goodbye, "I'm in love with your honor / I'm in love with your cheeks" acknowledging how despite being rebuffed he respects her decision (her honor) and still finds her beautiful (her cheeks).

This song is poetry because it is constantly expanding the blood metaphor as a symbol of their relationship and it's prominence in their lives. Additionally the song follows the form of a sonnet as there is an issue throughout the majority of the poem, in this case their forbidden love, but ends with a resolution, in this case the woman claiming it could never be and the man imagining how things could have been.

Mr. Tambourine Man

Bob Dylan, along with countless other accolades, was recently (2016) awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Part of me wanted to pick something else because this song felt like a cop out, but I think it may not be as well known as I thought it was. Despite having a “unique” voice and basic guitar skills, Dylan managed to have an incredibly successful career and is known as one of the all time greats. If it weren’t for his lyrics, he would not be the artist we know him as today. One of my favorite songs, Mr. Tambourine Man (a part of his 1965 album Bringing it All Back Home), is also one Dylan’s most poetic.
Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sandVanished from my handLeft me blindly here to stand but still not sleepingMy weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feetI have no one to meetAnd the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming
Dylan is clearly lost here, but the real question is why? Considering this album is in the post mortem of his best-selling album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, it could be interpreted as Dylan’s struggle with writing. Perhaps Dylan’s “evenin’s empire” is his past success and he’s struggling to write in its “ancient empty street’s.” Although, this interpretation is problematized by the following verse.
Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ shipMy senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to gripMy toes too numb to stepWait only for my boot heels to be wanderin’I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fadeInto my own parade, cast your dancing spell my wayI promise to go under it
These lines suggest a different type of wandering. Here, Dylan’s talk about a “magic swirlin’ ship” and being “ready for to fade” make the listener feel like he’s talking about a trip off drugs. Though Dylan denies that the song’s meaning is about drugs, he reinforces this idea later in the song.
Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mindDown the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leavesThe haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beachFar from the twisted reach of crazy sorrowYes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving freeSilhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sandsWith all memory and fate driven deep beneath the wavesLet me forget about today until tomorrow
While the use of “smoke rings” ties back into the drug-themed second verse, I believe these lines distinguish and separate the song from drugs or writer’s block. Rather, I think Dylan is singing about his experience with time. I think the alliteration present in the whole song, but particularly the first verse (evenin’s empire and ancient empty streets), tie in to the fast smooth tempo of the song. Emblematic of the experience he’s writing about, he includes nuanced outbreaks like “but still not sleeping” and “too dead for dreaming”  that jut out against the otherwise silky rhythm.




4 Your Eyez Only - J. Cole

I chose the last song, "4 Your Eyez Only", from J. Cole's most recent album, 4 Your Eyez Only. The album came out exactly a year ago, and in my opinion it is one of the most poetic hip hop albums of all time. In this album, J. Cole raps about everything from police brutality, the idea of life and death, and societal expectations of what black men can achieve.

Perhaps the most poetic part of this song, and the album in its entirety, is the speaker. The entire album is actually not from the perspective of J. Cole, rather it's from the perspective of his dead friend. However, the point of view is shifted at the very last verse of the the very last song when J. Cole is rapping as himself to convey to his audience the significance of the story, and who the album is truly for.
I love you and I hope to God I don't lose you
For your eyes only
Your daddy was a real nigga cause he loved you
For your eyes only
Here are the very last lines of the third first, and the last lines of the final verse. It becomes clear that the perspective of the song, and the entire album, shifts from J. Cole's friend to J. Cole himself when you look at how the words are directed. In verse three, it is told from first person point of view. In the fourth verse, it is told from second person point of view. When you listen to the song in its entirety, you understand that the point of view changes because the friend asked J. Cole to tell his story to the audience if he can't do it himself. Which ultimately, he couldn't. The fourth verse clarifies all of this.

The audience of this song, and the entire album, is the daughter of J. Cole's dead friend. 
With that said, the only thing I'm proud to say, I was a father
Write my story down, and if I pass
Go play it for my daughter when she ready"
And so I'm leaving you this record, for your eyes only
Don't you ever scratch or disrespect it
The first three lines of this excerpt is J Cole's friend asking Cole to tell his daughter his story. It ends as a quote to illustrate the significance of time. When Cole's friend speaks, he speaks from the past. When J. Cole speaks as himself, it's in the present. This is how the album is resolved at the end. J. Cole speaks to his friend's daughter and tells her why he wrote the album, who it's all for, and who it's all from.

The occasion of this poem is one of a black man struggling to find the right thing to do and provide for his daughter.
This is hell and I don't mean that hyperbolic
I try to find employment even if it's wiping toilets
But these felonies be making life the hardest
Resisting the temptation to run up and swipe a wallet
This is the perspective of Cole's friend, and he is talking about the experience of being sent to prison and then trying to find a way to earn of living after being a released. It's a problem that plagues the black community seeing as black people are disproportionately arrested and sent to prison. He then speaks to the temptation to break the law again out of necessity, which highlights the vicious cycle of the prison system.
I got the strangest feeling your daddy gonna lose his life soon
And sadly if you're listening now it must mean it's true
But maybe there's a chance that it's not 
And I can teach you this in person
Like I'm teaching you to tie your own shoes
This is the speaker conveying to his audience that he fears and contemplates the reality of him maybe dying soon. However, he prays that that's not the case and he can teach his daughter in person everything he taught her on this album.  4 Your Eyez Only - J. Cole4 Your Eyez Only - J. Cole
In 1967, the Motown Era, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell released the album United in which several songs within the album are still prominent today. Ain't No Mountain High Enough is one of those song that many may still hear constantly on the radio because of its catchy tune and fun lyrics. After reading the lyrics many a time, I have struggled to find a deeper meaning besides the idea of there are no barriers that stand between you and the person you love.

 Because of the extremely repetitive lyrics, I've found that the time in which this song was released plays a vital role in its meaning. A song that was written in Detroit Michigan segregation and integration were the issue of the day alongside economic issues such as the oil crisis and the Vietnam War. Ain't No Mountain High Enough helps illuminate that that a persons loved one will never have to be alone in nationwide crises. 


Ain't No Mountain High Enough begins with:

"Listen baby, ain't no mountain high

ain't no valley low, ain't no river wide enough baby" 

I think it's really int resting to look at the word choice, as the first line ends with high Marvin Gaye goes onto end the next line with wide. Throughout the song, the adjectives used to describe the physical barriers that have no chance standing between love are constantly changing but in the repetitive order of starting with one adjective and on the very next line, have its antonym. 


As the song progresses, Tami Terrell says, 

"My love is alive

way down in my heart 

although we are miles apart."

I especially like this line because it personifies love, and it gives it breathing characteristics. It's almost like love will always be there for you, and the knowledge that someone is out there who loves you can keep you company in times of stress no matter what the physical distance. 

Finally, the song is constantly using repetition of the word enough. This repetition is used to show the magnitude of genuine love and that it has really no physical quantity. That the miles that separate mountains are nothing compared to the love that one has, but it is the memories the two share that keep them connected, even when one person is not physically present. 

Aside from being a COMPETE banger this song is definitely poetry. 

Let Me Out and Some of It's Poetic structure

Let Me Out is a song recently released by the band Gorillaz in their album Humanz. Just as an introduction to the standard Gorillaz format in case you aren't already familiar, the band has about two constant musicians in their cast. The rest are other musicians who join for a song or two. As a result, the type of music the group produces varies from song to song, and very different themes can emerge. However, the album that Let Me Out is a part of does fit into the album's broader attention to many of the more recent political issues, while still being fairly subtle. Let Me Out specifically communicates much of the recent American experience, specifically that of African Americans. The writers of the song use more literal writing, such as in the section where they say
Look into my eyes, mama, tell me what you see
Tell me there's a chance for me to make it off the streets
Tell me that I won't die at the hands of the police
Promise me I won't outlive my nephew and my niece
Promise me my pastor isn't lyin' as he preach
Tell me that they'll listen if it's lessons that I teach
Tell me there's a heaven in the sky where there is peace
But until then, I keep my piece in arm's reach
 The song is not subtle here. They use repetition, a bit of rhyming at the end of each line, and the structure to really place the listener in the same room as the speaker. They bluntly communicate the fears that the African American communities of America must face, communicating this experience as effectively as you can without living it. You see a lot of the hopelessness that the speaker feels.

Another interesting set of lines is when the song states that
Change coming
You'd best be ready for it
This line could be aimed either at the oppressors who are creating many of the issues of today, or it could be a reassurance, or both. The song communicates the multidimensional nature of change and institutional oppressions, and how changes can affect both parties.

What about the main line of the song? "Let me out." This line evokes a desperate need to escape. What would the speaker be attempting to escape from? Maybe a country and culture that has rapidly gotten worse for everyone, especially minorities, that condemns people based on their skin color. It makes sense. The way the line is sung actually also helps to get across this meaning. It might not be obvious unless you're wearing good headphones, but the line jumps around. It's on the left at one utterance, and on the right the next. It gives the effect that there are many clamoring for their freedom.

The song itself is really interesting, and poetry or no, it has some great lines and a great tune. It is a work of art that communicates with its observer in interesting ways.

Soul Not For Sale

Prior to December 13, 2013, society viewed Beyonce as a mainstream R&B/pop artist who topped the charts with generic lyrics set to beats her studio constructed. But, the surprise release of her self-titled album showed not only bravery in releasing new music without any promotion but also an effort that illustrated Beyonce's true feelings and thoughts about life. A common theme throughout the entire album is a woman's ability to feel empowered through sexual awakening while also living in a traditional marriage with a child. Once song on the album that encapsulates this theme poetically is "Haunted."

The whole song is split into two parts. "Ghost" and "Haunted." "Ghost" is a statement on the music industry's restrictions on Beyonce's ability to comment honestly on sex, womanhood, and love. 
And I've been drifting off on knowledge
Cat-calls on cat-walks, man these women getting solemnI could sing a song for a Solomon or Salamander
We took a flight at midnight and now my mind can't help but wander
How come?
The word solemn works on multiple level to help portray Beyonce's comments on women in America. It refers to the dignified nature that comes with women becoming more empowered as society progresses. Women models are not objectified anymore. They are not on a cat-walk for the pleasure of a man. They are on a cat-walk to experience the power they feel while pleasing themselves. The word solemn also refers to the seriousness behind the impact women have on society. As American culture becomes for accepting of women in powerful positions, women are taken more seriously in the work force. Beyonce makes this statement on womanhood but then refers to the restrictions she flt before releasing this album. 
I'm climbing up the walls cause all the shit I hear is boring
All the shit I do is boring
All these record labels boring
I don't trust these record labels I'm torn
All these people on the planet
Working 9 to 5, just to stay alive
Beyonce's repetition of the word "boring" depicts her opinion on the music industry;s role in portraying the truth present in people's lives. She admits the work she had done in the past was uninteresting and tedious to release as it did not reflect real struggles people could relate to. 

After she airs her grievances with the music industry in "Ghost," Beyonce freely describes the sexual awakening she finds in her marriage in "Haunted." An all out and explicit description of her truth that responds to all the things she wanted to say for a long time while she felt obligated to tell someone else's story.
You want me?
I walk down the hallway
You're lucky
The bedroom's my runway
Slap me!
I'm pinned to the doorway
Kiss, bite, foreplay
She refers to a runway like she did during "Ghost" when she mentioned a cat-walk. The multi-dimensional use of the word "runway" connects the broader spectrum of woman empowerment on a public scale like at a fashion show with the very private scale of two people who love each other. Beyonce shows the ability she feels to express empowerment to the world and in her own personal life. Beyonce uses "Haunted" to flip-off the music industry by doing everything not traditional to what labels have forced her to do. She sold a platinum record without a single or promotion and empowered herself by telling her own story that expressed the sentiment of the millions people who listened to this entire album. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hasty Oolong Tea

The song "Legends of the Hidden Temple" by milo (apparently he does not capitalize it), tells the story of a modern man. And it is poetry. The song is part of the album Thing That Happen at Day,  which is part of pair, the other being Things That Happen at Night. One of the reoccurring trends on the albums is milo's purposeful overuse of allusions. Almost every line contains some kind of reference, forming into a thick forest of cryptic meanings and strangely placed lines, and "Legends of the Hidden Temple" is probably the most dense in terms of this. He uses these give the reader a feel for the rut he is in, and contrasts it with the past in order to develop this even more.

Before the song even begins, milo makes a reference in the song title, which is the name of a game show from the mid 90's, a time that he looks back upon fondly.

He opens with a statement about his current financial situation right off the bat:
     We were drinking coffee out of mason jars
     And replacing stars with cheap taboos
Although mason jar coffee is often associated with the hipster movement, he is probably referencing the fact that he has no money, which is reinforced by his choice of the word "cheap" in the next line. The "stars" he talks about could be his dreams, celebrities or literal stars, but whatever which way, they represent some idealized concept that he is substituting with some shallow desire. He is already filling Perrine's requirement for multidimensionality while also introducing allusions into the song.

In the second verse, milo says a complex sequence:
     Only muster the courage to leave the house when the oolong is gone
     I don't like my lentils hard
     You snatched me up like one of Olmec’s temple guards
     I splurged and bought a case of Bubba Cola
     For Pete’s sake, we had plans to buy a bloody Corolla
For a long time I was so confused by this section of the song. Eventually, though, I figured it out through Google. Oolong is just a type of tea, although it could also be weed, and the main focus of the line is that he has become so reclusive that he only leaves for leaves. It seems unrelated to the rest of the section, but it is important because it provides context for the break in the next line. where the lyrics shift directions entirely, talking about his food preferences and another reference to the game show. Instead of just allusions, he uses this break in the poem to show how intrusive his past is on his current life. He is trying to be serious and confront his money problems, but instead an unrelated memory comes flying in and disrupts it. But despite how unrelated it is, the flow of the music doesn't stop, almost implying that it is such a common occurrence that he can keep rapping through it. The next to lines are an exclamation about his frustrations with poverty. Bubba Cola is a cheap drink, but by buying it he is still spending way too much money, a fact that he is frustrated with, evident by his anger at once being on track to buying a car in the next line. His use of "Pete's sake" is also interesting, because he curses all over the album, but not here. Its possible that this another intrusion by his childhood, this time censoring his anger. This part of the song connects to the listener by giving insight into his thought processes and frustrations.

As the song fades out, milo ends with, "I feel like Duke William in the Battle of Hastings". This is a literal reference to the Battle of Hastings, where Duke William won by pretending to flee and then catching his opponents off guard. milo feels that he is doing something similar in life, but what that is is kind of ambiguous. It could be talking about how his unique style is allowing him to succeed. Or it could be referencing the shady ways he is making ends meet, and that he feels as though he shouldn't have success because of this, even though he does. And again, it could be another reference to something he learned in history class as a child, another example of his childhood creeping in. Its a simple line, but its ambiguity and unique reference make it a good example of the way milo fills his lines with overlapping complexity.

I only found milo earlier this year, and though he can get very cryptic, I found that slowly picking apart the lines with each listen through has made him one of my favorite artists. His dense lyrics add to the overall production and feel of the song, and I feel that it is both good poetry and just good music.







J. Cole- Neighbors

First off, J Cole went double platinum with no features with his album 4 Your Eyez Only. Double platinum… With no one helping him… But this isn't about that. This is about his song “Neighbors” off of the same album. The song is riddled with many examples of oppression of black people and his life story. Here’s the basic rundown.

That's why I moved away, I needed privacy
Surrounded by the trees and Ivy League
Students that's recruited highly
Thinkin' "You do you and I do me"
Crib has got a big 'ol back 'ol yard

In the Middle of the first verse, he begins his story by telling the audience that he lives in a beautiful suburb. He is surrounded by people who come from Ivy League schools and kids that are getting recruited schools. We can tell that the area is very affluent because of the last line “crib has got a big ‘ol back ‘ol yard.” When read aloud you can hear the iambic pentameter. It fits perfectly with his quick voice when said. We also learn that Cole has specific thoughts about the area. He hopes that he can live in peace without the neighbors bothering him. But the title of the song is about them, so they did something wrong. And you can see it on the next lines of the songs.

Welcome to the Sheltuh, this is pure
We'll help you if you've felt too insecure
To be the star you always knew you were
Wait, I think police is at the door

    As the story develops, we learn that Cole has opened his newfound home as a place to where people can come and work on their craft. This is a shelter in one of the safest places in North Carolina. But for his crew, It didn't work out that way. On March 18th of 2016, roughly around 14-15 FBI agents entered his house with M16s and thoughts that he was a drug dealer. In the chorus it says:

Okay, the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope
Hm, I guess the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope sellin' dope
The neighbors think I'm—neighbors think I'm—
(Don't follow me, don't follow me...)
I think the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope

    This is poetry not because of the rhyme scheme, the sing-songy ness of it, but of the story. It is a ballad of the miscommunication and the pain that some African Americans feel in a heavily white society. It's really sad to see that this has happened to a guy that was just trying to do right. In the end, he decides to move back to the south side, which is exactly what the neighbors want.