Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Music Poetry!

Enjoy ...


¨My Heart´s in the Highlands¨ by the Greatest Composer of the Human Era

Image result for romanticism
Arvo Part is an Estonian composer of Western religious and classical music. His compositions consist mostly of psalms in the forms of Gregorian chants, though one does not need a religious affiliation in order to appreciate their magnificence. All of them qualify as poetry. When looking for a song, I was choosing between ¨An den Wassern zu Babel¨ and ¨My Heart´s in the Highlands¨. Although I think the former is better, the song that I will analyze is his version ¨My Heart´s in the Highlands,¨ (this song originated from Robert Burns) because it is his only composition sung in English. It does not belong to an album. Here are the lyrics: Texts and Translations of Arvo Part´s Music

The speaker is a man who feels the need to return to the Highlands not only because he feels out of place within his current home, but also because his ideals as well as his fondest memories can fit only within the Highlands. His intended audience is not clear, but they can either people who share his feelings or those who feel they are at home with the very place the speaker is unhappy with as seen in the clause ¨my heart is not here.¨

The song illustrates the Highlands in such a way that aligns with romantic and idealistic perspectives of nature and individualism. This perspective is further emphasized through his use personifying the heart. The heart represents how the Highlands are central to the singer´s feelings. The first clause ¨My heart´s in the Highlands,¨ is repeated in six out of the sixteen lines of the poem, thus conveying how clear love is for the Highlands if it wasn´t already so.

Although it is a staple for most songs to repeat their lines for added emphasis and to fit the rhythm, the repetition of the lines in this song add depth. When we typically think of highlands, we think of smooth, pleasant hills that happen to be elevated almost as highly as mountains are. As the writer creates this image through his experiences and memories of the nature around him, he also embeds what it feels like to live in the Highlands through the use of consistent first clauses and soft vowel end rhymes for my lack of better words. Reading this slowly also helps the emphasis. Had the song been about, say, the subject of a particular person, city, or even a mountain instead, there would most likely have been slopes in the tempo.

The reason I am capitalizing ¨Highland¨ is because, although the physical imagery depicted in the song can be applied to any highland from across the world, his yearning for the Highlands and his regret for where he currently is eloquently reflects the general feelings of the people who desired Scottish independence in the eighteenth century. Northern Scotland is notable for its highlands, hence the line ¨farewell to the North¨. So we can imagine that he means these highlands in particular.


History Embedded in the Atmosphere: Comparing ¨Beloved¨ and ¨Ida¨

Image result for beloved
When studying slavery, especially the more mechanical and elaborate aspects of it, the inevitable comparison is made between it and an event such as the Holocaust. However, a quirky connection was drawn when I thought of what Beloved and the 2013 Polish film Ida. Just as the former is a post-slavery story from the perspective of black women, Ida is a post-Holocaust road trip film that follows two women in Poland who investigate the fate of their Jewish family. 
Image result for ida
The more I think about it, the more similarities there are. Within both works, the horrific event which set the course of the entire story is not only ¨over¨, but never explicitly mentioned as much as marginal events are either spoken of or thought about as vaguely as ¨these two people were shot.¨ When Toni Morrison wrote Beloved, she felt that a more compelling story could be generated if she wrote about slavery from a smaller scope as opposed to a grand or macro view of the whole, and we see a similar deal with Ida. In the film, we know that a fifth of Poland´s population perished along with how the killings continued with the Soviet occupation. Unlike films such as Schindler´s List and Son of Saul, which are great in their own rights, there are no instances of violence within Ida. However, as David Denby of New York Times noted, the history is embedded within the film, and it provides an eerie tone and bottomless atmosphere. Although it is clear that neither of these works were intended to be similar, Beloved and Ida both seamlessly blend the past and the present. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

My Father Told Me

The Nights by Avicii is a poem and a song. The singer tells his experiences and lessons he learned from his own mistakes as well as retelling the advice of his father. At the beginning he sings:
“The animals inside came out to play”
The wild side of young years. Like animals young people are not afraid to follow their instincts. Using word animal creates image of wild and untamed person. He also reflects on his lessons he learned by himself:
“Learned our lessons through the tears”
Learning the lessons by making mistakes. Children learn from mistakes because they hurt and we cry because of it. “Tears” create image of pain every one would relate to. He repeats what his father told him:
“Your wild heart will live for younger days”
His father says as humans we would want to live an extreme lives. When getting older your heart will want to live those days again but body will not be able to.
“These are the nights that never die”
His father said that the adventures as a youngster will always remain in your memories. Since when he will be older those nights or events will not be possible.
“Don't forsake this life of yours.”
Usage of word forsake brings image of loneliness and forgotten. Talking about life it brings the image of a person who gave up on the life or on the happy life.
“My father told me”
Repeating of this line at the beginning and at the end of the song shows how his knowledge comes not just merely from his own experience but his father as well. As well as he preaches as a parent to his children. A lesson that he learned from someone else and not his own tears.
In the end this song is brings together the lessons that we learn by ourselves but also understanding the lessons our parents tell us. As well one specific lesson is to live to the fullest while you can because when you will get older you will not feel as if you lived unhappy life.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Take A Chance On My Analysis

Chance the Rapper was recently nominated for 7 Grammy Awards. In his sophomore year as a big name in the music industry, this is a feat that is almost unheard of. Especially considering he is not signed by a major record label. In his most recent album "Coloring Book", Chance's hit song "No Problem" analyzes his experiences with the big record labels. The song gives a look into the music industry and how many upcoming music artists sign big deals with big record labels and end up losing out on a lot of their profit.

"You talk that talk that make a lame ass nigga fall in love
Not me, though, bitch you can keep those."

This line is talking about how some people see the big money when they sign a deal, but really there are losing out on the opportunity to make a lot more money. The benefit of signing with a record label is the financial assistance in producing music, and the exposure of your music through their label's name. For some artists this might be the necessary route considering they do not have the means to support their music endeavors. This is not the case for Chance, as the Chicago rapper has become one of the hottest musicians out there. On his own he has become a household name in chi-town, and has sold out stadiums for his concerts the world. Is this the beginning of a new trend away from the record label? Only time will tell, one thing is for sure Chance is paving the way for a new wave of music production.

The Shadow of Tomorrow, Madvillian, Madvilliany

Daniel Dumile aka the Madvillian is a lyrical rapper that many may not know about. From partying with woman to his opinions on the world he has a unique talent of speaking his mind through what I believe to be poetry. Not every rapper can be a poet but I firmly believe Madvillian is a poet because his songs are poetry with a beat and ryhme scheme. Let's look at one of his best poetic songs Shadow of Tomorrow. Madvillian made Shadow of Tomorrow as paying respects to Sun Ra's poem baring the same name. In the Shadow of Tomorrow the word yesterday is used frequently and is given multiple meanings. Yesterday is described as belonging to the dead, the darkness of the past, and the eternity of the past. Yesterday belonging to the dead means that the yesterday does not exist anymore just like the dead. The darkness of the past means that yesterday's hardship and parrails are over. It is kind of like tomorrow is a new day kind of mindset. The eternity of the past means that the daily grind of yesterday is over. The best quote of the song is "the perfect man of the past is made according to the rule of the past. The rule of the past is a law of injustice and hypocrisy. The revelation of the meaning of the law is revealed through the law itself". Basically the perfect man does not exist because the meaning of being perfect changes throughout history. I good example of this was during the 1910s the perfect man according to Americans were decorated war heros who were very wealthy. On the contrary during the 1930s the perfect man according to Americans were able to provide for their family and put food on the table every night. Time will only tell if the rules of the past were good or injustice. A good example of this is the Jim Crow laws that discriminated against African Americans and minorities. Shadow of Tomorrow is poetry and Madvillian deserve a lot of praise for creating this song. Here is something to leave off with. With laws ever changing due to the new technology of the future can the perfect man or woman ever exist?

A White Background

While reading through Citizen, I was struck most heavily by the quote: “I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background”

When I went to boarding school last year, there were 63 kids in the whole school. Of those 63, there was only one black student, Donald. I didn’t think much about it during my time there, he and I had different friends and classes. But reading through Citizen, I couldn’t help but think about Donald and how different his experience must have been from mine. How many times did he feel singled out, having been thrown against an incredibly white background? That’s what white privilege is though, getting to ignore race because it never inconveniences you.

I thought I fully understood how my race affects my life, but reading through Citizen reminded me that my privilege is a lot more complex than I understood. And that’s a good thing, if I understand how my actions (or lack thereof) are negatively impacting others, I can change. Citizen informed me, it put me in the shoes of my peer without attacking me.

A Hall of Small Decembers

I’m currently reading a book called “Hall of Small Mammals” by Thomas Pierce. It’s a collection of short stories, similar to "Tenth of December", By George Saunders. While working my way through each story, I can’t help but compare the two books since their structure is so similar. Both books hover between the ordinary and the fantastic, occasionally attempting to normalize ridiculous concepts.

"The Semplica-Girl Diaries" (Tenth of December) examines a world in which having human beings dangling in your yard in totally normal. "Shirley Temple Three" (Hall of Small Mammals) exists in a world where de-extinction is not only achievable, but televised each week. That similarity puzzled me; I’m not a huge fan of "Tenth of December", but I love "Hall of Small Mammals." How could two books, so close in structure and content, evoke such different responses?

The closest explanation I could find was in the overall structure of each story. "Tenth of December," at least in my experience, preferred to create a vortex of sensations. It wasn’t always clear what was physically going on, and often spent some time having the characters contemplate the meaning of the story in one way or another. "The Semplica-Girl Diaries" started as a simple diary, but devolved into the main character’s contemplation of class, humanity, and freedom.

"Hall of Small Mammals" is different. Each story focuses almost exclusively on the physical world, only occasionally dipping into a more contemplative format. The barrage of sensory input remains the same from book to book, but Hall of Small Mammals doesn’t give you the same view into each character’s thoughts. It was more explicit in its narrative, less so in its analysis of the events.

While I initially thought that was a mark against Hall of Small Mammals, I realized that lack of overt reflection was one of my favorite parts. It gave me a lot more room to breathe and move around. I could create a clear picture in my head, and derive what meaning I could from that image. Tenth of December threw me headfirst into a tornado, it expected too much and gave me too little.

Cranes in the Sky

Cranes in the Sky by Solange explores the idea that no one can run away from their ever-so-present problems, no matter how hard they try.


"Yeah, it's like cranes in the sky
Sometimes I don't wanna feel those metal clouds
I tried to run it away
Thought then my head be feeling clearer
I traveled 70 states
Thought moving round would make me feel better"

Through her music, Solange expresses grief/regret of some kind, which most conclude is a recent breakup . Whatever "it" may be, she literally tried to run away from it. The lines having to do with cranes and clouds feels very abstract until you think about it in terms of self-caring and healing. The picture of cranes flying in the sky is very peaceful- as opposed to the picture of heavy, metal clouds. The heavy metal clouds represent the feeling of your world being so heavy that it could crash down on you, but it also represents how unnatural that you can feel after something like a breakup. She did not want to go from loving her peaceful life while in this relationship to feeling the cold hard clouds while coming down from this high caused by the relationship. Throughout this song, Solange manages to abstractly describe the intense feelings that come after ending a relationship.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dreams Come True

Imagine Dragons released their album Smoke + Mirrors in 2015. The lead singer is Dan Reynolds. Along with this album was the incredibly inspiring song "Warriors." This song develops its literal meaning around the idea that working hard gets "you" places.

The setting of the poem is a medieval time with a child dreaming to be great. The speaker, who I believe is the singer because to be a singer he put in an enormous amount of effort to accomplish his dreams. This speaker puts the reader/listener into different perspectives throughout the poem. One of which is the hard-working boy. It is curious why the listener/reader is put into the song. It may be because in today's world is is difficult to achieve everything (money, wealth, power) from nothing (poor status). Therefore the literal meaning closely relates to what feels impossible in the present world. The song relays the image of a boy working in childhood:
But you always knew that you'd be the one to work while they all play. 
As the song continues it is clear that in between stanzas the young boy grew into a powerful man.
In youth you'd lay awake at night and scheme
Of all the things that you would change, but it was just a dream! 
Here we are
 The powerful man, a king, now knows the benefit and reward of working hard. This internal knowledge changes the reader's perspective from the boy to another hardworking person (yourself). The king gives his sage advice through his own experience as a child and leaves. The tone then changes to one of pride because of the new accomplishments the reader made. These accomplishments about helping the king build the town from dust are emphatically sung by the lead singer of Imagine Dragons.

Overall, the song uses diction describing medieval characteristics to build the foundation and setting of the story. The tone of encouragement throughout the stanzas blends with the diction to create a world where the listener/reader can do anything. By using these literary devices, the song has an uplifting quality that sends the message: "you can do anything if you put hard work into it."

Relationships and Nantes



“Nantes”
Beirut
The Flying Club Cup
http://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/Beirut:Nantes

The What: The song is a man talking about his relationship with his lover. Their relationship is struggling, but the man has said that, no matter how foolish their attempts and no matter how long it would take, he would remain by her side. While subject this is a common “theme”, he brings it new life by drawing parallels between the relationship and the city of Nantes.

Multidimensional Language #1:
Nobody raise your voices
Just another night in Nantes
Nobody raise your voices
Just another night in Nantes
The city of Nantes is seen as a calm, serene place which raised voices have no place in; hence, the line “Nobody raise your voices / Just another night in Nantes.” But this duplet is also a connection to the couple’s struggles. They are trying to prevent themselves from arguing and normalize their situation by saying that it’s just another night. This parallel made the relationship troubles even more emotional because the serene image of the city is juxtaposed against the tensions of the couple.

Multidimensional Language #2:

“This will slip into the sea”

This line is another example of a dichotomous relationship between the city of Nantes and the couple’s relationship. Nantes is right along the Loire River which leads to the Atlantic Ocean. The line shows a relaxed homogeneity with the river (sea in the song), but the speaker is saying something different. He will wait for her until it completely disappears into the sea. Internally he will be anything but relaxed. It strengthens the meaning because it provides a stark contrast between the city and the relationship inside the city.
Multidimensional Language #3:
(Object Shattering)Woman: Oh, no, please, we're not at home
Man: I assure you, it doesn't matter
Woman: No, leave me
Man: What's wrong with you today
Woman: I only just know that men disgust me, you're always thinking about that.
A few aspects exist in these lines. They were originally spoken in French therefore no non-French speakers understand the meaning while listening (including me — I happened to find a translation). It completely goes against the tone of the rest of the song. This section includes outright emotional anger, and possibly physical anger or violence (due to the object shattering). It also includes the only part of the song that includes the woman’s perspective. She is not doing well at all in the relationship. The romanticized story told by the English part of the song is given a different light with this translation; additionally, the entire part was in French (which many listeners won’t understand), and so it seemed as if the women’s perspective was meant to be hidden. She was given a voice that no one could hear. This section deepens the meaning of the song because it rids it of the romanticism that exist in the remaining stanzas.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Consequence From Murder

The song "Bohemian Rhapsody", is a song of expression. The writer of this piece is, who is also the lead vocal of Queen, is Freddie Mercury. A hit in the album, A Night at The Opera, the song describes the killing of a man,  the singer realizes the depth of his action with its consequences and needs to confront the death that he has committed. There are stages to this song, each a focal point of emotions that the song's persona expresses. 

The intro has a trans like state as if it is a stream of consciousness. He becomes aware. Freddie Mercury sings:
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide, No escape from reality.
 His action has been committed but not said until the next stage of his song. His questions provoked the reality of life. Asking if he actually did what he did or if its just a dream or an illusion. The last line express the reality he now has to face. The next stage of the song consist of Freddie talking to his mother and now he has to face his fate. He sings:
Mama, just killed a man,
Put a gun against his head,
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead.
Mama, life had just begun,
But now I've gone and thrown it all away.
The tone is deep with remorse building off from each line. These lines reveals deep guilt of his action. Freddie puts the audience in the thoughts of his mind to convey the reality of actions have consequences. The support of the music's tone with the diction such as "killed", "gun", "trigger", "gone", gives the experience of darkness surrounding the literal meaning of the lines. The next stage of the song consist of the consequence of his action. The lyrics:
Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let him go!)
This lines is Freddie calling god in Arabic to set him free and save him from the devil. He repents for his actions to call god for his forgiveness but the devil will not let go. The musics harsh tone and abruptness of the lines gives the impression of his fate being decided. Later the song continues:
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me.
The term Beelzebub refers to the devil. Freddie now realizes his consequences is being with the devil, meaning death. He pleads for god to set him free from it. The repetition of "for me" gives the sense of awareness of his consequence. This song reveals death intertwine with the reality of the consequences through its tone of music and use of diction. Bohemian is not just an amazing song its a work of poetry.

Madvillain: "Raid"

Released by hip-hop artist Madvillain, off their 2004 album Madvillainy, the song "Raid" can be described as poetry. The song's lyrics and rhythm/melody contribute to the album's main idea and display a deliberate creative methodology. "Raid", in particular, contributes to the main idea of the album: that "audiences can relate their experience in life with the villains and their dastardly doings." Put another way, ordinary people can relate to those individuals who are often considered outside the mainstream, such as clowns, prostitutes, and Rhinestone cowboys. To convey this idea, Madvillain makes use of meter, internal rhyme, end rhyme, slant rhyme, simile, imagery, and multi-dimensional language.

In each of the twenty-two songs off of Madvillainy, Madlib, a Madvillain group member, raps, also known as "spitting." Madlib spits to a constant meter. He raps for seven quarter notes and then rests for an eighth note or sixteenth note.

Simile in the line "Street turns, keep me in this dirt like an earthworm" conveys the idea that while the shallow works of other rappers become hits, the works of Madvillain remain unnoticed.

In the song "Raid", Madlib refers to his particularly smooth, continuous style of rapping as the "buttery flow":
"About the buttery flow, he need to cut the ego
Trippin', to date the Metal Fellow been rippin' flows
Since New York plates was ghetto yellow with broke blue writing
This is too exciting"
Madlib calls out other hip-hop artists for being egotistical and unoriginal in contrast to his original "buttery flow." He takes great pride in his own style of rapping. Ironically, Madvillain displays a certain narcissism in "Raid", referring to himself in the third person (Illeism). Madvillain also takes particular pride in having been in the New York rap "game" since the 1970s.

In the line "On one starry night, I saw the light" Madvillain pronounces the word starry as "starey." The word comes to represent not just a bright sky full with stars but also a fixed gaze. The reference to "starry night" also evokes Van Gogh's masterpiece, "Starry Night." This line conveys Madlib's self-admiration in that he is putting himself in the same league as Vincent van Gogh.

Growth

The song 7 years was created by pop band Lukas Graham from their album. , Lukas Graham. The song that I chose for this was a remix of the original. I like the beat of it and it actually keeps me calm while pumping me up.

I think the central idea of the song is about growing up and about his life so far. He sings,
Soon we´ll be thirty years old,
our songs have been sold
we´ve traveled around the world and we´re still roaming. 
It´s talking about their music career so far and how they are still doing many songs around the world. The speaker is reflecting on his pat while reflecting on their past experiences.

Soon I´ll be sixty years old,
 my daddy got sixty one Remember life,
and then your life becomes a better one
I made a man so happy when I wrote a letter once
 I hope my children come and visit once or twice a month

This is my favorite part of the poem because there are many dimensions to the lines. The reason he brings up himself being sixty and his daddy being sixty-one is at least I think, he is saying his father had died at that age. That is why he says remember life because he has to remember his father while learning from his experiences, which comes from your life become a better one. The letter he wrote could have been to his father either alive or deceased. It could also be his young self writhing to his old self. That is at least what I took from it. When he says I hope my children visit me is him in his old days, but also maybe he didn´t do that with his dad so he want´s his children to come visit him.

This song really makes me think of my father. I didn´t get to know him long when he passed, but this song somewhat helps me connect and remember who he is. I think a sign of poetry could be if you can relate to it and music tends to relate with all of us in different ways.





Don't Bury Me Alive

The song I chose is "Buried Alive" by Logic. He is an up and coming rapper who is highly underrated. I picked this song because I have been listening to it a lot lately as I'm preparing for college and preparing for baseball season.
In my eyes this song is poetry because it shows how people never wanted to give him a chance. How his work and effort put into his music career has not been easy and people always would push him down. The song is called "Buried Alive" and it;s metaphor is that people deny his dream and "bury him alive" instead of hearing him out and giving him a chance. His message was how you have to get back up and keep working for your dream. If you have a vision see it and not put it away in the back of your mind. Also part of his message is you can achieve anything you dream in life and to never give up. This is also poetry to me because it speaks in multidimensional language and it has a rhythmic pattern to it.
This song is really inspirational to me and I hope people can see a new version of modern day rap.

The Holes in my Title

I chose the song "Holes" by James Veck Gilodi to defend as poetry. The song itself does not belong to an album, but can be found on Youtube.

The central idea of this song revolves around regrets, and the speaker’s desire to change. The theme is: Being jealous of others experiences leads to bitterness and a lack of fulfillment. The only way to be truly happy is to disregard of the status of others, and live your own life according to your aspirations.

The purpose of the song is to explore the speaker’s attitude in the past. Growing up, he let his jealousy of “privileged” kids consume him, leaving him bitter and even more disadvantaged. This song allows the speaker a chance to acknowledge his poor choices and move on. The speaker is most likely the singer himself (James Veck Gilodi), as he has claimed that several times in interviews. The song takes place both in the present and in flashbacks, as the speaker recognizes his current situation as a result of his past behavior. The song serves as both a reflection for himself and an admonition to others growing up with similar attitudes.

Onomatopoeia is used effectively at the very beginning of the song, with the speaker’s friend admonishing him for being a “drifter/ for far too long now son.” The sound of the word “drifter” brings to mind the image of wafting smoke, easily swayed by outside forces. As the song progresses, this depiction of the speaker proves more and more accurate, strengthening the use of the onomatopoeia. The speaker denies his drifting ways at first, claiming that forces beyond his control have shaped his fate, but comes to terms with his poor conduct in both the chorus and second verse.

The chorus makes effective use of simile, especially with the line: “Cause I've got holes in all my jeans, Just like the holes I burnt through my dreams.” The combination of simile and imagery brings together a couple of ideas. If someone has holes in their jeans, they typically belong to a lower socioeconomic class, and the speaker draws a comparison between his attitude towards his class and his failure to achieve his goals.

Metaphor is also used liberally throughout the song. Most strikingly, when the speaker refers to the “song inside [his] brain.” That specific use of metaphor evokes a feeling of restlessness, as if the speaker feels trapped by his station and previous actions. It adds to the motivation the speaker feels to alter his current attitudes.

"Oh My God" It's Poetry

"A Tribe Called Quest" is an American hip-hop group from the late 80's through to the 90's.  The group was composed of MC and producer Q-Tip, the late MC Phife Dawg and DJ and producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad.  Together these artist formed poetry through music

In the Tribes song "Oh My God" they use the poetic tool assonance through the verses. For example when Q-Tip says, "Even in Santo Domingo when I got a gringo," he repeats the sound within the same line.  This is done again in Phife Dawgs line, "Trini gladiator, anti-hesitator," using assonance to enhance the line.

The song also utilizes end rhyme. A solid example of this in the song is right in the first verse:
Listen up everybody, the bottom line
I'm a black intellect, but unrefined
With precision like a bullet, target bound
Just living like a hooker, the harlot sounds
Now when I say the harlot, you know I mean the hot
Heat of the equator, the broth that's in the pot
Jalick, Jalick ya wind up ya hip
Drafting of the poets, I'm the #7 pick
The verse uses a standard a a b b c c d d, which makes the lines appear to flow together more as well as increase the aesthetic appeal of the sounds to our ears.  To end the song the use end rhyme again when the lines:
The title MC means Master of Ceremony
Some people who MC don't know what this term means
Utilizing end rhyme in the last lines of the poem (once the music/beat has ended) leaves a resonating note on the listeners mind, and that is why "Oh M God" by A Tribe Called Quest is poetry.
 

Long Live Life

Coldplay produces music which argues points without directly saying their argument. In their song "Viva La Vida" Coldplay makes a strong religious argument. Throughout the song, there are references to Christianity and more specifically the French Revolution. The song contains many lines which directly refer to the crusades as well. 
Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string 
Oh who would ever want to be king?
The song references revolutionaries who are revolting against a king, and are not able to have their own actions. The "puppet on a lonely string" is a personification for the people who can not have actions they desire.  The whole song has lines that reference revolutions as a whole, but more specifically the French Revolution.
Additionally, the song contains many religious references such as the crusaders.

Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
The "missionaries in a foreign field" who are the speaker's sword and shield, is a reference to the crusaders. The people are going for their country to get people to join them in the religion. This song aludes to the French Revolution and the crusaders trying to get a long prosperous life for their countries.

Who's The Real Devil Here?

The Rolling Stones' song "Sympathy for the Devil," off of their album Beggars Banquet, is arguably one of the most perfect songs for an assignment like this one. Musically, it is incredibly catchy and enjoyable, but at the same time, even if read aloud as a poem, "Sympathy" comes out solid and almost a little cryptic.

The song is in first person view from Satan himself. While early rock music was often called "the devil's music," as the instruments created aggressive sounds that were uncommon before, that is not the reason Sympathy was written. Rather, it seems to simply critique mankind for the evil it has seen over the years.

First, the song starts with an introduction...:
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
The Rolling Stones' made an interesting choice here: they took the personification of evil (the Devil), and they made him completely human. They even characterize him as someone who has "taste"! The beauty of this is that since this introduction takes us off guard, we cannot immediately tell that the Devil is speaking. That mystery is carried on throughout the poem, with Jagger only revealing his identity in the last verse.
I shouted out, "Who killed the Kennedys?"
When after all, it was you and me
The establishment of the Devil as a human sets the scene for a surprising comparison: humans and the Devil are on the same level! This camaraderie to means that there is evil inside everyone, and that perhaps the blame that people place on things like chance and religion when horrible things happen is misplaced.

After this, a bit of wordplay:
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
This phrase is obviously referencing coins, and therefore the idiom "there are two sides to every story," as a coin has two sides as well! The duality of all people opens the ultimate door to sympathy for the devil: evil is truly within everyone, as shown by the comparisons before that line.

It all leads up to the ultimate, slightly hidden message of the song: people must stop placing blame on external things for 100% of the bad that happens to them.

Faster Car: Push Yourself

Faster Car by Loving Caliber

Faster Car is a fun pop tune by Loving Caliber featuring Anders Lystell and Micheal Stenmark. It is in the Epidemic Sound library, on YouTube.

Faster Car is about wanting to be free and to push his limits.

The singer wants the freedom and control a car will bring him (I say him because the singer is male).  A car is something he would own himself, therefore he can do what ever he wants with it. Also a faster car, suggests danger or pushing himself to the limit. Faster cars brings up the image of expensive cars as well as of racing cars. Expensive cars implies and ability to support himself, and importance. A racing car is danger and going to the extreme. The car, which is repeated mentioned in the song, in the line "I wanna drive a faster car,".

But he also seems to be restricted because of the line "no one's stopping me now". Which suggests someone was stopping him before. It also suggests that there may have been limits on himself, put onto himself by himself. He could also be trying to go beyond his own limits and push himself. Combined with the idea of a car, the physical manifestation of his desires, the singer is trying to move forward and push himself as well.


"Skip my breaks" another line repeated within the song, has the image of the physical movement of skipping, which tends to be seen as a happy movement. Skipping is also to go over. Breaks meanwhile is literally car breaks but it is also limits. Therefore this line means, he will go over his limits with happiness. Or push himself.


The Change Better Come

Soul music is full of poetry. While sometimes it can't be heard through the lyrics themselves, they are heard through the voice of the singer and the feel of the band. "Change Gonna Come" by Otis Redding is a perfect example of this. Not only are the lyrics full of poetry, but the emotion in his voice is strong and brings me to tears constantly.

It's been too hard living, oh my
And I'm afraid to die
I don't know what's up there
Beyond the clouds
In this verse, Redding expresses his struggle in his life and how it is too hard for him to deal with. He also tells the audience that he is afraid to die, essentially afraid of what will come in the after life. When he sings "beyond the clouds," he is referencing heaven or at least the idea of heaven. The airy feeling of the lyrics adds to the meaning of life beyond death and makes it much more of an open interpretation.

Earlier in the song, Redding describes his life like that of a river, "I was born by a river in this little old tent/ oh just like this river I've been running ever since." By comparing himself to a running river, he is able to give a good example as to how he is always on the move and moving at a fast pace as well.

The emotion and lyrical poetry of the song is full of emotion and meaning. It is full of important messages for future generations about leaving a good impact on the world, and making a change for the better.

Take Your Vitamins Before Fighting Pink Giant Robots

"Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots Pt. 1" by The Flaming Lips, is a song from their conceptual album, Yoshimi Battles Pink  Robots. This spectacular song, in my opinion is a perfect song for this assignment. The song is an extend metaphor for a girl  battling with cancer. The story is told from the unusual narrative of a loved one, who is watching helplessly as the girl that he loves goes through the traumatizing battle against cancer. Unable to rationalize that he might lose Yoshimi, to the devastating disease he creates a comical fiction, where Yoshimi has super powers, and is uses them to protect him from pink giant robots.

This alternative reality is shown through the use of metaphors like, "discipline her body" and "So she's taking lots of vitamins". The metaphors are used to disguise the destruction of the body and chemo therapy and hide from the disastrous tole cancer takes on the body.

Cause she knows that 
Its demanding 
To defeat those evil machines 
I know she can beat them

Oh Yoshimi 
They don't believe me 
But you wont let those robots defeat me 

The repeating of the main chorus gives the impression of desperation, an attempt to hide the pain and suffering the author is feeling. It brings reassurance of hope and  to a dire situation.

"Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots Pt. 1"  takes a comical approach to a harsh reality of dealing with terminal cancer. Instead of choosing to express pain and suffering through sad or depressing verses, the story of Yoshimi is expressed through an upbeat almost childish universe that brings hope to a hopeless situation. This tool of imagination and expression through a ridiculous story, that brings a smile to any face.

Looking Through Rhinestone Eyes

Even though I'm not a big fan of music, I can faithfully say that one of my favorite songs to listen too in my free time is Gorillaz, a British virtual band created and headed by English musician Damon Albarn. While the band has a few songs that became semi-mainstream, like "Clint Eastwood" and "Feel Good Inc.", one of their more intriguing songs, to me, is "Rhinestone Eyes" from Gorillaz's 3rd album, Plastic Beach.

 Despite the each stanza of the lyrics being 3 lines long, the structure of the song favors even numbers, with the first 2 sections consisting of 4  stanzas and the third section being made up of 2 stanzas, inadvertently causing the reader to take.

While there is no overall narrative in the song, it evokes a strong message of a society betrayed by and alienated from the loss of natural life that plagues it. The song is structured in an inorganic, abnormal fashion, with each 3-line stanza crafting almost entirely different imagery from the last while also keeping close to the song's theme of exile from a rapidly-developing world. This is done both figuratively and literally, with many of the stanzas sharing similar closing lines or phrases, such as "factories far away" and the song's namesake: "rhinestone eyes". These phrases are repeated numerously, even dominating parts of the song's instrumental breaks. In conjunction with the varying imagery provided by each of lyrics' stanzas, "Rhinestone Eyes" crafts a main idea revolving around artificiality and its effects on others:

I'm a scary gargoyle on a tower
That you made with plastic power
Your rhinestone eyes are like factories far away

When the paralytic dreams that we all seem to keep
Drive on engines 'til they weep
With future pixels in factories far away

Rhinestones are a kind of imitation diamond. When combined with the imagery of the songwriter's persona feeling like a "scary gargoyle", the stanza's closing line echoes a message of the "you" in the song being an imitation of something attempting to be human. The line "factories far away"illustrates how the pursuit of technology and the future distances people from what they know and love. The imagery of people's dreams "[driving] on engines 'til they weep" sets up the song's nihilistic tone, illustrating how people hopes will eventually fizzle out with the coming of the future. 

As the song moves on to its next section, "Rhinestone Eyes" begins to place greater focus on the feelings of people than on societal corruption, as shown by its sudden, exclusive use of a first person narrator. Many of the narrator's lines, such as "I got a feeling now my heart is frozen", "I prayed on the immovable", and "...red light is all I can take", echo that of people suffering from depression or losing motivation to live. A frozen heart is symbolic of a person unable to feel emotion, praying on "the immovable" being equivalent to having dreams to big to accomplish, and red light (which is stated after a line regarding the narrator breaking up with a girl via taxi) can be associated with "stopping" in life and hitting a rut.

Altogether, "Rhinestone Eyes" echoes the story a forward-minded world moving too fast for regular people to keep up with or understand. In short, the persona behind the song feels that the world looks back at him with "rhinestone eyes"; the world seems artificial and uncaring to him. This message, too me, is particularly relevant to America's current political climate, with many new sources seeming more biased and manipulative than ever, and the future White House appealingly being set up to only cater to a select group of Americans. It's truly a deep and relevant piece in that way.

It's part of the noise when winter comesIt reverberates in my lungsNature's corrupted in factories far away



So Silent

I choose the song "So Silent" by Zack Hemsey. The song can be found in the album Ronin. The song focuses on life and the inequality that comes along with it. In the beginning the song, Hemsey talks about a man. He says,
He was down on the floor with his lips to a glass
Said he dreamed of a future that won't come to pass
That he once strived to excel in a world so vast
But why run a race when it's rigged and he's fixed in last
These lyrics speak about the inequality people face everyday. For many people, life is rigged. For some people their lives are set out because their parents already carved their path. For others, life is rigged because they don't have the same opportunities as other people have and they are left behind. The line "But why run a race when it's rigged and he's fixed in last" is multidimensional because it's easy to envision someone running a race and it also produces an emotion. It's sad that some people feel that their lives are rigged.

 In another portion of the song, Hemsey speaks about a women who also criticizes aspects of society. The song says,
She was tripping on something that was laced in her teaAnd she was high as a kite when she said she could seeSaid we in the land of the free but no freedom growsAnd if we in a brave new world where'd the brave all go
These lyrics speak about the social inequality many people face everyday. These lyrics are multidimensional because one can imagine seeing someone high on the street and it also make you feel something. There are people in the world that have no emotional or physical freedom. They are not free to do what they want to do or feel what they want to feel. Yet, we live in a country that emphasizes the freedom of its citizens.

Overall, every line in the song makes you feel something. I highly recommend this song/album. Hemsey actually just released a new album called Nomad and it's equally as amazing.

Coldest Winter

In Kanye West´s masterful 2010 composition of 808s & Heartbrakes, Kanye on his song ¨Coldest Winter" (if possible listen to the version on youtube on KanyesVEVO channel) tells a wonderful deep somber story abuout the passing of his mother, who died during complicatons of cosmetic surgery. The song is completly dedicated to hismother, and it tells the gutrentching feelings of seperation he is having. 

He drives this message through the simple repetitive lines throughout the song. Lines like “memories made in the coldest winter” which has multiple meanings wether it is  referring to him and his mother moving to Chicago in the winter, or his mother passing in the winter, or also the winter being cold and dark, which can relate to the feelings of depression. While the line “her love is a thousand miles away” is inferring that KanyeĹ› mother, Donda, is in heaven, so far away from him; he is clearly distraut, whcih again makes this song evident it is about his mother. He finally signs off the song with the line, ¨ I wont ever love again/ Never again¨ because nobody in his life can match theconnection they had, and love only causes pain and sufferiung, the exact reason,-due to his mothers death- why he wrote this song. 

Free Will Sacrifice: A Testament To Human Will

Amon Amarth's song "Free Will Sacrifice" on their album Twilight Of The Thunder God tells the story of an army of vikings who find themselves outnumbered on a battlefield. They know that they have little chance of survival, but they stand firm and fight. Vocalist Johan Hegg has written numerous songs on similar subject matter (after all, Amon Amarth is a "Viking Metal" band), but this song stands out from the others as a tribute to the human spirit.

The vikings stay and fight, believing that the time of their death is predetermined by the gods. They wish, above all else, to die a glorious death having devastated the enemy. The sheer will power and the refusal to stop fighting at the risk of disappointing the gods is exemplified well in this song:
We face our woven destiny
And we don't fear the grave
As the song progresses, their will does not fade or weaken, but intensifies. They begin to look forward to a glorious death. They are proud of the fact that they die of their own free will in battle. Despite the odds being stacked against them, they hold out for what they believe in:
As free men we are born
And free we shall die.
 This line is more praising the free will of people than that of these particular vikings. As sentient beings, we are born and die on our terms. The vikings chose to die in battle because it suited their personalities. Each man lives his life according to his own free will and can go however he pleases into that goodnight.

Singing to Sleep Ones Inner Turmoil

Yes, I know, its another Hozier song, but to be fair his lyrics are incredible. Arsonists Lullaby is a dark look into the mind of a metaphorical Arsonist, which represents his audiences inner turmoil. The refrain goes:
All you have is your fireAnd the place you need to reachDon't you ever tame your demonsBut always keep them on a leash
Hozier's lyrics personify his audiences own "demons" while giving them meaning, basically stating that one should not try to get rid of your inner turmoil because that is all you have, "All you have is your fire/And the place you need to reach". He doesn't tell the audience to use the "fire" they possess, because it is destructive, rather, he tells them to "keep them on a leash", presumably, keeping it close, but still outside of oneself and at an arms length, because it is still a part of you.

Hozier goes on to talk about how destructive ones inner demons could be:
But my peace has always dependedOn all the ashes in my way
Although one could keep "them (demons) on a leash", one could not force ones inner demons to stop being destructive, and thus keep ones self from being destructive. One could never be happy by trying to completely subdue them, "my peace has always depended".

Hoziers "Arsonists Lullaby" is poetry because of the metaphorical use of an arsonist and his fire, trying to emanate his audiences inner turmoil, effectively giving the lyrics emotional meaning to the audience. As always his music possess rhythm, so that even when spoken the lyrics sound like music.

For the Last Time, It's Not About Drugs

Chance the Rapper's most recent mixtape, Coloring Book, earned him critical acclaim and award nominations. The record included such hits as "No Problem" and "Blessings," but my personal favorite is one of the more underrated songs included.

"Same Drugs", the 6th track on Coloring Book, is not, despite its name, about drugs. The lyrics are actually much deeper and quite beautiful. Chance writes:
We don't do the same drugs no more
We don't do the, we don't do the same drugs, do the same drugs no more
'Cause she don't do the same drugs no more
He uses drugs to symbolize how he and this woman no longer share as many similarities as they did when they were younger, and they aren't as close as they used to be. Chance alludes to Peter Pan in the next few lines, writing:
When did you change?
Wendy, you've aged
I thought you'd never grow up
I thought you'd never
Window closed, Wendy got old
Wendy, the oldest of the Darling siblings that Peter takes to Neverland, promises to leave her window open so that when Peter returns, he is able to find her. The foundation of Peter's character is that he doesn't want to grow up, which is why he's in Neverland. In the song, Chance indirectly compares himself to Peter, and this woman is his Wendy, leaving him behind as they've grown apart.

The way he uses this metaphor is so beautiful, and it created nostalgia for me because of his use of a common childhood story. Chance the Rapper is one of the best lyricists out there, but "Same Drugs" is the most poetic of his works.

"Giving Up The Gun" for the Glory Days

The song I chose was "Giving Up The Gun" by Vampire Weekend from the album Contra. The song's title is a reference to a history book called "Giving Up The Gun", about an isolationist period of Japanese history where Japan closed off trade, expelled foreigners, stopped using guns and reverted back to the sword. The song itself is not really about Japan, but uses this historical example to illustrate the theme of how people often attempt to duplicate the glory of their past, but the results usually do not go as planned.

Your sword's grown old and rusty
Burnt beneath the rising sun
It's locked up like a trophy
Forgetting all the things it's done
And though it's been a long time
You're right back where you started from
I see it in your eyes
That now you're giving up the gun

These lines, repeated throughout the song as the chorus, tie each set of lyrics back to the central idea of trying to duplicate the glory of one's past. The line "Your sword's grown old and rusty" is a metaphor for someone whose glory days have long past. The lyrics "locked up like a trophy" glorify the past, leading the song's main character to try to "give up the gun" a metaphor for forsaking his or her current way of living and trying to emulate the past. This theme is applied to certain real-world situations throughout the song:
I heard you play guitar 
Down at a seedy bar
Where skinheads used to fight
Your Tokugawa smile
And your garbage style
Used to save the night
You felt the coming wave
Told me we'd all be brave
You said you wouldn't flinch
But in the years that passed
Since I saw you last
You haven't moved an inch 
These lines apply the central theme to the idea of a musician who refuses to adapt his or her style to a modern or more accepted style (perhaps something more relatable for a band to write about). These lines portray this action negatively, however: "But in the years that passed/Since I saw you last/You haven't moved an inch". This line is a metaphor which suggests that by not adapting to changing times, the musician has become stale. This reveals the conflict between the need to be true to oneself and the need to adapt to survive.
 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

What Kind of World do You Want?

In terms of poetic music Five for Fighting's song "World" is a song that is the first that comes to my mind. A hit off their album "two lights." The song quickly became popular as a inspirational song that poses quiet the question, "What kind of world do you want?" It is this question that drove this song to it original fame and success and saw the song presented around the world as hopeful call of the future. Thus it has been played at USO events and at events against human trafficking. Its positive message is seen throughout and has quite a poetic quality to it.

One example of that poetic quality is, as sung by Ondrasik,

Should there be people or peoplesMoney, Funny pedestals for Fools who never payRaise your Army--Choose your SteepleDon't be shy, the satellites can look the other way
 The second line references those "fools who never pay" these fools are those who do not really contribute to society they simply take. This line is meant to challenge our perceptions of what is important in society. The first line poses a hypothetical question that makes one question their ideal world and their ideals. These lines taken together force one to interpret the lyrics and question what they think.

Again and and again the question is posed "what kind of world do you want?" This question serves as the jumping off point for the overall meaning of the song and makes you question what you think it most important.

What's the Point of Singing Songs

A heartbreaking piece comprised of whisper-singing and acoustic guitar, Sufjan Stevens’ “Eugene” fits perfectly into his album Carrie and Lowell with its musings on love, time, and death.

The form of the song is slightly erratic, but not on accident. Stevens jumps from one stage in his life to another in each stanza, all the while incorporating lines about the love he feels for Eugene. It doesn’t matter if he’s describing his own youth, during which he likely did not love or even know Eugene. He still explains his romantic feelings for Eugene as if they have existed all of Stevens’ life:

Since I was old enough to speak I’ve said it with alarm
Some part of me was lost in your sleeve
Where you hid your cigarettes
No I’ll never forget
I just want to be near you

The way Stevens effortlessly bends his personal timeline within the song illustrates the ethereal qualities of love, a ghostliness paralleled in his vocals and guitar-picking. Stevens’ love for Eugene transcends time; it has existed in Stevens since his own birth.

The repetition in the last line of each verse makes Stevens’ mourning even more poignant. From “I just wanted to be near you” to “And now I want to be near you,” “I just want to be near you,” and “Now I want to be near you,” Stevens nearly brings the listener to tears with his yearning for Eugene’s company.

We don’t even know that Eugene is dead until the second-to-last verse, at which point Stevens stops celebrating his past with Eugene and begins lamenting the future: “For the rest of my life, admitting the best is behind me...What’s the point of singing songs / If they’ll never even hear you?” Even just typing out those words, I have the urge to cry. Stevens’ muse is dead, and Stevens will continue living knowing he will never encounter another love or inspiration like Eugene.

Standing Up For What You Believe In

The song I chose to defend as poetry is "Guts Over Fear" by Eminem from the album SHADYXV. This song is about Eminem reflecting on his career so far and talking about what he wants people to get out of his music. He wants people to be able to relate to what he is saying and wants to deliver a powerful message to those who are listening. This song is also about overcoming obstacles in life and knowing that however bad things are right now, you're not alone and they will get better. You just have to have "guts over fear" and not be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.

1) "Keep pluggin', it's your only outlet / And your only outfit so you know they're gonna' talk about it / Better find a way to counter it quick and make it, ah." This section of the song uses a metaphor to describe how there is always going to be someone who has a problem with you if you're just being yourself. This ties into the theme of the song because Eminem is saying that you have to find a way to counter what people throw at you and rise above it all.

2) "'Cause I can't explain to y'all how dang exhausted my legs felt / Just havin' to balance my dang self / When on eggshells I was made to walk / But thank you, ma, 'cause that gave me the / Strength to cause Shady-mania." This section of the song uses vivid imagery to describe how all of the obstacles that Eminem had to go through to get where he is just ended up making him that much stronger in the end. This ties into the theme of the song because this section is basically saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" which is the general idea of the entire song.

3) "An angry man's power will shut you up / Trip wires fill this house with tip toed love / Run out of excuses for everyone / So here I am and I will not run." This section uses an interesting metaphor to describe how people find a way to work around whatever is put in front of them. This ties into the theme of the song because this section is all about finally finding the courage to stand up for what is right and fight back which is the biggest point this song is trying to make.













Chicago Black Girl Magic


On Jamila Woods' first album HEAVN the track "Heavn" is what I will be arguing is music poetry. Jamila Woods is creatively using her music as a platform to share her stories of what being a black woman growing up in the city of Chicago. Due to being a very socially aware and creative woman, this album is also meant to very heavily relate the violence and hate that black people- especially highlighting Chicago- receive.

Wood's is a very creative and successful woman in Chicago being the Associate Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, so she knows a thing or two about how impactful words can be. Like any good poem, HEAVN is a great mix of figurative and literal language dispersed throughout her entire album.
Looking at "Heavn" specifically, there are many key lines that help portray the meaning of her song.

The main idea behind the song "Heavn" is to have the audience listen to a story about black love and how it is so hard but so simplistic. Woods ties in a lot of black history-slavery in particular- and generations of black love.
Looking at the lines in her first verse:
Show me, show me, show me how you do that trickThe one that makes you love someoneThe world wants us so numb and aloneShow me, show me, show me how you do itThe one that makes the winters warmThe one where summer never comes
The lines above are a poem in themselves! The lines above show the intense desire for love, the kind of love that makes you feel so warm and happy. "The world want us so numb and alone" is showing how hard it is to be admired as a black woman due to being so oppressed. The last two lines are the more metaphorical lines, explaining how she wants a love that makes her happy and she wants 'the trick' to be able to make that happen.
I don't wanna run away with youI wanna live our life right here
These two lines are very multidimensional to me. Not only are they highlighting the desire to just stay and be in love, but it also connects to love during slavery. The concept of black lovers running away is connected to slavery but also the idea of just finding a home and staying put. (As seen in "Beloved" the desire to be with your loved ones is very strong, but they tend to stay in one place, like Sethe and Paul D. There was not a bunch of running around from house to house- 124 was the place for them.)

Nothing old, nothing new
Nothing borrowed, nothing blue


The lines above are very pretty to me as well as tell a lot for the story. The idea of something old, new, borrowed, and blue in regards to marriage is a tradition of sorts. By Jamila saying Nothing old/nothing new/ nothing borrowed/nothing blue, shows that her (great x6) grandparents were so in love they did not settle for the typical marriage ideals. 

All in all this piece is very beautifully written and Jamila's vocals complete the true essence of the song. Below is the link to check out the full lyrics and give it a listen!! :)
://genius.com/Jamila-woods-heavn-lyrics


"Beauty in the World"

You can't help but smile when Macy Gray's "Beauty in the World" plays. Inspired by the laughter of her daughter, Gray has composed an ode to happiness.
I know you're fed up
But life don't let up for us
All they talk about is
What is going down?
Whats been messed up for us?
When I look around I see blue skies
I see butterflies for us
In these first few lyrics Gray connects to her audience by empathizing with the struggle of life, but she closes out the stanza with reminders of "beauty in the world". When she says, "I see butterflies for us," Gray is explaining how she sees the happiness in life even when we can't see it.

She then goes on to sing, "Listen to the sound and lose it / Its sweet music and dance with me". This is referring to the music of the world. When you see the beauty in the world it creates a symphony that you can dance to. Gray is inviting the listener to join in her celebration of the world.

We need more lovin'
We need more money, they say
Change is gonna come
Like the weather
They say forever
They say
When they're in between
Notice the blue skies
Notice the butterflies
Notice me
In this stanza Gray points out he optimists and pessimists of the world. Some people will complain, but you need to look up at the sky and wait for the weather to change. Tough times come and go and eventually you will find the positives in every thing if you look hard enough. Then of course, like every feel-good song, she brings up love. "Notice me," because the speaker wants to show the other that she is beautiful.

The chorus continues on to be a feel-good, hip-swinging interlude. She ends the song with hope and love and your heart immediately swells. I'm a sucker for a cute song and I do believe that this is one of those, but I also believe that this song has value. Especially in this time of national strife and world conflict, people need to look up at the sky more often and take in the sights. There really is beauty everywhere and you have to seek it out and fight for it. Macy Gray could not have been more right.

Cherry Wine

"Cherry Wine" is a song on the self-titled album Hozier. The song is about a man trapped in an abusive relationship. "Cherry Wine" sheds light on the issue of domestic violence and offers insight into an unhealthy relationship from the perspective of a male victim. The song is intended to express the difficulty of coming to terms and dealing with an abusive relationship.

Hozier uses powerful similes along with multi-dimensional language to reveal the pain behind domestic abuse. The chorus is:
The way she tells me I'm hers and shes mine
Open or closed fist would be fine 
The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine
The simile between blood and cherry wine emphasizes his toxic yet wonderful relationship. When drinking cherry wine, it is easy to become drunk without realizing because it tastes so good. Similarly, the relationship is intoxicating and addictive and the narrator does not realize the toxicity of his relationship because his abuser makes him feel good. The blood in this line also literally represents the violence that occurs in their household.
But I want it, it's a crime
That she's not around most of the time
Hozier is emphasizing the difficulty in this relationship because he recognizes how horribly his partner treats him but the abuse is excused and affectionately described by the narrator due to his attachment with his abuser.
Calls of guilty thrown at me
All while she stains
The sheets of some other
Hozier uses "stains" in this stanza as a multi-dimensional word. It literally means that his partner is cheating on him but it also figuratively translates into the abuser ruining his life. Similar to a stain, once they are in your life, it is difficult to leave the relationship and get rid of them.

"Cherry Wine" is an emotional song that communicates the reality of being involved in an abusive relationship. Hozier shows that domestic violence can happen to anyone, including men. He is helping break the stigma surrounding domestic violence in a thoughtful and poetic manner.






But None Can Escape The Call Of the Sirens

Among a superb combination of classic folk songs on the soundtrack of the movie O Brother Where Art Thou? is a lullaby/field-holler called "Go To Sleep Little Baby". The movie is based on Homer's The Odyssey in which three convicts escape prison and embark on a search for a treasure beyond any of their wildest dreams. Along their journey, the trio encounters many characters who aim to help or hurt them, a group of the latter is the infamous Sirens. They attempt to entice the men into a drunken state of helplessness and this is the song that the writers wrote as their call of seduction.

Every line in the song is meant to draw the men in and convince them that everything would be okay if only they did what the Sirens wanted. They repeat the line "Go to sleep little baby" lulling the men into a hypnotic slumber and mix in lines of sweet attractions, luring them in with insidious convictions.

Everybody's gone in the cotton and
the corn didn't leave nobody but the baby

You're a sweet little baby
You're a sweet little baby

Honey and a rock and the sugar don't stop
Gonna bring a bottle to the baby

Don't you weep pretty baby
Don't you weep pretty baby
Within the first line listed here, the Sirens convince the men that no one will find them and they are safely alone to indulge. The "baby" is each individual man. The Sirens appeal to each man's desire for connection and closeness. "Honey from the rock and the sugar don't stop" is both a sexual allusion promising a full completion of their lust. "Gonna bring a bottle to the baby" provides groundwork to the song, rounding out the seduction with a continued promise of nourishment. The repetition of the lines "Go to sleep little baby" and "Don't you weep pretty baby" serve to lull the men further and further to sleep.

Rivers Are Not Always Cleansing


Adele’s most recent album was released last year and in addition to garnering great critical acclaim, the album received my own vehement praise. I will be honest, however, and admit that my commendation sometimes crossed the line into obsession. 25 is Adele’s third album, and the title reflects her age at the time it was published. Previous albums include 19 and 21, which set the precedent for this method of naming albums. Adele draws inspiration for her songs from personal life experiences and struggles. The song from 25 that I have chosen to analyze, "River Lea” demonstrates Adele’s conflict with the past, specifically, her struggle to accept her childhood home.

“River Lea” is a biographical song with a haunting and powerful tone. Adele uses an extended metaphor in “River Lea” to illustrate her attempt to cope with the lingering effects of her past and childhood. At the beginning of the song, Adele sings, “When I was a child I grew up by the River Lea. There was something in the water, now that something’s in me.” These sentences are an example of multidimensional language. Adele is referencing the literal River Lea in London, England, but the river is used as a symbol for the damage her childhood inflicted upon her. When Adele sings “there was something in the water,” she is alluding to the ever-present pollution in the river that she was exposed to on a daily basis as a child. When she continues the song by singing “now that something’s in me,” Adele parallels the toxicity of the River Lea to the lingering effects of her childhood. Adele uses this extended metaphor to imply that not only was the river of her childhood home polluted, but her youth also negatively affected her present-day outlook on life.

Furthermore, Adele personifies the River Lea to illustrate how her poisoned past has caused her relationships to fail and has forced her mind to be stuck in the past. Adele sings, “But it's in my roots, it's in my veins/It's in my blood and I stain every heart that I use to heal the pain.” This lyric represents the River Lea as a malicious force that causes Adele to make decisions that hurt herself as well as people she care about. The line literally describes how polluted water from Adele’s hometown has seeped into her blood, but figuratively, Adele is singing about her childhood. Specifically, how her past has permanently shaped her current actions and mindset in a way that is detrimental to her relationships. Adele further personifies the river by singing, “So I blame it on the River Lea.” This repeated line paints the river as the source of Adele’s problems. She blames her inability to rid herself of bad habits that damage relationships on her past. Her “roots” are embedded in the polluted soil of her past and this prevents her from moving on and creating positive relationships.

Finally, Adele sings, "No I can't go back, but the reeds are growing out of my fingertips / I can't go back to the river." Adele refers to plants of the River Lea, which poetically symbolize her growing frustrations and inability to cope with the past. This lyric represents how Adele is dangerously dependent upon her past, but that she cannot bring herself to face it. Overall, this song poetically demonstrates Adele's struggle to cope with her past and the powerlessness she feels as a result.