Friday, March 27, 2015

The Poetry of Life's "Almanac"

“Almanac” by The Acorn is a soulful song that carries the listener along the rhythm of the drums and holds them in the warm voice of Rolf Klausener. He sings about someone who wants to explore the world and have a life worth living, but something is holding them back.
There's a season in your eyes
and a fever on your breath
you're anchored to the tide
and the rhythm in your chest
He can see that the person yearns to go out into the world, but they are stuck. His words show that this person is living their life with every day as consistent as the one before. Tides change, and they pull us in new directions, but this person is anchored and cannot be taken with the flow of life. Our heart beats change speed according to how we feel. When it races, it has the power to move us. But this person is held back by the rhythm of their chest, rather than sent forward.

Whatever it is that’s preventing them from really living, we will all at sometime in our lives wish for something more. Something will try to keep us from grasping what we want, whether it be self-doubt, fear, love, hate, or some other emotion that has too much power over us. I know this feeling. The feeling of seeing the world at my fingertips but not being able to just go out there and take it.
I read the rings and count the city lights
you sing a static sonnet on the dial
you could talk a walk, through the mines
or you could spend all your days
just waiting for the night
When the singer’s voice drifts through my speakers, he’s talking to me. He’s asking me why I’m not out there already, why I’m letting my life plateau until something great comes along and just happens. He’s questioning me. I’m questioning myself. The song is poetry in the way that it makes me feel and think about how I live.
the stones that skip, the dust that turns to fire
I see it all reflected in your eyes
In these lines, he sees in all wishful adventurers what they themselves sometimes miss. An almanac is a book published every year about the movements of the tides, the sun, and the moon. This “Almanac” is a record of life, and a reflection on its movements.

Regina Spektor - "The Calculation"

Regina Spektor is one of the best lyricists of our generation. All of her songs are incredibly complex and poetic, but my favorite of her songs (lyrically) is The Calculation. (Lyrics here)

The song is about people forcing love, and forcing relationships, just because it seems like they should be there, for whatever reason - because they seem like they should be perfect for each other, or because everyone thinks they should be together.
So we made our own computer
Out of macaroni pieces
And it did our thinking
While we lived our lives
It counted up our feelings
And divided them up even
And it called our calculation
Perfect love
This part of the song is about them going through life mindlessly, letting factors determine things that emotions should be deciding. The "computer" in the song is talking about these formulas that we've created in our society. X plus Y equals perfect relationship.

So we made the hard decision
And we each made an incision
Past our muscles and our bones
Saw our hearts were little stones
Pulled 'em out they weren't beating
And we weren't even bleeding
As we lay them on our granite counter top
Their hearts have been so hardened by the pressure of the calculations that they hardly feel human anymore. By portraying this usually gory imagery of cutting and taking hearts out and baring them as being sterile and dry emphasizes how sterile and dry these people have become. They're baring their hearts to each other and it seems almost sterile.
We beat 'em up against each other
We beat 'em up against each other
We struck 'em hard against each other
We struck 'em so hard, so hard 'til they sparked
By banging their rock hearts against each other to make a spark, they are forcing themselves to love one another by just shoving themselves together again and again.

Blue Lips by Regina Spektor

In 2009, Regina Spektor released "Far" which contains the song Blue Lips. This song is about coming of age and how the world around us seems to change as we grow up. She uses imagery, personification, and understatement to develop her poetic idea.
Blue lips, blue veins

She repeatedly uses this imagery throughout the song which creates a feeling of being cold. When we were younger, most people had no care in the world. We often reflect back on the times of ignorant bliss and protection from the outside world. As we become adults, we lose the warm comfort of our parents and hometown to face our cold lives of responsibility and loneliness. This kinesthetic feeling of being cold and blue reflects how life seems to treat us harshly when we grow up.

The pictures in his mind arose
And began to breathe

She personifies the "pictures in his mind. The pictures, or memories, were dormant and have now been remembered for what they truly are. When we are younger, we see things but they don't really register as anything and they get filed away in the backs of our minds. When we are older we look back on those memories and realize the harsh reality of what we thought was a harmless moment in our childhood. The use of personification gives a more personal reaction toward how we feel when we realize our childhood was not as happy as we remember.

He stumbled into faith and thought,
"God, this is all there is."

Typically, when introduced formally to faith, one would expect to have this incredible, emotional reaction and connection to it. However, the speaker is saying that the faith humans have created for themselves long ago is no longer enough for the those "enslaved in the assembly lines". They need more to get them through their cold, blue routine. She uses an understatement to actually amplify how we feel toward faith. Instead of just casually stating that "this is all there is", humans are desperately hungry for a new religion that can help them survive in this new age.

This song puts into words the emotions we have in our day to day lives. We often feel that since we've grown up, life has beat us down and threw us into a cold, blue world. We are just going through the motions rather than living the happy lives we did when we were young and innocent.

Music Poetry: Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran is a popular young vocalist, well known for his unique R & B folk blend. He writes many of his own songs, including “Thinking out Loud”, in the album “X”. This was Sheeran’s second single to reach number one on the UK singles chart. Sheeran is singing the song to his love, and describing to her how he feels about her. I believe that this song, while not only genius in a musical sense, could also be viewed as poetry, with it’s excellent use of personification, imagery and repetition. 

The best use of personification in the song is when Sheeran writes, “Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?” Furthermore, Sheeran uses various examples of imagery in the song, such as when he writes, “Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars.” Finally, because he uses a refrain in the song, the song uses repetition to further develop it, the best example of this is when, in the last stanza he writes, “That maybe we found love right where we are. Oh, baby, we found love right where we are. And we found love right where we are.”

Untitled: What Did Kendrick Say?

A few months ago, Kendrick Lamar performed on the penultimate episode of The Colbert Report. As Colbert's final musical guest ever, he performed a new, untitled song he had written. Perhaps as a tribute to the show itself, which is a satire of the white, conservative media, Lamar's song focused mainly on race, which is a prevalent theme in his work, as well as in most hip-hop music. The untitled work is a perfect example of a poem that raises issues of race and the significance of what different races generally have respect for. 
The introduction frames Kendrick going back to his old neighborhood and flirting with a girl, who is asking him for advice at the beginning of each verse in the repeated line, "What did the [insert racial group] man say?" This makes him think about what generally considered in four cultures, represented by four different men. The "Asian," the "Indian," and the "black man" represent the point of views of three different groups, and they all give Kendrick advice in the form of a "piece" of themselves. This parallelism gives the poem structure, and provides a unity to the whole song. It also makes the men similar in that they all want something. The last man, the "white man" instead takes a piece of Kendrick. This is followed by a response from Kendrick, who represents the first three men. 
"(What did the Asian say?)
A peace of mind
That's what the Asian said, I need a divine
Intervention was his religion and now it's a prize"
The first man, the Asian, tells Kendrick he needs a "peace of mind." This is a pun, because whereas all of the other men are giving Kendrick a "piece" of advice, the Asian's advice is a "peace of mind," or calmness. This pun simply emphasizes Lamar's creativity as a lyricist. Eastern culture often focuses on mental and spiritual well-being. This is heavily shown in Buddhism, which encourages meditation and inner peace. By focusing on mental and spiritual health through calmness and perspective rather than indulging the stresses of careers and money a person can achieve this peace.
"(What did the Indian say?)
A piece of land
That's what the Indian said, I needed demand
Telling me longevity is in the dirt, buy some property first
Profit a better dollar with generational perks"
The second man, the Indian, tells Kendrick he needs "a piece of land." This first applies to Native Americans, who historically have a special connection with their land and regard it as sacred. On another level, however, it speaks to how the Native American people have submitted to Western culture by switching their focus towards not only land, but material possessions. Ultimately, the focus of his advice is security, through land, and economic independence, which is not to be confused with greed.
"(Now what the black man say?)
A piece of nookie
That's what the black man said, I needed to push me
To the limit, satisfy my hunger"
The third man, the black man, tells Kendrick he needs "a piece of nookie." This is slang for sex. The point being made is that there is a certain power in the sexual desire that permeates mankind. It is not unhealthy, but rather works as a motivation for success. The lesson here is that attraction and feeling and even hunger are the key to social and physical success in society.
"(What the white man say?)
A piece of mines
That's what the white man wanted when I rhyme
Telling me that he selling me just for $10.99
I go platinum from rapping, I do the company fine
What if I compromise? He said it don't even matter"
 The final man, the white man, instead of giving Kendrick advice takes a piece of Kendrick. This represents the majority of America that is white and the focus in the majority on greed, money, power, and domination. This leads to the commercialization of life and art that robs people of their culture. However, Kendrick does not stand for this robbery of his identity, and speaking for all minorities, he responds. He won't sell out his art or culture for money, and he will use his culture and the advice he learned from the first men to succeed and "shoot for the stars."
"I holler, 'What you do? What you say?'
I shall enjoy the fruits of my labor if I get freed today"

"What the black man say?
Tell 'em we don't die, tell 'em we don't die, we multiply"
The song ends with a repeating hook and repeating outro. The hook is a reference to the enslavement of blacks in America, but also, perhaps more importantly, it is an extended metaphor for the enslavement of all cultures and races by commercialism. The white man is set to exploit other cultures purely for their profit, which means that those who have control of culture are betraying art by commercializing it and the culture of its creators.The outro is spoken directly from Kendrick, in which he says he and the people of all minorities and oppressed cultures will never die or give up but will continue to grow stronger.
Throughout the song, numerous stereotypes are made about the people talking to Kendrick. These stereotypes are not meant to harm people, but rather to signify the uniqueness each culture brings to the table in America. The evil and greed is not a condemnation of white people, but a condemnation of  the white-dominated culture of oppression that exists in America. The advice that Kendrick receives does not automatically mean that all black people love sex or all Asians are peaceful. Each piece of advice represents a different culture. If Kendrick can learn to appreciate and follow (or not follow) each peace of advice, he can be healthy and successful. Likewise, if America can learn to appreciate each race and culture equally, it can be a healthy and successful society.
P.S. If this song can't be obtained for the class playlist on Spotify, I suggest "Hood Politics" by Kendrick Lamar from his new album, To Pimp a Butterfly.

Ballroom Of Mars-A Poetic Analysis

Marc Bolan was a poetic genius, as well as the lead singer of the 70s English glam-rock band T. Rex. The band was formed by the genius himself in 1967. Bolan wrote most of the band’s material as well as provided most of the sweet guitar riffs and rhythms. The band is popularly known for the birth of hits such as: Get It On (Bang a Gong), Children of the Revolution, Metal Guru, and Telegram Sam.  Often “music snobs” claim that Marc Bolan’s lyrics were nonsensical gibberish fueled by fame and drugs, however they are dumb and that’s just not the case.

Bolan is widely known for his poetic and neo-romantic lyrics seen frequently on the first few albums of T. Rex.

 “Ballrooms Of Mars” appeared on T.Rex’s 3rd studio album, The Slider.

In this sweet sweet jam, I believe that Bolan is speaking to one he deeply loved that he is loosing or perhaps has already lost, reassuring him/her that when he/she is gone, all will be fine and they will stay together although they could never be farther apart. They will stay together, dancing in the ballrooms of mars. Certain lyrics obviously apply more literal to this idea than others.

You gonna look fine

Be primed for dancing

-You would have to know a little more of Marc Bolan’s work to point this out, however, “be primed for dancing” is an example of a motif shown through out Bolan’s pieces. He uses dance to symbolize the ability of freedom and carelessness. To be primed for dancing, is in other words to be stripped of judgement and be in a world of carefree expectance. (Marc Bolan has clearly always been “primed for dancing” and that’s clear in T.Rex’s first album Electric Warrior in the song “Cosmic Warrior”-  ”..I danced my self out of the womb”

You're gonna trip and glide

All on the trembling plane

Your diamond hands

Will be stacked with roses

Roses-being a metaphor for all things sweet.

 And wind and cars

And people of the past

Obviously referring to the people that he/she has lost that he/she will soon be reunited with.
I'll call you thing
Just when the moon sings
-moon sings-personification

And place your face in stone

Upon the hill of stars
-I like to believe that this is one of the slightly more obvious parts of his lyrics. Placing his/her face in stone would be referring to a gravestone, placed on the hill of stars, desolate, romantic, peaceful, poetic.

And gripped in the arms

Of the changeless madman

-This “changeless madman” that Bolan now refers to, is himself. He will be gripping his lost friend in his arms, as they “dance” their lives away.
We'll dance our lives away
-again with the dance metaphor. This is how Marc would like things to have been, the freedom between the two, however this type of carefree love might not have been attainable with out this person the Ballrooms of Mars.
In the Ballrooms of Mars
-Although “Ballrooms of Mars” are only referenced once specifically in this poem, It plays a constant role throughout the entirety of this piece. I think best understand it as a metaphor for this “place” that is equidistant between life here on earth and the heaven/hell from above/below. “Ballrooms of Mars” is a metaphor for the places that one on earth visits to connect with one they have lost. The Ballrooms of Mars are a common ground that both can go to and share lost time together.

 You talk about day

 I'm talking 'bout night time

-day and night are in place to draw attention to opposites.
                Black:White::Day:Night::Earth:The Afterlife

When the monsters call out

The names of men

Bob Dylan knows

And I bet Alan Freed did

-Dylan and Freed are given a cameo in this song, being two incredibly influential men in Bolan’s career, more Dylan than Freed-(but you can’t deny the importance of Alan Freed to any Rock&Roll musician). Dylan was referenced, I believe, in just pure admiration, Bob Dylan influenced Marc Bolan immensely, Bolan being a huge fan of his work. Bob Dylan understands the complexity of the certain things that Bolan speaks of, we can infer this through Dylan’s own lyrics. And being so heavily inspired and infatuated with one artist you hope/assume they understand your writing as well. “And I bet Alan Freed did” can be interpreted as sort of a “dig”. Towards the end of the American Disk Jockey’s life, he fell heavily into financial and publicity scandal as well as slipping down the road being an alcoholic.
        -I bet Alan Freed found out that “there are things in night that are better not to behold”

There are things in night

That are better not to behold

-Night meaning life on earth. There are things that, now that he/she is gone, it is better that he/she doesn’t have to deal with some of the negative things we have to deal with on earth. You will be better off, happier, in the afterlife-again Bolan is reassuring his lost love 

You dance
With your lizard leather boots on

    -alliteration:lizard leather boots on

And pull the strings

That change the faces of men
You diamond browed hag
You're a gutter-gaunt gangster

    -alliteration:glitter-gaunt gangster

John Lennon knows your name

And I've seen his

Then you get to the end of the song, and you’re like, woah wait, what happened to everything I just said this song was, this last part makes no sense.

Well, this last part the narrative shifts to third person. Bolan is now reflecting upon himself. Through this song Bolan has uncovered things about himself that he points out and discovers towards this last stanza. He was apart of the glam rock movement in England during the 70s. Bolan’s feminine fashion choices definitely turned heads. He was an influence and style icon to boys following the glam trend, “changing the faces of” stereotypical ordinary “men” of that time.
As far as the reference to John Lennon goes, this album came out in 1972, if I am correct this was around the same time Ringo and Bolan were hanging out working on a film I believe, and maybe some side music projects, however it was around this time that John Lennon and Bolan got to know each other better.

Lennon was later quoted saying, “"In today's pop music, there are only two things that interest me: rock 'n' roll and avant-garde poetry. Only one group today is of interest to me, Marc Bolan and T.Rex. He is the only one who has excited me and I look forward to meet him again. His music is good rock 'n' roll; it has good beat and it really swings. But it is mainly his lyrics that amaze me....Marc Bolan is the only one who can succeed to The Beatles."

Obviously as an artist that is a huge accomplishment. At the end of this song, Bolan reflects on his life so far. Is he content? Could he enter “Ballrooms of Mars” from the other side?”

.. he would probably laugh at all of this.

Being Alive

If anyone's music is comparative to poetry, it would be the music of Stephen Sondheim. He is, in my opinion, the greatest composer and lyricist of our generation (I know, big intro). I cannot put into words how meaningful his music is. The song I will be arguing for is called "Being Alive", and it is from the show Company (lyrics here). It was hard for me to pick just one song out of the huge number of amazingly beautiful songs Sondheim has written, but this is one I definitely feel has a poetic sense about it, more so even than some of his others. This song is not from an album, it's from a musical about a man named Bobby (or Robert) and his views and encounters with his relationships as well as the relationships of his friends. This is the last song in the show (save the finale number).

The theme of this song, to put it simply, is that relationships between people are the reason we stay alive. We need someone outside of our own loneliness, to give us a sense of purpose, and to love us. I think one of the most important points in this song, is the shift between Bobby being cynical about marriage, into his longing for it, revealing his need for companionship outside himself. The song begins with his chorus of friends, singing this:

Bobby...Bobby...Bobby baby.../
Bobby bubbi...Robby...Robert darling.../
Bobby, we've been trying to call you./
Bobby...Bobby...Bobby baby...Bobby bubbi.../
Angel, I've got something to tell you./
Etc. Etc. They do this at the very beginning of the show as well, and it essentially is a mob of people all singing to Bobby about their lack of communication with him, because he's isolated himself while they've all gone to settle down. They are all close, you can tell by the use of all the different nicknames like darling, angel, Bobby baby, and so on. But what's interesting is the way they are all talking at him rather than to him. It's less about them having a conversation, and at this point it's as if they're in his head. He hears this chorus of his friends yelling at him until he says:

Stop!...What do you get?/

This is his break. The moment when he stops the chorus of voices in his head and actually begins to think through. When he says "what do you get?" he is both asking and saying. He is telling them that marriage is not what he wants, while also asking what the good of it is. He goes on to sing about finding someone, but in a sarcastic, cynical kind of way. This is when the song really starts getting a poetic feel about it.

Someone to hold you too close/
Someone to hurt you too deep/
Someone to sit in your chair/
To ruin your sleep./

The placement of the word "too" is very interesting here. If you were to take it out, you would have "Someone to hold you close" and "Someone to hurt you deep" both of which are very different things, almost opposites, but both are seen as equally bad in Bobby's eyes. He is still afraid to commit at this point, and the song continues with interjections from his friends telling him there's more to it than that. All of the characters are speaking as themselves through the mind of Bobby, showing his inner thoughts as well as theirs.

Hey, buddy, don't be afraid it won't be perfect./
The only thing to be afraid of really is that it won't be./

Slowly, Bobby begins to realize just how much he does want this companionship, because having someone is what makes living worthwhile. We see this when the song shifts to him asking someone to need him, and hold him, and hurt him.

Somebody, hold me too close/
Somebody, hurt me too deep/
Somebody, sit in my chair/
And ruin my sleep/
And make me aware/
Of being alive/
Being alive./

What's interesting here is the repeating of the phrase "Being alive" almost as if he's convincing himself even further of what he wants and needs. This continues for a little while, until my favorite line:

But alone is alone, not alive./

Alone is alone is so poignant. It's showing that no matter what, if you don't have anyone, you don't have anyone. And that will never change. On the other hand, being alone is not being alive. Until this point he hasn't said that. He's gone through saying the things that do make us alive, but now he's not only saying that, but he's saying that being alone will never let you be alive.

"Changes" Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur is widely considered to be one of the greatest rappers of all time, often using deep lyrics to reveal what life is like for many African Americans living in the inner city. The song "Changes" by 2Pac is one of the most meaningful rap songs of all time, released 1998. The songs reveals problems in African American communities including racial-profiling, poverty and racism The first few lines give just a few problems facing African American in inner cities

I'm tired of bein' poor and even worse I'm black

My stomach hurts so I'm lookin' for a purse to snatch

Cops give a damn about a negro

Pull the trigger kill a n**** he's a hero

Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares

One less hungry mouth on the welfare

In the first few lines of the son 2Pac articulates great examples of how black people as a whole have been dehumanized and are stereotyped as thieves, thugs, and useful members of society. The line Pull the trigger kill a n**** he's a hero, is so strong because it relates so well to present day problems and just shows much of a forward thinker 2Pac was. Cops are always seen as heroes because they put their lives in danger to protect the public, but when a cop kills a black man, it is automatically assumed that the black man is the aggressor and is violent when in reality, this is not always the case. When 2Pac talks about black kids on welfare, the is clearly aware of the stereotype that black people don't work hard and coats off government welfare. 2Pac is so aware of what life is actually like for many black people living in the inner cities, as well as public perceptions of black people which make his music so special.

After the chorus, 2Pac brings up race relations in a way that is very true in society.

I see no changes all I see is racist faces

Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races

We under I wonder what it takes to make this

One better place, let's erase the wasted

Take the evil out the people they'll be acting right

'Cause both black and white is smokin' crack tonight
“Both black and white is smokin' crack tonight” is a line that stands out to me above all other lines in this song because the imagery is so real. You can see a black man struggling with the same problems as a white man and it re enforces the lines above about hate being a disgrace to all races. People of all races discriminate against other races simply because of stereotypes that society promotes and by placing hate on somebody that you don’t even know or understand, you disgrace all humans.

Lastly, 2Pac talks about the harsh realities and truths about what many black people have to face in inner cities.

And as long as I stay black I gotta stay strapped

And I never get to lay back

'Cause I always gotta worry 'bout the pay backs

Some buck that I roughed up way back

Comin' back after all these years

Rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat that's the way it is.
Now 2Pac moves from talking about changes in society to speaking about what is happening in tough neighborhoods and that change is not happening as quick as he wants. He talks about how in the hood, you always have to watch your back and that if you are black you have to carry some type of weapon simply because it is not safe and you cannot trust everybody. These lines are especially sad because of the way 2Pac died, as he foreshadowing about future struggles that he may have, when in reality, these are problems that eventually led to his death.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Patient, Fine, Balanced, Kind

For this assignment, I've chosen to write about the song "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver, from the album For Emma, Forever Ago. It's been a favorite of mine for a few years now, due to it's simplicity while still having tons of emotion and thoughtfulness in it. Besides the delightful mandolin/guitar/drums in the background, the lyrics alone stand their ground in their wonderfulness, and now I'll argue why they're also poetic. The song resonates in you after listing to it, since it's so filled with regret and honesty. Therefore, the theme of this song, to me, seems to be regret and sorrow (all crammed into a still somewhat upbeat song/album). Poetry is supposed to invoke strong feelings and ideas, and if you listen to this song in the right mood, it does just that. Even if you're not in any sort of mood before listening to the song, let alone the whole album, it will put you in a sort of trance and strange mood. Accordingly, poetry is defined as a standard of beauty and intense potency. 

Justin Vernon, the founder of Bon Iver, described skinny love as when “You're in a relationship because you need help, but that's not necessarily why you should be in a relationship." His explanation is a really nice preface for analyzing the lyrics. The first line that stuck out to me was:

Staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer/
I tell my love to wreck it all/
Cut out all the ropes and let me fall/

As Vernon said before, the song describes two people in a relationship that isn't necessarily a good or healthy one. The sink full of blood as well as the crushed veneer could point to domestic abuse. The lines also make me think of sacrificing part of yourself for the other person, which while I believe in mutual respect and love in relationships, your own self should still always come first. 

These next lines are my favorite:

And I told you to be patient/
And I told you to be find/ 
And I told you to be balanced/
And I told you to be kind/

Those lyrics make me picture Vernon sitting somewhere with his head in his hands, going over everything that went wrong [that was his fault] in his past relationship. Maybe he was controlling and is just realizing it now, or he was asking all of this from his partner and is still hung up on it. 

The last few lines make me think of regret and awful over thinking:

Who will love you?/ 
Who will fight?/
Who will fall far behind?/

The poetry techniques "Skinny Love" uses includes imagery, as described in the above paragraph, lots of symbolism, and specific spacing and lines breaks which create nice and resonating pauses. 

Below is the performance that got me to pick Skinny Love. It's a really fantastic video and opens with anther great Bon Iver song...

For Poets Nothing Stays the Same

Poetry evokes feeling and meaning in the listener or reader. The song "Nothing Stays the Same" from the album Tornados-EP by Luke Sital-Singh is very poetic. This song's central meaning is that no matter what you do, life is not uniform and will always change, you might as well live the way you want to and follow your passions.

Through the quality of the music, Luke Sital-Singh emphasizes the point and draws the listeners attention. It begins with soft strokes of a lone guitar which grows to a louder sound with added instruments once the chorus comes in. This emphasizes the chorus which states the theme in the most obvious way.

A love, a life, it's dark and bright 
It's beautiful and it's alright

The artist seems to be appealing to someone they love to stay with them because letting go is worth it and you have nothing to lose. He captures the contrast between the highs and lows of life through equating it to levels of "dark" versus "bright" light. Then he reassures the listener that it will be "alright" and looking back they will see how "beautiful" life has been. This relates back to the theme that life is in a constant state of fluctuation.

We all believe in something that'll rip us into shreds
We all know why it stings to open wide your chest
We all show signs of greatness that we hope that someone sees
Our broken teeth are scattered but we're smiling underneath

Words like "rip", "shreds", "stings", and "broken" imply violence, pain, and recklessness. These words are meant to describe the way that you should live your life, without restricting it. The first line of this section truly defines passion, quite often the things we are passionate about can end up hurting us or causing stress but we stick with it despite the risk. The second line emphasizes that letting go and dropping your guard will be difficult and scary but it is important. The third line explains that everyone has a purpose in life and is valuable but we need a connection with someone else to draw it out. The final line of the section proves that life will beat you up but you will look back on it and all the pain will be worth it for all the happiness life brought. 

We all hurt 
We all lie
And nothing stays the same

These three short lines are a part of the chorus. The message of the song is summarized in these eleven words. We will have pain, deception, and change in life but that is inevitable and it should not hold you back.

"You think you're SO F***ing COOL" - Kamikaze by Plastic Visions

The song I picked to defend as poetry is "Kamikaze" by Plastic Visions (song and lyrics at the link.) Kamikaze is, according to the band, a song that "...depicts the femme fatale character. Showing the ups and downs of battling with substance abuse and a fascination with the manipulation of seduction."

But, of course, the lyrics don't just say that-- there's plenty of symbolism. Kamikaze is a metaphor for doing something that you know is bad for you-- you know it will self-deprecate you but you do it anyways.
"Kamikaze // my Kamikaze Baby // she's coming // coming straight after me // my Kamikaze crazy"
The Kamikaze, itself, is the "femme fatale." (I won't get into feminist or anti-feminist here.) By the use of the Kamikaze symbol, Plastic Visions articulates two parts of the story-- the Kamikaze that the girl is for them/him, and the kamikaze lifestyle that she takes-- along with the substance abuse.

In the music video, this is further articulated when the video ends with her killing every single one of them, awaking abruptly in a pool of blood and lifeless bodies. Though this is not part of the song, the music video of any piece is an integral part of the art of the work. It helps further the "what" of the song.

One poetic aspect of the song is the amount of repetition of phrases. "Blacked out" is used over and over again, and it means several different things.
"Blacked out//you're out of control," "blacked out//you won't remember this night," "blacked out//why do you do this//why do you do this to me," "blacked out//you think you're so fucking cool"
Blacked out literally, as in drank too much and blacked out, blacked out as in forgot everything and is now being self-deprecating, and hurting others around you.

Finally, the structure of the song and how it interacts with the language-- there's a chorus, but the verses follow a similar template of language, as shown with the last paragraph, almost repition. Words are changed that further the meaning of the song itself. "blacked out // why do you do this" and "blacked out // what are you doing with your life." 

And, as the song says, you think that you are so. fucking. cool. By repetition, rich symbolism, and a running metaphor, "Kamikaze," without a doubt, is poetry.

P.S. cut me some slack, you gotta admit that this is a challenging song to go with. I tried!

A Poem Entitled: Everybody's Something

To those living in Chicago who frequent music festivals in their summers and are avid fans of tie-dye and good music, Chance the Rapper needs absolutely no introduction. Yet for those of you who aren’t acquainted, Chance the Rapper is a Chicago based Rapper who gained local recognition and fame in 2012 from the popularity of his mixtape, 10 Day, a project based on a ten day suspension he received in his senior year of high school. Chance then skyrocketed to national and international fame only a year later on the release of his second official mixtape, Acid Rap. Acid Rap was highly renowned as one of the best projects of the year ranking at number 2 on Spin Magazine’s best of 2013 list, and 26 on Rolling Stone’s best albums of 2013 list, and it isn’t even an actual album. Acid Rap has received such acclaim and it is not for no reason, this mixtape is chocked full of fantastic instrumentals and incredibly thought-provoking lyrics, specifically track 6, “Everybody’s something”

The entire theme of this song is that everyone matters and everyone is “somebody’s everything”.  Without even venturing into the contributions of artists Saba and BJ The Chicago Kid, who both feature on the song, the piece is choked full of wordplay and lines that invoke thought. The first of which is a reference to the Rolling Stones found in the first verse.

I got the Chicago blues
We invented rock before the stones got through(threw)

This line is both a reference to Muddy Waters, father of the Chicago blues            subgenre, and the Rolling Stones, who take their name from one of his songs. Chance also calls attention to the common misconception that rock and roll was invented by white people, which purely isn’t true. As well as this hidden meaning, an interesting homophone can be found in this line. The words “threw” and “through” are homophones, so this line could be both a reference to the fact that rock and roll was invented before the Rolling Stones ever broke “through”, or like literal stones, “got threw”.

Shooting death with weighted dice
and hitting stains on birthday candles

To “hit a stain” means to steal something, and in another use of fantastic language, Chance has created another poetic line. Without saying it explicitly, Chance The Rapper finds two ways to explain that he is cheating death. Weighted dice are loaded so that they will always land on a specific number, and therefore Chance will never lose the wager of his life to a personified death. To extend the figurative language, Chance uses local vernacular to say that he is stealing years, years that he may not have gotten had he not cheated death on so many occasions.

My hard head stayed in the clouds like a lost kite
But gravity had me up in a submission hold
Like I’m dancing with the devil with two left feet and I’m pigeon-toed
In two small point ballet shoes with a missing sole
And two missing toes
But it’s love like Cupid kissing a mistletoe.

This is an incredible example of a stretched-bridge simile, and in all the time I have spent reading and writing poetry I can’t think of any others that surprise me every single time that I hear them, as this one does. There are three similes, two homophones, and a double-entendre all in the span of six lines of this song. Starting with the first two lines, Chance has big dreams but his reality, represented by gravity, is holding him back from achieving them. Then Chance goes on to say that he is “dancing with the devil with two left feet” and that he is “pigeon-toed”. This is a reference to the common phrase of dancing with the devil, which is similar to the phrase of playing with fire, and having two left feet. The first of which both involve tempting something dangerous, and to extend the theme of dancing, Chance goes on to say that he is dancing with two left feet, a phrase commonly used by those who aren’t good dancers. Both having two left feet and dancing shoes that are too small would make his dancing incredibly awkward and painful. This is where the first homophone appears. “Two small point ballet shoes” can also be heard as “Too small point ballet shoes” and both of these instances work in the theme of the lines. The second homophone and the only double entendre come at the end of this line, where Chance cites the missing sole on his ballet shoe. Yet “missing sole” can also be heard as “missing soul”, which would imply that although Chance is dancing with the Devil, he really has nothing to lose, and therefore all the impediments he is facing don’t matter, or he has already lost his sole to the Devil and he is now doomed to participate in this dance forever. Chance raps it all up by assuaging the listener and assuring that everything is ok by saying that “it’s love like Cupid kissing a mistletoe.” Both Cupid and mistletoe are symbols of love and affection, and the common practice is that when two people meet under mistletoe, they must kiss. Cupid kissing the mistletoe only makes for the entire image to be that much more loving. If this song is not poetry then no song is.


The song "Disorder" by the post-punk band Joy Division is one of utter truth and beauty. Off of the album Unknown Pleasures, this song delivers shocks of truth through a rumbling baseline that crashes through the surface directly to your core. I adore it. The passion and genius charged throughout the song is astounding.  Now I'm here to defend it as poetry.

What is poetry? It's feeling. Poetry comes from the Greek word "Poiesis" meaning "to make", which is fitting, because poetry is creation. The creation of feeling, telling a story, drawing a metaphor. Poetry is the soul's language and it is not held to the constraints of logic or time. Poetry is art, and no dictionary can confine it. As John Cage said, "There is poetry as soon as we realize we possess nothing".

This fascinating song embodies the principles of art, beauty, truth and poetry in an inspired way that you don't hear often. You can feel it from the first deep words uttered by Ian Curtis. He brings us on his poetic journey. A short, insightful ride through his cluttered and frustrated mind.

These sensations barely interest me for another day,
I've got the spirit, lose the feeling, take the shock away.

A couplet of a poem; A confession of truth and humanity. Words express the undertone of his meaning. Slowly, Ian reveals his thoughts and we are able to see the layers of expression that he  scribbles into the song.

 It's getting faster, moving faster now, it's getting out of hand,
On the tenth floor, down the back stairs, it's a no man's land,
Lights are flashing, cars are crashing, getting frequent now,
I've got the spirit, lose the feeling, let it out somehow.

Ian uses rhythm and rhyme to illuminate his energy. We are able to climb into his chair, and feel the rush of creativity that he so badly needs to express. He is drawing his metaphor with a confused brush and we can feel his frantic race of thoughts; Cars crashing around him, running back down the stairs.

I've got the spirit, but lose the feeling.
Feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling, feeling. 

 He once again tells us he has the spirit and Ian has come full circle with his metaphor. His feeling lost, his poem complete.

Pusha Man

Pusha Man/ Paranoia is a song that was released in 2012 in Chance the Rappers Acid Rap album. In his songs he sings about many different topics, in Paranoia, the second half of Pusha Man, Chance talks about people ignoring crime in chicago. I believe that this is poetry because he isn’t just singing mindlessly to a beat trying to make a catchy song, he is spreading awareness in a problem that he really believes needs a solution. One line from the song is:

They murking kids; they murder kids here

Why you think they don't talk about it? They deserted us here

Where the f**k is Matt Lauer at? Somebody get Katie Couric in here

Probably scared of all the refugees, look like we had a f**kin' hurricane here

He begins by identifying one of the problems that Chicago has. Gang violence has gotten so bad in Chicago that people have gone as far to murder kids who are forced to walk through some of the bad neighborhoods on a daily basis. He also mentions that the media has done nothing to try and help them, “why do you think they don’t talk about it?” In this line “they” refers to the media who has chosen to ignore the cries for help of the people living in violent Chicago neighborhoods. This idea is expanded on later in the song when Chance says that the place where children are growing up is so violent that the news is scared to even go there. “Probably scared of all the refugees, look like we had a f**kin’ hurricane here” Nobody besides local Chicago news focuses on the murder rate in Chicago, and everyone even kids just get left as another statistic for death. Chance is fighting hard to get more people to be aware of the danger of Chicago and has even gone as far to start a movement called Save Chicago.

Defense of the Undeniably Political, but Certainly Poetic

I have a rather... odd taste in music, so this song is actually my favorite song in the world. Published in 1843 as a statement against the hanging of three men during the Somers Affair of 1842, The Somers Curse is beautifully written and utterly haunting. It could have been worse. I seriously debated defending Drunken Sailor, and no one's exactly sure when that song was written.

Just to give the brief history, on December 1st, 1842, 18 year old Midshipman Phillip Spencer along with the older ABS Elisha Small, and Boatswain's mate Samuel Cromwell were hanged for attempted mutiny. The only attempted mutiny to ever occur in the history of the United States Navy, it was the catalyst that inspired the foundation of our Naval School. Let's brainwash the boys before we put them on a ship they could steal!

The mutineers died without a full trial, or due process, a mere thirteen days away from harbor, where a proper court martial could have awaited them. Spencer died insisting that while he was guilty and deserved to die for his crimes, the older men had no part in his machinations. Small and Cromwell also died protesting their innocence.

Keep in mind, however, that the USS Somers was a small ship, with no real brig. Supplies were running low, and the crew was getting antsy. Commander McKenzie saw that keeping the three alive could have inspired the rest of a the crew to mutiny – a fight he could not have won.

That was my attempt at brief. I could rant for days on this, sorry.

The song Curse of the Somers was published by The New York Times early in 1843, and it was beautiful.

Strange sounds will float upon the air
and in the blast will speak.
and round the main yardarm three ghosts
will play and dance and shriek.

Likely my favorite stanza of the song, the rhythm and the language clearly label this as poetry. The entire song is truly beautiful, though. It lacks metaphor, simile, and other devices, but the words are beautiful nonetheless, and with their beauty starkly portray horrors.

On starboard young foolish Spencer stands,
the tears are in his eye.
What feelings of deep agony,
must through his bosom fly.
Look, look your last, for hark a gun,
sends forth it's smoky breath.
Whip instantly upon the word,
their eyes are sealed in death.

Always paired together, the two stanzas depict the moments before the three men are hoisted into the air by their necks. The emotion of the youngest, the smoke of the signal gun, the sudden blankness of their eyes.

That particular stanza does contain a metaphor, though I fear an incorrect one. “Whip instantly upon the word/their eyes are sealed in death,” compares the time between the firing of the gun and their death with the time it takes a whip to come down upon a sailor's back. I fear that is not true. Most likely they were hoisted into the air and allowed to kick for a few minuets. Without a drop, the neck would not break, at least not right away. It would be accurate if they were forced to stand on the main yardarm itself and then shoved off after tightening the noose. In that case, the neck would break, and they would die quickly. But given that part of the reason they were killed was as a warning to the rest of the crew, Commander McKenzie likely capitalized on the spectacle aspect of a hanging. Either way, the imagery is beautifully done, and horrifying in it's meaning. The sort of marriage betwixt beauty and horror in language is most prominent in poetry, and that is certainly present in Curse of the Somers.

So, with those points, it is clear that the Curse of the Somers is poetry. I first discovered it, I'll admit, when looking for pirate related anime, and found instead a fan-illustrated depiction of the events of December 1st, 1842 set to this song. It's beautifully done, so if you'd like to listen to it, here is the link.

Wooden Heart

The song Wooden Heart by Listener (lyrics here) contains poetry, as the band is a spoken word rock band. This song in particular strikes me and contains some powerful lyrics. 

In Wooden Heart, the lyricist is comparing his body to a ship: "But this fear is a prison that I keep locked below the main deck" and "So I've carved a wooden heart / Put it in this sinking ship hoping it'd help me float for just a few more weeks", which is of course, poetic writing - sort of like an extended simile or metaphor throughout the song. 

 The next lyrics that caught me were "But they hold this ship together tossed like leaves in this weather / My dreams are sails that I point towards my true north / Stretched thin over my rib bones and pray that it gets better". These lyrics allow me to visualize a ship in a rough storm being pummeled and rocked by the waves, and I can then imagine how somebody could compare their body to this phenomena. Through emotional hardship and journey, I can completely understand and sympathize with the lyricist; Which I believe is a part of poetry - being able to better understand and feel the experiences and emotions of the writer. A metaphor is also used here, the author saying, "my dreams are sails that point towards my true north". 

/other lyrics that exemplify poetic language are "This war ship is sinking and I still believe in anchors / Pulling fistfuls of rotten wood from my heart, oh I still believe in saviors".  Here, anchors and saviors don't rhyme, but slightly mimic each others sounds. Again, the lyricist is using the ship as a metaphor for himself and his body. Pulling wood from his wooden heart could be seen as personification as well. 

Overall, this entire song is poetry in ways that are hard to explain. I believe poetry is a very personal things, and poetry can be seen in anything - differing from person to person. You know poetry when you read it from the way it sounds, the way it feels, the way it rolls through your mind. 

Good for Great

Good for Great is song by an upcoming rapper named G-Eazy.  He raps about many different topics, in this song he raps about the educational system we have in out society.  I believe it to be poetry because of the meaning behind the song.  It is more than just rhyming to beat, he is rapping about the corrupt educational system. In the song he says,
Refuse to let college stand in the way of education
Word. Teachers say that's just my point of view
But I'll still be in debt when I'm 32
So wait, You mean to tell me that if I stay in school
I could maybe grow up to be just like you
He is identify a problem that we have in our society. College is extremly expensive and often results in not being able to find a job that was worth that thousands of dollars put forth towards getting that education. Also the fact that student loans are too high, he says, "But I'll be in debt when I'm 32." That also identifies a problem we have.  Student loans are outrageously expensive and are hard for lots of kids to pay off.   There is irony in the first line where he says that he won't let college stand in the way of education.  College is supposed to further your education and he says that he won't let it stop his education.  Showing how he feels towards college in our society. He uses sarcasim in the final line, he says maybe I can grow up to be like you.  He doesn't want to grow up like that and his tone suggests that he is being sarcastic, he would like nothing less than to grow up like that.  He wants to be his own person with his own goals and achievenments. He later says,
I'm talkin' 'bout the pressure that society applies
Go to school, get a job, then retire, then he dies
I'd rather live fast than be entirely surprised
He is identifying the stereotypical good student.  He identifys four stages of life, and he completely disagrees with it.  He doesn't want to live that life. He wants to go on his own adventures and experience life first hand, based off himself, not what people tell him he should do. The last two lines is a metaphore, He is comparing two lifestyles.  He believes that he would rather live in the moment, fast, than how society tells him too.  He disagrees with stereotypes and lives his own life . When he talks about the pressure society applies, it really connects with me.  As a highschool student, expectations are very high and sometimes it makes me want to just live in the moment and care only about my goals and dreams and not what life has prepared me for. G-eazy has several songs about school as well as other topics.  His lyrics aren't too vulgar and I encourage most people to give his music a try.

"Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst"

In Kendrick Lamar's last album good kid, m.A.A.d city, he raps about hardships of growing up in the deadly area of Compton, California. Specifically as a teenager, he discusses how the drug-filled and violent neighborhood affected his upbringing. Kendrick is amazing at bringing you into the story he is telling. He also uses lyrics that bring a new meaning to what he is trying to get across. One specific song, "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst" brings listeners through a story about the death of Kendrick's friend Dave and the sister of a woman named Keisha who got sucked into being a prostitute. The interesting part about the song is that it is told through the perspective of Dave's brother and Keisha's sister. Just like in poetry, the person writing the poem is not always the speaker. The rap begins with kendrick saying:

When the lights shut off and it's my turn to settle down,
My main concern,
Promise that you will sing about me,
Promise that you will sing about me,

He is describing how when he is gone he wants what he says to last and to be remembered.  He wants to be mentioned in other artists' music some day when he is no longer concerned about money or fame. As the song progresses, Kendrick raps from the perspective of Dave's brother and the trouble he faces after the death of his brother.

My plans rather vindictive,
Everybody's a victim in my eyes
When I ride, it's a murderous rhythm and outside became pitch black
A demon glued to my back whispering, "Get em"

These lines show how Dave's brother is struggling with the passing of Dave and his mentality that he does not care if he dies in the process of getting revenge. It also explains that he does not care who he kills, but somebody has to pay. This connects to the demon that is controlling him to kill someone. In the next passage, Kendrick tells the story of Keisha's sister who became a prostitute.

This is the life of another girl damaged by the system,
These foster homes, I run away and never do miss em'

Compton is a place that leaves children orphaned because many parents die of drug overdoses and gang related deaths. The orphaned children have no other path to follow besides becoming a gang members or prostitutes themselves. Kendrick explains this girl's story in order to show how the cycle of corrupted youth will continue to go on. He describes Dave's death as a quick one, while prostitution is slowly killing Keisha's sister. As Kendrick tells these stories, he jumps back to his current situation with the friends and family he has lost. He talks about his relationship with death and that he writes his music  because he wants the pain and suffering of those that he has known throughout his life to be represented. He wants his message to be passed on and to be remembered.

I count all the lives on these songs,
Look at the week and cry, pray one day, you'll be strong
Fighting for your rights even when your wrong
And hope that at least one of you sing about me when I'm gone.

"Mesopotamia" by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

From their synth filled bridges to their harmonizing pitches Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr has been my favorite band for a little over a year. DEJJ are true master architects of lyrics. All of their songs are deep and meaningful but their song "Mesopotamia" off their newest record The Speed of Things really grabs my attention. The song really ponders the idea and meaning of life.

In "Mesopotamia" DEJJ starts off the song by stating that most of life is meaningless.

Most of its meaningless
If even that
Most of its meaningless
Lets go back

I think these lyrics start the song on a deep level. DEJJ does this by questioning what life really is, and that most of the life we live really doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. This idea of questioning life I feel is deep because as sad as it is, we as humans, fall into this reality that we know what we are doing when in reality we do not, everything we do we have created, we don't actually know if we are traveling in the right direction. The verse ends on a search for an answer, this almost seems as if someone may have "left" some information behind on why we are really here and what are we supposed to be doing.

Mesopotamia, you hide under the stars
It’s the vastness that's so daunting
I’m so different, I hide under the stairs
It’s the reason for my wandering

This verse uses personification to portray Mesopotamia as a character in this song. This verse is used to add mystery behind the past of our planet by making the listener picture Mesopotamia as something so small compared to "the vastness that's so daunting" we call the universe. This is very chilling to think about and in these lyrics they make you think about how small we are compared to what's out there. The last part of this verse is used as an example of how we are stuck into our routine and "bubble" by showing the present and how confined we are. Another idea that DEJJ gets across in this verse is how ignorant and negligent we are of the fact that there is so much more out there.

If it's me or if it's you
Doesn't matter what we do
We end up a couple lives in this

If even that
Let’s go back

These two verses finally come out and state that our lives are no more than "a couple lives in this/ Encyclopedia". At this point in the song DEJJ is upfront in what the words in this song actually mean. Something that I find very interesting is the way they use the encyclopedia as the source that contains us as a human race. I think that when they say "Encyclopedia/ If even that" it really puts everything into perspective because what is a book to the universe?

Mesopotamia, you know where things have been
It’s the reason that I called you
Life so different, or maybe not at all
I guess we're always wondering

Once again the figure of "Mesopotamia" re-enters the song as someone DEJJ is calling for answers. The lyrics "you know where things have been" portrays Mesopotamia as this overseer that has witnessed life. This is most likely their character of choice due to the fact that Mesopotamia was the birth place of the human race. They ask "Mesopotamia" for answers on how things were back then compared to now, and if things are headed in the right direction because they don't want to read an encyclopedia that doesn't capture the true experiences of humans. Then the last line of the verse shows realization in how you cannot actually talk to Mesopotamia, so "I guess we're always wondering".

Waking life and sleeping death
You lived way beyond your breath
I wed you and you're a drag
I am me and you are you
Now to paraphrase what we do
We are more than what's defined in this

It can't hold that
It can't hold facts
It can't define that
It can't hold that
In all the madness
That falls flat
It doesn't leave us
It can't define that
It can't hold that
It can't define that

I think the lyrics in this last chunk are the most moving lyrics in the whole song. When DEJJ says "I am me and you are you/ Now to paraphrase what we do/ We are more than what's defined in this/ Encyclopedia" I feel that it is the truest statement one can make. I think that that verse really fights societies need for categorization, this is rightfully so because no one is ever going to fully think the same as the person next to them. The idea of this repeated use of an encyclopedia along side the idea of all being different actually paints us as a simile because we are all compared even though we are all so unlike. This is the back bone of this song because it questions everything that must be questioned or we will keep living a life stuck in the stereotypes, and lost not knowing what our purpose is. This is where I find its poetic worth. It is poetic because in all the 207 words it touches on ideas 207 words cannot usually capture.

"Landslide" by Stevie Nicks

One of my favorite songs of all time and one that is certainly not new, was written in 1973 by Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac. Many songs I listen to because they are catchy or because I enjoy the melody, while this is true of “Landslide” it is one of the few songs that has really sparked me to think about its meaning, mostly because it is so poetic. Just by listening I think it is easy to tell what the song is about, but I like to have a little back story.

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were partners long before they ever joined Fleetwood Mac. Like most starting musicians, they were struggling to make it in the music world and Nicks had to work many jobs to try and keep their dream alive. She was also staying in Aspen Colorado at the time which explains some of the metaphors in the song. “Landslide” was written at a time in her life when she was not only reflecting on her life with Lindsey Buckingham and her music career but also on her future as a musician. This song is one that I believe should still be in every young persons playlist because it so beautifully evokes the difficulties that arise while coming of age.

 And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills/ Till the landslide brought me down

For the whole song the snow becomes a mirror and a place where she is able to reflect on who she is as a person and who she wants to be. She thinks that she understands herself until “the landslide brought (her) down”.

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?/ Can the child within my heart rise above?/ Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?/ Can I handle the seasons of my life?

This part is her questioning herself and her abilities. She uses rhetorical questions to bring the reader into her mind and to help us connect with her dilemma. Does she give up her dream of being a musician with Lindsey? Should she do something easier with her life?

Well, I've been afraid of changin/ 'Cause I've built my life around you/ But time makes you bolder/ Even children get older and I'm getting older too

This part is clearly about her more than rocky relationship with Lindsey Buckingham. She at this point is supporting him primarily so that they can make it big. This is a very emotional part of the song because I feel like it is the moment that she says “but time makes you bolder” that she realizes that she has the freedom to do whatever she wants and she shouldn't waste her life.

And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills/ Well, the landslide bring it down/ Oh, the landslide bring it down

These are the last lines in the song and probably the most powerful. By changing the “I” to “you” from the beginning of the song she directly says to Lindsey but to really anyone that ever listens to this song that she has seen who she is and what she wants, and now its up to us to love and accept her. The repetition of “landslide bring it down” helps to convey this thought.

As it happens shortly after Stevie Nicks wrote this song Mick Fleetwood one of the founding members of Fleetwood Mac contacted them and asked Nicks and Buckingham to join the band. They became successful very quickly. This song continues to touch me because I feel like everyone has that moment or perhaps has it multiple times where we must “see (our) reflection in the snow covered hills”.

Young the Giant- "It's About Time"

Young the Giant's sophomore album, Mind Over Matter, is filled with both alternative melodies and resonating lyrics. Young the Giant is an American rock band, which gained fame with their self-titled first album. Grammy nominated producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen helped to craft a unique sound on Mind Over Matter, part of the reason why their popularity has surged in recent months. Their song, "It's About Time", examines how each person has a choice to use their power for good or for evil.

"It's About Time" opens with a catchy guitar riff, and then begins the first verse musing over the modern age of society. With the line, "Nights on the wire", the band is referencing the increasingly digitized life that most people lead, for better or for worse. Although the song seems to repeatedly refer to death, through the repetition of guns and triggers, these references serve as symbols for the potential uses of power.

The line, "I'm on a tightrope", shows that people have to balance their lives between what is good for them, and what is right. As the song continues, the lyrics show that a life of pure pleasure is possible and perhaps desirable, through the lyrics, "Lights on the beaches / Everybody come on, delight". The song then incorporates a reference to a movie, The Truman Show, which examines the life of a man who has lived his whole life as part of a T.V. show he doesn't know he is in.

Young the Giant references the final scene in the movie, where Truman decides to open the door, not knowing what he will find. However, Young the Giant argues that it is also possible to, "Close the front door," and live in oblivion. After a lengthy musical interlude, the final verse analyzes the ways that we trick ourselves into patterns of existence, limiting both our freedom and our lives.

The song uses a card trick as a metaphor for life, arguing that you can see what you think is happening, but you don't really know what is going on. With the line, "All the years of paradise / Paradigms / Paralyze us," Young the Giant argues that we can be tricked into a sense of complacency when we should be constantly active and vigilant in our lives.

Through its use of repetition, symbolism, and metaphor, Young the Giant makes the argument that while it is possible to live your life without opening the front door to see what life is, that life is no better than watching a card trick: pleasure without comprehension. This song not only has artistic quality in its unique phrasing and catchy melody, but in its lyrics, which make an argument in an elegant way.

"Wake Me Up"

Ed Sheeran is an English born singer who has really blown up in the past year or so. But, before making it big, he did had a couple EP's and an album. His first album is filled with soft ballads, just tugging at the heart strings. In his album +, Ed Sheeran manages to display the ups and downs in any relationship beautifully.  This song is called "Wake Me Up"

The song starts off
I should ink my skin with your name
And take my passport out again
And just replace it
See I could do without a tan
On my left hand,
Where my fourth finger meets my knuckle
And I should run you a hot bath
And fill it up with bubbles
Throughout this first part, he is just setting the scene for us. It is clear that he loves whoever he is writing about. He doesn't need marriage, all he needs is this one person, and he loves this one person so much he is willing to have their name on his body forever.
As the song continues, we get more instances of these quirky things that he loves about someone. And he is able to let this be known by the words he says. He begins each new verse with a weird thing, but by the end he ties it back to how important this person is to him.
And now I've always been shit at computer games
And your brother always beats me
And if I lost, I'd go across and chuck all the controllers at the TV
And then you'd laugh at me
And be asking me
If I'm gonna be home next week
And then you'd lie with me til I fall asleep
And flutter your eyelash on my cheek between the sheets
Even in this verse, by saying and at every line break, we get how strong he feels, and how everything that happens is important to him. It just keeps going and at every line break it is like we are hitting a wall of beautiful.

This song is poetry to me because poetry doesn't always say things in the clearest ways, and this song doesn't either. Ed Sheeran disguises everything he says with weird habits his lover has, and we understand that these tendencies mean so much to him.


And So Is Poetry

"Life's a Bitch" is a hit single by Nas with a feature from fellow Brooklyn rapper AZ. It was released on April 19, 1994 as a part Nas's debut album Illmatic. The song is very philosophical, with Nas and AZ using incredibly clever lyrics to invoke the sense of life being somewhat absurd, encouraging a realist "live in the now" attitude. They do this by employing poetic techniques.

The song surrounds AZ's hook in which the most notable lyric-"life's a bitch and then you die"- puts forth the realist essence. He is addressing the hardships of life, especially growing up in the hood. To Nas and AZ, death at a young age is all too real. To them, it is a miracle to have reached twenty- (Nas) "I'm twenty, it's a blessing". Seeing how lucky they are, and how close they may be to death at any moment, Nas and AZ embrace a celebration of life that can be compared to hedonism- (hook) "that's why we get high, cause you never know when you're gonna go".

In terms of poetic technique, there are numerous examples. AZ employs parallel structure with the line- "Keeping it real, packing steel, getting high, cause life's a bitch and then you die." Here AZ is saying that he is simply living life, carrying guns, and getting high, because it's the thing to do, life sucks, and someday he will die anyways, so it doesn't really matter. During Nas's verse explaining his tale of life in the hood, he employs a classic idiomatic expression- "Don't go against the grain, simple and plain"- this is meant to explain the fact that while living in the hood, you simply don't break the hood's rules. Do so and you are only endangering yourself. This can also be used as an example revealing the complexities of growing up in a racially isolated, impoverished neighborhood.

Nas and AZ have seen it all. Having been introduced to death at far too early of an age, they have sought outlets for their pain, thus developing a love of drugs, money, and sex. While they realize that there is likely more to life, they understand that the search of such a thing is a waste of time- it's a "bitch". Their borderline-hedonistic attitude is perfectly rational, and they express this with poetry.

Greek Tragedy// The Wombats

As a tribute to thankfully getting Lollapalooza tickets, I chose a song by a band (who will be playing at Lolla) that is not really well known, but I'm sure some of you know who they are. The song they play, that I believe is poetry, is called "Greek Tragedy". Collins Dictionary defines a Greek Tragedy as: a play in which the protagonist, usually a man of importance and outstanding personal qualities, falls to disaster through the combination of a personal failing and circumstances with which he cannot deal. This is exactly the message the song portrays. A guy is stuck with some crazy girl, trying to get it all figured out thinking leaving her is a bad idea, but then again staying with her is too.

In the song the man going through a 'Penrose step' relationship is having trouble being decisive in what he wants from his significant other; Right off the bat, this is who the author is speaking to.

Cars are flipping, I'm in hot pursuit
My character's strong, but my head is loose

He's comparing their love to what reminds me of one of those action movies, as a character walks confidently in front of exploding cars. Their love is chaotic, messed up, and so unbelievably tangled that he wants to be able to sort out the issues, but it may take military units to get things done.

Oh and she hits like ecstasy
Comes up and bangs the sense out of me
It's wrong, but surely worst to leave
And she hits like ecstasy

Now he is making a more direct simile. NOT from my extensive knowledge of drugs, but what I can assume from his comparison is that it takes some time for the girl to kick in, but once she does it gets trippy. He finds himself senseless and clueless all from what she does to him. He knows it wrong to be with her (and also take ecstasy) but it would be a bigger pain to quit it rather than try to enjoy her company.

I really suggest listening to the song it's really great, but I may say stray away from the music video... Thanks for reading! 

"The Underdogs" Fight Back

Spoon is an American Indie rock band that have been in the shadows. “The Underdog” on their album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is one of their most known tracks. The song itself is very ironic considering who the lyrics are directed towards. The band is not interested in being huge celebrities by being dragged into big music industry. They don’t intend to compete to be the best band and just be about making money and living the good life. They don’t want to be involved in the music industry. Through the lyrics of this song, they express their opposition to the fullest against big business.

The song starts off by expressing their disinterest in competition, making money, and working 24/7.

          Picture yourself in the living room
          Your pipe and slippers set out for you
          I know you think that it ain't too far

They know that they are not what record companies are looking for and for that he is okay with being the underdog and not trying to take any shortcuts to becoming successful. The use imagery is very intriguing as the imagery is expressed and using “you” informally to describe the music industry.

They target big businesses by using personification in connecting the “middleman” with the infamous music industry in a negative connotation.

          But I, I hear the call of a lifetime ring
          Felt the need to get up for it
          Oh, you cut out the middleman
          Get free from the middleman

These big businesses make loads of money and just think they are the greatest, but a lot of people like this tend to forget about what's important in life, they might miss, "the call of a lifetime ring".

They use the metaphor of being “underdogs” positively to explain why they despise the music industry and how they are getting along just fine without their help.

          I want to forget how conviction fits
          But can I get out from under it?

Their efforts to stand up and make their life mean something fundamental in the contemporary music industry.