Monday, February 20, 2017


In the song “mockingbird” by Eminem he tries to explain to his two daughters Hallie and Lainey who are the audience of this song, why the bad things in their childhood happened. He also tries to explain to his kids why he wasn't there, why him and his wife divorced and his whole point of view of them now. He gets this messages across by personifying life, using anaphora, and switching the points of view from him to his daughter.

In this verse Eminem uses anaphora, repeating the beginning of a sentence and changing the end, to explain to how his daughters has changed in his eyes. He also personifies life in the verse by assigning body movements to it and saying that life mended and shaped what his daughters have become today.

We're all we got in this world
When it spins, when it swirls
When it whirls, when it twirls
Two little beautiful girls

He also uses personification to explain their mothers drug habit to them. In this verse he personifies her drug addiction as this force that overtook her and that was so strong and quick that no one could stop it or “grab it”.
mamma developed a habit
And it all happened too fast for either one of us to grab it

In this verse he explained what happened during christmas by switching the point of view from him to one of his daughters and explained the entire situation from her eyes. By doing this i think that he gave the audience a snip it of his daughters reaction to all the things going on in their lives.
I remember back one year when daddy had no money
Mommy wrapped the Christmas presents up
And stuck 'em under the tree and said some of 'em were from me
'Cause daddy couldn't buy 'em
I'll never forget that Christmas I sat up the whole night crying
Cause daddy felt like a bum

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Poetry in Music

When I was given the assignment to pick a song where I would have to defend it as a work of poetry I had to think about what I listen to. And the only thing that could come to mind that I listen to was country music. Specifically Church Bells, sung by Carrie Underwood and written by Hillary Lindsay, Zach Crowel, and Brett James.
Image result for church bells carrie underwood album cover

Like most country songs, Church Bells tells a story. The story told is one about a young women of a lower class who marries up because of her looks. Her husband ends up being physically abusive, everyone around them thinks that they have a perfectly fine relationship, she prays and then she kills him. 

However, the song definitely draws the listener into an experience unlike any other. The song uses a show don't tell language for the story which makes it even more appealing from the verses to the chorus the song uses vivid imagery.

She could hear those church bells ringing, ringing
And up in the loft that whole choir was singing, singing
Fold your hands and close your eyes
Yeah, its all gonna be alright
And just listen to those church bells ringing, ringing
Yeah, they're ringing
The chorus above provides the strong motif of church not only within this song but in most of her songs. Underwood grew up in Oklahoma going to her local southern Baptist church. She, herself, would sing in her church choir and would read and watch religious books and movies. Church today still has a big influence over her life deciding which movies she features in.

It was all roses, dripping in diamonds
sipping on champagne
she was all uptown, wearing that white gown
taking his last name
The vivid imagery supplied by the song writers, makes it so the listener can not only just picture what but is actually there at this wedding. Each verse is filled with unique elements of the story building up to the end.

Poetry is supposed to involve your senses and broaden your experiences. I think this song really captures both of these elements making it also a beautiful piece of

The Legend of Mr. Rager

The Track Mr. Rager on Kid Cudi's album Man on The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager is a brilliant piece of poetry. The name of the track itself can be interpreted in different ways, giving the the song a different meaning with each understanding. The name Rager could be in reference to anger and the word rage. This would play into the speculation that Kid Cudi is either talking to an angry person or self reflection on the angry side of his personality. Rager is also a slang term for a wild party. Kid Cudi could have also used the name in reference to a hard-core party-goer and drug user. Later in the track some lines support both of these ideas.

Hey, Mr. Rager, Mr. Rager,

Tell me where you're going
Tell us where you're headed
Off on adventure
Mr. Rager, tell me some of your stories
Tell us of your travels
Hey, Mr. Rager, Mr. Rager,
Tell me where you're going
Tell us where you're headed
I'm on my way to heaven
Mr. Rager, can we tag along
Can we take the journey?

The chorus almost seems to be a conversation between two people. Kid Cudi asks where Mr. Rager is going, the response is also given by Kid Cudi but in a distinctly different voice, playing into the idea that he is Mr. Rager and is having a conversation with himself. The question alone prompts curiosity, why would he ask himself where he was going? Mr. Rager answers, "off on adventure" implying that it is Mr. Rager who is in charge of the direction Kid Cudi's life goes. The next set of questions are about what Mr. Rager has been up to and where he has been. When he asks again where Mr. Rager is going he says "I'm on my way to heaven" and Kid Cudi ends the chorus asking if they can tag along. The chorus is very complex, in one way it seems to be that Kid Cudi is asking himself where he has been, what he has done, and where he is going. Kid Cudi asks Mr. Rager this, like Mr. Rager is in control, telling the listener that when Mr.Rager's side of Kid Cudi's personality comes out he looses control over himself. Whatever it is Mr. Rager does he seems to just go along with life. Kid Cudi feels like he is just drifting through life and says he wants to go on the journey to heaven. The rest of the song also plays into the idea of the song being a conversation between two distinct sides of Kid Cudi himself. I encourage you to listen to the song yourself to decide what is important in the story and what the story could actually be. 

The Poetry of Tool's "Parabol" and "Parabola"

Tool is often considered the most prolific and gifted progressive metal bands of all time. Their intense, almost arcane music is also often thought of to be more of a piece of art rather than a song, intended to be consumed in one sitting. Because of this, Tool's six albums over 27 years are (purposefully) released on only certain music platforms, making them an almost treasured rarity. The artistic and audibly gratifying tracks from Tool can all arguably be deemed poetry, but the songs "Parabol" and "Parabola" on the album Lateralus are particularly representative of this. 

The two songs, a combined nine minutes, are firstly unique in that because the album is intended to be listened to in one go, the first song, "Parabol," leads directly into the next song, "Parabola." "Parabol" is a purposeful misspelling on "parable" which is a basic story with a moral and religious connotation. almost a lullaby; its slow, melodic guitar and muffled vocals create a tired and comfortable atmosphere. With lines:

Wide eyed and hopeful. Wide eyed and hopefully wild

contradicted to the soft music it is sung over is almost forcing to have the listener feel two things at once, much like poetry does when it is read versus when it is spoken. The song ends with the powerful lyrics: 

This body holding me, reminding me that I am not alone in
 This body makes me feel eternal. All this pain is an illusion

The line of "This body makes me feel eternal," is filled with poetic ambiguity, as it causes the listener to wonder if the singer is referring to his own body's relationship with his mind or rather the intimate connection shared with another body, one that is "reminding me that I am not alone." 

As "illusion" drags on, it gets progressively louder and filled with emotion, eventually marking the start of "Parabola," with little obvious indication of a true start or end. The songs' themes of transcendentalism and spirituality are highlighted in "Parabola" as it lyrically emphasizes lines: 

Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing
A chance to be alive and breathing

This is multidimensional, much like how lines in poetry can also be multifaceted and deep, it is celebratory of the fact that humans are able to cognizant enough of their own existence, and also to recognize this and not take it for granted. To "recognize this as a holy gift" is both to understand the experience and responsibility of life you have been given, and to utilize what a significant and unique gift it truly is.

The song ends with an slightly altered version of the reoccurring lines: 

This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality

Embrace this moment, remember, we are eternal
All this pain is an illusion

The content ending to "Parabola" is similar to the lines earlier, but more poetic in that is is contradicting itself directly as it's saying the body is mortal, it is only temporary. But, our memory, our experience, as humans are eternal and the suffering is merely exclusionary and temporary. 

Music is poetry, and I think the members of Tool are all poets and that their work is exemplary of the similarities of poetry and music. 

Formation Is "Unapologetically Black"

The song I chose as music poetry was "Formation" by Beyonce, on her album LEMONADE. This song came out in 2016, and was immediately one of the most notable songs of 2016, not just because it was Beyonce, but because the song, and its accompanying music video, celebrated Southern Blackness and has been described as "unapologetically black," and a "black power anthem." 

The central theme of the whole song is celebrating blackness, and especially Southern blackness. Throughout the song, there is a juxtaposition between lyrics like the famous, "I got hot sauce in my bag, swag," and "I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils." The latter lyrics are easily identified as a powerful statement about blackness, and Beyonce celebrating her blackness, while the former lyrics can be blown off as nonsense if you do not analyze the song closely. "I got hot sauce in my bag, swag" are also powerful in their own way. By using these lyrics and the repetition of "slay," she is making a more nuanced statement about modern black culture and loving the "improper English" or "black/ghetto slang" that white people are not quick to accept today.  A great example of this is the interlude which uses improper English;
I did not come to play with you hoes, haha
I came to slay, b---hI like cornbreads and collard greens, bitchOh, yes, you besta believe it
I think pretty much everyone in 2017 likes to think they are not racist, but many white people are unconsciously racist by wanting to avoid "ghetto slang" etc. and only accepting "white-acting Black people," so by so blatantly putting this in people's faces so they cannot ignore it, Beyonce is making a very powerful statement.

Joe Walsh the poet?

Image result for life's been good album

Joe Walsh is an American artist who later in his career became a member of the Eagles. He is one of the most influential American artists in the history of Rock. His life has been one of both tragedy and massive success. Walsh's "Life's Been Good" speaks to his successes and how they affect him. His music can be considered poetry because of its message. The message of this song is about how fame and popularity can't fulfill a person's life and how life is complicated and cannot bought.
I have a mansion
 Forget the price
Ain't never been there
They tell me it's nice"
The first verse of the song is the first of many describing his eccentric and action-filled life. This sets the tone that he lives a life of excess and frivolous spending. This is a hyperbole in action. While Joe Walsh was likely a wild spender he obviously didn't buy a mansion and never step foot in it. He is using a hyperbole to connect to audience about how he spent his money. Using regular language to describe how he lived wouldn't be a true story. Similar to how Tim O'brien used technically untrue stories, but because a true story wouldn't do justice to his experience, he created stories that allowed the reader to share his feelings.
My Maserati
Does one eighty five
I lost my license
Now I don't drive
He further develops his lifestyle of irresponsibility and poor decisions by this verse. He explains how he lives a fast paced crazy life.
I'm making records
My fans they can't wait
They write me letters
Tell me I'm great
This verse is very important because it sets up how Joe has unconditional love from millions and yet he still doesn't feel on top of the world like one would expect. Though the song says "Life's been good to me so far" He clearly isn't as fulfilled as a rock star should be.
It's tough to handle
This fortune and fame
Everybody's so different
I haven't changed
Joe recognizes the fact that fortune and fame can have an effect on his life but he realizes that he hasn't changed as a person despite the fact he is famous and rich. While his life is good, his fame hasn't given him the total satisfaction he thought it would. He uses a technique where he sets up as if the fame was going to change hims saying it's tough to handle but then says after all he has been through he didn't change. This further alludes to him realizing that fame and fortune cannot completely fulfill his life.

Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good", is poetry because it has an important message about the human spirit. It talks about material wealth and how it cannot fully satisfy someone. He speaks from experience because he had many issues with substances and poor spending in his life.

Pink Matter: Life, Lust, and Aliens

Frank Ocean debuted his Channel Orange Album in 2012. He titled the album as a reference to a neurological phenomenon called  grapheme-color synesthesia. This means a person's experience or sense is related to a color. Frank is referencing how he fell in love. The song “Pink Matter” takes a sadder, more laidback style with themes of sex and betrayal. Ocean experiences an internal strife and struggle between the meaning of life, love and sex, extraterrestrial life, and gender.

In the very beginning of the song Frank describes the philosophy of “mind body problem”.  He is trying to figure out the relationship between the brain and consciousness. Frank is raising the question of whether the brain is merely matter, or is the mind something more?

What do you think my brain is made for
Is it just a container for the mind
This great grey matter

Throughout the song Frank refers to a “Sensei”. The sensei represents Frank’s internal consciousness as well as his own battles between lust, sex, and love. A sensei is a teacher, often a wise one. In this line Frank is conversing with the sensei and raising questions.

Sensei replied what is your woman
Is she just a container for the child

Frank is being questioned about how he views the purpose of women. He does not know if he simply views women as containers for holding children and giving birth. Frank is reluctant to say whether he values women for their minds or just for their bodies. This is relevant in a society that seems to only value women for their bodies, and it is obviously affecting Frank himself. Frank’s sensei is helping him open up to ideas about gender as well as acceptance. Next, Frank jumps to the questioning of extraterrestrial life.

What if the sky and the stars are for show
And the aliens are watching live

Frank is questioning the idea that human beings are small compared to the grand scheme of the universe.  By using the words “what if” it allows the audience to be detached from their own perspective and take a look at the larger scheme of things. If Frank does believe there are aliens, it makes the problems of his own life a little less severe and insignificant. This ideology is a common experience for everyone. As long as humans have the consciousness they will begin to question the meaning of things and the relativity of themselves as a whole.

Towards the end of the song, Frank also brings in his own questioning of sexuality. In July of 2012, shortly after the release of the Channel Orange album, Frank opened up about how he is bisexual. This was a shock to many in the hip hop industry and caused backlash to Frank himself.

Grey matter
Blue used to be my favorite color
Now I ain't got no choice
Blue matter

By starting with the line “Grey matter” and ending the verse with “Blue matter” Frank is showing his own transition to a new way of thinking. Instead of being stuck in his own grey matter and jumble of senselessness and confusion, he turns to one that is more himself. When he says he has “no choice” it could be that he cannot choose his own sexuality and refuses to hide it anymore. The blue could also be about how Frank is stuck in his gender. Society is telling him that he is a man, and that he is “blue”. Frank feels trapped in these fixed molds but has no choice but to conform. There are other songs in the album speculated to be about his struggles with his sexualty including one titled “Forrest Gump”.

Overall the common themes and questioned Frank shares are a common experience for everyone. As people age throughout their lives, these age old questions about life and love appear. This song is especially relevant in a society that is so obsessed with stereotyping and celebrity culture. This song forces the audience to go through Frank’s own internal strife as well as your own.

Dirty Harry - A Real War Poem

The song "Dirty Harry" by The Gorrilaz on  their 2005 album Demon Days is poetry. You can see the lyrics here for the song. An important thing to note about The Gorrilaz, is that the songs are heavily correlated to the music videos, so to understand some things about the song, we have to take in to account. The setting is a desolate desert, with nothing but some animals, the band, and an armored vehicle. I'm gonna cut to the chase before explaining much more of the song, this song is a political commentary on American involvement and fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Knowing this, we can assume that they are currently in one of these middle eastern countries.
The song immediately starts with the chorus, preformed by the main vocalist 2D and the children's choir. It goes as follows.
I need a gun to keep myself from harm
The poor people are burning in the sun
But they ain't got a chance
They ain't got a chance
I need a gun
Cos all I do is dance
Cos all I do is dance
Right now, the speaker(s) of the words is just anybody who dislikes the fighting that is going on, on either side of the war. They speak about needing to get weapons to protect themselves from the fighting, even though all they want to do is dance in the safety of peace. They are mostly focusing on the despair of the innocent residents of the middle east who are subject to the power of America. The word "dance" appears multiple times in this song, and the dancing represents freedom. The chorus repeats another time, then there is a short section of pure music, brought to an end by a yell. The yell marks the start of the meat of Dirty Harry, the rap.

Referring back it the video, we can see that the rap is said by someone who appears to be a US army man, judging from his dress. This is a shift in the song, as the speaker has now changed from a spectator in the war, to a participant. He knows something is going on with this war, something that isn't morally sound. He states how he is "a peace loving decoy/ready for retaliation." This refers to how the soldier believes they are fighting for some sort of reason, and he is struggling to accept why they are there. He believes that he is being mislead, but is still prepared to fight for his life. He gives several examples about the war's horror, like being buried in a pine box somewhere in the desert, and how it is "impulsive" and he "don't ask why or wonder" what all of this is about. He goes on about his orders are to kill and offer no remorse, and he obliges, but is being torn apart by his actions. He is "filled with guilt/from the things that i've seen." 

He also says the line "I'm the reason why you fill up your Isuzu." The line has two different ideas behind it; An Isuzu is a motorcycle, a machine that uses oil in its primary functions, driving home our setting of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as the fact that we are somehow able to relax in luxury while he is out fighting for us.

My favorite, and the most striking part of this poem comes in the last stanza were it reads:
At night I hear the shots
Ring so I'm a light sleeper
The cost of life,
it seems to get cheaper
out in the desert
with my street sweeper
The war is over
So said the speaker with the flight suit on
Maybe to him I'm just a pawn
So he can advance
Remember when I used to dance
There are quite a few things going on here. It starts off with some striking lines about the futility and immorality of the fight. It then speaks about President Bush directly referring to his Mission Accomplished speech when he declared the end of the Iraq war. The speech was controversial because there was still fighting going on in Iraq. The soldier believes he is used in a war he has no business in, and all he wants to do is dance, as in go home and relax. He uses the word "pawn" for a few different reasons as well. A pawn often represents something of little work, but also at the same time it is used to better everything else at its own expense, which is very similar to how the soldier is felling caught up in all of this pointless action.

Music Can Move You

The song "Alaska" was one of the first songs released by 22 year old singer, Maggie Rogers. The song is centered around the mindset and actions of someone trying put distance between themselves and the past.  Some of the first lines of the song say, "and I walked off you/and I walked off an old me." With most of the music being produced today focusing on love and relationships it is easy to slip into the default interpretation of the "you" in the line being a lover or male counterpart. However, the surrounding lyrics suggest that the desire for distance is more focused on an internal transformation than an external or physical escape from another human being. The opening section of Alaska says:

I was walking through icy streams
That took my breath away

The concept of "walking through icy streams" brings about the idea of waking up to a new self. People often use cold showers or soaking their feet in ice water as a way to wake themselves up or clear their minds with the shock of extreme temperature. If the goal of the subject of Rogers' lyrics was to purely gain physical distance from another human being or escape from a relationship, they could have described any kind of walking or travelling on solid ground. The fact that her surface of choice was a frigid stream suggests the desire for the shocking coldness and jolt from a foggy or damaged mindset. 

The chorus of "Alaska", focused on breathing, deepens the idea that the journey the subject of Rogers' lyrics is one meant to settle an inner storm rather than focus on external conflict. It says, 
And now, breathe deep
I'm inhaling
You and I, there's air in between
Leave me be
I'm exhaling
You and I, there's air in between
Breathing techniques, especially those practiced in structured environments like yoga classes, are meant to help relieve anxieties. As Rogers is describing the physical aspect of the process of distancing from the past, "walking through icy streams" and across "glacial plains", the above stanza makes it clear that within these travels, the subject of the lyrics is in the process of an internal transformation. The subject exhaling inner turmoil and inhaling the fresh air of the mountains and lake can represent a renewal from the inside out through the internalization of the purity of the physical journey itself and the world around them.

The final section of Rogers' song talks about an external change in the subject's escape from the past. It says, "Cut my hair so I could rock back and forth /without thinking of you". The action of getting hair cut carries a lot of weight in the the history of the empowerment of women. For centuries women were socially pressured to keep their hair long and heavy. A women's ability to cut her hair, to "rock back and forth" without that extra heaviness, means so much more than a desire to be pretty for someone else. While the breathing described in the chorus suggests inner healing from the inside out, a lot of inner peace can come from letting go of outer constraints, as small or insignificant as they may seem, and finding your true self from the outside in.

The lyrics of "Alaska" hold the important message that no matter what you are trying to escape from, weather it be internal or external, what matters when it comes to your healing process is finding inner peace. Sometimes a journey away from others and into yourself is all that is necessary in the process of healing.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Poetry on "Earth"

The song "Earth" by Sleeping At Last is an example of poetry incorporated into modern music. The purpose of the song is to highlight the odd isolation of the human condition - how we are all trying to work through life's struggles alone and we aren't doing all that well but we keep going and pretend everything is just fine. The frequent use of figurative language such as personification and hyperbole, as well as multidimensional word choice, add to the poetic meaning of the song, creating a deeper meaning that truly involves the listener in the emotion of the poem.

The opening line of the song is "I dig 'til my shovel tells a secret", which uses personification as a poetic device. The image of a shovel telling a secret emphasizes how isolated the singer is, all he has to talk to and confide in is this tool rather than another person. Later in the song, the line "echo wide as the equator" again creates a sense of isolation - the whole world is empty and the echo just keeps going, even that is abandoning the speaker. Conversely, this line also creates a sense of unity. The speaker's experience is echoed across the globe; everyone experiences struggles and tries to deal with them alone and no one really succeeds.

The artist also creates vivid and expressive imagery by using multidimensional language. One such example is the use of the word "tremble" in the line "fault lines tremble underneath my glass house". Tremble creates a sense of wariness, like something is about to break and give way, a sense which is certainly aided by the image of a glass house. However, it also creates a sense of fear and almost timidness, which would probably be more related to the afraid speaker than the impending destruction.

Another example of multidimensional language is the word 'exonerate' from 'I bend the definition / of faith to exonerate my blind eye". Exonerate can have two meanings - one is to excuse something from wrongdoing. This definition would apply to the speaker's attempts to ignore the mistakes he's made and the mess he's made, even though he knows it's not right to do so. He pushes away the negatives and makes excuses for himself so he can keep doing things the same way, even though he knows it might benefit him to take another course of action. This ties into the second definition, which is to excuse someone from duty. Perhaps the speaker feels as though this system of faking it even as his life is in shambles is less of a choice than it is a necessity in order to keep moving forward. He knows it is a precarious situation but he doesn't know quite how to take a new path, but he hopes that he will be exonerated and given a chance to re-do things and fix his life up.

"Earth" by Sleeping At Last is an example of musical poetry. The song itself is an insight into the troubled nature of human existence and how close we all are to falling apart, yet we keep soldiering on until the destruction gets too great and we are forced to stop and begin again in a new light. The artist uses personification and hyperbole to help the listener visualize and relate to the image of humanity being presented, as well as multidimensional (and multidefinition-al) language to accentuate the nuanced emotions that the song captures.

Stereo Hearts

In 2011, the song "Stereo Hearts" by the Gym Class Heroes was released as a single. I remember back in sixth grade when this song came out, and it was my mission to memorize all of the lyrics. This song was not only extremely catchy, but it has a deeper meaning of when you get knocked down, you just have to keep getting up and fighting through the adversity of life.

The artist and lead singer of this song, Travie McCoy, is expressing how his heart has been broken but he's right back in the game talking to the next girl.
Furthermore, I apologize for any skipping tracks
It's just the last girl that played me left a couple cracks  
What Travie is trying to get across is that the reason he seems nervous is because he has recently had his heart broken and he is scared that it might happen again. Although this is the message getting across, he doesn't just flat out say that he is nervous. The artist uses a metaphor, comparing himself to a record, saying although there is scratches, or rough memories, they won't effect him in the present day.

Another metaphor that Travie uses is to compare people to cars on an interstate. What he is trying to portray is that you should cherish your relationships while you have them, because you never know when they could slip through your fingers.
Appreciate every mix tape your friends make
You never know we come and go like on the interstate.

Travie McCoy is trying to get across that taking friends and significant others for granted is exactly how you lose them. This metaphor is most likely relatable to a majority of teenagers in high school. Off the top of my head I can think of about fifteen cases of people getting left in the dust by their friends because of the way they treated them. No one has time to deal with drama, especially when there are a million other things to worry about in high school, so they just ditch the friend that is causing the problem.

Through the multiple uses of metaphors, it is clear how the hit single, "Stereo Hearts", by The Gym Class Heroes can be seen as poetry. The idea of getting a statement out in the world through music is truly moving to me and shows me that poetry is much more than just a two week unit in english class.

See Me Now

The song "See Me Now" by Kanye West in the album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy features artists including Beyonce, Charlie Wilson, and Big Sean. The title indicates the meaning of the song, which is about Kanye becoming a successful artist. Although not everyone has the same story as West, some of the lyrics are relatable for everyone. Many people are told that they will never become successful, and this song proves those who questioned their success wrong. It also defies racial stereotypes about black males, since African Americans are often stereotyped as being lazy and unsuccessful.

West starts off by referring to himself as "Socrates, but my skin more chocolatey," which shows his thoughts on his success, while acknowledging the fact that he's black. After stating the fact, he brags about his new lifestyle, saying,
 I might walk into Nobu wit' no shoes,
He just walked into Nobu like it was Whole Foods
The high-end Japanese restaurant, Nobu, is well known for spotting celebrities. By saying that he might walk into a fancy restaurant with no shoes, is a way of saying that he is higher or better than everyone now that he's successful. The second line is a little bit ironic because Whole Foods is normally considered high quality, but in this instance, it is being put down since Nobu is even nicer. This could be considered hyperbole because West is exaggerating about walking into a fancy restaurant with no shoes; he most likely wouldn't actually do that. But it gives us an idea of how successful he has become, that he could even make a joke about that.

While much of the song focuses on how West now has nice things and how his lifestyle has changed, he makes sure to remember his parents. Beyonce sings,
I know one thing, my momma would be proud,
And you see me lookin' up
Cause I know she's lookin' down right now
While West knows that he has become a big deal, he will not forget how he got to the top. He makes sure to thank his father when he says,
"Be successful", that's what dad told me,
So everything I D-O now I O-D
This is a clever use of word choice because the word "do" spelled backwards is "o-d," as in "overdose." While most people think of medicine when they say, "OD," Kanye took this opportunity to explain how he became successful. He's saying that his father taught him to try his best at everything and work hard. The quote shows that every word is important in poetry because it contributes to the meaning of the song as a whole.

Music Is Poetry.

Image result for common rider last wave rockers

With the exception of perhaps the National Poet Laureates, poets are not a part of today's culture. Modern writers are novelists and script writers, not poets. In fact, the closest thing to mainstream poetry we have today is songwriting. I cannot and will not defend every song as a work of poetry, because many of them are not. Plenty of songs are written simply to be catchy and get as many $1.99 downloads as possible. However, I will defend "Classics of Love" by Common Rider.

The song's structure is vaguely like that of a script, which both verses starting with "Act One:" and "Act Two:" respectively. Verse one starts with:
I was sitting and thinking of all the
 beautiful things he could have become
 instead of a lyrical oracle and I'm a most appreciative one

 Though it is not yet made clear who he is, we know he is songwriter, a lyrical oracle, who the speaker feels is able to capture his innermost feelings.The speaker continues:
cause I'm in a world of my own when I'm into it 
I don't want anything else and nothing can bother me when I'm inside of it
 cause I'm outside of myself

The allusion to a specific song or work is clear though what specific song is again, not clear yet. But whatever song it is, the speaker feels that when he's alone with the music his outside problems melt away.

On to the chorus, the song continues by referencing several artists, mentioning by name the album Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest, Desmond Dekker, Ella Fitzgerald, The Kids Are Alright by The Who, and London Calling by The Clash. The lyrics then go:
music sweet music make the truth so clear
 classics of love make a dark day light

 Allowing music to speak to you, allowing it in makes life easier. A singer can speak to you and let you know that everything will be okay or at the very least, they can relate to how hard life can be. The two songs mentioned, The Kids Are Alright and London Calling aren't particularly uplifting songs but the singer ends on a positive note, "the classics of love make a dark day light" leading into the bridge:
Sun shining sun shining sun shining down/ on a cloudy day/ I know this song's gonna last forever" thus comparing a good song to sun on a bleak day, you can only hope it lasts forever.

The second verse, like the first, starts out as introspective and contemplative, reading "I'm running around in my mind and my mind's a/ fucking zoo/ one of the one's under the gun wondering what do I do?" It then continues to ask the listener if they too feel trapped by expectations and if they feel brave trying to be themselves. It then goes back to the importance of music to the speaker before ending with, "the midnight sun is burning bringing peace to my soul." The midnight sun is a light in the darkest part of the night, much like music is a light in the dark parts of the speakers life, bringing peace to his soul.

Music is poetry. I truly don't feel like there's a counter to this point. Again, not all music is poetry, but there are songs that can speak to you and make you feel less alone. These songs can resonate with you to your core and make you feel at ease within the first few chords. This is a position I share with, among others, the members of Common Rider. If I have failed to convince you of the poetic value of music, then maybe The Classics of Love will.

4 Your Eyez Only

With J. Cole's latest album "4 Your Eyez Only" he tells a story not of his life but of the life of his friend who was murdered and the album name represents that it is a dedication to his friends daughter. The album shows parallels between J. Cole and his friends life and switches from the point of view of the deceased father to the point of J. Cole. The story comes full circle on the last track of the album "4 Your Eyez Only", Cole says 4 lines that bring it all together

"Nah, your daddy was a real n***a Not ‘cause he was hard
 Not because he lived a life of crime and sat behind some bars
 Not because he screamed, “F**k the law,” although that was true
 Your daddy was a real n***a ’cause he loved you For your eyes only".

 This set of lines allow for the daughter to understand who her father was because she did not have the chance to grow up with him. But this line has multiple dimensions because not only does it allow her to see who she was but its shows her that he was who he was due to her.

"And my daughter gotta eat, her mama be stressing me
Like i ain't the one who put them jays on her feet
Like I ain't out in the filed like that
I might be low for the moment but i will bounce back".

 Due to the drought caused by the police presence in the streets, James comes face to face with the pressure to try and provide for his family. The next two lines he shows how he would put  his freedom on the line to provide for his family despite the risk of him going to jail.

 ''But these felonies be making life the hardest
Resisting the temptation to run up and swipe a wallet
Or run up on your yard, snatch your daughter bike and pawn it
That's why I write this sonnet
If the pressure get too much for me to take and I break
Play this tape for my daughter and let her know my life is on it'' 

Cole tells us how the father is now trying to make clean money even if it means wiping toilets, the difficulty he faces trying to find employment due to his criminal record puts pressure on him. He has a wife and kid to feed and can’t sacrifice his now precious time waiting on a job to come around. Due to this pressure, he’s asking that if he gives in to the temptation and goes back to making the easy drug money, which he knows will be ensued by his demise. Later in the song it once again goes full circle because at the time the song released, the deceased fathers daughter has now had time to cope with his death, but then again it is revealed that is the father somehow could speak to his daughter he would know exactly how she feels because his father was also murdered.

Why The Last Stand is a Poem

The Last Stand, an album released by the Swedish band Sabaton, takes inspiration from famous defensive battles throughout history. Of the songs in the album, "The Last Stand" is the most popular, and tells the story of the sack of Rome. Not only does the song tell us of the story of the siege, but lets us experience this heroic scene as if we were there is person, to feel what the solders defending must have felt like.

The song starts with these lines:
In the heart of the Holy See
In the home of Christianity
The seat of power is in danger
 Here, the song describes many things. First, Rome was one of the three capital cities of the Roman Empire. Thus the heart of the Holy See, as Rome was the see center of all of civilization in which Rome and its faith was spread. Secondly, around the time Christianity was spread wildly due to the rapid expansion of the Roman Empire, as so could be called the home of Christianity. Lastly, the final line here describes how the sack affected the balance of power. Before the sack, Rome was considered "the eternal city". Thus, when the walls were breached and the Romans defeated, both allies and enemies alike we shocked to see the once unbeatable Roman army defeated.  One could look at this line another way however, as the power of Christianity (currently the most influential religion at the time) was in danger as well, as the enemy was after the pope, who was currently held up in the city during the siege.
They're the 189
In the service of Heaven
They're protecting the holy line
It was 1527
Gave their lives on the steps to Heaven
Thy will be done!
In these lines, the song shows the dedication and sacrifice the defenders of Rome gave to Christianity. The defenders consisted of only 189 solders (against an army of 5000), 147 of which died, thus "Gave their lives on the steps of Heaven", were protecting the enemy from killing the pope. So not only were the solders fighting for the Christian faith, but were also fighting to protect the symbol of Christianity.

The reason I believe this song is poetry is because not only does it tell the story of the siege, but makes the listener feel some emotion towards the men defending, and how strong their faith must have been to protect Christianity to their death. Simply reading this in a history book would give you fine details of the scene, however through the use of the song you can put yourself in the soldiers' place, and for a few moments be at the siege.

Strength From A Song

The song "All Can Be Done" by Nahko and Medicine For the People was released in 2016 on the album HOKA. This song is one of my favorites. It has an uplifting feeling and message that is actually medicine to some people. This song can be seen as poetry because of its power, meaning and message.
Image result for nahko HOKA

"All Can Be Done" is about Nahko, the singer, and how he has gotten through tough times in his life. He uses his experiences to enhance his song and speak to people through his lyrics.
Kind of a mess how I handled it all
But better the lessons when the harder you fall
This line focuses on his own struggles that he went through but he is also telling us that you can only get stronger and learn more from them. He uses "fall" as a metaphor for making mistakes.
I can't believe it what's happening to me
And I'm gonna own it, this rite of passage so attached to it
I'm gonna heal it…
This line shows that the Nahko wants us to be proud and accept the things in our lives that we cannot control. He uses himself as a model to show that you can pick yourself back up again. "this right of passage..." represents moving on or succeeding.
Whatever your method or theory of one
It all can be done
This line is one of my favorites, it reminds us that we do not have to be followers, we can blaze our our trail and do our own individual thing.
Under the pressure, under the gun
It all can be done
Here he uses a metaphor, "under the gun" to symbolize instability or chaos that might seem impossible to get through. This line could also be referring to actual violence or killing and how there is always hope for something better.

This song can bee seen as poetry because Nahko's lyrics give hope and confidence and his message to be strong is uplifting.

Love, Love, Love : An Analysis of Purple Dinosaur

The song "Purple Dinosaur", by nobigdyl, was released in early 2017 in light of the recent presidential election. In the song, NBD exclaims that we need to love each other more, and with out doing so, nothing will get better. NBD does this with poetic language throughout the whole song.

In the first verse of the rap, we see NBD’s poetic phrases. He spits,
But baby I know why the caged bird sings,
 ‘cause only love can make the type of bell that freedom rings
This line references Maya Angelou’s autobiography I know why the caged bird sings. In this book, she talks about how racism and sexism had trapped her in a “cage”. What this line is saying is that by loving each other a little more, we can break out of this “cage” and make life better for everyone.

The next poetic line is seen in the second verse of the song. NBD raps,
Sometimes I need a spirit bomb like I was goku
This line references the spirit bomb attack in the anime Dragon Ball. This attack is the most powerful thing in the dragon ball universe, but takes multiple people to activate. This line shows that sometimes we need other people in order to love one another.

The final poetic line is seen in the last verse of the song. NBD exclaims,
And the saddest news, how you deny your brother water when your glass is full
This line speaks to America in the current day, as President Trump has implemented the “Muslim ban”. This act denied the immigration of people from several Muslim majority nations. In this line, NBD talks about this simple thing : water. This is a multidimensional word. Water, which is the most basic thing to life, is sometimes incredibly difficult to find in deprived nations. By not aiding other nations that are struggling to survive, we are not allowing nations to form relationships with one another. At the same time, the word “water” is used to reference the basic rights of an American. Over the past few years, and even today in America, African American and Muslim rights have been slowly taken away, while white rights are always "full". This “denying of water” is referencing something more than a restaurant interaction.

Let Her Go

Image result for let her go
Love is a theme in many songs, it always has been. The song "Let Her Go" by Passenger, takes an interesting outlook on love, the song talks of only realizing how good love is when you lose it. The song from their amazing album, All the Little Lights, address' the regrets that can often come with the end of a relationship.

The amazing story told through this song touches on losing a love that he once had and only realizing how much this love meant to him once it was gone. This leads him to sing about regret and leaves you with the thought of appreciating the people in your life while you still have them. 

A poetic device that Passenger uses repeatedly is personification. He talks of love as it's a living thing, that can move and breath. One line says, "Cause love comes slow and it goes so fast," by using personification he is able to make the love he is talking about more relateable and gives the song a new depth. 

Throughout the song metaphors are put in place, as well as other versions of comparisons. A lasting comparison that he makes is to the contrast of lightness and darkness, "But you only need the light when it's burning low" as well as, "Only miss the sun when it starts to snow." These straight cut, extreme opposite contrasts help to get his point across of the seriousness of his situation and helps listeners to be able to understand the emotions that are being sung, and sympathize with them. 

All these feed into the imagery of the song, without the personification and the many comparisons, metaphors, and contrasts, the musician's point would have never truly gotten across. There is imagery present when talking about the previously mentioned candle burning out, like a love that is just not the same and is coming to an end. Or when he wrote, "Staring at the ceiling in the dark. Same old empty feeling in your heart," this takes everyday actions and uses relateable emotions to gain sympathy and empathy from the listeners themselves. 

Overall "Let Her Go," can most definitely be argued to be a piece of beautiful poetry, about the affects of a loss of a relationship. He is writing these wonderful lyrics to tell people to cherish what they have, and who they have in their life now because who know who will be there down the road.