Water

Musician Lupe Fiasco released a song called Wave File on his album Drogas wave https://genius.com. The central idea of the song is when blacks were on slave ships they would jump off the ships and become one with the sea and create pathways back to Africa. “Get back to our nation, oh Lord

So we walkin’ back to Africa

And I found a detour to the seashore

Yes, jumped off the deck

To leave footsteps on the depths of the seafloor”, And how black society is angry that Poseidon the God of the ocean allowed slave owners to use the sea to steal them and put them into slave trades “Poseidon apologized and said that I’m sorry, we’re shelter

Y’all can live down here forever”. This line shows the poseidons affection for blacks so he offers them a chain of an eternal afterlife in the sea. He also speaks on Africans speaking with the trees to figure out why they were allowed to use their wood for boats and heat to take blacks away from their land this shows that the trees feel ashamed and want to offer them wood for shelter. He uses personification to show the connection between nature and man. Later in the 4th verse, he talks about how the stars went against them with lines like “ Conversations with the constellations While you navigate the haters, black baby alligator baiters Supposed to do greater” saying that the stars should have been warning them about who was coming but instead guided those who did wrong by them to their homeland. He uses personification to show the relationship through the help and affect the starts had during slavery when escaping slavery. And in return, the stars would form specific shapes to help slaves escape to freedom during slavery and give them the ability to accomplish great things with their time here. Throughout the song Fiasco’s Audience is towards blacks themselves and other races who want to see things from a different perspective.

Thats That, an Ode to Lyricism

This song, “That’s That“, by veteran rapper MF Doom, serves a different purpose than most songs and poems we study in this class. Instead of focusing on one central theme throughout the song, this song is more of a showcase to the writing and performing abilities of MF Doom. This song is from the album “Born Like This”, which came after he took a multiple year hiatus from creating and releasing music. This is likely why this song is more about showcasing his skilful writing than a single general theme, as he was proving to fans and critics that he has just as much writing talent as ever. Figurative language, allusion, and a complex and constantly changing rhyme scheme are present throughout the song, and add to the deep personal allegories that he shares. Each aspect makes the others more impressive, as he so creativly and seemingly effortlessly connects completley differnet observations, ideas, refrences, and stories.

It is worthwhile to examine some of the refrences Doom makes to politics, life, and other forms of media as they are always related to a theme that is discussed in the song. I do not need to include more than a single line from the song in order to fully examine and delve into his writing skills, as each line has so many different refrences and examples of poetic devices that it would take pages to explain. Doom explains the background of his parents using the line, “Mama was a ho hopper, papa was a Rolling Stone star like Obama”, the first part of the line about his mother mostly exists to compliment the deep connection he makes about his father, or to reflect his mother’s attitude towards his father or men in general. Obama has appeared on many Rolling Stone covers, and calling his own father a ‘Rolling Stone Star’, is likely a refrence to his father’s rock star like behavior. Obama’s father had abandoned him and his mother at a young age, much like the behavior of Doom’s father, whom he describes in other songs in a negative light as he abandoned him and his mother.

Doom criticizes artists ether inferior to them in music/rap, or those who he believes are following the masses. The beginning of the song not only disrespects other artists and the state of the hip hop game, but makes a point about various political and social problems that exist today. Doom compares less succesful artists in rap who follow trends to political figures. He criticizes artists who believe that violence, drugs, and otherwise criminal behaviors are necessary in order to make hip hop music or be a part of the culture. He also criticizes those who enlist in the military as an alternative to prison, and compares them to figures in politics who are weak on their opinions, and simply flip to whatever side is the most profitable. This theme is echoed throughout the poem, but there is one line that I believe is a commentary on both of these topics, “Cornish hens, switching positions, auditioning morticians-
Saw it in a vision, ignoring prison-Ignoramuses enlist and sound dumb”. This line uses “cornish hens”, which are a type of hen that are raised to be slaughtered, and are mass produced and packed together, to compare them to the actions of these groups. “Switching positions, auditioning morticians”, is likely about our political leaders, who are seemingly switching positions to whatever side is the most popular, and are willing to audition/pay those to do their dirty work. Since Doom is not on the side of war, he disrespects those are enlist to get out of prison. Not only does he believe their actions were sadly inspired by a music culture that promotes drugs and violence, but they are also still just as captive as soldiers, risking their lives for the government, as they are prisoners.

Doom wraps up the song with a hook that proves this song is truly a testament to his lyrical skills. This time singing, “Can it be I stayed away too long?-Did you miss these rhymes when I was gone?-As you listen to these crazy tracks-Check them stats then you know where I’m at”. In my eyes, and likely the eyes of any hip hop fan or literature buff. Doom is a lyrical mastermind, and this song perfectly showcases this in so many ways. The hook wraps the song up with a steady decline from the fast paced, rhyme heavy, and deeply meaningful bars that came previously. This is a refrence to his hiatus from making music, and the fact that this song showcases his abilities so well, and parodies a Jackson 5 song titled, “I Wanna Be Where You Are

Ode to the Golden Past

Ode to the golden past

An era still unknown

But yet, it does not last

When the demons are shown

Mostly all obfuscate

Especially to you

Yet unlike those of late

These have 1 horn, not 2

Please be gentle with the critiques, I wrote this over the span of 3 hours.

To be a Rock

In 1966 as part of their Sophomore album, Sounds of Silence the folk rock band released the song I am a Rock. It is, in every sense of the word, human. It is a hauntingly beautiful song about despair, isolation, and the pain we feel from others. If you want the lyrics to the song simply google the phrase “lyrics to I am a Rock”, it’s the first thing to come up. 

When the ones you love hurt you, all you can do is hide away in solitude. When the first lyrics are sung, a sense a somber austerity arises. The first stanza is a description by the narrator of a dark and dreary December morning sequestered in his abode. Here he stairs out his window and sees the fresh snow. Finalized by the repeated mantra throughout the song, “I am a Rock, I am an Island”. These are the most important lines in the song. The narrator is trying to shut himself off from the world around him. All the while rejecting and throwing away what makes him human. He becomes an inhuman, isolated, a rock, an island. 

The theme of self made isolation continues in the second stanza. It it it states 

“I’ve built walls

A fortress deep and mighty

That none may penetrate

I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain

It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain” 

From this we clearly see that the narrator is done with human interaction after being repeatedly burned one too many times. This doubles back to what it said about the innate humanity in this song. This is a feeling or a since many of us have felt betrayed and alone, we can only lock ourselves away from what hurts us. 

The rest of the poem has many more idiosyncrasies with this, but it’s better for you to listen to yourself. But I would like to talk about the final lines of the song. Out of all of them they are perhaps the most somber and beautiful, “a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries”. This last stinger at the end is like a knife in the heart, bringing together all the song stand for, that if your not human, you can’t be hurt. I am a rock, I am an island. 

Photograph

The song, “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran is part of his second studio album Multiply (X). The song was inspired by one of his ex-girlfriends and the lyrics portray a long-distance relationship. In the song, Sheeran urges his partner to look at a photograph of the two of them when things get tough and remember the good times. Throughout the song, Sheeran expresses the theme of love. He explains both the advantages and disadvantages and the impacts it has on people’s lives.

Sheeran begins the song with the lyrics: “Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes”. The use of repetition in this line reinforces the idea that love is not perfect. It is much more complex than just romance. It can come with disappointment, loss of freedom, and vulnerability. It is common for love to cause pain, but it can also make you feel alive.

Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes

But it’s the only thing that I know

When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes

It is the only thing that makes us feel alive

He then continues the idea of love with the line: “We keep this love in a photograph”. Every photograph holds a story because they have the power to keep memories alive. The man referred to in the lyrics tells the woman that if she misses him, she can always look at a photograph of him and revive memories. Through a photograph, she will have the power to take him wherever she goes.

We keep this love in a photograph

We made these memories for ourselves

Where our eyes are never closing

Hearts are never broken

And time’s forever frozen still

This next line uses imagery in order to emphasize the idea that a man can still be in a woman’s heart forever even if he may not be present with her physically. With the use of imagery, Sheeran reveals the importance of photographs. As we keep them with us, we are able to continue living on with the memories that we created.

So you can keep me inside the pocket of your ripped jeans

Holding me closer ’til our eyes meet

You won’t ever be alone, wait for me to come home

The line “That’s okay baby, only words bleed” uses personification. By attributing human characteristics to words, it shows how words may seem painful in the moment, but that pain is temporary. Words are powerful and that unlike physical wounds, mental wounds left by words can leave a bigger impact.

And if you hurt me

That’s okay baby, only words bleed

Inside these pages you just hold me

And I won’t ever let you go

Wait for me to come home

I think the line: “Loving can heal, loving can mend your soul” is really powerful because it reveals the positive aspects of love. Although love can be heartbreaking, it can also strengthen relationships and bring happiness to one’s life. Love is a very powerful feeling because it is pure and real.

Love can heal, loving can mend your soul

And it’s the only thing that I know, know

I swear it will get easier,

Remember that with every piece of you

Hm, and it’s the only thing we take with us when we die

By using different literary devices, expressing emotions, and conveying a long-distance relationship, Photograph is a poetic song because it appeals to the listener’s emotions by presenting the overall theme of love.

Over Soon…

Bon Iver’s song, “22 (Over Soon)“, marks the first song in his 2016 album 22, A Million. This specific album is a complete journey of songs that encapsulate Bon Iver’s own journey in life. With many references to God and Biblical imagery, Bon Iver takes the listener to a tumultuous state in his life with the first song of “22 (Over Soon)”, and ends the album with songs that show his newfound direction in life.

“22 (Over Soon)” is about Bon Iver searching for a direction to take in his life. The first couple of lyrics show his confusion with life, and his realization that nothing lasts forever.

It might be over soon
Soon
Soon
Where you gonna look for confirmation?

Clearly, Bon Iver is struggling with some kind of decision he has to make before his life is over, or before a huge change occurs in his life. With his repetition of the word “soon” he evokes a sense of urgency, and need to find his path in life. His confusion with direction is directly seen with Bon Iver not knowing where to go for “confirmation”.

It can be inferred that this song is about Bon Iver overcoming his depression as well due to the bright aspects some of his lyrics show. We see in the second verse Bon Iver makes a biblical connection to the Garden of Eden when he says

There isn't ceiling in our garden

In the Bible, the Garden of Eden represents the intimacy God and humanity held with one another. For the first time in history the relationship between God and humanity was perfect. Therefore, by Bon Iver depicting that there was not a ceiling in the garden, he is referring to the serendipitous relationship between Heaven and Earth, unencumbered by a “ceiling”. All in all, with Bon Iver’s use of Biblical imagery, he is able to illustrate the perfection and unity in his life.

However, there is also a dark tone to the song because of the repetition of “over soon” he implicates the idea that his happiness may be over soon as well. With his last two lines, this darkness and depression is clearly seen.

Within a rise there lies a scission 
(It might be over soon)

Here Bon Iver uses a metaphorical phrase to show that even in one’s happiest of times, nothing lasts forever. Bon Iver is saying that acquiring his fame may not have been all that great because any great “rise” is inevitably tied to an inverse “scission”.

Bon Iver’s “22 (Over Soon)” is a multilayered song which refer’s to the quintessential theme of life that in order to find true happiness, one must experience true sadness as well, and that anything, may be over soon.

Where’s The Karma for Life?

Image result for karma ajr

Ajr’s newest album Neotheater contains a total of 12 songs, one of them being called Karma. I consider Karma to be a very poetic song because it contrasts the meaning of the lyrics with the emotion of the music. When you first listen to it, the song is upbeat and it’s suppose to make you feel happy. One might say that this song is a “mood booster.” However, when you begin to hear the lyrics you start to realize that this about a broken man that’s slowly losing hope in life. The beginning of the song starts with the chorus which you don’t hear much nowadays which makes it even more unique. The chorus is:

I’ve been so good, I’ve been helpful and friendly

I’ve been so good, why am I feeling empty?

I’ve been so good, I’ve been so good this year

I’ve been so good, but it’s still getting harder

I’ve been so good, where the hell is the karma?

I’ve been so good, I’ve been so good this year

We’re told the speakers problems just from listening to the song for at most 25 seconds. The speaker tells us that they’ve been helpful and and friendly with others this year, however, they witness that life is only getting harder and they’re not getting anything in return for all the good deeds. This chorus introduces the concept of whether we keep doing good things just for the good feeling or to expect something in return, a quid pro quo. Most people would say to keep doing it for the good feeling, except this speaker shows a problem. The speaker has been doing good things but he’s felt nothing good about the things that he’s done. On top of that, life has been throwing more challenges and obstacles at the singer. From this chorus alone, the singer questions the act of goodness and whether or not he should keep doing it. The first verse goes like this:

Why, are you asking me why?

My days and nights are filled with disappointment

Fine, oh no, everything’s fine

I’m not sure why I booked today’s appointment

In this first verse, it seems the speaker is experiencing a bit of depression because of the fact that they can’t find any enjoyment throughout their entire day. The third and fourth represents him talking to a therapist or a doctor of some sort. Although he booked the appointment himself, he’s doesn’t feel ready yet to open up to his doctor and discuss the problems that he’s been having. After another section of chorus, the second verse is:

What, am I normal or not?

Am I crazier than other patients?

Right, I’ve done everything right

So where’s the karma doc, I’ve lost my patience

The speaker in this verse finally opens up to the doctor and begins to question whether he was the problem. The line “Am I crazier than other patients?” indicates his inner conflict with himself showing how he doesn’t fell normal. The speaker can’t form the definition of “normal” for society so he seeks help from others, like the doctor, who can somehow help him. The speaker truly believes that he’s done everything right, but with the way life is going for him, he wants to get revenge for his pain and suffering.

Karma is very poetic is a sense that it captures the sadness and anger of a man who just wants to live a happy life. Life had been cruel to the speaker for no particular reason and the speaker believes that the only way to combat this is for life to find karma. If life receives karma, then it would have no other choice but to send good things towards the speakers way ensuring a more happier life.