Grinding Meat

By Miles Hirshman

MF Doom is a lyrical genius. A master of hidden meanings, he makes amazing sounding music that screams with meaning through every line. Listening to him is almost like a game, trying to point out every time that a possible double meaning has been said. His use of literary devices, rhythm, and double meanings makes his raps seem extremely poetic. That being said, let the games begin.

First off, MF Doom makes use of many literary devices to make his music, and Meat Grinder is no exception.

Hackthoo’ing songs lit, in the booth, with the best host

Doing bong hits, on the roof, in the West Coast

First off, Doom makes use of an onomatopoeia with the first word. At first, I didn’t understand what this word meant, but after looking up the lyrics it dawned on me that that word is another word for spitting. When a person spits, the sound they make often sounds like that, if you pronounce hacktooth, you can see exactly what he’s trying to say, it sounds the same as someone who is about to spit. Spitting is often used as a another term for good rapping, so in this line, Doom is saying that he’s spitting raps, in the booth( which is the studio), with the best host. The best host in this case is Doom’s producer, Madlib, who, in my opinion, is one of “the best hosts”.

Another line that I like is

Still back in the game like Jack LaLanne

Think you know the name, don’t rack your brain

Like the first line, I didn’t really understand what this line meant because of the mention of Jack Lalanne. After looking him up, it makes sense, and it’s a creative way of bragging. A common theme for older rappers is to claim how long they’ve been rapping for, and how long they have been successful.

Doom is no exception, except he does so in a way that most don’t. Jack Lalanne was a fitness instructor. The special thing about him though was that he continued to release fitness videos while he was old, which was different then most people. Jack Lalanne stayed “in the game” for a long time, in fact, he died at 96, and he was instructor until around 87. When it comes to bragging, MF Doom does it differently.

Will it “Be Alright”

Be Alright by Dean Lewis (Single) To find the full set of Lyrics : Be Alright

Poetry and Music and very similar these days, both are striving to make the reader or speaker often times feel some type of emotion or feeling. In Dean Lewis’s song “Be Alright” he is trying to do just that.

The Main theme of the song is that we can always rely on our friends or family to help us when we are disappointed or unhappy. The Main set of Lyrics that are repeated throughout are:

And my Friend said

“I know you love her, but it’s over, mate

It doesn’t matter, put the phone away

It’s never easy to walk away, let her go

It’ll be alright”

Similar to Poetry in the neoclassical period that often focused on romantic love. This song talks about how the speakers friends in this case know that the speaker is struggling and expressing that it is not easy, but you will get past it.

The Song talks about lessons that the speaker knows but still does not want to like how time heals all wounds. This is similar the the lesson or what of a poem, that eventually everything will be ok, and it just takes time. The speaker is talking to his friends the audience about his break up. Although the song does not use a lot of language devices, becised repetition the main goal of the song is to show the emotions that the speaker is feeling. The music adds to the message because it is a mix of minor chords however, there are major chords used when the speaker talks about growing and healing.

At the end of the song the repetition used is important:

It’ll be alright

It’ll be alright

It’ll be alright

It’ll be alright

It’ll be alright

The repetition used here helps to further the message that It will be alright, something that the song has been explaining the whole time.

What is a Trapeze Swinger?

Poetry and music usually come hand and hand, however, sometimes we just sing the lyrics of a song and never really appreciate or understand them. The song “Trapeze Swinger” by Iron & Wine has been one of my family’s favorites for a while; it’s a beautiful nine minute song, that is so easy to get to get lost in, but I have never really thought of the lyrics as poetic.

The song is someone speaking to a friend throughout the stages of life. The audience is never told the gender, race, or age of the speaker or the person the speaker is talking to, which is very lovely.

From analyzing the song and going deeper into the lyrics, I found a lot of devices I would find in a poem. For example, there is repetition of the line “please, remember me” at the beginning of each stanza. Whoever the speaker is talking to, he really wants them to not forget about him, and he makes that clear by repeating it.

There are also a lot of metaphors used throughout the song, but the most important metaphor is “trapeze act” and “trapeze swinger” which appears in verses 5,7, 8, and the title:

“A fleeting chance to see a trapeze
Swinger high as any savior”

“The trapeze act was wonderful
But never meant to last”

“A monkey and a man, a marching band
All around a frightened trapeze swinger”

There are a couple analyses, like in all poems about the meaning of the metaphors. One analysis is about how a trapeze act needs two people, and in verse 7, the artist states “but never meant to last,” meaning he could of gone through a break up and wants his significant other to remember him. Another idea in verse 8 suggests that the world is as crazy as a circus and he is just a scared trapeze swinger. There are many other ways to interpret this poem, which makes it such a interesting piece to read over and over again.

Sober Up

Sober Up” by AJR featuring Rivers Cuomo from their album The Click is a song about losing yourself in adulthood. The song evokes a feeling of innocence, and the lyrics describe someone searching for their young love and innocence that has been swept away by adult life.

The song starts with:

Hello, Hello

I’m not where I’m supposed to be

I hope that you’re missing me

‘Cause it makes me feel young

Last time I saw your face

Was recess in second grade

The song is introduced with the speaker lost in his surroundings. His one lifeline is remembering a person from his past because they remind him of happier times in his life. The connection between them has been distant for some time, yet he still yearns for it.

The second verse includes lines like:

‘Goodbye, goodbye,’

I said to my bestest buds

We said that we’d keep in touch

And we did our best

The speaker begins to give more background on the situation he was in and the situation he finds himself in now. He uses “bestest buds” to describe their old friends because they were all truly close, but their communication fell through once they all went their own ways. The song then transitions over to describing the new people in his life by saying,

All my new friends

We smile at party time

But soon we forget to smile

At anything else

The new people are just “friends” because they don’t really have a genuine, heartfelt connection. The speaker tried to fill the gap of friends with new friends, but those friendships do not last. Smiles are a way to express happiness, and when smiling around people usually means that they make you happy. The speaker only smiles with his new friends during parties, so they don’t really make him happy. 

Throughout the song the lines “Won’t you help me sober up?” and “And I want to feel something again” repeat multiple times. The speaker is calling out for help. He realizes that he is in a toxic lifestyle and reflects on the last time he was happy: his childhood. This song is not only a cry for help, it is a reminder to search for your own happiness and that it is okay to ask for help.

Meaning in the Ivy


Frank Ocean’s album Blonde has recently been named the best album of the decade by the music publication website, Pitchfork. With such poetic lyrics as in Ivy, combined with his incredibly emotional isolated vocal performances, it is not hard to see why.

Here are the full lyrics to the song:

In his song, “Ivy,” Frank Ocean opens up about a failed relationship, reportedly a sequel to a song from his previous album, “Thinkin’ Bout You”, likely detailing the trials and tribulations of Ocean’s first love. In 2012, Frank Ocean opened up to his fans in a letter on Tumblr, describing his first relationship with a man.

Without much of an introduction, Frank Ocean’s voice comes in right away with the lyrics:

I thought that I was dreamin’ when you

said you love me

Something very interesting about this song is that Frank Ocean starts right away with the chorus that is often not heard in a song until 30 or more seconds into the song. It seems that the intention of this is to convey a sense of shock when he receives this news. He sings this with a very low and quiet tone, conveying vulnerability. This immediate assertion is not only surprising to the listener but the way in a way forces the listener to think about their own past. Perrine asserts in his, “What is Poetry” that poetry is a medium that should be used when prose is not enough to convey the intended emotion. Here, the depth and complexity of emotions that Frank Ocean is feeling is not only conveyed by his tone, but by the formatting. The line breaks near the end at, “said you love me”, almost as if to convey to the reader/listener how much this line stuck with him, the separation perhaps to separate reality with a dreamlike state that he says that this statement put him in. He also utilizes hyperbole to dramatize his emotions, allowing the listener to almost feel what he is feeling.

The rest of this stanza continues with

The start of nothin’, I had no chance to prepare
I couldn’t see you comin’
The start of nothin’, ooh, I could hate you now
It’s quite alright to hate me now
When we both know that deep down
The feeling still deep down is good

Next, Frank Ocean sings, “The start of nothin’,” indicating that the relationship was ruined from the start, nothin’ used as a hyperbolic statement, almost indicating a sense of time wasted in this relationship. Ocean continues to convey his shock here when he says that he, “had no chance to prepare.” This is a very interesting and methodical way of describing a moment that is supposed to be loving between two people, indicating to the listener that the dream that he was describing before was not good. He then goes on to say, “ooh I could hate you now,”. This likely means that Frank Ocean holds some sort of resentment toward the person who told him that they loved him, almost as if that love ruined a friendship perhaps. In the rest of the stanza, Ocean contrasts the resentment that he holds with the resentment that the other person in this relationship holds toward him. He ends the stanza by repeating “deep down” from the line before when describing the nature of the feelings between the two of them. Ocean ends by summarizing the complicated feelings in this relationship, one that he is making clear should be nothing more than a friendship.

If I could see through walls, I could see you’re faking
If you could see my thoughts, you would see our faces
Safe in my rental like an armored truck back then
We didn’t give a fuck back then
I ain’t a kid no more, we’ll never be those kids again
We’d drive to Syd’s, had the X6 back then, back then
No matter what I did, my waves wouldn’t dip back then
Everything sucked back then, we were friends

In this first verse, Ocean uses figurative language in saying, “If I could see through walls,”. These walls are likely a metaphor for the facade that someone puts on when hiding their emotions. Ocean is claiming that he knows the subject of this song so well that he can tell that they are not being genuine in this romantic relationship. He then goes on to tell about how he thinks about the other person in this relationship by saying, “If you could see my thoughts, you would see our faces”. He goes on to describe a nostalgic feeling of when they were kids. Ocean even uses a voice modifier here to enhance that nostalgic feel. He describes a bittersweet feeling of being in love but also being torn between friendship and romance.

He then goes on to repeat the chorus from the beginning of the song, driving home this theme of shock, nostalgia, and bittersweetness.

In the halls of your hotel
Arm around my shoulder so I could tell
How much I meant to you, meant it sincere back then
We had time to kill back then
You ain’t a kid no more, we’ll never be those kids again
It’s not the same, ivory’s illegal, don’t you remember?

This continues the nostalgic feeling that he conveys throughout this song, but also the rotting of this relationship. Ocean asserts that this relationship was very pure and innocent. This is perpetuated by his reference to “ivory” being illegal. The purity of ivory is used in metaphor to compare to the purity in their relationship, that purity no longer existing, being “illegal”.

I broke your heart last week
You’ll probably feel better by the weekend
Still remember, had you going crazy
Screamin’ my name, the feeling deep down is good

The quickness of this bridge conveys the difference between “now” and “then”, and how he must let go of a relationship that has withered, that this relationship is nothing more than a memory.

Next, Ocean goes back again to the chorus, but with more vocal emphasis and elaboration, driving home the complexity of this song/poem.

All the things I didn’t mean to say, I didn’t mean to do
There were things you didn’t need to say
Did you mean to? Mean to
I’ve been dreamin’ of you, dreamin’ of you
I’ve been dreamin’ of you, dreamin’ of you
I’ve been dreamin’, dreaming

The outro drives home the bittersweetness of the end of this relationship, using repetition to convey indecision when it comes to the end of a relationship, and how that person and that relationship sticks in one’s mind forever.

Frank Ocean effortlessly creates poetry within his song Ivy through metaphor and repetition, representative of the complexities of a withering relationship with someone that you really care for. He completes the emotional complexity that Perrine proposes as a requisite for poetry.

What’s the Use?

Mac Miller’s “What’s the Use” in his album Swimming conveys the artist’s relationship with drugs and alcohol. The rapper died in September of 2018 of a drug overdose at the age of 26; Miller’s song portrays an internal struggle between his mind and what society tells him about the use of drugs. The song creates an experience going inside the mind of someone who is struggling from addiction to drugs.

The song starts with its chorus, being representative of Miller’s want for substances after attempting to stop; Miller’s first lines in his chorus,

You can love it, you can leave it

portrays his own opinion on drugs. Miller believes that you can either love, or leave it, and no in between; this creates a conflict within the addicts head. However, from an outsiders point of view, Miller raps:

They say you’re nothing without it

From the point of view of someone who is not caught in the cycle of addiction, it looks like a personality trait; as if that’s all Miller has to him: his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Later in the chorus, Miller raps:

I just want another minute with it, f–k a little

You can take this two ways in my opinion; 1/ He just wants to get back into it and it doesn’t matter if he just dapples in the act of consuming drugs or 2/ he wants another minute under the influence and thinks, “f–k a little” (bit I want a lot). Both of those ways show the struggle of attempting to halt an addiction to drugs. The push and pull of wanting to consume more and the trying to stop.

In his first verse, Miller says:

I’m so a-bove and beyond/You take drugs to make it up

This line references the use of psychedelics– especially the term “above and beyond”. When Miller says, “You take drugs to make it up”, he means to say that one would need to take hallucinogenics to get to his level. He later says,

Whole lotta “yes I am”/All the way with no exit plan

According to Genius, the “yes I am” is in relation to him saying “yes I am” up for consuming more. The “no exit plan” refers to his way out of addiction however, with no exit plan, he has no way out of it. The continuous metaphors of flight emphasize the effects of drugs that give the user a “high”. I know I didn’t talk a lot about the sound of the song but the actual bass throughout the song help create this melancholy feel. In addition to the actual music of the song, it also creates a full experience that the listen delves into regarding the tough cycle of addiction.

California Dreamin’

My favorite types of poems are the ones I comprehend and the ones that make me feel the emotions of the speaker. “California Dreamin'” by the Mamas & the Papas checks both of those boxes.

When I was selecting a song for this assignment, I thought about songs that were powerful and emotional. For me, “California Dreamin'” is deeply nostalgic. It reminds me of long family road trips, sitting in the backseat during the long drives to my grandparent’s house.

The song’s lyrics are also nostalgic, with the speaker longing for California on a winter day. The song describes this winter day, explaining that “all the leaves are brown / and the sky is grey.” The imagery of the day depicts the desolate feelings of winter.

The speaker also claims “I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.” A California winter is significantly different from the cold and gray winter described previously. Still, the author’s choice to use the word “safe” illustrates that the speaker’s longing for California isn’t just for the warmth of the sunshine state, but rather for the comfort of California and the comfort of home.

The lyrics repeat several times. The simplicity of the lyrics is comforting, echoing the comfortably nostalgic feelings of California that the speaker craves.

Through powerful imagery, diction, and simple lyrics, “California’ Dreaming” shares a deep longing for the comforts of home. The song’s power in making the listener share the feelings of the speaker is what classifies it as more than simply musical entertainment, but poetic art.

Time Alone With You, Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier’s, “Time Alone with You”, featuring Daniel Caesar, off of the album Djessie vol. 3, is a fun song that is really just about wanting to spend time with a girl.

The song opens with

If you wanna get sunshine (All night)
Walkin’ on the rooftop (Moonlight)
I’ma go get some
Time alone with you (Ah-ooh)

In this stanza, as well as most of the stanzas in this song, the main lyrics are Daniel Caesar’s lines, and when he sings them, he doesn’t change his voice inflection very much. This gives off the impression of being chill or relaxed, which is the side of himself that he shows to the girl that he’s talking about in this song.

The lines that follow Daniel’s lines, however, have a slightly different meaning.

All you wanna get’s sunshine (All night)
Walkin’ on the rooftop (Moonlight)
We could cut the chit chat (All night)
I dig it when I get that (Moonlight)

These kinds of lines are see all throughout the song, especially in the first and last stanzas. These extra couple of words that follow Daniels are sung by Jacob Collier, in a much higher pitched tone, which sounds very unnatural and crazy. The side that Daniel shows is chill, but inside his head all he wants is this girl.

Finally, near the middle of the song we see these lines:

The most beautiful girl in the whole wide world
And she’s mine, all mine
And I want her to know that my feelings show
I need time
(Gimme time alone with you)

These are sung by both Jacob and Daniel, and this is when Daniel starts to give in to his feelings, and starts to show a less relaxed side of himself, because of how much he wants this girl. This eventually fades, and Daniel goes back to his chill self to end the song.

Another Ed Sheeran Song

Ed Sheeran’s song “Eraser” from his Divide album, conveys the experience of a struggling musician. The story explains the difficulties that can come with this career choice like family jealousy, financial problems, and the standard that musicians should be happy because they are following their dreams and it was their choice to be ‘impractical.’ This musician has gone on a journey to get to where he is now and in order to cope with all of the stress that comes with it, he used alcohol and drugs to numb and erase all of the pain away.

In the first verse Sheeran sings,

"And when the world's against me is when I really come alive." 

Sheeran uses hyperbole to explain how the speaker feels under all of the pressure he is feeling. Obviously the whole world is not against him, it is an exaggeration, but this shows how stressful the industry can be. I think that the emotions that occur when life is just not going the way you want it to and bad things keep happening is a relatable experience to many. This hyperbole also shows the strength of alcoholism. Stress can spark a desire to drink drink more which explains why the speaker uses it as a coping mechanism. I think that this can also be a use of personification because the eraser becomes alive when there is more stress. When the speaker becomes overwhelmed those are the best times to use the pain eraser.

Sheeran uses a lot of metaphors to describe his journey,

'To be caught up in the trappings of the industry
Show me the locked doors, I'll find another use for the key
And you'll see" 

Sheeran compares locked doors to the journey he had to overcome to get to where he is now. When he says “I’ll find another use for the key,” he explains all of the different situations in which he had to find a different way to accomplish his end goal. He could not just unlock the door with a key he would have to kick it down or something in order to take steps positively impacting his career.

In the final chorus Sheeran sings,

"And I'll find comfort in my pain eraser
And I'll find comfort in my pain eraser
And I'll find comfort in my pain eraser
And I'll find comfort in my pain eraser"

Sheeran uses repetition to demonstrate how difficult it was to live with this situation and how much alcohol helped him through it. Since he repeats the line four times, I think it represents how he needed to reassure himself that his life was going to get better and that he would eventually be a successful musician. However for the time being, this was going to be how he got through daily life. Repeating it convinced himself that it was an acceptable action to take part in. The repetition helps tell the story because it shows how he struggled through the experience and how he could only rely on himself and alcohol.

Sheehan uses hyperbole, metaphors, and repetition to convey his story of a drunk and struggling musician who ends up being successful but with the help of no one but himself.

Will God be there?

“Will You Be There” is a song by Michael Jackson which was released as a in 1993, it is part of the album Dangerous and also appeared on the soundtrack to Free Willy. The speaker is clearly Michael Jackson himself, or anyone placed in the difficult situations he was in when composing this song. However, the audience of the song is a strange one indeed, nothing of this world makes sense to be the true audience – except for God. When looked at in this fashion, this song turns into a plea for divine help from someone in the darkest times of his life. The song begins:

Hold me
Like the River Jordan

After doing some digging, we find that the River Jordan is a sacred river, whose waters have a spiritual significance that make it distinct from other rivers. It is also supposedly the place where Jesus was baptized, so we can conclude that Michael Jackson is personally asking God for him to be held metaphorically like he was on the first day he entered into his religion. Towards the end of the song, Jackson asks for forgiveness claiming:

But I’m only human

These few words can be taken to mean many different things. The simplest meaning or the most literal is that Jackson is complaining about the strict standards for men in today’s society mentioned earlier in the song. However, it can also be seen that in this line, the speaker is letting go, completely giving up, recognizing that the problem is out of his hands and placing the burden on God’s shoulders. After all this drama buildup, the last two lines bring in a hopeful and much needed twist:

You’ll be there for me
And care enough to bear me

These lines can serve as a volta, similar to a sonnet, where the problem and the emotional intensity and dissatisfaction become resolved at a divine epiphany at the end, very often immortalizing or idealizing some kind of love or person, which is exactly what happens with these lines, in which Jackson gives an affirmative answer to the question “Will you be there?”

Big Yellow Taxi

“Big Yellow Taxi”, which appears on Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon, invokes a sense of urgency about preventing environmental degradation. This song was written in the 1960s, around the time that environmental and preservation movements first gained momentum. Mitchell wrote “Big Yellow Taxi” on a trip to Hawaii. In an interview, she described the parking lot below her hotel window that inspired this song as a “blight on paradise”. This song is said to be the inspiration behind many cities curbing their urban development in favor of greenspace.

In the first verse, Mitchell sings:

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swingin’ hot spot

Mitchell critiques society’s tendency to replace undeveloped land with the asphalt and buildings. The paving of “paradise” represents the degradation of nature for commercialization. Describing the land as paradise stresses its natural beauty, whereas the mention of the pink hotel and the “swingin’ hot spot” communicate artificiality.

Mitchell continues to express her environmental concerns when she sings:

They took all the trees, put ’em in a tree museum

And they charged the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em

She argues not only for the protection of the environment, but also against capitalism. Mitchell’s jab at a “tree museum” is in reference to Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu, which is a living museum of tropical plants. She uses the irony of this situation to illustrate a very real and imminent problem.

Through both the chorus and the final verse, Mitchell strays from her environmental call to action and political stances with a personal connection, leaving the song up for more than one interpretation:

Don’t it always seem to go

That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?

Late last night, I heard the screen door slam

And a big yellow taxi took away my old man

By describing the loss of either a lover or a father, she relates environmental issues to other genuine concerns of human beings. She illustrates that the loss of a loved one and the loss of a natural environment are actually very similar. She makes the issue more identifiable and relatable to those who do not believe they are directly impacted by loss of nature. Through her admiration of nature, criticism of capitalistic society, and personal loss, Joni Mitchell communicates to listeners that everyone should be concerned about the environment because everyone has something at stake. This song is nothing less than a poem because of because of how her convincing diction romanticizes environmentalism and her personal connections and experiences leave for open-endedness.


“Reptilia” by the Strokes uses both quips of dialogue and creative imagery to portray a scene in which the speaker becomes increasingly frustrated with a woman’s advances towards him. The title “Reptilia” refers to a speakers reptilian brain in this instance. A reptilian brain in this instance would be one that is less mature, and only focuses on passion and anger.

“You sound so sleepy, just take this, now leave me”

This is the first line of dialogue presented by the speaker. The speaker is most likely at some sort of party or social gathering that is boring him. A woman who is trying to talk to him notices his boredom, and offers him some sort of drug to perk him up. He most likely refuses.

The wait is over, I’m now taking over

You’re no longer laughing, I’m not driving fast enough

The chorus is set later on in the night, the speaker becomes fed up with the situation. He is taking control of the conversation. He lets the woman know that neither of them are enjoying their interaction.

The room is on fire and she’s fixing her hair
“You sound so angry, just calm down, you found me”

We are now presented with the image of the party set ablaze by their arguing. While the speaker becomes enraged the woman decides to back off and wait out his yelling while she fixes her hair. She eventually reveals her motives to talking to him, which he new all along.

The song ends with the chorus again. This asserts that the speaker was able to reveal the woman’s true motives and take control of the situation.

You should try to get some sun

Rylan by The National comes off of their 2019 album I Am Easy To Find. The song is about an introverted teenage man named Rylan. His struggles to fulfill his parents’ hopes that he comes out of his shell “Rylan, did you break your mother’s heart?/Every time you tried to play your part” Rylan’s feeling of isolation becomes so dark that the singer makes an allusion to suicide, “Rylan, we can take the quick way out/You can turn blank-white in a blank-white house.” The narrator uses an ABAB rhyming scheme in the first stanza “Rylan, you should try to get some sun/You remind me of everyone/Rylan, did you break your mother’s heart?/Every time you tried to play your part,” and illustrates the low esteem that Rylan is developing.

“Change your mind and nothing changes.” In the choruses, the narrator advises Rylan to change his pessimestic attitude and to start approaching people. He must develop his social skills and learn to cope with rejection, just like everybody else. With the repetition of the first line, it creates a sense of urgency as if Rylan is running out of time to try to adjust his introvert habits, “Rylan, you should try to get some sun. / You remind me of everyone. / Rylan, you should try to get some sun. /A little bit of heaven in everyone”. It is amazing how Matt Berninger can see through certain characters and explain them in these very poetic and sympathetic ways. Through quick lines and often rhyming The National is able to tell the story and explain the feelings of a hypothetical but realistic teenager.

Afire Love

Afire Love“, from Ed Sheeran’s x (multiply) album, is a very powerful song. I have connected with many of his songs over the years, but this one hits different. The reason this song is so powerful is because it tells a story within a story. It starts out with a boy talking about his grandpa dying of Alzheimer’s. The chorus shifts to the perspective of the grandpa’s wife telling the story of how they fell in love. By doing this, Sheeran is showing that you can think back to the good times rather than get defeated by the problems you may be facing now. Listening to this song can help give perspective to people who may be in a similar situation.

The most obvious technique he uses to deepen the meaning of this song is the constant switch in perspective. He starts the song through his own eyes singing, “I heard the doctors put your chest in pain, but then that could have been the medicine”. He then switches to his dad’s point of view in the pre-chorus. He says, “And my father told me son. It’s not his fault he doesn’t know your face. And you’re not the only one”. He is showing how the father is trying to make his child understand how sad the situation is. He wraps it up by writing the chorus through the eyes of his grandma. He says, “Darling hold me in your arms the way you did last night and we’ll lie inside a little while here, oh”. When he does this he is showing that a death has different effects on different people. Some may have a more innocent outlook (like him) and some may have a more positive outlook, like the grandmother.

Besides the constant switch in perspective, Sheeran also uses a metaphor that compares sickness and death to the devil. “Things were all good yesterday. And then the devil took your memory” and “Things were all good yesterday. And the the devil took your breath away”. While comparing the devil to death is relatively basic, he does it in a way that makes everyone think his grandpa was taken too soon. Saying that the devil took his life is a very intense way of saying that he died. It shows how horrible the death was for everyone because someone “passing away” sends a very different message from someone who’s breath is being taken by the devil. The final way Sheeran conveys the message of love and loss is the repetition in the end of the song. He sings, “And my father, and all of my family rise from the seats to sing hallelujah” . He then repeats this line but replacing “father” with “mother”, “sisters”, and “brothers”. By including every person in this ending, he is showing how the death has brought the family together. The message he wants to leave you with is that grieving can bring more love than ever before.

Humble and Kind

I always listen to the song “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw in his album Damn Country Music, but I never noticed all the poetic devices in the stanzas of the song. The simplicity is something I find really intriguing about it. It was actually written by Lori McKenna, who was trying to portray a message to her five children about the things she wanted them to know. It is basic expectations for children and things they should follow in their childhood. There is a direct audience to children. It was written to be told to kids to teach them morals and things that will help them in life. The speaker is a parent or guardian giving advice to their children. There is no specific occasion in the song, though I would imagine a parent singing this song to their kid in their house. It is a simple song that broadens the importance of morals and doing the right thing.

Right off the bat, we see an example of a hyperbole in the first stanza.

When childhood stars shine,
I know you got mountains to climb
Bitterness keeps you from flyin’

These are examples of a hyperbole because they are exaggerations. Bitterness doesn’t really keep you from flying. Also, you can’t fly. You don’t really have mountains to climb, this is saying that you are going to have to overcome challenges in life. You don’t have stars that shine when you are a child,this is saying that when you are doing great in life and showing everybody what you can do, you will stand out to people.

The line “I know you got mountains to climb” is also an example of allusion. The line really means you will have goals to accomplish, which is an example of allusion because it is saying something but means something else. We see that many times in this song, which gives the song dimension by getting a point across without saying it clearly.

Another thing seen in this song is the use of symbolism. We see this in the second stanza of the song.

Go to Church ’cause your mama says to

Visit grandpa every chance that you can

It wont be wasted time

Always stay humble kind

This example of symbolism uses life situations like going to church and visiting your grandpa to represent doing the right thing in life. This adds to the meaning of the song by making children relate and think about doing the small things in life and how that will get them very far.

Personification is presented in this song as well. We see it in a couple of lines throughout the song.

When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you

Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you

These are examples of personification because it is giving non-human things human characteristics. Dreams cannot really come to you and love cannot give you life. This makes the poem interesting by underlying things in life that can help you but not literally help you. These lines also dd to the theme of morals because they are pieces of advice for kids to take with them in life.

Death and the Maiden

Der Tod Und Das Mädchen is a classical, German song written by Franz Schubert.

Yes it is an odd choice for assignment in which we have to analyze the language of a song, especially given that I don’t speak German in the slightest. I do however sing in German, so I know how to pronounce the words (which is really all I needed).

It is a song told in two points-of-views: death and the maiden. The maiden is confronted by death and is afraid, but death greets her fear with kindness and tells her not to worry. The lyrics work to reassure the listener that death, though initially scary, is in fact not so.

Der Tod Und Das Mädchen is not only a poem for German-speakers, but also for non-German-speakers who listen to it preformed in German. Now, that makes no sense, right? One can only analyze or be swayed by language if they understand it, right?


The first section of the song goes,

Vorüber! ach, vorüber!
Geh, wilder Knochenmann!
(Roughly translated to “Go away! Go away! You wild skeleton man”)

If you look at the word “Knochenmann,” (pronounced cuh-noch-en-man). the very sound of the word sounds like rattling bones. A different word could’ve been used, but Schubert, decided to use this one, which perfectly encapsulates the expectation of death and the fear the woman must be feeling upon confrontation with death.

The switch of point of view to death can be clearly heard by the change in tone. The woman is shrill, whereas death is calm and sings mostly in “d’s.” Death sounds nearly feminine, which makes death sound much more comforting and kind. This contrast the listener hears, affirms that the expectation/fear of death is much exaggerated.

When death speaks, death says,

Gib deine Hand, du schön und zart Gebilt (Again roughly translated to “Give me your hand, you beautiful and delicate creature”)

Now this takes a little bit of German knowledge (or google translate), but if you hadn’t been won over by the kind tone, what death says is very shocking. Why is something that causes so much pain and suffering, actually warm?

The lyrics of this song were written in a time when young people died more frequently, so I believe that Schubert wrote this song to reassure the loved ones of the deceased that death is not as bad as it might seem.

Cosmic Love

Florence and the Machine’s “Cosmic Love” has been with me for a long time now. From the first time I let this song fill my ears, Florence’s heart-wrenching words and explosive tone have taken me to a completely different world. It is both powerful and sentimental, beautiful and tragic. Out of all the songs I have listened to, this one is the closest to poetry.

The very first lines of the song are:

A falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes

I screamed aloud, as it tore through them

And now it’s left me blind

Here, Florence Welch is describing how she was completely blinded by her love for this individual. Using several elegantly crafted metaphors, Welch compares her blindness by love to a star that fell from her love’s heart and right into her eyes. The metaphors help to build an image of not only the experience, but of the feeling. This is one of the fundamental qualities of poetry.

In the second verse, Welch sings:

And in the dark, I can hear your heartbeat

I tried to find the sound

But then it stopped, till I was in the darkness

So darkness I became

In this stanza, Welch is illustrating her feelings of depression and hopelessness that her relationship has led her to. She spent so long in the dark searching for love, that when her love eventually left her, she was still stuck there. The repetition of the word “darkness” emphasises her feelings of despair. The repetition of words in this way is a key characteristic of poetry that I have seen in many other famous works.

In a heart-wrenching bridge, Welch sings:

I took the stars from our eyes, and then I made a map

And knew that somehow I could find my way back

Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too

So I stayed in the darkness with you

In contrast to Welch’s previous lines that describe feelings of blindness and despair, this stanza holds a spark of hopefulness in it. This is the turning part of the poem, where she decides that she will love this individual, despite the darkness that he has pulled her into. She realizes that he is just as lost as she is, and she will be there with him, in the darkest of times. Like in previous stanzas, this bridge represents the climax of an experience, and tells the story right at its core. That is a key element of poetry.

Finally, in a beautifully powerful chorus, Welch sings:

The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out

You left me in the dark

No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight

In the shadow of your heart

This chorus is arguably the most powerful stanza in the entire song. It elegantly describes her feelings of being left in despair and depression from a relationship but wanting to stay in that relationship nevertheless. By comparing her emotions to various interstellar forces all throughout the song, Welch recounts her experience in a way that people will understand. Unlike simple stories, or artless information, experiences and emotions are harder to explain. That is why Welch’s use of understandable analogies is truly helpful to the reader of the poem.

All in all, I feel that this song is a true example of poetry. The stunning diction, rich metaphors, and powerful structure all contribute to the poetic element of this song. “Cosmic Love” illustrates not only a story, but an experience.

Cosmic Love

‘Till I Collapse

‘Till I Collapse is a song by American rapper Eminem, released from his fourth studio, the Eminem Show, in 2002.

‘Till I Collapse is a song I knew I had to pick for this assignment because of the strong motivating introduction. The song conveys the experience of learning to overcome failure when your at your lowest point. The song lets the listeners know that if you don’t give up and keep trying no matter what, your dreams can become a reality.

Introduction Lyrics:
'Cause sometimes you just feel tired, you feel weak
And when you feel weak you feel like you want to just give up

But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you want to just fall flat on your face and collapse

In the first verse of the song, Eminem tells us what living means to him. The introduction to the song lets us know that Eminem means business and is not here to play games. Everyone has their weak moments in life and sitting down crying about it, isn’t an option. Instead you have to believe in your self and fight a tough journey that will better you in the future.

Cruel World

Cruel World” is the opening song on Lana Del Rey’s third studio album, Ultraviolence. Overall, Ultraviolence is a beautiful yet melancholic album. “Cruel World” sets the tone of Ultraviolence, which is an album full of juxtapositions, of opposite themes and meanings both in conflict with one another. Specifically, “Cruel World” intertwines both love and abuse to depict the conflicting feelings of getting out of an unhealthy relationship. 

In the first verse, Lana sings: 

Shared my body and my mind with you

That’s all over now

Did what I had to do

‘Cause you’re so far past me now

In this verse, Lana says goodbye to what’s been hurting her. She recognizes that she gave her entire self to this person and realized that she has to move on from the relationship. 

In the pre-chorus, Lana explores the hypocritical nature of her partner: 

Got your Bible, got your gun

And you like to party and have fun

And I like my candy and your women

I’m finally happy now that you’re gone

Lana has decided to leave this person because things have gotten way out of control and she finally realizes how unhealthy the relationship is. Lana conveys the conflicting sides of her partner through the line “got your Bible, got your gun.” The Bible is considered to be a holy and pure text while guns represent violence and crime. The Bible and gun also represent spiritual and physical protection, even though Lana’s boyfriend consciously indulges in harmful activities. 

Because you’re young, you’re wild, you’re free

You dance in circles around me

You’re crazy

You’re crazy for me

The chorus is taking us back in time, to a party where they’re both dancing and drinking, and she envies how “young, wild, and free” he is. He dances circles around her, she can barely keep up with this person and his lifestyle, but she loves it at the same time. Lana is drawn to the darkness of his world. She knows he’s crazy, but she doesn’t care, because he’s crazy for her, and that makes her want to give all of herself to him. 

Overall, I would consider “Cruel World” poetry. I think that the song conveys the conflicting feelings of wanting to stay in a relationship but at the same time recognizing how toxic it is. Lana might just be trying to convince herself that she’s happier after moving on, but overall has contradicting feelings about the relationship. In the song, the repetition of the chorus serves as a message that the longing for her past relationship is still present, there’s always going to be some part of her that wants to go back into the darkness.

Brown Eyed Women

Ever since 1965, the Grateful Dead has been producing revolutionary music and shaping the way rock is perceived. Out of the 317 cover songs created and the story’s they tell, the song “Brown Eyed Women“, from the album Europe ’72 is poetic in every sense. This song is a little special for a variety of reasons, “Brown-Eyed Women was never recorded on a studio album, but it was included on the live album Europe ‘72 and was played at 340 concerts. The song was first performed on August 23, 1971 at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago”( Additionally, “Brown Eyed Women” displays a story, and through a variety of literary techniques, it draws the listener in. As the song begins, the listener is presented with a story about a man named Jack Jones. The lyrics follow:

Gone are the days when the ox fall down

Take up the yoke and plow the fields around

Gone are the days when the ladies said “Please

Gentle Jack Jones, won’t you come to me”

Overall, the song tells a story in era of the Great depression. As the song begins to flow, the listener is brought to a time were the focus character, Jack Jones is now old. As the songs states, “when the ox fall down”, this is a representation of the fall of the mischief in his early life. As the song progresses so does time and Jacks life. As life continues, rough times of the Great Depression kick in and Jack is in a financial crisis, the lyrics write:

The bottle was dusty, but the liquor was clean

Sound of the thunder with the rain pourin’ down

And it looks like the old man’s gettin’ on

While in the midst of the prohibition and the Great depression, Jack goes to the streets to make a buck off of liquor. As the lines include “Sound of the thunder” the thunder shows of Jacks situation and how bad things keep falling. Following this, poor Jack is hit with another crisis. The song writes:

Delilah Jones was the mother of twins

Two times over, and the rest were sins

All in all, Jack Jones loses his wife Delilah. Following her death, Jack becomes depressed and the relationship with his twin sons becomes poor. As the lyrics state, “the rest were sins” the “sins” in the line represents the falling relationship with the rest of his family. Overall, many of the Grateful Dead’s songs tell stories. Through these stories, the diction and syntax deliver powerful messages and add meaning to each story.