“Love You Too Much”

Released as the only single on his debut album Painted, in April 2019, “Love You Too Much“, Lucky Daye’s near-8 minute single details the pain one goes through when their love is not reciprocated. “Love You Too Much” is a song that has various interpretations and can be applied to life in more than one area.

Image result for love you too much lucky daye meaning"

The song begins with a minute and 30 second intro of the artist speaking; admitting that he has been hurt and is currently in a pain that has been messing with his head and is inescapable. As the song begins, its meaning is revealed, Lucky Daye is feeling regret for even allowing someone into his heart to the point where they could hurt him.

You make my heart beat for you

I almost cry too often (Too often)

But I put too much in your hands

So much regret in the end

During the chorus Lucky Daye discloses this meaning and the listener is left to picture his situation. Often he ends up crying because he has reached a point where he has given his all to someone, even his heart, and now it’s too late for him to change it. He regrets leading with his heart and believing he could never get hurt. Through the song’s slow but intense rhythm and Lucky Daye’s passionate sing and strong diction portraying his emotions, we are left to picture a time in our lives when we gave something or someone our all, and ended up in a place of regret.

In the third verse, Lucky Daye asks two rhetorical questions, aimed towards whoever hurt him.

How you f***in’ lie with a straight face?

How can you and I find a safe place?

By, raising these questions, he invokes emotions in the listener that they once again can relate to. He is torn because his trust in who is speaking to has been lost, and he does not know how they will recover from this.

It’s a shame for you, it’s a shame for me

Is the blame on you? I can say the same for me

Finally, through his use of another rhetorical question and rhyme, Lucky Daye establishes that all of this is a shame, and he primarily blames himself for allowing this to happen. If he did not give so much of himself, he would not be in the same position. He trusted that love would not hurt him, but now regrets his choice.

To Kill a Mocking-Bird

This Florence and the Machine song is one of the oldest downloads on my phone. It is from the album “Lungs,” titled Bird Song. This is a very poetic song about guilt and highlights an internal conflict using metaphor, personification, and repetition.

Image result for bird song florence and the machine

The lyrics describe a bird who sings about all the bad things the writer has done, until she brings him in and kills him because he won’t stop. The bird is a metaphor for the voice in her head that tells her she is a bad person. This adds to the meaning of the song because it is a thing she tries and tries to quiet and get rid of, but even after killing the bird, the song continues.

Well I didn’t tell anyone, but a bird flew by.

Saw what I’d done. He set up a nest outside,

and he sang about what I’d become.

After this we learn that the bird was never the one shaming her, because the thing singing becomes herself, personifying the bird’s song as she begins to realize it is coming from her. The song is almost still a living being inside of her.

But in my dreams began to creep

that old familiar tweet tweet tweet.

The singer struggles to stop singing about all the shameful things she has done, and using bird imagery, the listener draws a connection that she is the bird:

waved my arms and flapped about

Finally she repeats that the song is coming “from my mouth” for the last 15 lines of the song, almost a mantra. She realizes that the guilt and shame she feels from the past only comes from her own thoughts in her head.

I used to listen to this song when I was younger and kind of just think it was about a demonic bird that was really mean to this girl, but hearing it now the meaning is so much deeper. Everyone struggles with a voice in their head that tells you you aren’t good enough, and I think that is why “Bird Song” resonates so so widely.

“I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore”

Lucy Dacus communicates a very simple plea in her 2016 single. She wants to be someone else. From what the listener can glean from the almost 3 minute song, Dacus wants to change her role in the classic friend group structure. She’s currently the “funny one” but has seen that that causes more harm than good. Something I noticed off the bat from just reading the lyrics is how simplistic the syntax is. I’ve come to admire that in a way I hadn’t before. By choosing short, snappy phrases, the reader can sense a level of desperation in the author’s tone without ever hearing the song itself. To read the song in its entirety: click here.

The third verse starts: “I don’t want the joke to be on me”. In a similar vein, the bridge begins with “Try not to laugh”. These short sentences express to the audience of her friends that she’s being serious, she’s begging to be a person, not a one dimensional prop to be used for others’ enjoyment.

The second verse is her offering another position for herself:

“I don’t wanna be funny anymore
I got a too short skirt, maybe I can be the cute one
Is there room in the band? I don’t need to be the front man
If not, then I’ll be the biggest fan”

The line ‘I don’t need to be the front man’ shows, at a deeper level, she just wants to be included, it doesn’t matter her supposed rank in the hierarchy.

As someone who’s had trouble in larger groups of friends, I relate to this song. I believe that anyone who’s struggled with how they fit in can find themselves in this song.

A story of Hope

“1-800-273-8255” is a 2017 hit song by artist Logic from the album with the same name. While the name of the song may be confusing to some, it’s actually the number for the suicide prevention hotline. The song is all about having hope through difficult times and realizing your worth. Here is the link to the lyrics 1-800-273-8255.

When having to defend this song as poetry, the lyrics speak for themselves. The meaning of the song runs very deep. To start with the title would juts be the start. The song title is never mentioned in the song but is there instead to encourage people to use it and call if you ever have negative thoughts. When moving into the actual song, Logic brakes it down into three parts. The person calling the hotline, to the person receiving the call, back to the person who called now with renewed hope. The song is one big line to never give up. Logic is trying to tell those in pain that it does get better and there is no reason to believe it doesn’t

Logic achieves this meaning through some poetic devices. He uses a plethora of devices, and specifically uses metaphor to compare this newfound hope to drowning and taking the first breath after being rescued.

It’s the very first breath
When your head’s been drowning underwater
And it’s the lightness in the air
When you’re there
Chest to chest with a lover

Through this metaphor, the listener who might not have these thoughts are given an idea of what they might feel like.

Logic poses a rhetorical question in every chorus. He asks ” Who can relate?” While not expecting an answer, who wants people to know they are not in this alone. Just by asking these three words, Logic is able to bring a shimmer of hope, which he uses to build on throughout the whole song.

 

“Girl in the War”

Josh Ritter is an artist that my parents always played when I was little: a time where I sang the lyrics not recognizing meaning, just saying words. After finding him again, I found that he was one of my favorite songwriters with his Americana style and narrative lyrics. “Girl in the War” is one of my favorites, where he sings about the dangers of maintaining an inflexible worldview, while a man is worrying about his girlfriend/lover that is serving in the war.

Ritter uses the symbol of the disciples, Paul and Peter, twice in his song:

Paul said to Peter you know all those words we wrote

are just the rules of the game and the rules are the first to go.

I think the disciples symbolize an anti-war sentiment, saying that the governments role of how they do good for their country is changing, and that the people who make decisions about participating in war are focused on the wrong rules. Ritter continues talking about Paul and Peter:

Paul said to Peter you got to rock yourself a little harder

Pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire.

Paul and Peter continue be a symbol of the urge to protest war, saying that people have to fight a little harder against the government. Ritter is talking about politics in a way that doesn’t take the politician’s side but the side of the people and what they are going through.

The metaphor of the dove and the dragon also give another layer of meaning. Ritter is saying that people cannot blindly believe, but actively protest, and to find the same sense of urgency that you would if you were on fire. He wants people to get past talking about problems and into acting on them. He continues to use metaphors throughout his song:

Because the keys to the kingdom got locked inside the kingdom

the angels fly around in there but we can’t see them

This metaphor depicts the government as a kingdom, or the people who have the power to stop the war. Ritter is expression his feelings of frustration through this metaphor, and is exasperated that they “key” to change is our of his hands.

Finally, Ritter talks about a woman he loves that is serving in the war. He characterizes her in many lines:

Her eyes are like champagne

sparkle bubble over and in the morning all you got is rain

This simile makes us feel more connected with this woman, and the imagery of her eyes and how bright, bubbly, and sparkling they are show how attached this man is to her. He also repeats this line over and over again, almost as a chant to soothe him into not worrying about her. We get angry at this situation where she is in danger at war, and it makes us lean towards Ritter’s anti-war view.

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/joshritter/girlinthewar.html

You Can Drown Yourself In Metaphors: Vanilla Curls

I first listened to Teddy Hyde’s song “Vanilla Curls” by accident, when it showed up in my Spotify recommended, but the seemingly simple happy song had more depth than I thought, and is a clear example of a musical poem. Telling of it’s inner poetry, the songs first line states the literary device used throughout:

I could drown myself in metaphor

I could crown your head and catch the floor

Lookin’ up at a yellow girl

She won’t cut me free of her Vanilla Curls

Hyde uses these opening lines as just a glimpse into the atmosphere he creates with the rest of the song. He does indeed use a plethora of metaphor throughout the lyrics, describing an almost dying relationship that has left him set in confusion, but also uses clever literary devices such as personification:

Equipped with private eyes, her stare declared me missing

Tried to talk myself out of it, but I never listen

Hyde’s use of literary devices isn’t the only thing that makes this song very poetic, but I would argue his use of diction and imagery does as well. He juxtaposes the melancholy feelings and doubt he has regarding his relationship with playful and silly imagery. Such as describing his significant other as food.

In a minute she already put my feelings in their place

I hate vegetables, but I’d put that stringbean on my plate.

His use of “stringbean” in this line has a deeper meaning as well, as in other songs of his stringbean is used as a term of endearment, like “honey” or “baby”. His seemingly silly wording and phrases creates a sense of childishness, which is interesting as the lyrics have a more to them. For example, near the end of the song he says:

She caught me by the ear and left me lying here in writhing fear

If I get any deeper, I might need diving gear

Hyde has a wonderful way of playing with wording and internal rhyme, while also telling a story of conflict and hurt. But, without looking closer at the lines, you would never guess the precision and thought put into the structure of the sentences, something shrouded by the light airy melody that shapes the song as a whole. Hyde does a seamless job of making the complexity of the lyrics and poetry seem easy and natural, culminating in a lovely tune with a hidden emotional meaning.

“Taro”

Gerda Taro and Robert Capa

The song “Taro” by Alt-j is about a real man. His name was Endre Ernő Friedmann, though he worked under the alias of Robert Capa. He was a traveled photographing many wars until his death at the age of 40. 

This song is set at the occasion of his death. He was covering the First Indochina war (referenced by the first word of the song: “Indochina”) after being convinced to photograph it. This was not the first war he had been to, from 1936 to the end of his life he photographed a total of 5 wars the first being the Spanish Civil War. He and his girlfriend Gerda Taro went there and working under the shared alias of Robert Capa documented the war in photographs. However, tragedy struck when his girlfriend, Gerda Taro, for whom the song is named, was killed. He was deeply affected by the loss and never married. A big part of the song is about his reunion with Taro after his death, however, that is not what I will be focusing on.

The first verse contains some of the best imagery I have ever heard in a song:

“(Ooh) Very yellow-white flash!

A violent wrench grips mass

Rips light, tears limbs like rags”

The line “Very yellow-white flash!” in the context of the song leads the listener to first think of a camera flash, however, the next line “A violent wrench grips mass” reveals it to be an explosion. I think the line captures the feel of an explosion well (at least how someone whose never been in one might imagine it to feel like) with its word choice. Wrench is a word you can almost feel in your stomach, it captures the feeling of sudden interruption and disturbance, like your insides are still going forward after your body has been suddenly stopped. Mass makes it feel like the change is not just the person is being wrenched, but something more fundamental. “Rips light” furthers this idea as only something large and powerful on a giant scale could really manipulate light to that extent. In short, these lines gives a feeling of greatness to an explosion nowhere near that scale, unless of course you are caught in it. 

Another example of the amazing imagery in this song is the way he describes Capa’s death:

Quivers, last rattles, last chokes

All colours and cares glaze to grey

Shriveled and stricken to dots

He provides both an external and internal view of the same event. Quiver sounds like a quiver and by repeating the word last it reminds the listener that Capa is dying. It then shifts inward to Capa and has three pairs of words starting with the same letter and separated by the word ‘and’. This emphasizes what is being said and stretches the moment in time. I think the focus on visual imagery works very well here considering how he dedicated his life to photography.

The careful control of language used in this song to tells the story of Capa and Taro very well and vividly. I believe that this song is definitely poetry.

https://genius.com/Alt-j-taro-lyrics

If you are interested here are some of the photos from his time in Indochina: https://www.magnumphotos.com/newsroom/conflict/ropert-capa-indochina-war/

Why it’s “Yesterday Once More”

At first glance, one would not think that Yesterday Once More, by the Carpenters, would constitute as a poem. Yes, it rhymes and has stanza and a few similes but it doesn’t seem to have that “poetic feel” to it. However, Yesterday Once More has a subtle extended metaphor that drives the entire song; The songs that the speaker listens to depicts her past and much can be inferred once one takes this into consideration.

” Lookin’ back on how it was in years gone by

And the good times that I had

Makes today seem rather sad, so much has changed. “

The speaker is clearly stressed by recent changes in her life, possibly the loss of a close friend, as suggested in the second stanza.

“Those were such happy times and not so long ago

How I wondered where they’d gone

But they’re back again just like a long lost friend

All the songs I loved so well”

Assuming that is the case, the song implies the speaker is failing to come to terms with the loss. She fails to realize that although she describes the “good times” as “not so long ago”, in reality years have gone by since the event. At the same time, she seems to cope with the loss by trying to remember the “good times” and trying to relive her memories. However, as the years go by her memory is failing her, and she is only able to remember the melody of the songs, not the words which were sung.

“Every sha-la-la-la

Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines

Every shing-a-ling-a-ling, that they’re startin’ to sing’s, so fine”

As she spirals into loneliness, with only the fleeting memories of her friend to comfort her, she continues to relive “Yesterday Once More” in a vain attempt to regain what she has lost.

Lost in the Woods

Any of Hozier’s songs could be easily argued as poetry. He weaves lyrical metaphors together in a way few other artists can match, especially in his song “In the Woods Somewhere” from his album Hozier. The song could be interpreted in many ways, but I have always thought that it was detailing someone grappling with whether to continue living after his love has died.

The most obvious device that Hozier uses to convey this struggle is the extended metaphor of the woods. The woods represent his own mind; he is lost in his subconscious as he hovers between life and death. Hozier enhances this metaphor with descriptions heavily reliant on auditory and tactile imagery:

The moon still hung

The night so black

That the darkness hummed

This vivid picture Hozier paints of a forbidding forest helps set up the ominous tone of the song. Throughout it, these dangerous woods call to the speaker:

An awful noise filled the air

I heard a scream

In the woods somewhere

The speaker’s internal conflict is tearing him apart, and the mysterious noises coming at him from his surroundings parallel his fear of his undecided fate. His confusion grows as he ventures deeper into the woods, as if falling farther into his despair.

The speaker quickly realizes that, though he thought the scream was human, it actually came from a fox:

A fox it was

He shook, afraid

I spoke no words, no sound he made

The symbolism of the fox is no doubt intentional; foxes are traditionally representations of tricks and deceit, so it seems to be encouraging the speaker’s overwhelming desire to follow his love into death. He knows that he shouldn’t, but this part of his mind is compelling him to run towards her and let himself go.

The speaker then sees that the fox has been attacked, and he decides to put it out of its misery, much as he wishes to do with himself. However, he changes his mind right as he’s about to do so, realizing that the creature that hurt the fox is coming for him as well:

The creature lunged

I turned and ran

To save a life I didn’t have

The fox has led the speaker right into the path of death, and until this moment, the speaker has been complicit in his own deceit. This is the moment, though, that he changes his perspective, realizing that he values his own life too much to give up:

Dear, in the chase

There as I flew

Forgot all prayers

Of joining you

(Hozier also uses a bit of wordplay in these lyrics, using “Dear” to connect it back to his lost love instead of “deer” like in the original saying.)

The speaker finally flees the forest, choosing to see what the rest of his life has in store for him. He has chosen to live with the grief of losing his love, rather than allowing himself to be overtaken by it. Hozier brings the metaphor to a close at the end of the song, as the speaker recognizes how he changed after finding his way out of his mind, saying:

How many years

I know I’ll bear

I found something

In the woods somewhere

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door: Poetry at its Finest

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Guns n’ Roses, is a poetic master piece when broken down and analyzed piece by piece. The song stresses the novelty familial relationships and has a religious undertone to it.

Mama, take this badge off of me
I can’t use it anymore
It’s gettin’ dark, too dark for me to see
I feel like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door

Mama put my guns in the ground

I can’t shoot them anymore

That cold Black cloud is comin down

Feels like I’m knockin on heaven’s door

These lyrics paint a picture of a man (possibly a cowboy) who is down on his luck, and contemplating doing the unthinkable. He feels worthless as though he is a dead man walking, and maybe even contemplating killing himself. In addition, the soulful guitar playing in the background allows for one to be swept away into their own thoughts of life, and what is important to them. All in all, I would defend this song as poetry and I would recommend it to anyone in need of a good vibe session.

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.

https://genius.com/16097927

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

220px-Blonde_-_Frank_Ocean

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: https://genius.com/Frank-ocean-ivy-lyrics

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?”