Was I just there?

In the breakup song Romantic Homicide, the central protagonist has already emotionally moved on. Glancing at the song’s lyrics, it’s arguable who triggered the separation; it appears more that his partner made the decision, but the singer believes it was the right one. That is clearly indicated in one phrase in particular: I don’t mean to be complacent with the decision you made, but why? These lines suggest that the choice was taken by another party. It would also explain his despair in the opening words, by which he says that he thinks the other person doesn’t care:

I don’t mean to be complacent
With the decision you made, but why?

However, d4vd here seems to address the breakup differently than most folks do in the initial stages. To have reached a stage where he had successfully processed the breakup of the relationship. He expresses two things in a way that distances the other person from him or her emotionally:

I’m scared, it feels like you don’t care
Enlighten me, my dear
Why am I still here, oh?

The two ideas mentioned above are typically two crucial steps in processing a breakup: erasing that person from our lives in order to fully accept that they are no longer a part of them, and developing natural hatred for them in order to make up for any remaining feelings of love that may still be present in our hearts. These two actions enable us to emotionally detach.from that individual and begin to rebuild our lives. That does not imply that d4vd is content with who he is. At some point later in the song, he also expresses grief, in addition to his earlier expression of fear:

In the back of my mind
You died
And I didn’t even cry
No, not a single tear

We won’t create barriers to our destiny if our self-love remains unaffected and if we continue to feel that we deserve love and will receive it. And before a breakup, we should all act in that manner. After all, you left me alone, and I won’t chase you—this is the true meaning of the lines in Romantic Homicide. You are dead to me because I despise you. I begin the reconstruction and move forward with these two ideas in mind: love will come knocking again at the appropriate moment.

Crazy Man Michael

The song “Crazy Man Michael” (full lyrics here) by the band Fairport Convention is undoubtedly an example of lyrical poetry. But before we can talk about the actual content of the song, we should have some context.

Crazy Man Michael is an original composition written in the style of a folk song, similar to other songs on the same album (Liege & Lief), which are all either an adaptation of folk material or original compositions in a similar style. It was composed following a tragic bus crash that killed Fairport Convention’s drummer, Martin Lamble, and guitarist Richard Thompson’s girlfriend.

With this knowledge, we can more easily see the what of the poem. The song narrates the story of a man (Michael) who consults an oracle to try to see the future or at least seek comfort from it. The oracle (a raven) tells him that he will kill his true love. Michael, in a fit of rage, kills the raven, believing it has cursed him. Then he realizes that the oracle was his true love all along, and has fulfilled its prophecy. Michael was punished by the oracle for trying to see the future, and he struggles to cope with the grief he feels for the death of his love.

The poem conveys this message in multiple ways, but the most prominent is the use of metaphor, as can be seen in the lines

The bird fluttered long and the sky it did spin
And the cold earth did wonder and startle

“The bird fluttered long” indicates that it did not die quickly, adding to the trauma of the situation. “…the sky it did spin / And the cold earth it did wonder and start-o” could signify the earth spinning around the raven as it falls to the ground, or more poetically, Michael’s shock and confusion cause his perception of the world around him to distort and “spin.”

Crazy Man Michael he wanders and calls
And talks to the night and the day-o
But his eyes they are sane and his speech it is plain
And he longs to be far away-o

Michael, in disbelief, wanders and calls aimlessly into the night and day. He is clearly in grief and unable to cope with what has happened.
“But his eyes they are sane and his speech it is plain” My interpretation of this sentence is that Michael has lost his passion for life, he speaks very simply.
“And he longs to be far away-o” Michael longs for an escape from not only his surroundings, but the memory of what happened, but this cannot be, as is revealed in the next passage.

Michael he whistles the simplest of tunes
And asks the wild wolves their pardon
For his true love is flown into every flower grown
And he must be keeper of the garden

Michael desperately seeks forgiveness from the wild wolves, though he knows they cannot give it to him. He now sees his love in everything around him (every flower grown), and Michael has set himself to the task of “keeping her garden,” which can be interpreted literally as a garden (possibly where she died), or as some other way of preserving her memory.

Now that we can see the how of the poem, we can even clearer see the message it gives. Clearly, it was composed following the band’s tragic accident, and the character of Michael embodies the feeling of guilt the author had. It conveys this experience beautifully through the medium of a folk song, and uses (as is usual for most folk tales and songs) a lot of metaphor to help the listener better swallow the message. I believe this is not only an example of poetry in lyrical form, but is also one of the best examples in it’s contemporary folk genre.

Musical Poetry: “You’re On Your Own, Kid” by Taylor Swift

“You’re On Your Own, Kid” is the fifth track on Taylor Swift’s newest studio album, Midnights. The song offers a vivid, though somewhat intangible, tale of growing up, which is interspersed with specific anecdotes that ground the song in a truly poetic way. 

Opening the song, Swift sets the scene by singing “Summer went away/Still, the yearning stays.” This is an example of a technique Swift uses often, where she uses seasons and seasonal imagery to convey the passage of time. The idea of summer fading into fall signifies the passing of a phase in one’s life, and could be argued to allude to a summer romance mentioned in several of her other songs. In the second half of that stanza she continues: “I wait patiently/ He’s gonna notice me/ It’s okay, we’re the best of friends/ Anyway.” These lines sharpen the image of a young girl waiting for an anticipated dose of male attention, and even sacrificing her own emotional wellbeing in the interest of waiting for him to “notice her.” The tone is bittersweet as she longs for affection while simultaneously trying to grow up and realize herself. 

Later, in the second stanza, Swift continues to narrate the disproportionate emotional labor done by a teenager with a crush: “I hear it in your voice/You’re smoking with your boys/I touch my phone as if it’s your face.” This scene conjures up an image of the narrator pining over this guy, while he is unaware of her pain simply living his life without her. The simile of her touching her phone “as if it’s your face” is an especially vivid image for gen-z teenagers: when your phone is your connection to someone you care about, it can sometimes feel like it takes on a greater significance as your link to them. Taylor goes on: “I didn’t choose this town/I dream of getting out/ There’s just one you could make me stay.” This part gives the listener more detail in their mental image of the pining teenager. She has big dreams far beyond her hometown, but her feelings for this boy who doesn’t value her are still holding her back. 

Taylor continues the motif of seasons and images of growing up in the pre-chorus with the line “From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes.” These images show another transition from summer to winter, whereby sprinklers represent playing outside in summer and fireplaces represent winter. But at the same time, sprinkler splashes imply a certain youthfulness and fireplace ashes conjure a more mature image. Going a layer deeper, it could also be argued that a sprinkler splashing gives life and beginning while fireplace ash represents the end of something and what remains after a struggle. The repetition of this line adds a powerful meaning to the song about growing up and about the story of this girl letting go of the guy she pines for and finding her own identity. 

She begins that process of letting him go in the next verse with, “I see the great escape/So long, Daisy May/I picked the petals, he loves me not/Something different bloomed/Writing in my room/I play my songs in the parking lot/I’ll run away.” Here Swift alludes to “Daisy May,” an innocent young girl who she feels she is leaving behind in order to realize her dreams. She then references an old childhood game little girls play, where you pick leaves off a flower and with each petal say “he loves me” then, “he loves me not” for the next petal. The phrase that lands on the last petal of the flower is supposed to tell the fortune of if a crush likes you back. Swift uses this allusion here to conjure up childlike innocence

while showing that the narrator, presumably Swift herself, has learned that she can’t make this man reciprocate her feelings. She then talks about writing and performing songs, showing that she has moved on to chasing her dream of being a singer-songwriter and realizing her own goals.  

She then presumably throws herself into her career to a stressful extend, because by the next verse, after another “From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes” she narrates “I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this/I hosted parties and starved my body/Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss.” She has now poured everything she has into performing, only for it to destroy her in the process. She also comments on how she still craves male attention, to the extent of body image issues that cause her to starve herself. This sentiment is shared by many women trying to survive in an industry where their success is so often reliant on sexualization and male approval. She continues this idea in the next stanza with “The jokes weren’t funny, I took the money/My friends from home don’t know what to say” to show that she has given into some of the shadier parts of the music industry and feels like she’s lost herself in the process. 

In the bridge, however, the song has a sort of volta where Swift transitions to talking about finding joy in life that both comes from within and focuses on what is happening in the moment. She sings: “‘‘Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned/Everything you lose is a step you take/So make the friendship bracelets/Take the moment and taste it/You’ve got no reason to be afraid.” These lines mean that everything we lose and hurt ourselves with in the process of growing up is a learning experience that shapes our future. So the only real way to get through it is to focus on each day—to “take the moment and taste it.” 

Swift closes the song with a last repetition of the chorus line and a closing statement: “You’re on your own, kid/Yeah, you can face this” This manta highlights that the maturity and self-realization she’s been narrating can only come from within, and no one else can do it for you. 

For these reasons, the emotional journey this song takes the listener through is visceral in a way only poetry can be. To classify this work as anything else would be borderline disrespectful to its beautiful lyrical message. 

L.A.

Recording artist Brent Faiyaz’s debut album Sonder Son shows the harsh reality of the inevitable loss of innocence that everyone goes through in life. The word “Sonder” is a neologism and it translates to the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. The whole album is based on this neologism, and how we respond to it throughout times in our life. The seventh song “L.A.” speaks about a specific part of people’s lives when they move to a new big city or place and try to make it into the career they’re chasing. And what often comes with moving to a big city is learning the new environment you’re now stuck in and how to survive on your own. “L.A.” speaks in the first person from Faiyaz’s experiences of being an up-and-coming R&B singer in Los Angeles and the struggles he’s going through while also expressing how he wouldn’t give it up for anything else.

The song begins with an introduction, “City of Angles, Land of God. The City of Demons, Looking for Us(2x).” Faiyaz begins by setting the tone for the rest of the song by saying how the “City of Demons” is looking for the “City of Angels” showing how Los Angeles is composed of good and bad people. The song immediately separates people into categories already showing how different people are compared to each other. Next, he sings, “L.A., L.A., The Place of All Places. Drug use and dark faces can make or break you.” Faiyaz is explaining how even though Los Angeles is the most popular city in the world and people make it big here, you can still be brought into dark times by bad people trying to use you for your new fame. But even still, knowing the risks he chose to achieve his goal of making it big in music.

When Faiyaz later sings, “Yeah, I’m proud that I’m chasing something. ‘Cause I don’t know better than being broke, bored, and back at home.” He wants people to understand that he chose this life of nothing but drugs, violence, and money willingly all for the intoxicating feeling of chasing his music dreams. This status that Faiyaz is chasing can only be attained through hard work and dealing with the good and bad people in your life. He then sings “But oh, what a feeling (How it feels). Oh, what a thrill (You will kill). To look down from these hills. Put the life I knew behind.” Faiyaz is expressing that the life he’s chasing consists of so much excitement and thrill that people would “kill” for his position. This balance between danger and fame is exactly what Faiyaz was chasing from early on in his career. The lyrical phrase, “to look down from these hills,” is to refer how Faiyaz has made it to the top and is looking down on all the people who haven’t made it to fame yet. However, fame means a lot of people are going to come into your life and some of them will be bad. Towards the end when Faiyaz sings, “And everybody wanna know me, Just to say you own me,” he means people want to be friendly with him just to get some of his fame. Fake people in Los Angeles are coming for him to take some of his fame like leeches sucking him dry. Overall, the song expresses Faiyaz’s emotions and events going on while he pursues his career. While doing so he is learning that everyone around him lives a vastly different life with very different goals and he has to cope with this feeling of being alone because he is so different but also there is a feeling of being together because we are all so different together.

Hold It Horizontal

Throughout his career, Donald Glover’s various works serve as significant critiques of societies long-lasting, or profound effects on humanity. Under the musical persona of Childish Gambino, specifically on his second major studio album Because the Internet, Glover is able to unpack the animalistic behavior stemming from the dehumanizing nature of social media and the internet. Despite sounding on the surface like a traditional 21st century hip-hop track, his song “II. Worldstar” follows the albums central character, “the boy,” losing his sense of humanity, being consumed by his obsession of the idea of temporary internet stardom, using the popular mid 2010’s social media app Worldstar to do so, hence the name of the song. Through Gambino’s metaphorical lyricism, along with interludes from his brother, Glover gives the listener a sense of the consuming nature one experiences by attempting to achieve online fame.

I’m more or less a moral-less individual
Making movies with criminals, tryin’ to get them residuals

Within the first verse, Gambino is able to establish the boy’s fall to the captivating force of the internet, detailing how his time spent trolling internet goers on previous tracks of the album has led him to being less more or less a “moral-less” person than what he once was. Furthermore, within these two lines, Glover is able to display the crude motives of the boy, emphasizing his desperation to make money by filming fights with criminals through Worldstar.

When I hear that action, I’ma be Scorsese
My nigga, hold it horizontal, man, be a professional
Damn, my nigga, be a professional, what you doing, man?

Later in the first verse, Donald inserts a metaphor between the boy and Martin Scorsese in order to emphasize the boy’s enjoyment and excitement on recording fights on Worldstar that he deems to be on par with action movies directed by Martin Scorsese. He then couples this metaphor with the interjection of his brother Steve G. Lover demanding the boy to hold the phone horizontally as to seem more professional and to capture the maximum footage of the fight possible, upping their chances at a viral video.

Let me flash on ’em, we all big brother now

Towards the end of the second verse, Gambino further emphasizes how upon exposing those in physical confrontation to a flashlight from a phone or a device, it makes the person recording a sort of omnipresent force, giving them full control of the privacy of those in the altercation, essentially making them “Big Brother.”

[Interlude: Steve G. Lover]
Yo, bro, man, check out that video I just sent you, man
This shit is hilarious, man, it’s like this kid, man, he got like sh–
He got like hit on the side of the head, man, he’s like freakin’ out
Like, heh, it’s like he think he completely lost blood and shit
Hahaha, it’s hilarious, man…

Finally, proceeding the outro of the song, Glover introduces a second interlude from his brother, detailing the comedy in a Worldstar video he saw online. This final stanza is used to emphasize the overall theme of the corruption the internet brings in regards to overall humility in reacting to the violence portrayed on social media.

The importance of Cool It Now

Cool It Now is a hit song from the 1980’s by the band New Edition. When I first listened to this I instantly knew why it was a hit song. From the catchy beat and the amazing usage of words telling a story of the lead singer Ralph and his obsession with a girl. With his friends trying to keep him in check the song creates a poetic feature of how Ralph wants to live his life.

My friends say I'm love sick 'cause I
All I keep thinking about is her in my arms
(Got to see what love is all about)
And I won't be the same until she is mine
And my friends keep telling me to

This is the speaker or Ralph speaking about how his friends think that he is in love and he doesn’t know what he is doing. But in reality he does and he is just really attracted to a girl. With the fact that he is telling himself that he wants to get with this girl really bad and that he won’t be the same without her. Which is a multidimensional aspect of the story because his physical relationship would start with a woman. While achieving the mental aspect of winning the girl he has been desiring and really wanted to get with.

Cool it now
You got to cool it now
Oh watch out
You're gonna lose control
Cool it now
You better slow it down 
Slow it down
You're gonna lose control

This section is right after the first stanza of the song which is the one above. This section is the chorus of all Ralphs friends and telling him to cool it and be cool. But also at the same time trying to get him to not fall in love because he is so young. As well as what he says later in the song as trying to control his life and what he does. It could be some type of jealousy but it is defensibly his friends just looking out for him because he is so obsessed with the girl.

Why you all coming down on me
Tryin' to tell me how my life is supposed to be 
I know you're only trying to help me out
Tryin' to show me what life is really about 
But this time I'm gonna make it on my own
So why dontcha fellaz just leave me alone
Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike
If I like the girl who cares who you like

This is towards the end of the song and it cuts back to Ralph and him explaining that he can make his own decisions. By telling his friends that he has it under control and that he wants to try to get with this girl. And he tells them that he knows they are trying to help but he has it on his own. Also naming all of them showing that he cares about this girl and doesn’t care what his friends have to say or what they like in general when it comes to the girl he wants.

Altogether, the band New Edition makes an amazing song that is definitely a poem through the powerful messages and the way it was created with the diction together and really gives us an understanding of a young life and being able to cool it.

Significance of “Sign of the Times”

Harry Styles’ first ever released album, Harry Styles, includes his poetically genius song “Sign of the Times” as the second track. His debut album explores his mix of angst, frustration, and wonder about the future after his band separated and he became a solo artist. This album was released in 2017, but he released “Sign of the Times” earlier as a debut solo, and to this day, he sings it at every concert even after releasing two other albums.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, he revealed that the song was about the fundamentals of life, such as struggles of equality, race, and rights in our world, and is written from the point of view as if a mother was giving birth, and although the child would be fine, she was not going to make it. Through the song, Styles touches on his belief that it is not the first time the world has been through a hard time, and it is not going to be the last. In his lyrics, he uses the story of the mother being told she will die, but her child will survive to show that the mother is aware and saddened that her child is being born into a troubled world, but that they will meet again. This song is about the mother using her last breaths to tell her child to go forth and conquer, in her last five minutes of living.

“Just stop your crying, it’s a sign of the times”

In this opening line, we can assume that the baby comes out crying, therefore symbolizing the message that the child knows he or she was born into a troubled world, and the mother is affirming this to the child. The “sign of the times” are the troubling events that are occurring in the world, which shows Harry’s frustration with the state of the world and that it is a sinister place. The mother telling the baby to stop crying is a symbol of reassurance, that bad things happen in the world, but it will all be fine.

“Why are we always stuck and running from/The bullets?/The bullets”

These lines seem to show the mother talking to herself, questioning why the world is the way it is. Styles also is getting at the idea that we have overcome hard times before, and that we just have to push through them, like the child needs to push past this moment with the mother, and how we cannot be afraid of the world nor try to escape what is happening. The significance of the repetition of the bullets throughout the song shows that there is always something wrong occurring in the world, and it can metaphorically be seen as the things that come into our lives that we cannot stop from happening, like the mother finding out she will die after the birth. The bullets themselves can also be interpreted to represent the hardships of the world, so Styles uses that to convey the mother’s concern for the world she birthed her child into.

“Remember everything will be alright/We can meet again somehwere/Somewhere far away from here”

These lines are introduced in the middle of the song, and the mother is telling the baby that it is only the end for now and that they will meet again. It can also be inferred that Styles is making a reference to his ex-band here (what most of his fans like to think), meaning that they will meet again sometime in the future. However, his clever use of anadiplosis in these lines causes the listener to focus on where the mother and baby will meet and be able to be happy together.

All in all, the Harry Styles fandom seems to have many different interpretations of this song, such as his love for an old band member of his, but the song has much more meaning. Styles himself said it was the song with the most personal lyrics to him and his feelings about the inequality in our world.

Mac Miller’s “2009”

Mac Miller is a rap artist who died in 2018 due to drug overdose. I could argue all of his songs are poetic, but “2009”, from his album “Swimming”, has the most poetic features in my opinion.

The song “2009” connects to his death and drug use through the lyrics and rhymes used. The song is slow and features a lot of instrumentals like violin and piano which gives it a heartfelt feel.

First, the rhyming is really emphasized in this song as shown in this verse.

I don’t need to lie no more
Nowadays all I do is shine
Take a breath and ease my mind
And she don’t cry no more
She tell me that I get her high

In addition to the rhyming, the repetition of the line “it ain’t 2009 no more” adds to the poetic feel of the song and makes the listener think about the significance of that year to his life and what happened to make that year stand out. The significance of that year isn’t pinpointed at anything specific, but the listener can make some guesses based on his life. I think writing about a year or a specific time in one’s life is poetic and seen in many poems.

He then uses more rhyming to reference some of his personal issues with drugs.

Yeah, they ask me what I'm smilin' for
Well, because I've never been this high before
It's like I never felt alive before
Mhmm, I'd rather have me peace of mind than war

He also references the struggles of fame.

And sometimes, sometimes I wish I took a simpler route
Instead of havin' demons that's as big as my house, mhmm
Have a ball with a dribble and bounce
'Cause the party ain't over 'til they're kickin' me out, yeah
Isn't it funny? We can make a lot of money
Buy a lot of things just to feel a lot of ugly

Using more rhyme here, he addresses the beauty that having a simple life can bring and the struggles that come with fame. 2009 was right before his release of one of his most popular albums, “Kids”. During this time he was definitely famous.

Althogether, Mac Miller takes us through his life in the year 2009 through powerful verses and intense instrumental, making his song a poem.

A Poets Poet

The song “Dylan Thomas” by Better Oblivion Community Center, a band comprised of singer-songwriters Pheobe Bridgers and Conor Oberst appears in the band’s self-titled and only album. Bridgers and Oberst are known to have been long-time friends and partners in the music industry and although both contributed to lyrics for this song and others on the album, this particular song was written by mainly Oberst. This song encapsulates the feeling of knowing catastrophe is coming but not being able to do anything about it. Oberst and Bridgers use the combined circumstances of existing during the Trump administration and being overcome with addiction to portray this feeling. Bridgers herself is known to reference current events and popular media in her writing and this song follows that form. The song itself has many references to the poet Dylan Thomas with the first line being,

It was quite early one morning

This is a reference to Thomas’s collection of prose titled “Quite Early One Morning”. Bridgers and Oberst use Thomas, infamously an alcoholic, to portray the idea of addiction. They write,

So sick of being honest

I’ll die like Dylan Thomas

A seizure on the barroom floor

And

Im strapped into a corset

Climbed into your corvette

Im thristy for another drink

These lines explain to the listener how the speaker is tired of trying to get better and would prefer to die in a similar manner to Thomas, who famously drank himself to death at 39. This furthers the feeling of doom the speaker is trying to portray in the way that they know there is no hope for the future and going out with a bang seems easier. The second section also portrays this idea, the speaker feels they are living a life that simply repeats itself over and over in a mundane way, despite knowing that disaster is coming. Similarly, Oberst and Bridgers write,

If it’s advertised we’ll try it

And buy some peace and quiet

And shut up at the silent retreat

As well as,

I’m getting used to these dizzy spells

I’m taking a shower at the Bates motel

The first section is referencing rehab, which is constantly advertised through media and the speaker seems to be going along with the idea of getting help, but in the second section, it is clear that the speaker does not wish to get help because it feels hopeless in a world in which you know the disaster is coming anyway. This is portrayed by the last line, which is another reference to popular media, in which a character from the movie “Psycho” is stabbed in the shower at the Bates motel. This is referencing the idea that the speaker is willingly going to “shower at the Bates motel” or doing something they know is going to bring on disaster because nothing seems to matter anymore. It is also clear that the speaker simply wishes to continue on with the life they live as they are “getting used to these dizzy spells” alluding to the fact that they are comfortable with their addiction and would rather continue to live with it than get help.

Along with the idea of addiction Bridgers and Oberst also use this song to make commentary on the Trump administration and the feeling of hopelessness it brought many Americans. They write,

Starved for entertainment

Four seasons, a revolving door

This is a reference to the Four Seasons landscaping company where the Trump administration held a press conference, instead of the Four Seasons resort. This along with the first line explain how the speaker is so baffled that an administration such as Trumps could be running the country, and how they feel the world is simply “starved for entertainment” as in it doesn’t seem that anyone else is as concerned with the state of the government as the speaker is. Bridgers and Oberst continue this by writing,

These talking heads keep saying

The king is only playing

A game of four dimensional chess

This section is a reference to news reporters or “talking heads” speaking about the Trump administration. The speaker is emphasizing the feeling of being controlled, knowing that there is nothing they can do about the state of the government or their addicition but they have to continue, feeling like a pawn in a chess game. The feeling of despair and fear that the speaker feels is encompassed by Oberst and Bridgers in the line,

They say you gotta fake it

At least until you make it

That ghost is just a kid in a sheet

The speaker is emphasizing how their addiction and feelings of despair play out in such a way that they feel as if they must put on a happy face. The speaker also understands that while they are suffering they know that the world is in crisis and thier fears and problems are not as important or “that ghost is just a kid in a sheet” which is also a refrence to Bridgers solo work which fetures imagry of children weaing ghost costumes.

In the Sun: Joseph Arthur

In the Sun, by Joseph Arthur is a song created for hurricane Katrina relief efforts. I believe the song has many interpretations and means something different to everyone. Some believe the song is about depression, faith, suicide, or a breakup. Personally, I think the song combines many elements to convey the difficulty of understanding one’s own purpose in life.

The song begins:

I picture you in the sun wondering what went wrong

And falling down on your knees asking for sympathy

And being caught in between all you wish for and all you seen

And trying to find anything you can feel that you can believe in

The narrator has just broken up a relationship with someone he feels deeply about. He pictures her ‘in the sun,’ symbolizing knowledge of the world- She opened his eyes to his own self on his journey to discover himself:

Cause when you showed me myself, you know, I became someone else

It was the girl’s knowledge that allowed him to see himself and ‘become someone else’. It was at this point he understood he must accept who he truly is or become someone who he is not. To avoid the guilt of the effect his dilemma would have on the girl, he decides to continue on his own. Speaking to God, he says,

Maybe you’re not even sure

What it’s for

Anymore than me

May God’s love be with you

The narrator finds that not even God can explain the complexity of life. The line ‘May God’s love be with you’ speaks to a saying that provided him with no substance or answers.

If I find my own way

How much will I find?

The narrator began his story with the line ‘And trying to find anything you can feel that you can believe in.’ He wishes for someone or something to tell him what to feel and believe. However, in the last two lines, he ultimately questions if he will ever discover who he is. To end, he repeats the line ‘May God’s love be with you’ to suggest that he will never know.

Silhouettes

The song “Silhouette” comes from Aquilo’s album Silhouettes, it’s the namesake song of the album piecing together the story of the artists’ beginnings being told. Though Aquilo put out different EPs prior reflecting the same style, Silhouettes was the debut album of the band released in 2017. Silhouette is the opening track of the album portraying life as different memories and old identities compiling into one experience. When listening to the song the confusion and loss of being unable to really know what their life has been or will become is evident while still hoping everything will turn out alright.

I can remember being nothin' but fearless and young
We've become echoes, but echoes, they fade away

These opening lyrics to the song show the reflection on past relationships and memories, the “echos” mentioned representing the wanting to hold onto who they were and what they had while the “fading” represents the knowing of not being able to hold onto everything once possessed as the artists grow in their careers.

(I heard you say)
The devil's on your shoulder, strangers in your head
As if you don't remember, as if you can forget
It's only been a moment
It's only been a lifetime
But tonight you're a stranger
Some silhouette

The chorus explains the change others have seen in the pair and also the things they knew becoming distant. The feeling of becoming unrecognizable to people they once knew and unrecognizable to even themselves is heavy, leaving behind things familiar. These “silhouettes” they mention represent the haunting of these memories and the people they once were remaining to be seen, not being completely gone, while still being unsure of who they are now. They explain how different lived experiences shouldn’t be that easy to forget because in the moment they felt like lifetimes. However, the notion of something having the ability to be a moment and a lifetime in one reveals that the things you know will always fade even when wanting to keep those moments.

Just hold me
Just hold me

The repetition of these lines four times in the bridge encompass the desperation of wanting the ability to have specific moments last forever before going back into the reality, that is the chorus, mentioned before.

Let's go out in flames so everyone knows who we are
'Cause these city walls never knew that we'd make it this far -- 
So let's dance like two shadows, burning out a glory day

This part hints to the doubts they unquestionably faced and their decisions to leave and prove to others and themselves that they could make it. Though this highlights the real feeling of loss of self and the lives they’d known, they know the journey they’re on will prove to be something great. Throughout the song the battle with letting go and accepting is seen but in the end we see the beginning of them knowing what they had have in fact become things that at one point they’d known, becoming silhouettes.

Too Many Gods

The song “Too Many Gods” by Asap Rocky Joey Badass from the album, For the Throne is undeniably poetry. From the title of the song to lyrics this song is written in almost all figurative language. It is one of my favorite songs because of the angelic beat and tone. “Too Many Gods” is a song where Asap Rocky and Joey Badass rap about the overabundance of God-like figures in the world.

The central idea of this song is that there are too many people portrayed as “God” in the world and that not everyone can be a god. We get this in the first stanza where the song reads…

“Tell me why we go to war, too many gods
Tell me what we praying for, too many gods
Feel like things will never change, I swear to God
Sometimes I wonder if God ever prays for me (ooh)
Tell me why we go to war, too many gods
Tell me what we praying for, too many gods”

There is a pattern where the first and last two sentences of this stanza end with “too many gods”. They use this phrase as something to blame war on and the reason we pray. Asap Rocky is saying we have war become there are too many people portrayed as “Gods”. The phrase “too many gods” can also just mean a lot of gods. This stanza can be interpreted as Asap Rocky saying we go to war for the gods as if they are protecting them or standing with them.

In the second stanza Asap Rocky sings…

“Battle scars, too many spores
Knight in shining armor, such a pretty wh*re
Strange screams down the corridors
Divide, conquer, call it yours
Another false prophet’s on the thrones”

He begins rhyming every word/sound at the end of each line and speeds up the pace of the song and changes the tone from relaxed to more chaotic and dark. This stanza also speaks back to meaning of the song and there being too many “fake” gods when its says “false prophets on the throne”.

In conclusion, the song ends with…

“Life is too short to be living in fear
‘Specially when you know winter is here”

This sort of contradicts the whole song as its saying it doesn’t really matter because life is so short.

21

In her hit single, “21“, Gracie Abrams sings about the pain and heartache of lost love. She mourns a recent breakup, feeling a mix of regret and thinking of what could’ve been. Although it is unknown what caused the two to separate, Abrams utilizes strong poetic language to express just how much of a toll it had taken on her, physically and mentally. She later commented that this song allowed her to say everything she had to say that she was unable to do before, allowing her to release her bottled up feelings, much like poetry itself. Abrams writes

I’m sorry if you blame me, if I were you I would
Thought you’d see it coming, but you never could
I still haven’t heard from your family
But you said your mom always loved me

Abram’s use of AABB rhyming scheme helps pull the reader in to the story she is telling. Her song is directed towards the person she is missing, while also being able to resonate with a general audience of listeners who may have gone through a similar experience. This makes the song more real, diving more into the aftermath of a breakup that involves not only the severed bond between those dating, but to the other’s family as well.

Just because you’re hurting doesn’t mean I’m not
If it doesn’t go away by the time I turn thirty
I made a mistake and I’ll tell you I’m sorry
“Sorry”

Her use of “Hurting” here goes both ways, both for the other person and herself. She shoulders the blame and regret, which people may use as a way to justify the pain she is feeling. But it goes beyond that, showing the weight of a breakup and how it affects both parties, no matter how big or small.

When the night is over
Don’t call me up I’m already under

Abram’s multidimensional language used here is the many interpretations of “under”. She’s at her lowest underneath, out of reach of those around her. She feels crushed under self-loathing and past mistakes. Someone going under is another way to say that they are feeling defeated and overwhelmed. It all ties back to her central theme that inspects all layers of her pain, from the surface level to the furthest depths. Along with this, she utilizes contrast with two opposites by following “up” with “under”. She feels submerged in her misery, unable to reach the surface or free herself of drowning guilt that would plague her for years.

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Our Music Poetry Playlist!

Enjoy, and don’t forget to present a defense of your poetic song on the blog — and leave comments on your classmates’ posts.

Edmund and His Ladies: Lust or Love?

In the play King Lear by William Shakespeare, Gloucester’s bastard son, Edmund, ends up in a love triangle with Goneril and Regan that eventually leads to jealousy and death. Initially when he is staying with Goneril and Albany, Goneril falls in love with Edmund, and he claims to love her as well. Later, Edmund is sent to stay with Regan and Regan and Edmund also claim to be in love. My biggest question is: Is it love or lust?

First up is Goneril, the eldest of Lear’s daughters. Out of all of them, I honestly believe Goneril was actually in love with Edmund. He was the man that her husband never was. He is obedient and allows her to make decisions, but still possesses a lot of manliness and the ability to take control and command others. Plus the fact that he was young and handsome definitely helped. I believe that Goneril fell in love with these qualities and honestly thought she has finally found the man she deserved. Her love is further proved by the fact she had no issue poisoning her sister, even though they were conspiring against King Lear together, in order to keep Edmund all to herself. Then, Goneril shows her full devotion to Edmund when she makes the decision to kill herself after seeing he was mortally wounded. I honestly think that she must have been in love with him for her to decide to die with him.

Second to the chopping block is Regan, the middle child. Of all three, I think Regan was the one most fueled by lust. Most of Regan’s attraction to Edmund is physical and maybe due in part to her husband’s death. To me, it felt more like Regan wanted to possess Edmund and gloat about it to Goneril. From her role in the love triangle, I kind of thought Regan was just trying to “win” in some sort of sibling rivalry. She does whatever she can to seduce Edmund, and claims she loves him. However, something about that proclamation just feels fake.

Last and definitely the most interesting of the three is Edmund. He is caught in a love triangle with the two most powerful women in Britain. I think that Edmund was experiencing a mix of love and lust. Edmund definitely lusted after both women, probably even more so due to the fact that there were two powerful women that wanted him. However, not love in the sense of being “in love” with either Goneril or Regan. I believe that Edmund was in love with the sense of power he got from being these two women’s center of attention. I also think that he was in love with the possible future he could have and he saw that he could use Goneril and Regan to never feel like a bastard again. He went from being the lowly bastard child, always in Edgar’s shadow, to being respected by the royals and having the opportunity to marry into the royal family and be known by everyone. He was in love with the power he suddenly had.

The Queens of Poetry

The song “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen is, for many, easily one of the greatest songs of all time. An important reason that “Bohemian Rhapsody” has been so popular for over 40 years is that it embodied everything Queen is known for and combines everything they do so perfect together. The overall theme is  relaying how different his life could have been, and how much happier he might have been had he just been able to be himself his whole of his life. What you may not know by just listening to the song once is that it is filled with many different types of poetic devices.

Right off the bat in the intro in the song the song starts off with:

Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality

Starting the song off with a metaphor like this is a perfect way to portray the overall theme of the rest of the song. With this metaphor Queen is saying that Freddie Mercury is in the middle of too many things happening at once. He feels as though he is stuck and has no way to escape. We know it is a metaphor because he is not actuly stuck. This was just a perfect way for him to explain his situation of being stuck in unconquerable problems to his readers.

Next Literay device is a little bit more stuttle:

Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me!

This allusion may slip by some listeners ears if they do not fully understand it. An allusion in poetry is when there is a brief, intentional reference to a historical, mythic, or literary person, place, event, or movement. In this example, there is a reference to Christan belifs. Beelzebub is another name for the devil or satan. He uses the allusion to express that he feels he needs to be punished for his actions and sins. These sins are so bad that they will give him his own devil, put aside just for him.

Lastly Queen is able to use a hyperbole perfectly in their record:

So you think you can love me and leave me to die?

This a clear exaggeration/ hyperbole because he will clearly not actually die if he is to be left. Him being left behind is being exaggerated because he wants to show the pain he will be in, in such a large way.

At the end of the day Bohemian Rhapsody would not be where it is today, heard by everyone, inducted into the grammy hall of fame, without its poetic devices in its lyrics. It gives the song a deeper meaning then just the words heard by the listener.

Poetic Analysis of “I Never Told You What I Do For A Living” by My Chemical Romance

INTYWIDFAL is the final song in the concept album Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge.

A concept album is an album with a storyline to it. In this album, the story builds off the story from the previous album, centering around two people called the Demolition Lovers.

According to lead vocalist Gerard Way, the story of the album goes like this:

“The concept for the record Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, was the story of a man and a woman who are separated by death in a gunfight and he goes to hell only to realize by the devil telling him that she’s still alive. The devil says you can be with her again if you bring me the souls of a thousand evil men and so he hands him and a gun and he says I’ll go do it.”

The final song on the album centers around the killing of the last evil man, which turns out to be himself. He cannot see his lover for now but hopes one day, they will be reunited again, shown by the line: “Another night and I’ll see you”

Throughout the song, we also almost see a sense of self-disgust for the protagonist after having killed all those people. He wants his lover to clean him off, but he feels the stains will never come out. This is likely a homage to Macbeth, where Macbeth, after killing King Duncan, feels so much guilt and feels that no water could wash the blood of his hands.

“Another knife in my hands, a stain that never comes off the sheets / Clean me off, I’m so dirty, babe”

However, we see the protag rationalize what he is doing through the lines:

“Touched by angels, though / I fall out of grace / I did it all, so maybe / I’d live this every day”

The protag wants to be alive and return to earth, so he took up the task. However, by noting he fell “out of grace”, he knows he is not a great man.

We now arrive near the end of the scene where the protag realizes he will not be able to see his lover. Although the protag is upset, he remains hopeful that one day, through some circumstance, he will be reunited with his lover again.

“And we’ll love again, we’ll laugh again / We’ll cry again, and we’ll dance again”

Overall, this is a gutwrenching song about loss, death, hope, and murder with incredible music to accompany it. I find it to be a good ending song to an album with an amazing story. I also this the album does a good job at continuing the story from the first album “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love”. I would recommend listening to both albums if you like horror movies, theatrics, or just a good ominous story.

Some Champagne Poetry

After a two year hiatus, Drake released his highly anticipated, “Certified Lover Boy.” The intro to this album is the song, Champagne Poetry. In this intro, Drake cuts the song into two parts. In Part 1, Drake speaks about how he has done so much to get to where he is now and others in the rap game still think they are above him or better than him. In Part 2, Drake stops talking about his accolades or his money, and just expresses what it’s like to be at the top. With all the pressure weighing on him, his family, the city he lives in. But its all more of a reason to keep going for him.

I’m tryna just relay what I can see through my own eyes

And nothin’ tell the truth like the eyes will

This quote from Drakes song truly sums up the first part of the song. I can feel the exhaustion in the way he wrote this. Drake wants the listener to feel like they are sitting together having a conversation. This isn’t the strongest example of simile or imagery, but I feel this is an important quote in the song.

I even got the cleanin’ staff plotting extortion on me

My parents’ divorce is on me

My therapist’s voice is making the choices for me

And I always censor myself ’cause no matter what, they reporting on me

The pressure is weighin’ on me

In Part 2 of the song, Drake starts to have this therapy session with himself. His use of diction makes the reader/listener feel sympathy for him. He describes and gives examples about how the pressure of things in his life is getting too much for him. Even though he is a man of high stature, he still feels certain ways like we all do.

My chef got the recipe for disaster baking slowly

My heart feel vacant and lonely, but still

I’m makin’ the most of this shit and more

Every single move is like rolling dice on the board

The simile used in this quote sums up how Drake is living life. He doesn’t know what the dice will say but he’s hoping he’ll get lucky. Through all the pressure boiling and the world falling apart, Drake still finds a way to be content and live life like “rolling dice on the board.”

Musixmatch

Fireworks

Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit’s song “Fireworks” is just one example of poetry on their amazing album Ruins. While the singing and instrumentals were what originally drew me to the song, it has great lyrics and is a wonderful example of music poetry.

Like many songs on the album, which was created after a broken engagement, the song is about a breakup. “Fireworks” uses lyrics and music to bring the listener into the speaker’s mind and world.I took a trip out to the frozen lake

And it felt so far away

But I could feel it washing over me

There’s no escaping the harsh light of day

The poem repeats motifs of water/lakes and light. I would describe the musical aspects of the song as flowy and bright, making these motifs more effective and present in the poem. I’m not sure what these motifs represent or are trying to convey, but the song effectively transports the listener into the speaker’s situation with powerful imagery.

Why do I do this to myself every time?

I know the way it ends

Before it’s even begun

I am the only one

At the finish line

One of the most powerful lines in the poem is “Why do I do this to myself?” This is repeated many times throughout the poem and puts the listener in the speaker’s mind. The chorus (lyrics below) is repeated three times during the song. The repetition demonstrates the speaker’s regret and how their mind is stuck, repeating the same questions over and over.

I would highly recommend giving First Aid Kit a listen. Every song features comforting and bright harmonies, but the band also takes a lot of risks ensuring that every song sounds different. Every First Aid Kit song is a powerful piece of music poetry.