Imagine…

With our last year at OPRF coming to an unusual end, I’d like to add one last song to our playlist. Imagine by John Lennon, is a musical piece I would argue is poetic and a good listen during these times.

Within the lyrics, John envisions a world without borders, religion, and material possessions. Only with the elimination of these three can there finally be a “real” world peace. The elimination of nationalities, religion, and one’s economic class would create a unified Earth in Lennon’s mind.

Instead of focusing on John’s powerful vision of world peace, I would like you to utilize the difficult but not impossible tool Lennon encourages. Lennon guides the listener to use their imagination to envision a world without social constructs that divide us from one another. I on the other hand, encourage you to use this song to escape the confinements of your couch, bedroom, floor, wherever you are currently sitting during this lovely quarantine.

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

The above stanza is the hook for “Imagine.” It appeals to the sensuous dimension of poetry with Lennon speaking of the sensation of unity with the words “one” and “us.” The use of “one” creates a sensation of a single entity, with the choice of “us” creating a feeling of a single united entity. Lennon furthermore connects with the emotional dimension with the usage of “hope.” By using “hope,” Lennon inspires the listener making an emotional connection. Finally, Lennon continues into the imaginative dimension with the use of “dreamer.” A dreamer uses his/her imagination, and in this context Lennon is a “dreamer.” By labeling himself as a “dreamer” he inspires his listeners and followers to become like him, a dreamer.

Whether you listen to the song with focus specific to Lennon’s vision, or you utilize his lyrics to liberate yourself from quarantine and venture into the depths of possibility, Lennon’s work “Imagine” is a piece of poetry.

My Way

“My Way” is one of Frank Sinatra’s more famous songs and was released on the album titled My Way. Although Sinatra did not write the lyrics, the song was immensely popularized after his rendition was released. “My Way” is a song about determination and life reflection. Here is the link to the lyrics My Way.

The song is as close to poetry as any song I’ve listened to. The song is emotional, uplifting, and has a consistent, clear rhyme scheme. The song is about someone on their death bed looking back on their life. The speaker is satisfied with his life and reflects on living it to the fullest in his own way. The speaker states he’s made mistakes and has some regrets but not too many to worry about. He reminisces on when he had to face adversity and fight through it. The song ends with some emotional lines about times he’s laughed and cried and expresses his pride in the way he lived his life.

The speaker conveys this message to the audience through the use of metaphors and emotional imagery. The poetic devices are employed to make the audience connect to the speaker and emotionally uplifts them.

And now, the end is near

And so I face the final curtain.

These are the first two lines of the song and the metaphor makes the song emotional from the start. He compares his dying days as the curtain being closed on the last part of his life.

I’ve lived a life that’s full

I’ve traveled each and every highway.

This metaphor is the speaker saying he’s ‘been there, done that’. He hasn’t traveled on every highway but he has so much life experience.

Yes there were times, I’m sure you knew

when I bit off more than I could chew

But through it all, when there was doubt

I ate it up and spit it out

I faced it all, and I stood tall

And did it my way

I think this is the most powerful stanza of the song because the speaker has gone away from the sad parts of the song and now he’s reflecting on his proudest moments. He employs metaphors to describe how he handled adversity and overcame some of the struggles he’s been through.

“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.

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.

A Perfect Miracle

The cover of Spiritualized’s 2018 album And Nothing Hurt.

When Jason Pierce left Spaceman 3 in 1991 he had bigger and more ambitious plans with his musical career.

In his last album with the Spaceman 3, Recurring, Pierce showed some poetic ability but it was not until he began his solo project, Spiritualized, that Pierce truly achieved poetic justice.

While Spiritualized is mainly known for their orchestric, psychedelic melodies, something Pierce took with him from Spaceman 3, the lyrics get substantially more sophisticated each album.

If you’ve listened to any of Pierce’s works you would know that his main theme is love. This is the case in Spiritualized’s first album, Lazer Guided Melodies, and in their eighth and most recent album And Nothing Hurt.

However, over time, Pierce takes love and makes it something more.

This is a verse from ‘Angel Sigh,’ a song on Spiritualized’s first album:

Girl it’s like an angels’ sigh

When I see you walkin’ by

Girl y’know the reason why

Girl y’know the reason why

While Pierce does incorporate an a-b-a-a rhyme scheme and even adds simile into his verse, the reader/listener knows exactly what he is talking about as it stated clearly. A good poet makes a reader think.

On ‘A Perfect Miracle,’ the first song of his 2018 masterpiece And Nothing Hurt shares the same theme as ‘Angel Sigh,’ love, but the lyrics are much more sophisticated and reading or hearing them may transport you to the world Pierce is imagining.

See the difference:

I’d like to sit around and dream you up a perfect miracle

Then take the clouds and have the sun proudly shining on you

Take the stars as well and line them up to spell “Darling, I love you”

And little by little watch it all come true

These lyrics invoke a warm and refreshing feeling. A feeling of hopefulness and loving. A feeling many novelists have tried so hard to transfer to their reader.

If a poem is a compressed novel, than ‘A Perfect Miracle’ is absolutely a poem because of its ability to capture Pierce’s mind and transfer it to the reader/listener who can then connect it to his or her’s own life.

Pierce’s poetic ability in And Nothing Hurt solidifies himself as one of the best songwriters in the world and sets the album apart from any other album of his career.

Where’s The Karma for Life?

Image result for karma ajr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why, are you asking me why?

My days and nights are filled with disappointment

Fine, oh no, everything’s fine

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

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

What, am I normal or not?

Am I crazier than other patients?

Right, I’ve done everything right

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

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

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

In My Life

In less than 10 years, The Beatles produced over 200 songs, which often makes it hard to come up with a favorite. But,  when I heard “In My Life” for the first time, I just loved it. I think those are the most powerful and even poetic songs: the ones that immediately speak to you, transcend your pain, and stay with you all those years later (and of course what Perrine said too). I have memories even now listening to this with my sister while dropping her off at college, with my dad on any given night, and with myself during stressful moments. 

This is the song that when people tell me they aren’t Beatles fans I tell them they should listen to. Though I’m not as big of a fan of their earlier work, this song is the highlight of their 1965 album Rubber Soul. It’s credited to both Lennon and McCartney, but Lennon wrote most of the lyrics here. It tends to be a favorite among many Beatles fans, and, well I think that’s because it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever. 

The song starts off with a nostalgic tone as Lennon reflects on past places and people in his life. He begins, “There are places I’ll remember/All my life, though some have changed” and continues, “With lovers and friends, I still can recall/Some are dead, and some are living/ In my life, I’ve loved them all”. I think this first verse is particuallry strong because though he uses some vague language, you can tell he looks fondly upon on these memories. To the reader, there is not much specificity, but that really sets up the second half of the song by emphasizing that his current lover is more important to him.

Lennon said that this song was the first time he put his “literary self” into music, and I think that really shows. It has such a reflective and nostalgic tone. He effortlessly discusses the different influential people in his life and how much love he had for all of them. The tone of this song converys the reflection Lennon was doing while he wrote it and pulls the listener in. It makes you stop and reflect on similar people in your own life.

While he begins the song by reflecting on past moments, places, and friends, he quickly transitions to the present in the 2nd verse. He switches to addressing his current, “imaginary” lover (this is pre Yoko Ono). He writes, “But of all these friends and lovers/There is no one compares with you.”

That shift in time is something we’ve seen in a lot of poems. In “Those Winter Sundays” the author shifts from writing about what he remembers to what he understands. Lennon does the same here. I think that shift is an example of multidimensional language as it adds to the overall reflection of the song. He is able to convey how much his current best friend and lover means to him in contrast to past people.

As with many Beatles songs, there is a poetic flow. The lyrics are beautiful and descriptive and the melodies only make it better. On their own, the lyrics are poetry to me because they conjure up images of friends and specific places that Lennon was thinking about at the time.

Towards the end of the song he writes, “For people and things that went before/I know I’ll often stop and think about them/In my life, I’ll love you more.”  “Penny Lane” is famous for literally describing a place, but this song does the same. The images that Lennon creates here are extremely powerful because where his own memories are more vague, you as the listener fill in your own. Perrine, in describing poetry, discussed how it’s about experience and this song fits exactly that. Lennon makes it easy for the listener to understand his experience while reflecting on their own experience with life and meaningful people.