Friday, April 13, 2012

Happiness is...a poetic song.

There's a power in music and the combination of words and tune are one of the most powerful forces on earth. So it's no surprise that song lyrics are one of my favorite kind of poetry. It's often hard to separate the words from their musical casing, to consider each piece separately will often cause a disservice to one or the other (think of the countless yeahs, ahs, and ooh babys that somehow sound brilliant surrounded by pounding drums and wailing guitars yet utterly ridiculous on their own). As with any poetry, sometimes the words simply create a beautiful image, others are powerfully profound, still others seem to concisely and precisely express what your mind has been chewing on and muddling through for days while others rip open your heart and lay it bare for all the world to see though you could have sworn you were the only person to ever have felt that way.

Here are a few bits of some of songs that have popped up on my random playlist this week. (All are listed simply by the title and the artist whose version I listened to.)

The Bells of New York City
-Josh Groban
It's always this time of year that my thoughts undo me
With the ghosts of many lifetimes all around

Helplessness Blues
-Fleet Foxes
I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking I say I'd say I'd rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery serving some thing beyond me

And So It Goes-Billy Joel
In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along

Harbor-Vienna Teng
Fear is the brightest of signs
The shape of the boundary you leave behind
So sing all your questions to sleep
The answers are out there in the drowning deep

Homeward Bound
-Simon and Garfunkel
I'm sittin' in the railway station.
Got a ticket for my destination.
On a tour of one-night stands,
My suitcase and guitar in hand.
And ev'ry stop is neatly planned
For a poet and a one-man band.

The Cave- Mumford and Sons
It's empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
And all the faults you've left behind

Across the Universe-The Beatles
Words are flowing out
Like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass
They slip away across the universe

Pools of sorrow waves of joy
Are drifting through my open mind
Possessing and caressing me...

Angel-Sarah MacLachlan
Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance
For a break that would make it okay
There's always one reason
To feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
Oh beautiful release
Memory seeps from my veins
Let me be empty
And weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

Vincent-Don McLean
Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Stairway to Heaven-Led Zeppelin
There's a sign on the wall
But she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
In a tree by the brook
There's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven

Heart Half Empty-Ty Herndon
Will the memories taste sweet as they linger
Or the bitterness stay on my tongue
Is my heart half full of the love you gave me
Or my heart half empty cuz your love is gone

The Man That Got Away-
Judy Garland
The night is bitter,
The stars have lost their glitter,
The winds grow colder
And suddenly you're older,
And all because of the man that got away.
No more his eager call,
The writing's on the wall,
The dreams you dreamed have all
Gone astray.

Breakup songs are a lot easier to relate to it seems. Somehow the pain translates to words better than the joy does. But I love the unique way this song puts it.

How Your Love Makes Me Feel-
Diamond Rio
It's like just before dark, jump in the car
Buying ice cream and see how far we can drive before it melts kind of feeling
There's a cow in the road and we swerve to the left
Fate skips a beat and it scares you to death and you laugh until you cry
That's how your love makes me feel inside

And this post wouldn't be complete without mentioning one of the most poetic bands working today. I was going to post the lyrics but decided to just let you listen to the fabulous words as they sound in their natural environment. But if anything could qualify as a poem entirely on its own, I think this song could.

That Colin Meloy is gifted, no?

This is by no means a complete or anywhere near perfect list, just a few that caught my eye ear in passing.  For a much different and obviously more thought out and 'professional' list check out  this article from Huffington Post.

What are some of your favorite lyrics? Please share!

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