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Poetry value of music?

 
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Apple



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:55 am    Post subject: Poetry value of music?  Reply with quote

I have always said I don't "get" poetry or what defines good poetry.  I have always been drawn towards the First World war poetry because of its subject matter more than anything and I have a deep love for it. However, in the past few months or so I have found songs which spoke to me on a level (possibly because of the way I was feeling at the time) and I wondered if they could be classified as poetry in their own right?

I know there are many pretty dire songs out there, and some which don't mean anything and some which make you think what the hell were they smoking when they wrote that?! (I am the Walrus springs to mind!), but having said that I have found some songs which I think are pretty poetic, deep and meaningful.  Some of which are of a genre not known for those qualities.

When I was in a really dark place last summer I had this song on repeat on my phone and in my car.

Fade To Black

Life, it seems, will fade away
Drifting further every day
Getting lost within myself
Nothing matters, no one else

I have lost the will to live
Simply nothing more to give
There is nothing more for me
Need the end to set me free

Things not what they used to be
Missing one inside of me
Deathly lost, this can't be real
Cannot stand this hell I feel

Emptiness is filling me
To the point of agony
Growing darkness taking dawn
I was me, but now he's gone

No one but me can save myself, but it's too late
Now I can't think, think why I should even try
Yesterday seems as though it never existed
Death greets me warm, now I will just say goodbye

This is by Metallica from their 1984 Ride the Lightening Album. Now I listen to it and it helps me fight and not return to that low place I was in.


[/u]



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TheRejectAmidHair



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all, sorry to hear you went through such a bad time last year. I trust things are a bit better now.

In answer to your question, if any song or lyric helps you in some way, then it is of value to you, and that’s sufficient:  it doesn’t matter whether or not it stands up as “poetry”.

Generally, I’d say song lyrics do not need to be good poems: indeed, it is often argued that the qualities that make for a good song lyric are very different from the qualities that make for a good poem. People such as Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc. were all wonderful lyricists, but rarely are claims made that they were great poets, or even that they were poets at all. I’d class people like Lennon & McCartney and Bob Dylan similarly: the lyrics only really make their true impact when accompanied by the music. Even when we read the lyric, we may be thinking of the music, and thus be affected by it as a totality.

There are exceptions, of course: many composers (Schubert, Schumann, Mahler, and so on) have set to music works that were already rated highly as poetry. But in general, no, you don’t need good poetry for a good song. Few would deny, for instance, that “Yesterday” is a lovely song, but if you look at the lyrics in isolation, they’re rather trite: only when wedded to the music does it come to life.



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Apple



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your kind words and yes things are much better now, (they couldn't have got much worse!)

I understand what you are saying here, and actually agree with it to a point, there are songs which as soon as I hear the music I get an emotional reaction of some description to them .  However, there are songs which its the words which provide the bigger impact (for me), so having said that I think its subjective, I mean there are people out there who prefer one genre of music and stick faithfully to that genre and don't consider anything else, but speaking for me - as with my reading tastes I am quite open and am prepared to listen to pretty much anything once, and as a result I have a pretty eclectic taste in music.  So therefore in a nutshell its whatever floats your boat, bearing that in mind and going on what you have said, below I have posted songs which to me cover all the points raised. They are all songs which I have in my collection because I personally like them. The first is a song which I like but its the music rather than the lyrics which provoke the reaction, the 2nd is a song which makes you think what the hell are they talking about and what were they smoking when they wrote it, the 3rd and 4th are songs which I believe are both poetic and where the music plays a part and finally the 5th is a song which I believe is genuinely poetic and its the lyrics rather than the music which provides the impact.

Here we go:

1. I've got you Babe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BERd61bDY7k

[HER:] They say we're young and we don't know
We won't find out until we grow
[HIM:] Well I don't know if all that's true
'Cause you got me, and baby I got you

[HIM:] Babe
[BOTH:] I got you babe I got you babe

[HER:] They say our love won't pay the rent
Before it's earned, our money's all been spent
[HIM:] I guess that's so, we don't have a pot
But at least I'm sure of all the things we got

[HIM:] Babe
[BOTH:] I got you babe I got you babe

[HIM:] I got flowers in the spring I got you to wear my ring
[HER:] And when I'm sad, you're a clown
And if I get scared, you're always around
[HER:] So let them say your hair's too long
'Cause I don't care, with you I can't go wrong
[HIM:] Then put your little hand in mine
There ain't no hill or mountain we can't climb

[HIM:] Babe
[BOTH:] I got you babe I got you babe

[HIM:] I got you to hold my hand
[HER:] I got you to understand
[HIM:] I got you to walk with me
[HER:] I got you to talk with me
[HIM:] Igot you to kiss goodnight
[HER:] I got you to hold me tight
[HIM:] I got you, I won't let go
[HER:] I got you to love me so

[BOTH:] I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe

2. I am the Walrus
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM_TGSVlApU

I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun see how they fly
I'm crying

Sitting on a cornflake waiting for the van to come
Corporation teeshirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
Man you been a naughty boy. You let your face grow long
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob

Mister City Policeman sitting, pretty little policemen in a row
See how they fly like Lucy in the sky, see how they run
I'm crying, I'm crying
I'm crying, I'm crying

Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog's eye
Crab a locker fishwife pornographic priestess
Boy you been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob

Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun
If the sun don't come
You get a tan from standing in the English rain
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob goo goo g'joob

Expert texpert choking smokers
Don't you think the joker laughs at you? (Ha ha ha! He he he! Ha ha ha!)
See how they smile like pigs in a sty, see how they snied
I'm crying

Semolina pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower
Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna
Man you should have seen them kicking Edgar Alan Poe
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob goo goo g'joob

3. Blowing in the wind
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWwgrjjIMXA

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can really see the sky?
Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.



4. The Sound of Silence
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zLfCnGVeL4

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
'Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence.

"Fools," said I, "You do not know –
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you.
Take my arms that I might reach you."
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence.


5. A Pittance of Time
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kX_3y3u5Uo

They fought and some died for their homeland.
They fought and some died, now it's our land.
Look at his little child; there's no fear in her eyes.
Could he not show respect for other dads who have died?

Take two minutes, would you mind?
It's a pittance of time,
For the boys and the girls who went over.
In peace may they rest, may we never
Forget why they died.
It's a pittance of time.

God forgive me for wanting to strike him.
Give me strength so as not to be like him.
My heart pounds in my breast, fingers pressed to my lips,
My throat wants to bawl out, my tongue barely resists.

But two minutes I will bide.
It's a pittance of time,
For the boys and the girls who went over.
In peace may they rest.
May we never forget why they died.
It's a pittance of time.

Read the letters and poems of the heroes at home.
They have casualties, battles, and fears of their own.
There's a price to be paid if you go, if you stay.
Freedom's fought for and won in numerous ways.

Take two minutes, would you mind?
It's a pittance of time,
For the boys and the girls all over.
May we never forget, our young become vets
At the end of the line,
It's a pittance of time.

It takes courage to fight in your own war.
It takes courage to fight someone else's war.
Our peacekeepers tell of their own living hell.
They bring hope to foreign lands that hate mongers can't kill.

Take two minutes, would you mind?
It's a pittance of time,
For the boys and the girls who go over.
In peacetime our best still don battle dress
And lay their lives on the line.
It's a pittance of time

In peace may they rest,
Lest we forget why they died,
Take a pittance of time.


I'd be interested to get your feedback on these.



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TheRejectAmidHair



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don’t know that it is reasonable, or even possible, to look at poems and classify them as “good” or “bad”.  Literary criticism is not a science, and of course, individual responses vary.

We can say that T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land is a great poem, and that a few lines I knocked off quickly over a pint in the pub isn’t. But if someone were to disagree, then there is no way of proving to them otherwise. One may point out and go on to analyse the various qualities displayed in Eliot’s poem, but if these qualities mean nothing to the person who doesn’t care for The Waste Land, then there seems little point pursuing the matter.

Similarly, if this person thinks that the lines I scribbled in the pub constitute a great poem, then it is that person’s privilege to think so: I, least of all, would want to argue against that point! Smile

Of the five lyrics you give, they all serve their purpose. The first I don’t think anyone would claim was a great (or even a good) poem, but it wasn’t intended to be: it was intended to be the basis of a catchy tune, and that is what it is.

“I Am the Walrus” is an iconic piece of 60s surreal psychedelia, and is certainly striking, as it was intended to be.

Bob Dylan and Paul Simon have both been hailed as great poets, but in both cases, it seems to me that the lyrics only become lyrical once the music is added. If they weren’t musicians, and had published these lyrics as poetry, I doubt either would have made much headway. But there remains much disagreement on this point, so I won’t insist on it.

The fifth obviously means much to you personally, so it is impertinent to look further. If it affects you, there can be no dispute on that point: that’s final. But I wonder if it’s reasonable to look into why it affects you, and consider the following question:

Are you affected more by what it says, rather than by how it is said?

There are many different ways of defining poetry, and there is no single definition that everyone is agreed upon. At its most basic, I’d say anything that isn’t prose is poetry, and vice versa; and that the difference between prose and poetry is that prose is constructed in units of sentences, and poetry in units of lines, which may cut across sentences. But that tells us nothing about what constitutes good poetry. And there is no single formula to determine this.

However, having said that, let me have a go at trying to explain what I think good poetry does. For me, good poetry makes use of various different attributes of language – such as syntax, sounds, sonorities, rhythms, imagery, and meanings both denotative and connotative – to communicate certain things, and certain shades of things, that are too elusive to express directly, and, but for the use the poet makes of these attributesof language listed above, are too elusive to express at all.



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chris-l



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting. The first few pieces are very much songs of my generation, so I cannot read the words without also having in my mind the music, as well as innumerable other memories and references. Because of this, they are very meaningful to me and evoke much emotion. The last piece, I do not know at all, and it is, for me, without any resonance. I certainly would not conclude that it is an inferior pice of writing, but with no other context, it does not stir the same sort of response as the others.

Strange, though, that we use 'lyrics' as the term for the words that go with a tune. There seems to be an admission there that there is some sort of poetry involved. Or is it verse? Different things, maybe, but the border lines are definitely blurred.


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Apple



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Bob Dylan and Paul Simon have both been hailed as great poets, but in both cases, it seems to me that the lyrics only become lyrical once the music is added. If they weren’t musicians, and had published these lyrics as poetry, I doubt either would have made much headway. But there remains much disagreement on this point, so I won’t insist on it.

The fifth obviously means much to you personally, so it is impertinent to look further. If it affects you, there can be no dispute on that point: that’s final. But I wonder if it’s reasonable to look into why it affects you, and consider the following question:

Are you affected more by what it says, rather than by how it is said?


I think the point you make here defines what I think about this whole subject, I am drawn to WW1 poetry because of what it says, and why I tend to dismiss other poetry, because what it says doesn't have an effect on me, and likewise the fifth song "A Pittance of Time" has the same effect on me.  

Going on what you went on to say, this particular song was posted on my Facebook wall by a friend after I had had a rant on there after being at work one Remembrance Sunday and watching people carrying on regardless, and the indignant tutting, fidgeting and pointed looking at his watch of of the person I was serving at the point we had to stop to observe the silence and the muttered "about bloody time" when the silence was over and we returned to serving.



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Apple



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In honour of Armistice Day two songs I am familiar with which I find incredibly poetic.

The first is called March or Die

The beast behind our eyes is loose,
The day has come, the day has come,
We march to Armageddon, hungry for the war
I see the hated enemy, I see what I was taught to see
And one of us will bend the knee
We understand the law

The blood lust jerks our legs to march,
Fife and drum, fife and drum
Our eyes are fixed and fearless
Searching for the war
Our statesmen deal in blood and lies
100 million stifled cries, 100 million wasted lives
Already gone before

So March or Die, March or Die
The stench of death is in the sky
We never fail to satisfy
We rend with tooth and claw

Sword and shield and jackboot heel
We love to kill, we love to kill
We love to taste our own blood
Squirm in our own gore

Children weep and widows wail,
Our education systems fail,
To hide our guilt we build more jails,
and we shall build still more
Our forests die, the stranglehold
That we put on the earth for gold
Will yet increase ten thousand fold
And no one knows what for

March and die, March and die
Defecate, despoil and lie
Cheat, dissemble, preach & spy
Build your house of straw

Laugh and cry, laugh and cry
Bloody sunset drowns the sky
For earth the heal then we must die
No-one deserves it more

I tell you we are doomed my friends
Our time is come, our time is come
We live within a charnel house
Rotten to the core
We glorify lust, greed & pain
We drown our hope in poison rain
We point the finger, shift the blame
Ambition makes us whores

March or croak, march or croak
All your lives a cosmic joke
Fill your days with piss and smoke
The wolf waits at your door

Burn and dance, burn and dance
Sex, death, torture, false romance
Whoop and howl, you have no chance
Burn & rise no more


The second is called 1916

16 years old when I went to the war,
To fight for a land fit for heroes,
God on my side, and a gun in my hand,
Chasing my days down to zero,
And I marched and I fought and I bled
And I died & I never did get any older,
But I knew at the time, That a year in the line,
Was a long enough life for a soldier,

We all volunteered,
And we wrote down our names,
And we added two years to our ages,
Eager for life and ahead of the game,
Ready for history's pages,
And we brawled and we fought
And we whored 'til we stood,
Ten thousand shoulder to shoulder,
A thirst for the Hun,
We were food for the gun, and that's
What you are when you're soldiers,

I heard my friend cry,
And he sank to his knees, coughing blood
As he screamed for his mother
And I fell by his side,
And that's how we died,
Clinging like kids to each other,
And I lay in the mud
And the guts and the blood,
And I wept as his body grew colder,
And I called for my mother
And she never came,
Though it wasn't my fault
And I wasn't to blame,
The day not half over
And ten thousand slain, and now
There's nobody remembers our names
And that's how it is for a soldier.


Now the surprising part, they were both written/composed by Ian Fraser Kilmister better known as Lemmy from the band Motorhead.  March or Die is the title track from the 1992 Motorhead Album of the same name and 1916 is the title track from the 1991 Motorhead album of the same name.



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Apple



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems as though Bob Dylan's work does have some literary value and isn't just 'music'

https://www.theguardian.com/books...ure?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Facebook




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