Tuesday, 16 August 2011

lyrical meaning

i don't know if it's just me here, but i find that these days, lyrics are becoming less and less meaningful, so here are two songs, which i believe still have lyrics that make sense, rather than the usual love-he-doesn't-love-me-back generic 'lyrics'.

1- there is a light that never goes out- the smiths
this song is about a man, who appears to have been turned out of his home by his roommates ('oh please don't drop me home, because it's not my home it's their home and i'm welcome no more.') and he has managed to get on a night out with the girl he loves. they are driving in her car, and he feels like he suddenly has the chance to ask her, possibly for a kiss, another date, or her hand in marriage, who knows? however, he gets gripped by fear, and doesn't ask. he sings about if they were to die in the car, he would die a happy man, because he would be dying next to the love of his life, little does she know it ('to die by your side, is such a heavenly way to die.') finally, i think the outro is meaningful, the repeating singing of 'there is a light, and it never goes out'.  i think the 'light' is either a metaphor for hope, saying that there is always hope that they will get together, or a metaphor for his love for her, that it will never be turned out. either way, brilliant song, good old The Smiths!

2- a lady of a certain age- divine comedy
in my opinion, the best song of all time! this is a song about a woman, who is getting older, but is in denial about becoming an old lady. she has had a very well-off lifestyle (from london to new york, cap ferrat to capri, in perfume by chanel and clothes by givanchy) , due to her parents and her husbands wellbeing, not her own ('you had to marry someone very very rich, so that you might be kept, in the style to which, you had all of your life, been accustomed to, but that the socialists had taxed away from you')
the lyrics tell us about how the lady had a rich husband, a son and a daughter. her husband is now dead, and left everything to his mistress in marseille. her son works away, and only visits her very briefly. her daughter ran away with a man that was not approved of, and is never heard of these days. so this aging lady is all alone. the heartbreaking part of this song is the chorus, i will analyse it here-
'you chased the sun around the cote d'azur, (she spent her days, being loved and doing what she wanted, seemingly in France, as it is the cote d'azur)

until the light of youth become obscure
and left you on your own and in the shade (one day, she realises, she's not the youth anymore. everything is new, and strange.)

an english lady, of a certain age   (an old english lady, nothing special except for her past of riches)

and if a nice young man would buy you a drink
you'd say with a conspiritorial wink
you wouldn't think that i was,*age inserted*
and he'd say, no, you couldn't be!'     (this section of the chorus is the tear jerker; each time we get to the section 'you wouldn't think that i was...', the lady thinks she is younger. the first chorus reads 'you wouldn't think that i was seventy', and then the next, sixty three, and the next, fifty three. when she hopes people don't believe she is seventy, they really think, no, she's probably a little younger, and agree with her. when she hopes people believe she is younger than sixty three, they guess that probably is her age, but agree that she looks younger so as not to hurt her feelings. by the time she hopes she can get away with being fifty three or less, the nice young man agrees with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour; of course he wouldn't think she was fifty-three, she's obviously older. so while this lady thinks she is getting younger, and that this nice young man is taking her seriously, really, he's having a laugh at her expense, as all she is now, is an expendable old english lady.)

all she is, is a lady of a certain age.

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