Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Pet Peeves

There was a point in my life where I was certain that I had no pet peeves. Or if I did, that surely I had only one or two. Wrong. I only have to actually pay attention to myself when I speak to find out otherwise. I've recently become aware how much I pay attention to song lyrics, and how much they often insanely bother me.
When I was given a copy of Damien Rice's "O" album last February, I sat down and listened to it right away. I couldn't make out a lot of the lyrics, however, so I opened a word document on my laptop and wrote out the lyrics as they were being sung. What a depressing CD! "...cause it's not hard to fall when you float like a cannon ball..." "...cause what I am to you is not what you is not real, what I am to you is not what you mean to me..." Pretty uplifting stuff. I continued to listen to it only because I knew there had to be something other than the lyrics in the song that had my friend listening to it, and after a few months, I genuinely liked the majority of the CD. However, I don't know if he's actually ever listened to the lyrics themselves.
Singing in the choir has had a pretty big impact on my attention to the lyrics of songs. "Don't sing the measures! Sing the phrases! SING THE TEXT!!" How many times have we heard that on a Tuesday afternoon? I got into the habit of taking the music home with me every now and then, and actually reading the English translation of the Latin texts that we sang, and due to that, songs like O Vos Omnes quickly became my favourite. The words add so much to the music for me when I realize what they mean. This fall, I learned (or tried very diligently, at the very least) the music and lyrics for Witness, the spiritual that the choir sang last spring. I love the sound of the song, but the lyrics really get me at one point:
Samson's wife, she talked so fair, Samson said, "cut off my hair! Shave my head just as clean as your hand, and my strength will become like a natural man." Samson was a witness for my Lord, Samson was a witness for my Lord...
Forgive the misquoting of the text, I never *quite* learned the whole thing, but that's the general idea. Why him? How was he being a witness by telling his wife the secret of his strength and therefore losing the strength? I don't get it. If I'm just not getting the deeper meaning and someone can explain it to me, that would be excellent. I'd love to know, because it really bothers me.
Perhaps I put too much emphasis on the lyrics of songs, and their meaning, and their contribution to the song as a whole. But in the same merit, perhaps other people don't pay enough attention to the lyrics of songs and what they're saying about the song.

On a side note, I can't believe that it's only been a month since we were in the middle of final exams. Craziness.

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