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Turning Over New Leaf

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

“IF” You are a Romantic

Dino
Photo from Wikipedia


Make no mistake about it. I love all kinds of music, sans Rap and Hip-Hop, which I consider sub-culture chanting from the Bronx. In any event, loud, soft, fast, slow, light or heavy, music makes everyone happy – or sad.

I do enjoy Classic Rock, Country Rock, and R & B above most other genres, but I am mostly open-minded. I love the music of the ‘20s and ‘40s, and Billie Holiday can change my disposition from rotten to mellow with one tune.
 

The Rolling Stones are my all-time favorites. They can rock with songs like “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” or “Paint It, Black” or be much more poetic when singing “Angie” or “Wild Horses.”

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=angie+rolling+stones+youtube&FORM=VIRE2#view=detail&mid=B54E9368EEEDA40CD60EB54E9368EEEDA40CD60E

And poetry is the theme of this post. So many of us listen to the sound or beat of the music we enjoy, but listen to the lyrics only when we are down in the dumps.

Most good music IS poetry. For example, I was looking at the lyrics of some of the music from one of my favorite old timers – Dino Paul Crocetti, known to most of us as Dean Martin. I’m not sure why he’s near the top of my list. Maybe it’s because he looks a great deal like my father, or perhaps he’s the crooner I sound most like in a Karaoke bar. In any event, the “King of Cool” was definitely a romantic guy, but not because his music shook the rafters. Instead, it was poetic. Here are the lyrics from one of his hits:

If they made me a king I'd be but a slave for you
If I had everything I'd still be a slave for you
If I ruled the night
 Stars and moon so bright
 Still I'd turn for life to you

If the world to me bowed yet humbly I'd plead to you
If my friends were a crowd I'd turn my needs to you
If I ruled the earth
  What would life be worth
  If I hadn't the right to you

Delivered by Dino, it does make people long for the relationships most don’t enjoy. Perhaps I am married to my one-and-only for so long because I don’t find the lyrics to be melodramatic, over-the-top, or corny. Well, maybe a little corny. I know I’m an old-fashioned guy, but, according to many “Millennials,” there does not appear to be an abundance of modern males that would “turn for life to you.”

Listen to “IF”:


Try also, “You’re Breaking My Heart,” crooned by the best:


 
Now my point is this. Good music is good poetry. Whether you’re enjoying Carrie Underwood or Maroon 5, songs that tend to move us are poetic, which is why I can enjoy the music of both Adam Levine and Etta James.


When you are at a party dancing to fast rock music, rarely does one pay close attention to the lyrics. If you do, you will find poetic verse in most successful songs. Look at the lyrics to REM’s smash hit:

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I've left behind
A simple prop to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love

 Fire
 (She's comin' down on her own, now)
 Fire
 (She's comin' down on her own, now)

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I've left behind
Another prop has occupied my time
This one goes out to the one I love

Fire
(She's comin' down on her own, now)
Fire
(She's comin' down on her own, now)
Fire
(She's comin' down on her own, now)
Fire
(She's comin' down on her own, now)

Hear it for yourself: The One I Love (click on Listen while you read!)

So I guess my question to you is simple. What is it about music that impacts you most?

. . .

19 comments:

  1. Hi JJ .. sadly I'm very unmusical - but am aware that musicians tend to be poets too and I do listen to lyrics or catch a phrase - which is so resonant. I need to make a plan to listen more to the music and the words ... good pointers here for us to check out .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary: I understand. Sometimes, when people look at music with poetry in mind, they begin to enjoy music all the more. Cheers.

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  2. The words and the beat and then instrumental skill. I love Martin, the stones and every artist you mentioned, but not over Neil Diamond, a real poet, and B.B. King--Nobody loves me but my mother, and she could be jiving me too.' King is king in my studio. He and Lucille mellow me out. Diamond has been my car guy for fifty years. In winter, it's Jimmy Buffet who makes me feel tropical breezes, but a social comment of his, Everybody's On The Phone, Everybody's all alone, has no sunshine in it. It's a serious comment,on our culture. It is the words first--and I can't stand 'songs,' where one word or phrase is the whole thing. Those are written by charlatans--pretenders who have no substance at all.

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    1. Linda: Neil is great. Songs like "Love on the Rocks" are poetry for sure. I have seen B.B. King a few times. He used to come to New Hampshire when we lived up there and his work is second to none. Of course, Jimmy is special. I used to sell my antique fly reels through a sports fishing store owned by one of his band members. I got to listen to some of his lesser-known songs. You mean the Mothers of Invention did not thrill you with "I am the Rock"?

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  3. I had a vivid discussion with a musician-friend who wouldn't believe that I always (!) listen to the words of a song - but I do. And I agree that they are poetry.
    I am a fan of the Rolling Stones, of R.E.M., Rod Stewart, to name a few, and discover Country Rock just now. I am a bit far from Dean Martin - though I see his merits - because he was what my parents loved (thought him a bit oily). And can you believe it: I discovered the beauty of Elvis' songs first through my son - till then I had my not flattering teenage vision of him. My son also brought the French singers like Charles Trenant to me.
    Yes, I agree: it is poetry.

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    1. Britta: Keep exploring Country Rock. It is very catchy.

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  4. Yeah, Dino gets my vote, too.
    I never even hear the lyrics. I only listen to the beat. I put the beat inside of me and it comes out in movement. All the words could be smutty words and I wouldn't hear them if the beat was great.

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    1. Manzi: I noticed from your last post!

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  5. Aha. This is the answer that I have been seeking for the last year via Battle of the Bands. What is about a piece of music that people like (or not) and why. If Battle of the Bands has taught me anything (and it has taught me rather a lot) it is that music is subjective and that I will never accurately predict what people will like. (I suspect that much of it has to do with the person's mood RIGHT IN THAT MOMENT.

    The other thing I've learned is that some people are more words-oriented and others are more about the instrumentation. (Note Manzi's comment above.) For her it is about the beat. But some people are much more in tune with the guitar vs the piano vs horns. They have very specific likes with regard to these elements.

    Me... I am more of a word person. The instrumentation plays a part, but it's the words I hear first and foremost. I like slow songs as much (or better) than fast ones. I like happy songs, sad songs, silly songs... I LIKE IT ALL.

    If you want to do your own research via Battle of the Bands, I am SURE you would come up with very interesting pairings. You are welcome to join us on the 1st and 15th. If you decide to participate, please leave a comment over at Stephen T. McCarthy presents Battle of the Bands. He keeps a list of participants in his sidebar.

    http://stmccpresentsbattleofthebands.blogspot.com/

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    1. Robin: I will give it a thought. I love participating on your site, but we are in the process of moving so we are really tied up at the moment. I'll send you an e-mail.

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  6. That is a large question JJ! Sometimes it's all about my mood of the moment. That said, I may have admitted this to you before, but I have always followed my own heart and soul when it comes to music. At age 12, I was the only youngster I knew with Dean Martin albums. My tastes in music runs much like my desire to live.

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    1. Karen: I understand. It is very hard for me to narrow down my favorite music genres because I love so many.

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  7. The Rolling Stones are a good band but Mick Jagger gives me the creeps so they've never won my heart.

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    1. Jenny: He gives everyone the creeps, and Keith Richards looks like he passed away in 1975, but they are a great band!

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  8. Music is so much a part of everyone's lives, it's hard to deny the power of a good song. I can't tell you how many songs got me through a tough time. It makes you feel less alone and gives you the words you can't quite find for how you're feeling.

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    1. Stephanie: Yes, I think that is exactly what it does.

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  9. The way it speaks to my soul. I minored in music in college and can play multiple instruments. I enjoy complex music such as progressive rock, and yes, I do pay attention to the lyrics. (I'm also careful what goes into my brain.) I can appreciate the skill that goes into playing complicated pieces and time-changes.

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    1. Alex: My music button today pushes Country Rock I love it!

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  10. One or many things depending on time, place, mood. It can be just the voice or the lyrics, the beat, the instruments, a memory, the way it builds or a combination of all. One thing I know for sure, I cannot imagine my life without rythmn or song.

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