Saturday, April 07, 2007

Music and Lyrics

ever heard that song by Cliff Richard when he had decided to sell out? it's a disco crap called "Stronger than That" and it features just about as much horrendous lyricism as that of his other and more popular '80s (s)hit, "Ocean Deep". notice the cliche, the forced rhyme, and the mixed metaphors:

from Stronger than That:

"My love is stronger than that
My love is poetry in motion
My love is deeper than that
My love is deeper than the ocean"

from Ocean Deep:

"Ocean deep I'm so afraid to show my feelings
I have sailed a million ceilings"

The first one might as well be called "Ocean Deep 2: The Horrible Return of the Cliche Monster".


below are some more of these funny forced rhyming and profound metaphorizing that get most pop and standard songs really spinning in our heads:

"gotta write a classic
gonna write it in an attic
babe i'm an addict"

--from "Classic" by Adrian Gurvitz

"i'm not an actor i'm not a star
and i don't even have my own car"

--from "The Actor" by Michael Learns to Rock

"with an ironclad fist I wake up
and french kissed the morning
while some marching band keeps
its own beat in my head
while were talking"

from "Bed of Roses" by Bon Jovi

"this romeo is bleeding
but you can't see his blood
it's nothing but some feelings
that this old dog kicked up

it's been raining since you left me
now I'm drowning in the flood
you see I've always been a fighter
but without you I give up"

from "Always" by sino pa...hehe.


mas malala 'yung sa mga "songhits" nung araw, long before the advent of the internet and the googling of lyrics. consider these:

"i follow the mouse rat
down to donkey park..."

from "Winds of Change" by Scorpions

"there were voices down the corridor
i heard the horses say..."

from, syemps, "Hotel California" by The Eagles

puro kaanimalan yung mga lyrics.

eto pa, medyo mas '90s. paborito ko rin to dahil may sense naman:

"alone, restless,
break this table it's otherwise empty..."

from "Daughter" by Pearl Jam. sobrang panalo 'yung pagkabitin. hehe.

lastly, and i still remember Jessica Zafra writing about this years back, ang pinakawasak na lyrics sa balat ng kanta:

"when you need a friend
that you can depend"

from "You're My Best Friend" by Nelson Del Castillo

buti na lang "you're" at hindi "your". wasak na wasak na talaga kung ganun pa naging title n'yan.


this is what i like so much about the new wave scene of the '80s--the return to good lyricism. never mind the dominant synths and the weird fashion sense people had then. i used to wear neon blazers, creepers with "baston" pants, my sleeves folded, scouring the urban pastures of Cubao during my early college days for bootleg cassette tapes of favorite local and foreign new wave and punk bands in places like Shambhu and Khumbmela.


contrary to what many people think, '80s new wave is really better known elsewhere as the "new romantics" era, thus a return to the Victorian age of sorts, which should explain in a way the "glamour" (para Brit spelling) of '80s fashion, dance moves, melodies, etc.

but the lyricism is a totally different thing. the redeeming grace of that post-punk age is the inherent poetry in the songs from more popular bands like Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode, The Cure, and Spandau Ballet to more obscure or less played tracks by the likes of The Blue Nile, The The, New Order, The Smiths, and The Waterboys.

not to say, as this entry quite bluntly kicked off with, that there weren't cheesy lyrics during the '80s (Cliff Richard is not part of the new wave scene). and of course, there are (or were) a lot of good lyricists who wrote before, in the latter decade, and up to this new millennium. yet for some reason, whenever i sit down to listen to my new wave albums, most of the acts that belong to this really sweeping and umbrella-like category continue to surprise me with their vivid, anthemic, and poetic lines.

i think i know by now that is not just out of melancholia or because i associate so much fond memories with '80s music (like the perennial nights of 2nd or 3rd year high when i would stay up all night discovering and recording songs from the attic, our TV antenna detached discreetly and connected to the cassette player just to get a better signal of "the station that dares to make a difference", XB 102). in the end, we must remember that a song is a kind of poem. and even in this era of complex techno, hiphop, and ambient beats and innovations, etc, the lines and the stanzas and their respective sense and meaningfulness must continue to endure in any song. no matter how beautiful the music that coats it is.


The Whole of the Moon

I pictured a rainbow,
You held in your hands
I had flashes,
You saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years,
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent,
You saw the whole of the moon,
The whole of the moon

You were there at the turnstiles,
With the wind at your heels,
You stretched for the stars
And you know how it feels
To reach too high,
Too far,
Too soon,
You saw the whole of the moon

I was grounded,
While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truth,
You cut through lies
I saw the rain-dirty valley,
You saw brigadoon
I saw the crescent,
You saw the whole of the moon

I spoke about wings,
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed, and I tried,
You just knew
I sighed,
But you swooned
I saw the crescent,
You saw the whole of the moon,
The whole of the moon

With a torch in your pocket,
And the wind at your heels,
You climbed on the ladder
And you know how it feels
To reach too high,
Too far,
Too soon,
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

Unicorns and cannonballs,
Palaces and piers,
Trumpets, towers, and tenements,
Wide oceans full of tears,
Flag, rags, ferry boats,
Scimitars and scarves,
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars

You climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails,
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail
Too high,
Too far,
Too soon,
You saw the whole of the moon

The Waterboys

lyrics by Mike Scott
from the album, This Is The Sea