|Arcade Fire – Rococo Lyrics||2 years ago|
An interesting note is this article from the New Yorker, from 2007, just after the release of "Neon Bible."
It's written by Sasha Frere-Jones, and is very opinionated, pretentious and critical of Arcade Fire. It also references "rococo architecture" in the first paragraph.
The band was certainly familiar with the article, because Will Butler actually responded to the article in the New Yorker, see here:
It seems Frere-Jones is using some big words he doesn't understand in the article, and he definitely seems to be "building them up, just to burn them back down".
It's also interesting that the article deals with miscegenation, or mixture of cultures and races, since the article deals with a rococo church in Washington Heights and rococo musical style being played by a mostly Canadian rock band.
I'm not saying this long is literally a response to the article in the New Yorker, but I definitely see it as one of the issues influencing the "feel of the song", either consciously or unconsciously.
|Arcade Fire – City with No Children Lyrics||2 years ago|
To me, this song is brilliant because it intersperses personal themes with social and political ones.
A city with no children in it is a city with no future...literally the last generation. It reminds me of a line from Wilco: "Every generation thinks it's the last."
But the use of the first person in the song also introduces doubt...feelings of hypocrisy, self-doubt and conflict, which prevents the song from being preachy.
It's an anti-anthem anthem, which is very uniquely Arcade Fire.
|Bob Dylan – Spanish Harlem Incident Lyrics||3 years ago|
I think everyone so far has been a bit off on this Dylan song...although I don't believe Bob Dylan doesn't know what this song is about.
It's pretty simple: it's about a man who goes to a fortune teller in Spanish Harlem and gets his palm read. In the intimacy of that moment, touching hands, he feels erotic lust, love and mysterious curiosity for her.
The song is much easier to understand if you don't assume it's in chronological order (this is Bob Dylan, after all)
In the first verse, he's describing her in poetic language: she's so freaking hot, she even heats up the pavement of steamy Spanish Harlem (Harlem is no comparison to how hot you are, two meanings for the word "heat.") He convinces her to read his fortune "let me know, babe, about my fortune, all along my restless palms."
The second verse is him really falling for her when she touches his face and hands. It seems to me that he really doesn't buy the fortune telling, he just wants to be with her in a dark room and watch her talk. "Let me know babe, I got to know babe, if it's you my lifelines trace." He wants to know if she's in his future, and he really doesn't care about anything else.
The third verse is actually the moment he first sees her (this is the beginning chronologically). "I been wonderin' all about me, ever since I seen you there". He says, "will I be touching you, so I can tell if I'm really real?" and "I know I'm 'round you but I don't know where" (he can feel her presence in Spanish Harlem, but he doesn't know exactly where she is at that moment). That's when he decides to visit her and get his palm read.
That's the main story in the song. There are also echoes of vulnerability (weakness) and some self-consciousness (she is not white, which is why his pale skin is significant) as pointed out by other posters.
|Bruce Springsteen – Brothers Under the Bridge Lyrics||4 years ago|
I think this song is about a homeless Vietnam veteran living in the California hills. It's not told in chronological order. It starts with Saigon, Vietnam, and the imagery of the coke machines, being the same as in America.
Him and his brothers (probably other homeless veterans) are living in the wilderness because they found it difficult to rejoin society, but are comfortable living with each other in a survival situation like Vietnam since they have each other ("had enough of town and the street life" - they tried living as homeless in the streets of the city, but grew tired of it, particularly the crime, drugs, gangs, etc)
One of the homeless veterans falls asleep and gets set on fire by his own campfire because of a draught, but the California Highway Patrol can't get in to evacuate him.
The end of the song is him returning from Vietnam in his dress blues. After that, he settles down to a good life, but for some reason he can't leave the war behind. Also, something might have happened to his woman in the story (the words are "your mother" implying he's telling this story to his son or daughter, but I tend to think that it's actually what HE WOULD TELL his son or daughter, but he's not actually talking to them.)
At any rate, the way the song trails off is perfect and beautiful. This is an amazing song.
|Bruce Springsteen – Valentine's Day Lyrics||4 years ago|
First off, this is one of my all time favorite songs, and in my opinion, one of the best songs Springsteen ever wrote, but I have a bit of a different take than everybody else.
I believe this song is to an extent about the love of his life and the trappings of bachelorhood, but more than that it is about mortality and realizing your own mortality.
Look at the imagery in the words: dark highway, trembling heart, "blown leaves by the wayside", spooky old highway, moonlight, cold river bottoms, darkness, grey fields, etc. They are contrasted with "the light" in a friends voice and "God's light". The line about dieing in your dream is the most apparent, but its all in there. Chapter 2 of the Bruce Springsteen book of songwriting should be titled "Catholic imagery" and St. Valentine was martyred. (Chapter 1 should be titled "Cars and Roads as Metaphors")
In realizing his own mortality, and his own fragility, he also sees what is truly important and what matters to us. In this case, its family, music (the "great jukebox"), faith and love.
Ultimately, when he "dies in his dream" he doesn't feel the darkness, bitterness, coldness or anything else he's "supposed to"...he feels his woman in his arms, his salvation.
Damn this is a good song.
|Bruce Springsteen – State Trooper Lyrics||4 years ago|
Okay, I have to write a response to this because its criminal a song this good would only have 8 comments.
What makes this song so incredibly good, and like many of the songs on Nebraska is that the characters, which are usually so richly illustrated by Springsteen, are obscured and left open to interpretation. In "Atlantic City", its not entirely clear what the "little favor" is, but its clear that its something horrible. Even still, "Atlantic City" and "Johnny 99" illustrate their character much more than "State Trooper" where any details are vague. We only know that they're dark and foreboding.
This song is only two chords over and over. This creates an atmosphere of haunting repetition, so much that creates a feeling of anxiety, so you feel exactly what you think the main character is feeling. The Police did almost the same thing with "Every Breath You Take" which is kinda stalkerish.
The simplicity and repetition in this song is genius. "talk, talk, talk, talk, till you lose your patience".
Everybody else has hit the nail on the head, especially mirrorsreflection, but that's really the amazing thing about the song. EVERYBODY knows what its about, although it doesn't explicitly say what its about. The fact that you can FEEL the meaning of this song and know it in your soul says more about the incredible songwriting here than you can analyze with your mind.
|The Wallflowers – Three Marlenas Lyrics||8 years ago|
I hate to evoke more comparisons to his father, but has anyone else noticed the similarity to "Tangled Up in Blue?" The first stanza struck me the most:
Tangled Up In Blue:
Early one mornin' the sun was shinin',
I was layin' in bed
Wond'rin' if she'd changed at all
If her hair was still red.
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like Mama's homemade dress
Papa's bankbook wasn't big enough.
And I was standin' on the side of the road
Rain fallin' on my shoes
Heading out for the East Coast
Lord knows I've paid some dues gettin' through,
Tangled up in blue...
They both employ the "bed/red" rhyme scheme, one dealing with morning, the other with evening, but both with dying hair. Both involve money, particularly the lack of it, and a reference to a dress. Both involve driving and a free-spirited, carefree woman...
Anyway, it struck me...also, the third stanza sounds a lot like early Springsteen...some thoughts.
* This information can be up to 15 minutes delayed.