May 3, 2007

Lyrical Interlude

Welcome to a section of your day in which we can delve into the words that make songs what they are, be it beautiful, unsettling, bizarre, humorous, shocking, refreshing, or anything beyond. Lyrics are those literary fragments we scribble in the margins of our notebooks, repeat to ourselves like mantras during the course of the day, or quote to our friends to sum up our outlooks on life. They're stories and statements that become engraved into our consciousness.

Today I want to look at "Rose" (pronounced "Ro-zay") by offbeat UK sensation The Feeling.

Before reading, if you'd like and haven't heard the song, try this experiment of reading the lyrics before I blab about them. Or better yet, listen to the song before doing even that, and see what happens. Feel free to share your thoughts and impressions.

My reaction

It starts off gently, with piano resembling insistent raindrops on a windowpane. Upon the first listen, I heard a sweet love song, although lines like " So don't be afraid / 'Cause your in control / I'm just your slave" were causes for "Hmm..."

Subsequent listens caused the realization that the song was about, all things, a pink crayon! A look at the very first verses will show this:

You and your friends
Boxes of ten
Cool to the touch
You warn me so much
The white to your left
The red to your right
Are all that I'd seen
'Til I realized the love that I seek
Lies right in-between
The sincerity with which these lines are sung, the rawness of the closing shows a wonderful mix of the insistence of defending one's love and the fun of indulging in color:
Don't let him put you down
I won't let him put you down
'Cos your as good as the rest
And you're much better dressed
I think pink is my colour
I wont drink from no other
A delightful mix of serious tone and whimsical subject makes music and lyrics sport about with one another here. There's an unstable "I" voice that's completely absorbed in a pink wonderland, making the song remind me of being a child inside when it's raining, in love with the warmth that comes from a crayon that provides the only color on a soaked day. Or someone who has gone off the deep end about one special product of Crayola, in an endearing way. Or someone who enjoys putting together imagery and is not afraid to use the giddy "I love ya / especially today," which, in the midst of the delicate aura, somehow works.

If you're enjoying this little experiment, The Feeling's "Twelve Stop and Home" is a great place to go. And if you're already a fan of these guys, they love it when you see them in concert but you never see them in concert at all. Unless, that is, you check them out at Holmdel's PNC Bank Arts Center with OAR on August 11.

Peace and music and crayon love for now. More lyrical exploration to come!

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