SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – Comparisons

The prompt from Jim:

Today, you will select two songs and discuss some type of relevant association between them.  You may want to focus on the similarities and the differences between your chosen songs.


When I read this week’s prompt, for some reason my mind went directly to mental health and addiction. After the long year (plus) we all experienced during the pandemic, experts predict the mental health and addiction impacts will impact society for a decade or more.

I decided to feature two songs that view these issues from different perspectives – one as the person who experiences addiction or depression themselves and one from the person on the outside who wants to help but may not know how.

The songs I chose [“Hate Me” and “How to Save a Life”] each tackle the same problem from a different point of view. The lyrics that caught my attention, each from a different song, had a similar message.

From “Hate Me”

In a sick way I want to thank you
For holding my head up late at night
While I was busy waging wars on myself,
You were trying to stop the fight

From “How to Save a Life”

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

”Hate Me” was written by Justin Furstenfeld – the lead singer of Blue October. He suffered from drug addiction and depression and it took a toll on his personal relationships. The video starts with him listening to an actual message from his mother who was concerned for his well being. It is a powerful starting point for the song and introduces the duality of his addiction and illness and its impact on those around him. You can hear the pain in his voice as he realizes just how much his addiction and depression has hurt those that loved him and only wanted to help him in his recovery. The pain Is evident in his voice and in every line in the lyric.

“Hate Me“
Lyrics from Songfacts.com

I have to block out thoughts of you so I don’t lose my head
They’re crawling like a cockroach leaving babies in my bed
Dropping little reels of tape to remind me that I’m alone
Playing movies in my head that make a porno feel like home
There’s a burning in my pride,
A nervous bleeding in my brain
An ounce of peace is all I want for you
Will you never call again?
And will you never say that you love me
Just to put it in my face?
And will you never try to reach me?
It is I that wanted space

Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn’t do for you

Hate me in ways
Yeah, ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you

I’m sober now for three whole months,
It’s one accomplishment that you helped me with
The one thing that always tore us apart
Is the one thing I won’t touch again
In a sick way I want to thank you
For holding my head up late at night
While I was busy waging wars on myself,
You were trying to stop the fight
You never doubted my warped opinions
On things like suicidal hate
You made me compliment myself
When it was way too hard to take
So I’ll drive so fucking far away
That I never cross your mind
And do whatever it takes in your heart
To leave me behind

Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn’t do for you

Hate me in ways
Yeah, ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you

And with a sad heart, I say bye to you and wave
Kicking shadows on the street
For every mistake that I had made
And like a baby boy,
I never was a man
Until I saw your blue eyes crying,
And I held your face in my hand
And then I fell down yelling,
“make it go away!”
Just make a smile come back
And shine just like it used to be
And then she whispered,
“How can you do this to me?”

Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn’t do for you

Hate me in ways
Yeah, ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you
For you
For you
For you

The opposing song  I selected is “How to Save a Life” by The Fray. The Fray started as a Christian rock band, but steered away from making only Christian based music. This song was inspired by a young man that songwriter Issac Slade worked with at a youth camp. The young man was lost suffering from addiction problems and depression. The song spotlights the struggle a friend or family member has when trying to help someone they know is in trouble but not having the tools or knowledge to help.

One must ask, “Who suffers the most?”

“How to Save a Life”
Lyrics from Songfacts.com

Step one, you say we need to talk
He walks, you say sit down, it’s just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left, and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
You begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Let him know that you know best
Cause after all, you do know best
Try to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you’ve told him all along
And pray to God he hears you
And I pray to God he hears you

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you’ve followed
He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything
Or he’ll say he’s just not the same
And you’ll begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

How to save a life
How to save a life

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

How to save a life
How to save a life

NOTE: Both Justin and the young man at the youth camp triumphed over their problems. Not everyone is so fortunate.


Song Lyric Sunday is hosted every Sunday by Jim Adams. If you would like to join in the fun, check out his blog for the rules and to take in all the other music posted by other bloggers.

SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – The Fool on the Hill

The prompt from Jim and from yours truly:

This week we have Elevator music which was suggested by Maggie of Cave Walls.


The prompt this week was my idea so I’ll just go ahead and apologize right up front for that. I remember when I suggested it to Jim and he reminded me that Song Lyric Sunday has to do with ‘lyrics’ which might be absent in much elevator music. My thinking was about the songs we grew up with that were turned into easy listening, on loop music, played to soothe us, or lull us into purchasing decisions we might not otherwise make.

Muzak was the primary source of elevator music. To understand its origins we must go back to radio in its infancy. Radio required expensive equipment and was not designed to deliver free music to the masses. Enter Major General George Owen Squier who invented ‘wired radio’ as a way of delivering music over wires. This was the beginning of Muzak and the piping of music to the masses no matter where they gathered.

As radio progressed and music became available over the airwaves, Muzak needed a new audience. ‘Canned music’ was taken into businesses as a way to fill the uncomfortable silence while shopping and to soothe the nerves of people riding in skyscraper elevators in complete silence.

I read a few blogs about elevator music and learned some interesting things. Music is used to impact our purchasing decisions, speed us up or slow us down, and has even been used to drive unwanted patrons away from one’s establishment. It is rumored The Beatles actually purposely recorded some of their songs as elevator-type music to appeal to the adults with buying power to help sell their music. “Yesterday” might be one of the most popular songs heard as background instrumental music.

Over the years elevator music has changed. It is now played in the background at the mall, in the grocery stores, and while we are trapped helplessly on hold. I was so relieved when Apple put an option in to hold with or without music. The music was once almost completely instrumental, then there was a period when songs were re-recorded in an easy listening style often including lyrics. When my kids went off to college, I often noticed the music they listened to while locked away in their bedrooms as teens now played as I shopped in the grocery store. (I listened to a lot of Pearl Jam back in the day thanks to my son.)

Groups like 101 Strings and Sergio Mendes & Brazil 66 often had that elevator sound to their music. And of course, some groups’ own natural sound seemed to lend itself to this type of music. Steely Dan, Bossanova groups, The Carpenters, The BeeGees – even Adele’s songs are recorded as instrumentals and played as background music everywhere. I find it interesting that someone’s full-time job consists of curating music loops for individual business brands that subscribe to their service. Spotify, YouTube, Sirius XM, and Pandora all have ‘elevator music’ or ‘muzak’ playlists, too.

The first song that came to mind for me was one I featured a while back on SLS – “The Girl from Ipanema” but since I had written about it not too long ago, I moved on to my second choice.  The song I chose to feature is a Beatles song – “The Fool on the Hill”.  The song was written by Paul McCartney and credited to the Lennon-McCartney partnership. Below I have included both the Beatles version and the version by Sergio Mendez so you can hear the contrast.

The Fool on the Hill
Lyrics from songfacts.com

Day after day
Alone on a hill
The man with the foolish grin
Is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
And he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning ’round

Well on the way
Head in a cloud
The man of a thousand voices
Talking perfectly loud

But nobody ever hears him
Or the sound he appears to make
And he never seems to notice

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning ’round

And nobody seems to like him
They can tell what he wants to do
And he never shows his feelings

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning ’round, oh oh oh, ’round ’round ’round ’round

He never listens to them
He knows that they’re the fools
They don’t like him

The fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning ’round

Oh, ’round ’round ’round ’round, oh


Song Lyric Sunday is hosted every Sunday by Jim Adams. If you would like to join in the fun, check out his blog for the rules and to take in all the other music posted by other bloggers.

SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – The Dance

The prompt from Jim:

This week we have different ways of saying goodbye as the prompt, and the song that you chose must contain either Arrivederci, Bon-voyage, Ciao, Farewell, Goodbye, Hasta la vista, Sayonara or Shalom in the title or the lyrics.


We have all been there haven’t we? Experiencing a moment so special, so wonderful that is occupies your entire soul. Those moments we wish would last forever, but suffer tremendous heartbreak when it does not go in our favor? Or those times we swear if we could go back and do it again, we would. But would we? Those wishes and dreams are made in moments when we have no idea of the things that await us.

“The Dance” was written by Tony Arata, an American singer/songwriter. So many people ask what the song means. In this interview from the article ‘THE DANCE’ SONGWRITER TONY ARATA SHARES STORY BEHIND THE GARTH BROOKS HIT on SoundsLikeNashville.com the writer himself answers that question for us:

The idea for the song came from a scene in the movie Peggy Sue Got Married, where Kathleen Turner as Peggy Sue goes back in time and makes a decision not to marry her husband because their marriage turned out to be not so good. When she makes that decision, the pictures of her kids disappear from her locket and everything is changed.
“Something about that scene struck me so powerfully,” Arata says. “The next day I wrote the lyrics to ‘The Dance’ in about half an hour. A lot of people passed on the song because it doesn’t have a bridge. Being a new kid in town, I tried to write a bridge, but they all seemed totally out of place and unnecessary. I decided it was going to just to have to exist as it I had written it.”

There are several things about this song that resonate with me. First of all, the lyrics. Secondly, I relate to this song. It is so easy to wish things away in our lives, but yet, if we do, we would also discard the beautiful moments that lie ahead. Third, I love the piano in this arrangement by Garth Brooks and produced by Allen Reynolds. It is one of those easily recognizable intros that just gives me chills. And of course, Garth Brooks’ handling of the song was masterful and his voice perfection.

The Dance
Lyrics from Songfacts.com

Looking back
On the memory of
The dance we shared
‘Neath the stars above
For a moment
All the world was right
How could I have known
That you’d ever say goodbye

And now
I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end
The way it all would go
Our lives
Are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss
The dance

Holding you
I held everything
For a moment
Wasn’t I a king
But if I’d only known
How the king would fall
Hey who’s to say
You know I might have changed it all

And now
I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end
The way it all would go
Our lives
Are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss
The dance

Yes my life
It’s better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss
The dance

Songwriter Tony Arata talks about The Dance and how it became Garth’s song. It must be hard to write something from your heart, give it wings and hope it lands in the right hands. I think this one did.

 


Song Lyric Sunday is hosted every Sunday by Jim Adams. If you would like to join in the fun, check out his blog for the rules and to take in all the other music posted by other bloggers.

SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – Sara smile

The prompt from Jim:

This week we have a girl’s name that starts with the letter S as the prompt, and the song that you chose must contain a girl’s name in the title or the lyrics and that name must start with the letter S.


“Sara Smile” was written and performed by the duo Daryl Hall and John Oates in 1975. The song made it to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was the first top ten hit for the group.

The song was composed by both Hall and Oates, but John Oates says he has always considered it Hall’s song. It was written about Hall’s girlfriend Sara Adams. They never married but stayed together for 30 years.

Oates had a chance meeting on the streets of New York with two flight attendants. One of them was Sara Allen. That meeting was the inspiration for Oates’ song “Las Vegas Turnaround”.  He also introduced Hall to Sara Adams.

The song was not planned to be released as a single but a DJ in Toledo, Ohio liked the song so much he played it on air from the album. The response from listeners in Ohio was so strong, RCA decided to release it as a single.


Sara Smile
Lyrics from Songfacts

Baby hair with a woman’s eyes
I can feel you watching in the night
All alone with me and we’re waiting for the sunlight
When I feel cold, you warm me
And when I feel I can’t go on, you come and hold me
It’s you and me forever

Sara smile
Won’t you smile a while for me, Sara

If you feel like leaving, you know you can go
But why don’t you stay until tomorrow?
If you want to be free, you know, all you got to do is say so
And when you feel cold, I’ll warm you
And when you feel you can’t go on, I’ll come and hold you
It’s you and me forever

Sara smile
Won’t you smile a while for me, Sara
Sara smile
Won’t you smile a while for me, Sara

Smile
Won’t you smile a while for me, Sara
Oh smile a while, won’t you laugh Sara
Make me feel like a man not keeping me crazy crazy
Smile a while

Song Lyric Sunday is hosted every Sunday by Jim Adams. If you would like to join in the fun, check out his blog for the rules and to take in all the other music posted by other bloggers.

SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – Stay

The prompt from Jim:

This week the single word song title prompt, and the song that you choose must contain only one word in the title.


“Stay” was written by Maurice Williams when he was only 17 years old. It was written about a young girl named Mary who he tried to convince to stay out past her curfew. This was not the only song he wrote about Mary. When he was 15, he wrote the song “Little Darlin’” also about Mary. It was Mary’s 8 year old sister that liked “Stay” so much, it encouraged him to try and get someone interested in the song.

The song was recording under the Herald label, but only after condensing the song and removing the line “Let’s have another smoke” (otherwise it might not get commercial airplay.)

This interview in Our State Magazine from 2012 sheds more light on the song and is a charming read. Oh Won’t You Stay?

The song was released in 1960 performed by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. It reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and still holds the record for the shortest song to ever reach the top of the American charts at 1 minute and 36 seconds.

By 1990, the song had sold more than 8 million copies, helped by the fact it was included in the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack.

This clip is from a television show “The Village Square” that originated in Charleston, SC and was later in syndication throughout the U.S.

This is the clip from “Dirty Dancing”.

“Stay” was covered by a number of other musicians including The Four Seasons, Jackson Browne, Cyndi Lauper, the Hollies and others.

Stay
Lyrics from Songfacts.com

Stay, ah just a little bit longer,
Please, please, please, please, please,
Tell me that you’re going to

Now your Daddy don’t mind,
And your Mommy don’t mind,
If we have another dance, yeah,
Just one more, one more time.

Oh won’t you stay, just a little bit longer,
Please let me hear you say that you will
Say you will

Won’t you place your sweet lips to mine,
Won’t you say you love me all the time

Oh yeah, just a little bit longer,
Please, please, please, please, please,
Tell me you’re going to

Come on, come on, come on, stay,
Come on, come on, come on, stay,
Come on, come on, come on, stay, oh la de da,
Come on, come on, come on, stay, my, my, my, my,
Come on, come on, come on, stay


Song Lyric Sunday is hosted every Sunday by Jim Adams. If you would like to join in the fun, check out his blog for the rules and to take in all the other music posted by other bloggers.