Tag Archives: lyrics

Lyrics: “I’m Going Out Tonight”

I didn’t have an idea for a topic today so I figured that I would search for a lyric to inspire me.  I hit shuffle on my iPod and got the song, Drowning Man.  Have you ever read the lyrics to that one?  It seems pretty dang political to me.  Therefore, I’m moving on.  What pops up next?  So Long Suicide.  I’m clearly batting 1000 here.  Those lyrics don’t work well for me either.  Moving on.  The song, Big Store, by the Devils comes up next.  Okay.  I can do that.

First off, before I dive into the lyrics, let me just remind people about the Devils.  Basically, this was Duran Duran before it was the Fab Five.  It is Nick and John with Stephen Duffy.  They recorded a lot of demos and the tape of the demos was found in the late 1990s.  Nick and Stephen went back and fixed the songs to release them.  Big Store is one of the songs on that album.  Here are the lyrics:

I’m going out tonight
Leaving god alone
Every rivers running dry I’m going out tonight
We drink small sour drinks & smoke long cigarettes I’m going out tonight
Leaving god alone
In a big store

I ain’t no fun time Barbie
I ain’t no fun time Mandy
I ain’t no fun time Charlie
I’m no fun at all

I like going shopping
Shopping in the big store
Shopping in the large store
Or any store that’s big Is a big store

I’m going out tonight
Leaving god alone
Every rivers running dry
I’m going out tonight
We drink small sour drinks & smoke long cigarettes
I’m going out tonight
Leaving god alone In a big store

Here is a video of the song, if you have never heard it:

So, what lyric grabs my attention?  There isn’t one line in particular that speaks to me but the song has a whole makes me smile.  When I hear this song, it reminds me of a good party.  Lines like “I’m going out tonight” and “We drink small sour drinks” definitely sound like a party to me.  Then, when I think of good parties, I immediately think of going on tour.  I know that for some fans shows don’t necessarily mean drinking or partying but for us and our friends, drinks are usually part of the whole experience.  Sometimes, when things are really awesome, we drink from paper cups with lids that don’t fit.  There should be a lyric about that.

Now, of course, there are lyrics that don’t really fit my idea of a party.  The title, for example, does not go.  Neither does the verse that mentions shopping.  Maybe, the shopping is to get something to wear to go out?  Then, there is the verse with different women mentioned.  It makes me smile, in particular, because my family calls me “Mandy”.

Overall, I really like this song.  It always makes me smile because it reminds me of good times on tour, partying with my friends.  What do the rest of you think of this song?

-A

If You Know What It’s All About: Lyrics and Meanings

Over Thanksgiving, my oldest was at home. She is studying choreography in school, and this semester she is working on a final movement project. She showed me the piece she’s been developing, explaining that this is kind of a rough draft for a much longer and more involved idea she wants to work on for her senior year. She didn’t give me a lot of explanation beyond that and wanted me to watch and then talk with her afterwards.

I watched the work, and vaguely came up with the thought that the dance (this piece is pretty modern, as opposed to jazz, ballet, or even contemporary) must be about inner and outer struggles. I shared this with her and she brightened, saying that she was glad I recognized the basic concept of the inner and outer forces. Then we talked more about what she hoped to convey.  The story she shared with me was wildly different from my thoughts. I was a little dismayed because it all seemed pretty vague, and I shared this with her. Heather explained that she’s come to the realization that the actual meanings of the dances aren’t what matter. She’s not concerned about whether someone recognizes the full story she’s sharing. She just wants to convey the appropriate feeling. This confused me, because I always thought the whole point of choreography was to tell a story.  If the audience doesn’t “get” the story, what is the real point then?

I thought about this piece she’s in for an upcoming show. It’s called “Scanners”, and I have to say – it is very violent and animalistic. When I see it (I’ve seen her in it twice now), I have to try to forget that Heather is my daughter and just take in the piece for what it is. I’m actually amused at the thought that her grandparents are going to see her perform it, because the movements are territorial and savage. I can see that when I’m watching. I can hear it through the breathing on stage. The music doesn’t even convey those feelings – it’s all in the dance itself. But I don’t know the story of the dance. Not even a little. I just know that when I see it, it reminds me of how insensitive we’ve grown towards one another. I always say we’re losing our humanity. This dance conveys that feeling. I thought about that as Heather continued to explain choreography to me.

Then she said something that made everything clear.

In art, it isn’t about getting the meaning right. When we see a painting and it creates an emotion, or when we hear a song and it makes us feel something – it doesn’t matter what the artist originally intended, or what story they wanted to share. It’s about what the viewer feels. This is why artists don’t readily share what a painting is really about (some might, but most do not). It’s left to interpretation. Why? Because even though the artist used the work as a way to tell a story – our heart responds to a song or a dance work because of what WE think it means. Why would an artist want to precondition you to feel something rather than allow you to experience that emotion organically on your own? That would have the potential to change the entire encounter, because the perception would not be self-owned or pure.

As Heather and I discussed this, of course my mind leapt to Duran Duran. How many times over the years has Simon said that he doesn’t like to explain his lyrics? Granted, much of that may be out of a concern for his own privacy, but I have also read and heard Simon say many times that he wants the listener to be able to have their own meanings for the songs.

I can remember talking with someone about “Finest Hour”. I explained what the song meant to me. At one time it was my favorite song on Astronaut. This person said that the “real” story was that the song was about the US, specifically about the president at the time (George W. Bush). After hearing that, I never quite enjoyed the song in the same way, and I almost wish I didn’t know what the lyrics meant. It changed my perception entirely.

Another example I can give is even more recent. A few weeks back, the band celebrated the anniversary of Medazzaland, and Simon discussed the meaning of the song, “Who Do You Think You Are?”, saying that it was about his relationship with Warren. I knew several people that openly said they wished Simon never said anything about that, because it made them hear the song differently. Still others admonished Simon for writing about his relationship with Warren at all.

In both cases, listeners heard the song, and came away with their own perceptions and meanings, whether those were positive or even negative. It completely changes the way we hear a song or the way it makes us feel when we’re told the true meanings of the lyrics. I can’t say for certain if this is why Simon doesn’t like to share the exact meanings of the lyrics he’s written, but I think I understand the possible reasons even more so now than before.

There is no right or wrong “answer” for what a painting, picture, dance work, song, or even a book or poem might mean. We are meant to come away with our own feelings and meanings based on our own life experiences and perceptions. That’s a tough pill to swallow for those who operate in terms of black and white and want to know what Simon was thinking.  For the many who, like me, fall into the grey area – this is bliss. The songs can mean whatever we need them to mean. It’s a gift from the artist to the rest of us.

-R

 

 

 

 

Interpretations of Dirty Great Monster

It has been a long time since I have taken a good long look at a song’s lyrics and tried to figure out what the heck it is about.  Now, when I started doing this, I asked people to give song suggestions.  I’m still moving through those original one, but am open to getting others.  One song that was mentioned was “Dirty Great Monster” off the Red Carpet Massacre album.  Now, this isn’t a song that has gotten much attention ever.  It wasn’t one of the songs Timbaland was involved with and it wasn’t a single.  It wasn’t played live except for those Broadway shows, in which the entire album was played.  I don’t have much of a connection with it, but I was super fortunate to see it on Broadway as they had the most amazing visuals for this song.  Frankly, I’m still sad that we won’t get to see those again as they were worth the price of admission, for sure.  I did find one clip that showed some of those visuals, but nothing beat seeing them in person.

So, what about the lyrics to this song?

There’s a dirty great monster in this house
We pretend that it’s not there
And there’s no escape from its grip
But nobody seems to care

Do you ever wonder
About the days when we were straight?
But daddy got the hunger
So much to hide, we learn to lie

So watch yourself in the hallway
You’re not supposed to know
‘Cause we’re all afraid of each other
We’re the victims in this show

Well, do you ever wonder
About the days when we were straight?
When daddy got the hunger
Too much to hide, we learn to lie

Silently outnumbered
We made mistakes when we were straight
Now we’re all going under
Oh, oh, so with a sigh we say goodbye

So, what does the song mean?  Interestingly enough, it was the topic of an Ask Katy question in July 2008.  Simon stated, “The truth is that “Dirty GREAT Monster” is about someone close to my extended family, I am really not at liberty to be any more specific than that.”  You can read the full question and answer here.  This leads everyone to assume that Simon is talking about family abuse, specifically, perhaps, sexual abuse of a father to a child with the line about “daddy got the hunger”.

While this domestic abuse, possible sexual abuse, theory is one that is often accepted, I have seen other interpretations.  One theory I saw was that it was about the situation with Andy.  Lines like how there is “no escape” and that you have “hide” and “lie” could imply a lot of situations, including the one with Andy, especially as things were not going well within the inner circle but the band had to publicly say that everything was great.  Thinking about it that way, could the song also be about the music business?  Could Daddy be the business?  Maybe, it is, more specifically, their record label at the time, hungry for the money from record sales.  Everyone sort of ignores the demands and how those demands make artists “lie” and “hide”.  Maybe, they even force bands to work with producers they don’t want to work with and make albums that they aren’t them.     The last verse is particularly interesting in light of this theory.  Could it be the band was outnumbered by the powers that be?  Could those mistakes have been past albums that were made with more independence but didn’t live up to anyone’s standards?  I can’t imagine that life in Duran camp was that great in 2007.  It could have felt like they were “going under”.  Say goodbye could be a reference to Andy.  It could also be about saying goodbye to a major label and those days of commercial success.  It could also be goodbye to artistic integrity.

Yes, this song is one of those songs that seems very obviously about something on the surface but could really be about something else.  What do you think?  Which theory makes the most sense or do you have a different theory?

-A

P.S. Do let me know if you have other songs you want me to look at!