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Questions tagged [song-lyrics]

Questions about the literary meaning or significance of the lyrics of a song or the literary devices used in them. Should be used with either the song-writer or the band in lieu of the author tag.

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4 votes
1 answer
92 views

Symbolism of locks and keys in blues

Thomas Foster's book How to Read Literature Like a Professor spends a lot of time discussing various types of symbolism. Chapter 16 is titled "It's All About Sex …" and gives examples of ...
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does Smash Mouth mean when he writes "fed to the rules" in All-Star?

So the first two lines of the pre-chorus of All-Star by Smash Mouth the song goes: Well, the years start coming and they don't stop coming Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running What does ...
6 votes
3 answers
809 views

What does "I struggled with some demons, they were middle class and tame" have to do with the rest of the verse?

There's a stanza in Leonard Cohen's "You Want It Darker" that goes like this: They're lining up the prisoners And the guards are taking aim I struggled with some demons They were middle-...
2 votes
1 answer
93 views

What's happening with Poseidon's request for an apology in Jorge Rivera-Herran's "Epic"'s "Ruthlessness"?

In Jorge Rivera-Herrans's musical "Epic", based on the events of the Odyssey, there's a song called "Ruthlessness", where Poseidon shows up to take revenge on Odysseus and his crew ...
2 votes
1 answer
60 views

Why did the narrator have murder on his hands in "Amazing Grace" by Jars of Clay?

The song Amazing Grace by Jars of Clay features the following lyrics: I hitched a ride, I was a beggar I had a murder on my hands I needed water to rinse these stains I'm somewhat confused by ...
2 votes
1 answer
880 views

What does "let me be your motivation" mean in Normani's "Motivation"?

In Normani's song "Motivation" (video slightly NSFW), there's a repeated line that goes "I'ma break you off, let me be your motivation". For instance, the first stanza / chorus ...
2 votes
4 answers
15k views

Summer Wine: what was the 'unfamiliar line' with which the girl reassured her lover?

The song "Summer Wine", written by Lee Hazlewood, describes a girl seducing a man with her 'summer wine'. At some point the man tells us "She reassured me with an unfamiliar line". What can it ...
27 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why must "she" perform impossible tasks in order to be "a true love of mine" in "Scarborough Fair"?

"Scarborough Fair" is, according to Wikipedia, a traditional English ballad, with many different versions. However, one thing that the versions have in common, is setting impossible tasks ...
6 votes
2 answers
775 views

What is the meaning of this phrase in the "Battle Hymn of the Republic"?

The "Battle Hymn of the Republic" contains the following lines: I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel: "As ye deal with my contemners, so my grace shall with you ...
3 votes
3 answers
1k views

What does "Yira" mean in "Yira, Yira" by Carlos Gardel?

In the song Yira, Yira by Carlos Gardel (which was also later performed by Los Piojos) I am curious about the phrase, well, "Yira, Yira" (full lyrics). I couldn't find the definition in many ...
2 votes
0 answers
85 views

Children's song about the onomatopoeia of the wind

When I was a young child (probably somewhere between 1985 to 1995), I remember watching a cartoon involving anthropomorphic animals (I don't remember which animals other than that I think one was a ...
15 votes
4 answers
17k views

Why is the king 'baffled' in "Hallelujah"?

At the end of the first verse of "Hallelujah"... It goes like this The fourth, the fifth The minor fall, the major lift The baffled king composing Hallelujah I take it the king is referring ...
3 votes
1 answer
144 views

"I saw the thunder and heard the lightning, and felt the burden of his shame"

Wikipedia's Gil Scott-Heron begins: Gilbert Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011) was an American jazz poet, singer, musician, and author known for his work as a spoken-word performer in the ...
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

Meaning of lines about the lamb in the Enigma song Rivers of Belief

A sentence in the Enigma song Rivers of Belief goes as follows: And when the Lamb opened the seventh seal, Silence covered the sky. There is a Biblical reference here. But I would like to know, what ...
3 votes
1 answer
255 views

What does "I've mortgaged all my castles in the air" mean?

From the lyrics of "Everything happens to me", what do these 2 lines mean? At first my heart thought you could break this jinx for me That love would turn the trick to end despair But now I ...
2 votes
1 answer
97 views

What does "To be continued" mean at the end of Michael W. Smith's "Go West, Young Man" album?

The song 1990 (at the end of Go West, Young Man) has the following lyrics: Oh listen when I say What does it profit a man now To gain a fortune And lose his soul? [Spoken:] To be continued The ...
0 votes
2 answers
76 views

A song in Pierre Martin's "Madame le Commissaire"

In the book "Madame le Commissaire" by Pierre Martin, Isabelle has dinner with her friends. A song by Edith Piaf plays in the background and Isabelle thinks about the meaning of the lyrics. ...
1 vote
0 answers
124 views

Who is Liza in Noel Coward's 'London Pride'?

In the song "London Pride" by Noel Coward, do the lyrics "Whoa, Liza" and/or "Oh, Liza," (depending on the version) followed by a mention of "Covent Garden Market,&...
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is the "color of boom"?

In Imagine Dragon's song Polaroid, there's a certain line that gets repeated throughout the song: I am the color of boom What is the meaning of this line? Does it mean like an explosion of color, or ...
4 votes
1 answer
162 views

Meaning of "sheer hulk" in the poem/song "Tom Bowling" by Charles Dibdin = "just a hulk of a ship" or "a floating crane"?

From the poem/song "Tom Bowling" by Charles Dibdin: Here a sheer hulk lies poor Tom Bowling, The darling of our crew; No more he'll hear the tempest howling, For death has broach'd him to: ...
7 votes
3 answers
899 views

What is the nature of the friendship in Don Henley's "My Thanksgiving"?

The first verse My Thanksgiving by Don Henley (from Inside Job) reads as follows: A lot of things have happened Since the last time we spoke Some of them are funny Some of 'em ain't no joke ...
5 votes
1 answer
196 views

Why does the painter make the shawl red in "Chadariya Jhini re Jhini"?

What does the poet want to convey with these lines? जब मोरी चादर बन घर आई रंगरेज़ को दीन्ही ऐसा रंग रँगा रँग रे ले लाल-ओ-लाल कर दीन्ही । jab mori chaadar, ban ghaar ayie, rang-rej ko dinhi. Aisa rang,...
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does 'gonna send a flood' mean in "This Is Me"?

I was recently listening to the One Voice Children's Choir's cover of "This Is Me" by Keala Settle: https://youtube.com/watch?v=uhzi7Shi2H0 Part of the chorus goes like this: When the sharpest ...
6 votes
2 answers
192 views

What does "I'm with the Switzerland wolves we bout to spit some jewels" mean?

In Snowgoons "Get Off the Ground" there's the following line: I'm with the Switzerland wolves we bout to spit some jewels What does that mean?
17 votes
2 answers
4k views

Who is the speaker in Leonard Cohen's song, "Avalanche"?

I understand that some of Cohen's songs have religious context, so when I heard the lyrics of this song that stated, "You strike my side by accident," I thought it could be symbolism of Jesus being ...
10 votes
1 answer
25k views

Origin and significance of E-I-E-I-O in the Old MacDonald song

The well-known children's song "Old MacDonald had a Farm" has lyrics in the following format: Old MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O ! And on that farm he had {article} {singular or plural ...
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Does Rush's "Tom Sawyer" promote an anti-religious view?

Rush's Tom Sawyer includes the following line: No, his mind is not for rent To any God or government Always hopeful yet discontent He knows changes aren't permanent But change is Is this ...
2 votes
3 answers
675 views

What are the "hands of love" in Exit?

The song Exit (from The Joshua Tree by U2) repeatedly refers to "the hands of love." The full lyrics are below: You know he got the cure But then he went astray He used to stay awake To drive ...
1 vote
1 answer
113 views

Why does "City of Blinding Lights" say that blessings go to both those who pray and those who steal?

The song City of Blinding Lights by U2 contains the following verse: In the city of blinding lights, The more you know The less you feel Some pray for, others steal Blessings not just for the ones ...
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

What words sung by Gloria Gaynor correspond to the line written in the lyrics of I Will Survive as "It took all the strength I had not to fall apart"?

The lyrics of Gloria Gaynor's song "I Will Survive" include the line "It took all the strength I had not to fall apart". You can hear here what she actually sings. With what words ...
9 votes
2 answers
7k views

What is the Myth of Fingerprints?

In Paul Simon's album Graceland there is a song, "All Around the World". This song has a repeating theme in its verses, always some variation of: There was no doubt about it, It was the ...
1 vote
2 answers
641 views

In "If I Had a Hammer", what are the "out" lines meant to indicate?

In the folk song "If I Had a Hammer" by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays, there's a recurring set of lyrics regarding the hammer, bell, and song that go like this: And I'd hammer out danger I'd ...
1 vote
1 answer
89 views

Meaning of "needle sure revs in the red" from "Rest"

From Alanis Morissette's song "Rest": All these relief-givers The needle sure revs in the red Alanis is known for tinkering with structure and meaning. What does this sentence mean? My ...
6 votes
2 answers
327 views

What's the meaning of "a knife in your throat held after dark" in the Silly Walk Song?

The so-called Silly Walk Song by the Monty Python troupe (lyrics and video here, lyrics in text form here) is mostly a lament of the tedium and futility of a life of money-induced drudgery. But there ...
6 votes
2 answers
5k views

What's the meaning of a pink carnation, as mentioned in these songs?

Several songs mention pink carnations. "A White Sport Coat (and a Pink Carnation)" by Marty Robbins A white sport coat and a pink carnation I'm all dressed up for the dance A white sport coat ...
2 votes
2 answers
271 views

Meaning of "I'm like melted ice cream" in milet's "jam"

From milet's song "jam" (2022): Driving in the summer with your 80's playlist I wish this night would never end like kissing in the backseat Hey, don't be shy, now I'm like melted ice cream ...
12 votes
1 answer
266 views

When was young Cosette's bedtime?

While the song "Come to Me" was probably not intended as a treatise on astronomical timekeeping or 19th-century French child-rearing, some of Fantine's lines (taken at face value) fit together for a ...
2 votes
3 answers
1k views

What are the thousand churches in "In your eyes"?

In your eyes by Peter Gabriel contains the following verse: in your eyes the light the heat in your eyes I am complete in your eyes I see the doorway (in your eyes) to a thousand churches ...
0 votes
0 answers
103 views

Did any poets or authors say that youth came after age before Bob Dylan?

In the song "My Back Pages" Bob Dylan famously inverted the usual chronological assumption of aging by poetically saying I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. This concept ...
1 vote
1 answer
478 views

What does "The Neck" mean in Herr Mannelig?

What does "the Neck" mean in the phrase "The spawn of the Neck and the Devil"? I've met it in the translation of the Swedish song Herr Mannelig (video). Af Neckens och djävulens ...
4 votes
2 answers
15k views

What is the meaning of the Gaelic lines in the song "Tír na nÓg"?

The song "Tír na nÓg", like many of the Celtic Woman songs, is partly in English and partly in Irish Gaelic. Unlike many of those Celtic Woman songs, this one doesn't seem to be based on a ...
2 votes
0 answers
107 views

Have the lyrics of the Song of Father Dûchene (Chanson du Père Dûchene) been translated into English?

The Song of Father Dûchene (Chanson du Père Dûchene) is an anarchist song written anonymously in France, probably in 1892, and which was famously sung by Ravachol on his way to the guillotine in July ...
1 vote
0 answers
40 views

What does “it” refer to in this song by Kensington?

To what does ‘it’ refer in "Part of Me" by Kensington? What is "a part of me"? It is a part of me And it breaks my heart to see I was a part of you When no one else could be
1 vote
1 answer
114 views

What does “watermarked the moon” mean?

The English lyrics of the song "A Requiem for Innocence", composed by Gao, from the soundtrack of the 2018 video game The House in Fata Morgana: A Requiem for Innocence, include the line “...
1 vote
0 answers
71 views

Why does Matilda's "Miracle" count in the wrong order?

In Matilda the Musical's opening number, "Miracle" (link to YouTube version of London cast recording), a couple of boys sing: My daddy says I'm his special little soldier, No one is as ...
4 votes
2 answers
222 views

What's the significance of Emilia's song at the end of Day 1 of the Decameron?

At the end of Day 1 of the Decameron, after the "crown" has been transferred from Pampinea to Filomena, they all have dinner together and then play music and dance. Emilia sings the ...
4 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why does Cat Stevens's Moonshadow talk about losing legs and eyes?

Cat Stevens's Moonshadow talks about losing body parts: And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land Oh if I ever lose my hands, oh if.... I won’t have to work no more And if ...
2 votes
2 answers
395 views

What, exactly, is the "Perfect Beast"?

The song Building the Perfect Beast by Don Henley repeats the following phrases several times: Soon he will be released Glory hallelujah! We're building the perfect beast Why does this include ...
3 votes
2 answers
654 views

Why did Bob Dylan choose Highway 61 for "Highway 61 Revisited"?

Highway 61 is an actual highway that goes north from New Orleans and ends up in Minnesota. Why did Dylan choose this particular highway, and how does it affect how we understand the song lyrics?
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

In "Close Every Door", why does 'for I know I shall find' change to the plural the second time?

In perhaps the most famous song of the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, "Close Every Door", we see these lyrics: Close every door to me Keep those I love from me Children of Israel ...