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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17 votes
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What is the "Neon god" in "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel?

In Simon and Garfunkel's song The Sound of Silence1, there is the following passage in lyrics: And the people bowed and prayed To the neon god they made What is this neon god? Obviously, they ...
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16 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
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15 votes
4 answers
4k views

Explanation of the line 'But you don't really care for music, do you' in "Hallelujah"

In the first verse of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", there are these lines: Now, I've heard there was a secret chord That David played and it pleased the Lord But you don't really care for music,...
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13 votes
3 answers
12k 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 ...
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12 votes
0 answers
198 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 ...
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10 votes
1 answer
7k 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 ...
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9 votes
4 answers
1k views

What are the 'holy' and 'broken' Hallelujahs?

The third verse of "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen goes like this: You say I took the name in vain I don't even know the name But if I did well really what's it to you There's a blaze of light ...
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8 votes
5 answers
35k views

What is the significance of the words of the prophets being written on the subway wall?

The fifth verse of "The Sound of Silence" runs thusly: And the people bowed and prayed To the neon god they made And the sign flashed out its warning In the words that it was forming And ...
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8 votes
3 answers
3k views

How does the line 'your faith was strong but you needed proof' match the rest of the verse in "Hallelujah"?

The second verse of "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen goes like: Your faith was strong but you needed proof You saw her bathing on the roof Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you She tied you ...
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8 votes
2 answers
6k 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 ...
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8 votes
2 answers
767 views

What does Nuvoletta's disappearance signify in Finnegans Wake?

I am studying Samuel Barber's art song "Nuvoletta", whose text is adapted from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. I have not studied Finnegans Wake. The music is very beautiful. As I understand it, ...
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8 votes
0 answers
811 views

In "Bullet the Blue Sky", what is the symbolism of Jacob and the angel?

U2's song "Bullet the Blue Sky" was inspired by Bono's trip to El Salvadore in 1986, and America's role on the Salvadoran Civil War. As Bono said in an interview, And it upset me as a person who ...
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7 votes
1 answer
202 views

Is "Here we come a-wassailing" supposed to be sung at Christmas?

Here we come a-wassailing is a traditional Christmas tune but it has almost no mention of the traditional Christmas subjects. The only one I can see in the entire version printed in Wikipedia is in a ...
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7 votes
1 answer
138 views

In the song "Ja is Playing Jazz" (Джа играет джаз), who is Ja?

While listening to Splean's last album Ключ к шифру (The Key to the Cipher) again, I've wondered about a particular line from the song "Джа играет джаз" ("Ja is Playing Jazz"): Сегодня Джа играет ...
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  • 8,017
7 votes
1 answer
905 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 ...
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7 votes
3 answers
699 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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
759 views

Is the song "Mabel Grey" by Brown Bird an allusion to a real ship?

The song Mabel Grey, by Brown Bird contains peculiar lyrics. The lyrics are awfully specific about what happened to this ship, which is a common pattern I see when a song is referent to a real-life ...
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7 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
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6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why is the Star of the County Down referred to as Colleen?

While listening to the Irish Rovers version of the traditional Irish song "Star of the County Down", I noticed an apparent discrepancy in her name: Near Banbridge town, in the County Down ...
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6 votes
1 answer
256 views

How does this song lyric "Simple and Clean" scan?

From the English version of "Simple and Clean" by Utada Hikaru: When you walk away You don't hear me say Please, O baby, don't go Simple and clean is the way that you're making me feel ...
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6 votes
3 answers
20k views

The meaning of the line "and from your lips she drew the Hallelujah" in "Hallelujah"

"Hallelujah" contains a mix of Biblical themes. The first stanza mentions (King) David by name, and the first three lines of the second seem to refer to one of King David's stories (II Samuel 11). The ...
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6 votes
1 answer
370 views

What's the symbolism in The Twelve Days of Christmas?

The popular Christmas song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" has many different versions, but they're usually something along the lines of the following (final verse, which includes all the others): ...
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6 votes
1 answer
445 views

Meaning of "trente-six à soixante-huit chandelles" in Jean Ferrat's Ma France

The French singer-songwriter Jean Ferrat (1930 – 2010) wrote a number of controversial songs. One of his most beautiful songs, Ma France (1969), was banned from the radio for two years. It's last ...
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5 votes
3 answers
701 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 ...
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5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Does this phrase deliberately sound like "blackjack"?

The third verse and chorus of "Do It Again" by Steely Dan is as follows: Now you swear and kick and beg us that you're not a gamblin' man; Then you find you're back in Vegas with a handle in your ...
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5 votes
2 answers
7k views

Is Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall" supposed to be uplifting or mournful?

I've become interested in Bob Dylan's song "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall", which I find perplexing and hard to make sense of. Looking at the lyrics, it seems that there is quite a bit of ambiguity as to ...
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5 votes
1 answer
143 views

What are the "garment thin" and the "prize" in the song "The Ballad of the Shape of Things to Come"?

From the song "The Ballad of the Shape of Things to Come" (lyrics link): Triangular is the piece of pie I eat to ease my sorrow Triangular is the hatchet blade I plan to hide tomorrow ...
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5 votes
1 answer
434 views

Is "and if I'm flying solo" a pun in "Defying Gravity"?

In the song "Defying Gravity", part of the musical Wicked, there's this section: So if you care to find me Look to the western sky As someone told me lately "Everyone deserves the ...
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  • 19.2k
5 votes
1 answer
142 views

Why is the folk song Cutty Wren included in Arnold Wesker's play Chips With Everything?

Arnold Wesker's play Chips with Everything is an examination of class attitudes in Britain through the window of the armed forces. In one scene a group of conscripts sing the peculiar English folk ...
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5 votes
1 answer
132 views

Meaning of “rose” and “bleu” in Alain Bashung's “Résidents de la république ”

Alain Bashung's song “Résidents de la république” (part of the album Bleu pétrole, 2008) contains the following lines: Résidents, résidents de la république Où le rose a des reflets bleus The ...
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  • 38.2k
5 votes
1 answer
270 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 ...
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  • 63.1k
5 votes
0 answers
63 views

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

What does the poet wants to convey with these lines? rang-rej ko dinhi. Aisa rang, ranga rang re le, lal-o-lal kar dinhi. English translation: it was given to a master-painter. He painted the ...
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5 votes
0 answers
3k views

Why is the introduction different for the video and streaming versions of Lamar's Humble?

The video version of Kendrick Lamar's single Humble begins with the following three lines: Wicked or weakness You gotta see this Waaaaay (yeah, yeah!) However, the version of the song on ...
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5 votes
0 answers
72 views

Did Timrod inspire Dylan before 'Modern Times'?

Bob Dylan's album Modern Times has many passages famously inspired by (some say plagiarised from) the poetry of Henry Timrod. Do any of Dylan's earlier works also clearly reflect the influence of ...
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  • 4,816
4 votes
3 answers
10k views

"I've seen your flag on the marble arch"

From Leonard Cohen's "Halleluj'ah": Baby, I've been here before -- I know this room, I've walked this floor: I used to live alone before I knew you. I've seen your flag on the ...
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  • 255
4 votes
1 answer
341 views

Name of this lyrical device comparing oneself to something that's described by the same word, but in another sense of the word?

Warning: The examples contain some offensive words, but I believe that is not against the rules here? Lately I've been listening a lot to a certain hip-hop album, in which almost every track uses a ...
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  • 187
4 votes
1 answer
147 views

What was the "cyclops' smoky band" to which Ewan MacColl's father belonged?

Ewan MacColl's song "My Old Man" contains the lyrics: My old man was a good old man Skilled in the moulding trade In the stinking heat of the iron foundry My old man was made Down on his ...
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  • 471
4 votes
1 answer
502 views

What does "steal my crown" mean in Kacey Musgraves's Butterflies?

I was enjoying a song "Butterflies" by Kacey Musgraves and in the lyrics there is "Stealing my heart 'stead of stealing my crown". What does "steal my crown" mean? I am ...
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4 votes
1 answer
253 views

Who classified Rabindranath Tagore's lyrics into the six standard categories?

The standard edition of Rabindranath Tagore's song lyrics, গীতবিতান / giitabitaan, "A Canopy of Songs", classifies the lyrics under six headings: পূজা / puujaa, "Worship" স্বদেশ / ...
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  • 15.3k
4 votes
2 answers
127 views

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

In Snowgoons "Get Off the Ground" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yih_bMc5B7o) there's the following line: I'm with the Switzerland wolves we bout to spit some jewels What does that mean?
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4 votes
1 answer
503 views

Why does the Phantom call both Christina and himself "Angel of Music?"

In the 1986 musical The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the Phantom seems to frequently refer to both himself and Christina as "Angel of Music". For example, in "The Mirror/Angel of Music ...
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4 votes
2 answers
79 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 ...
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  • 63.1k
4 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
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  • 455
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why are the U2 CDs named after "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience" by William Blake?

U2 has an album named "Songs of Innocence" and a second, more recent album named "Songs of Experience". These appear to at least be named after the William Blake poetry. What is the relationship ...
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4 votes
1 answer
300 views

What is the meaning of "Won't Tell" by Babes in Toyland?

Babes In Toyland has long been one of my favorite rock bands for the raw power of the music and vocals, but I've always felt as though there is a complexity to the lyrics of "Won't Tell", compared to, ...
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  • 3,940
4 votes
1 answer
882 views

On the use of the word "thief" in Imagine Dragons' "Thief"

The chorus of Imagine Dragons' "Thief" (from the deluxe version of the album Smoke + Mirrors), written by Clare Reynolds and Natalie Maree Dunn, goes like this: So take me back When I believed ...
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  • 5,556
4 votes
0 answers
150 views

What is the relationship between Tagore's poems and his song lyrics?

Rabindranath Tagore composed and wrote the lyrics for approximately 2,200 songs, collectively known as Rabindra Sangeet, "Rabindra music". These songs remain immensely popular in India and ...
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  • 15.3k
4 votes
0 answers
39 views

In what way would windows appease or calm us?

Alain Bashung's song Sur un trapèze, with lyrics by Gaëtan Roussel (see the Wikipedia article about the album Bleu pétrole, released in 2008), begins with the following lines (emphasis and links ...
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  • 38.2k
4 votes
0 answers
732 views

What does "Rebirth of Slick" mean when it quotes "On the Subway"?

Digable Planets' Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like That) ("Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)," 1993, track 06, released as a single in 1992) (genius.com link) quotes the "blink blink" passages ...
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  • 4,816
4 votes
0 answers
85 views

What's all the blinking about?

On the Subway ("The Last Poets," 1970, track 02) (genius.com link) concludes with shouting the word "blink" a lot, and I'm not sure what it means. On the surface level, I figure it might be ...
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