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"What's that song about?" Database

Allows songwriters to share what they're thinking with the ignorant masses
  (+21, -1)(+21, -1)(+21, -1)
(+21, -1)
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Most of the time, it's pretty easy to understand the general idea of a song's story. People fall in love, break each other's hearts, and express their remorse/lonliness/relief that it's over.

Some songs, though, I have no idea what they're about. I might understand the lyrics just fine, but they seem to be about nothing in particular. Sometimes they are about nothing in particular, such as the song "Loser" by Beck. Others, such as a good portion of the works of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and about half the songs by Cake, seem to have some message to share with the world, but can't quite get it across (at least to me).

I propose an online database where artists can explain exactly what statement they were trying to make with their music. If the songwriters still want to keep their fans in the dark, there would be message boards for fans to speculate. And I'm sure there would be plenty of battles over the meaning of songs between estranged members of rock bands that have split up.

Now that I think about it, this might lead to more confusion rather than clearing up anything.

discontinuuity, Jan 27 2007

Big Bro Betting http://www.readabet...other/article/10289
[po, Jan 27 2007]

Your Song http://www.murciain...ng_transcipcion.htm
By Elton John [DenholmRicshaw, Jan 27 2007]

(???) Big Name Little address
Not much of a point, [blissmiss, Jan 28 2007]

Cut - Up - Method http://en.wikipedia...ki/Cut-up_technique
how some of those of little brain get their ideas to seem cool, difficult and strangely inventive [xenzag, Jan 28 2007]

Imagine (wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Imagine_(song)
[po, Jan 28 2007]

_22My_20ears_20are_20alight_22 [hippo, Jan 29 2007]

It's Raining Men http://www.blackjel...ghts/rainingmen.htm
Not that anyone really wants to know. [hidden truths, Jan 29 2007]

Song Meanings.net http://www.songmeanings.net/
1 [hidden truths, Jan 29 2007]

Song Facts.com http://www.songfacts.com/
2 [hidden truths, Jan 29 2007]

Another Song Meaning site http://songmeaning.everydayslaughter.com/
3 [hidden truths, Jan 29 2007]

Song Crossfire http://www.songcrossfire.com/songs.php
4 [hidden truths, Jan 29 2007]

Music Meaning http://www.musicmeaning.com/
5 (OK, I'll stop now) [hidden truths, Jan 29 2007]

R&B explained http://www.kottke.o...er/07/01/12688.html
[Ian Tindale, Jan 30 2007]

How to make it even more obscure: Scat_20Text
[pertinax, Feb 02 2007]

Green Book Of Songs http://www.greenbookofsongs.com/
[sheuerma, Feb 02 2007]

(?) Penny Lane: Literal Video Version http://www.youtube....watch?v=1yJ2yWvGnkI
[Ian Tindale, Aug 20 2009]

Total Eclipse of the Heart: Literal Video Version http://www.youtube....watch?v=lj-x9ygQEGA
[Ian Tindale, Aug 20 2009]

Total Eclipse of the Heart, explained as a flowchart http://www.joeydevi...lipse-of-the-heart/
[Ian Tindale, Aug 20 2009]

[link]






       [+], even though Dylan will refuse to explain anything.
wagster, Jan 27 2007
  

       Interesting, I was building this in my mind yesterday, thinking about how this is probably how my public radio station always manages to come up with a pertinent ten second clip of music to close an article with. Somebody took the time to sort and catalog the music by subject.
normzone, Jan 27 2007
  

       Jermaine Jackson was going on about Billie Jean in the Big Bro house - she seemed to be a stalker of Michael. I'd quite to know more about that.   

       A lot of tracks are probably drug induced and not worth worrying about.
po, Jan 27 2007
  

       The BBC World Service used to broadcast "Pedagogical Pop" as a way to teach English. See link.
DenholmRicshaw, Jan 27 2007
  

       I often think our analyses of songs (or literature, for that matter) are purely unintentional by the author. E.g. it was all luck.
phundug, Jan 27 2007
  

       Yeah, that John Donne has a lot of explaining to do.
Gordon Comstock, Jan 28 2007
  

       a link please Frank.
po, Jan 28 2007
  

       What's a ;ink?
blissmiss, Jan 28 2007
  

       Many so called creative writers have simply plagerised the "cut -up method" originated by Trisan Tzara in 1920 and later deveoped by Brion Gysin. (see link) David Bowie was an exponent and I suspect Dylan has been also. Most other lyrics don't bare much scrutiny without revealing their triteness, so all in all I'm "agin it", so neutral.
xenzag, Jan 28 2007
  

       I don't believe //"Well axetually I just kinda like wrote it. I nevva finked to much abou' it. It ain't really about peace or nuffink." // for a moment.   

       John Lennon actually did a lot of *finking*
po, Jan 28 2007
  

       Dylan wrote 'Hard Rain' in the belief that the Cuban missile crisis would result in WW 3. He wanted to use up all the lyrical ideas that he had spare, so he just stuck them all in the same song. Keith Reid wrote the lyrics to 'Whiter Shade of Pale' and has no idea what they mean. Likewise Pete Brown with 'White Room' and many others.
angel, Jan 28 2007
  

       You just gettin up?
blissmiss, Jan 28 2007
  

       Stairway?
wagster, Jan 28 2007
  

       The trouble with this idea is that it would quickly become improportionately outweighed by the KLF section.
Ian Tindale, Jan 28 2007
  

       //KLF//   

       Kentucky Lried Fhicken?
skinflaps, Jan 29 2007
  

       //KLF??// Ancients Of Mu Mu.   

       There are *so* many songs that I have problems with. Karma Chameleon springs to mind, in fact most pop music of the 80's could have used accompanying notes that described, in simple terms, whatever it was the current painted artist was going on about.
zen_tom, Jan 29 2007
  

       Beware the Jabberwock my son!
DrBob, Jan 29 2007
  

       Guess the song from the meaning - "Something has set light to my ears, so they're alight. Also I'm yards too greasy".
hippo, Jan 29 2007
  

       It sounds like something Desmond Dekker might sing, "So that every mouse can beef head."
zen_tom, Jan 29 2007
  

       Ahh [bigsleep] I used to spend long afternoons wishing I could meet the lovely Elizabeth Fraser, and have her sing indecipherably to me.
zen_tom, Jan 29 2007
  

       Already existing. The second link is probably the best, it seems to be pretty much exactly what you're looking for here, with actual facts being posted on it. Although it seems to work in the same way as IMDB, as opposed to actual band members using it, which probably wouldn't happen. The other links are mostly the message board idea.   

       Also, Will Ferrell is right, nobody really knows the meaning of that 'My Humps' song.
hidden truths, Jan 29 2007
  

       [zen tom] I saw a Cocteau Twins concert once - they weren't what you might call a natural 'live' band.
hippo, Jan 30 2007
  

       Do we need all the mystery/fun sucked out of not really knowing what a song's about? I don't think so - even if the lyrics are crap, it's nice not to have a factual account of their meaning/genesis/background etc.   

       "A lot of tracks are probably drug induced and not worth worrying about." Why not, po? John Lennon, who you say "did a lot of *finking*" famously wrote while f*cked up. Also, less famously, he was a merely a middlingly talented rock and roll singer whose intellect was never as grand and expansive a thing as he thought it was. The lyrics to "Imagine" are trite and condescending to the point of inanity.   

       >>awaiting deluge of abuse<<
Murdoch, Jan 30 2007
  

       >>Receives none from me<<
angel, Jan 30 2007
  

       >>Recieves nod of silent agreement from me (on the "Imagine" part).<<
Veho, Jan 30 2007
  

       I'm somewhat wary of the consequences should this idea be applied to the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest. Do we really what to know what those people were thinking? I think not!
DrBob, Jan 30 2007
  

       "Imagine" is about the most self-obsessed, sanctimonious and dirge-like song ever written - or is writing the lyric "imagine no possessions" from a huge mansion in Surrey masterful irony?
hippo, Jan 30 2007
  

       Wow, I didn't expect to find others who feel the same way about "Imagine" as I do.
Noexit, Jan 30 2007
  

       After seeing how deeply some people try to analize lyrics on those message boards, I really don't care much anymore what some songs mean anymore.   

       And yes, "Imagine" is a pretty silly song when you think about it.
discontinuuity, Jan 30 2007
  

       yes, I knew this kind of opinion was at large.   

       a. I kind of like it   

       b. I wouldn't say no to the money it generated   

       c. Its harder to write good music/lyrics than armchair critics might *imagine*...   

       but then again I like "Woman" too...   

         

       also //Also, less famously, he was a merely a middlingly talented rock and roll singer whose intellect was never as grand and expansive a thing as he thought it was// is just your opinion even if by writing //less famously// you imply some secret knowledge.   

       ... and all this is just *my* opinion.
po, Jan 31 2007
  

       You may say, [po]'s a dreamer, but she's not the only one.
zen_tom, Jan 31 2007
  

       I reckon Lennon faked his death, and lived on as his new persona: Joe Dolce.
Ian Tindale, Jan 31 2007
  

       Lighten up Po. >>less famously<< doesn't imply secret knowledge - it means what it means. Perhaps you're reading too much into my anno. Maybe we should have a "What Does That Anno Mean?" database for occasions like this. As for the "your opinion" stuff, well - what the hell else would it be? Anyway, "It's just your opinion" really just means "I don't like what you said".   

       But that's just my opinion. ;)
Murdoch, Jan 31 2007
  

       //Lighten up Po. >>less famously<< doesn't imply secret knowledge // sorry but *less famously* means exactly that!   

       John was always my favourite Beatle - if he had not become world famous, made zillions of money, not left his wife for a weird artist and not got murdered by a demented fan when he was still young but had died of poverty unrecognised in a garret somewhere, then mebbe now you'd all be acclaiming his genius.   

       ;) lighten up! moi? most cheerful halfbaker here!
po, Jan 31 2007
  

       *ahem*   

       Vox which was, way back when, the monthly incarnation of the NME, used to have a double page spread given over, each issue, to deciphering what a given song was about. As I recall, it was almost always either by the Smiths of Suede.
calum, Jan 31 2007
  

       "The Smiths of Suede" was a sort of ironic puppet version of the Smiths, wasn't it? - with the vegetarian, animal-rights Smiths depicted with obviously animal-derived leather puppets.
hippo, Jan 31 2007
  

       I think, po, you'll find that I'M the most cheerful halfbaker. And I'll grind to dust with curmudgeonliness and bleeding-inducing crotchetiness anyone who says otherwise. John Lennon's genius was famously (I'm gonna do this all the time now) most trumpeted by his good self ("If there's such a thing as a genius, then I'm it" or suchlike)   

       The Smiths of Suede are actually a grumpy Manchester version of Plastic Bertrand. Have you heard their seminal "Ca Plane Pour Mr Shankly"?
Murdoch, Jan 31 2007
  

       <slap> <slap> <slap>   

       I feel better now.
po, Jan 31 2007
  

       The Smiths of Suede were the nemesis of both the Sultans of Swing, and Slade (as fronted, for a time, by Morrisey)
zen_tom, Jan 31 2007
  

       Thanks, po. I needed that.   

       Less famously, John L could have done with a good whack upside his head on this occasion (and others), as told by the poet Ginsberg in "No Direction Home". Ginsberg enters a room in which are sat Dylan and the Beatles. He takes a seat near Dylan - the only seat available - to which Lennon's reaction is, "So - that's the way it is." That's the way he was. My favourite lyric of his is:   

       "Woman, I can hardly explain,   

       Anything at all, really.   

       I'm just the ex-singer and rhythm guitarist of a uniquely brilliant beat combo   

       Who now lives in his bed, taking smack and growing a beard   

       And displaying all the worst traits of a wealthy hippy throwback with a chip on his shoulder."   

       I know this isn't the place for this conversation, but I like it anyway.
Murdoch, Jan 31 2007
  

       Bugger bastard typo.
calum, Jan 31 2007
  

       In the interests of clarification, I would just like to say
Shoo-be-de-doo-dah, Shoo-be-de-dah,
Doo-be-doo-wah, doo-wah;
Bump-a-diddle Dido, yackety-yack
a-wham-bam-baloobam baloo bamboo.
  

       Thank you. Thank you.
pertinax, Jan 31 2007
  

       Is that first line from "Blue Angel"?
hippo, Jan 31 2007
  

       "Bump-a-diddle Dido" is something I often think about, but I've never even met her (as if it would make any diff) and I think she already has a boyfriend.
Murdoch, Jan 31 2007
  

       Ah, pertinax...

Oompah loompah doopity do
I've got another lyric for you!
DrBob, Feb 01 2007
  

       [pertinax], whenever a song came on the radio with the lyrics "la la la," "shoo-be-de-doo-dah," etc., my grandpa would always claim that he wrote that part of the song.
discontinuuity, Feb 01 2007
  

       //Is that first line from "Blue Angel"?//   

       Not that I know of. The idea was to suggest that, if the song-writer had wanted to convey a clear meaning, then they would probably wouldn't have used song.   

       Then I thought, maybe you could convey things in scat, in a deliberately obscure way. So I posted that as a separate idea.
pertinax, Feb 02 2007
  

       There is "sort of" a book like that. Google the Green Book Of Songs.
sheuerma, Feb 02 2007
  

       What about songs that have contradictory meaning? Like the one that goes, "..you're so vain, that you think that this song is about you."
Jscotty, Feb 02 2007
  

       Due to the way that linewraps sometimes fall, I keep, well, not so much misreading, but being induced by resonances, misperceiving this idea's name as a sort of lazy stand-up comedians database of uninspired one liners about various songs, that all fit the pattern: "What about that Benny & The Jets song, eh? What's all that about?" without actually introducing any comedic premise whatsoever.
Ian Tindale, Feb 02 2007
  
      
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