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Eudoxia just posted "I don't think Neil is a poetic kind of guy".

Well, I'm sorry Eudoxia but if you make statements like that you're going to start a new thread Wink.

Tell your husband to stop eating and pull out the lyrics to

4 Seasons in One Day,
Fingers of Love,
Private Universe and
Kare Kare to start with.

These four songs on there own are packed with beautiful poetic images, metaphors,analogies, etc. To say Neil and Tim aren't musical poets suggests you and I are not listening to the same music Wink.

So come on Frenz, what lyrics do you consider to be evidence of Neil and Tim at their most poetic, or maybe you agree with Eudoxia that the poetry just isn't there:

I'll start with:

Four seasons in one day
Lying in the depths of your imagination
Worlds above and worlds below
The sun shines on the black clouds hanging over the domain


Some of the most beautiful lines of poetry ever written IMO.
we like it different passion & commitment
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Kittybear, this is an "under the belt blow"!

First, because I wrote also If he was, he lost it a bit.
Infact I find his lyrics pre 2000 (both with SE and CH) much more poetic. He stumbled with words, sometimes, but they are better than the last he wrote (IMHO).

Oh well, I know I'll have to defend myself a lot on this... Frowner

Second, you picked Kare Kare that's on the Celestial category to me, one of my favourites of all times (not speaking of CH here, but on an absolute scale). I have nothing bad or even merely critical to say about that song.

I guess that Neil lost some of his (very risky) taste, the one that allowed him to write about adult, sad, dangerous topics without becoming sometime... let's say predictable.

Just to be absolutely accurate, I want to state that to me Neil IS a MUSICAL poet, and infact he does poetry with his music . Not with his words, at least not all the times.

And I don't remember citing Tim... Eeker Is it the alzheimer???

-
quote:
Originally posted by Eudoxia:
Kittybear, this is an "under the belt blow"!

First, because I wrote also If he was, he lost it a bit.
Infact I find his lyrics pre 2000 (both with SE and CH) much more poetic. He stumbled with words, sometimes, but they are better than the last he wrote (IMHO).

Oh well, I know I'll have to defend myself a lot on this... Frowner

Second, you picked Kare Kare that's on the Celestial category to me, one of my favourites of all times (not speaking of CH here, but on an absolute scale). I have nothing bad or even merely critical to say about that song.

I guess that Neil lost some of his (very risky) taste, the one that allowed him to write about adult, sad, dangerous topics without becoming sometime... let's say predictable.

Just to be absolutely accurate, I want to state that to me Neil IS a MUSICAL poet, and infact he does poetry with his music . Not with his words, at least not all the times.

And I don't remember citing Tim... Eeker Is it the alzheimer???

-


Please, don't feel it's below the belt, it was not personal! All you've done is just stimulate a new thread of thoughts and conversation, which is always fun! Smiler Smiler
Below the belt because of Kare Kare. I love that song so much that I'm completely defenseless, you just hitted on one of my soft points...

But as you say thoughts and conversation are always useful. And many times I find interesting cues in opinions different from mine.

Only I suspect your idea of poetry is very different from mine... Razzer

And I'm very curious to hear the other Frenzs on this, anyway Smiler

-
You want poetry from Neil?? Pull out a copy of Love This Life and flick to ANY page at random...

OK, here we are, book in hand. Quick flick finds me at page 125...

In her soft wind I will whisper
In her warm sun I will glisten
Till we see her once again
In a world without end.


Another flick lands me at page 44...

The wind is howling at your back
The past is always overturned
It's a dead man who would refuse
And twice the man to fill his shoes.

This game can be played almost endlessly...
"Another pleasant day in the countryside
Ended up in tears on a stormy night
'Cause you can't follow my directions home"

(...)

"God knows where the satellite's taking us
Can't tell what is right in front of us"

(...)

"Restless, hopeful, in silence I wait
With a blank piece of paper on the top of my head"

Ahem, pure poetry?

-
Ahhh I see.
So we can only say Neil's lyrics are poetic if every line from every song is poetic?

Throughout his career there are examples of songs that are more straightforward and less poetic. So what? He should write how he feels inspired to write. A song doesn't have to be poetic to be a good song, and Neil has never claimed to be a poet.

However, I find that there is usually a degree of poetry in his songwriting. Sometimes, it's a significant portion of the song. Sometimes it is just one profound line. Often it is a breathtakingly beautiful.

So, okay, you can give an example of a song that is not really poetic. I can find plenty of those two. I can show you lots of pictures of birds that are not in flight, but that doesn't mean they can't fly. Just because he isn't always, consistently poetic doesn't mean he isn't poetic at all.
Well said HF, and to add, who am I or anyone else to say what is poetic or not.

I can go to an art museum and see beautiful peices, then get to the abstract section and that mess is all called art to someone to. And goes for some of the same money.

I don't really feel that any of Neil's work is a mess, some a little more abstract than others, but no right out messes. My point is only that I don't judge, because it doesn't make me right.
quote:
Originally posted by TruTwisty:
My point is only that I don't judge, because it doesn't make me right.


I disagree, Twisty, Eudoxia is completely entitled to her opinion, she doesn't find some of Neil's writing "poetic" in the way that some other Frenz do.

I'm wondering if part of the issue might me that Eudoxia has English as a second language and therefore she hasn't been exposed to much poetry in English. Maybe this means she relates to the words differently when they are detached from the music and laid bare on the page.

My reasoning behind this thread was to draw out some of Neil and Tim's greater "poetic" moments so that maybe she might be able to find something in them that reaches her "poetically" and gain a wider perspective on the music.
quote:
Originally posted by Eudoxia:
"Another pleasant day in the countryside
Ended up in tears on a stormy night
'Cause you can't follow my directions home"

(...)

"God knows where the satellite's taking us
Can't tell what is right in front of us"

(...)

"Restless, hopeful, in silence I wait
With a blank piece of paper on the top of my head"

Ahem, pure poetry?

-


Eudoxia, I grant that DSN is more like good prose than poetry. It is in fact based around an incident when the satnav let down Sharon and she end it lost and upset in the back lanes of the Somerset countryside. But even when Neil is being prosaic, he ends up waxing lyrical in the most poetic manner,

"In a church house ten miles out of town
Is the devil gonna track me down
When you travel through a tunnel in the trees
Just remember that's how you get to me

There's no number on the house
The birds are heading south
Sometimes you have to turn
The wrong way âround
Sometimes you get too close to nowhere now"

He's talking about directions home, but there's no ,"you turn left at the next junction", instead the devil's there, a tunnel through the trees, birds in the sky. All sorts odd things that only occur to someone wanting to explain how it feels to feel lost and frightened and confused.
quote:
Originally posted by Kittybear:
quote:
Originally posted by TruTwisty:
My point is only that I don't judge, because it doesn't make me right.


I disagree, Twisty, Eudoxia is completely entitled to her opinion, she doesn't find some of Neil's writing "poetic" in the way that some other Frenz do.


Unless I'm mistaken, I think you actually DO agree. I think you both more or less said the same thing a different way, just that Twisty was emphasizing that she tries not to judge what she doesn't see as poetry/art/whatever because she recognizes that someone else might.
quote:
Originally posted by Half-Full:

Ahhh I see.
So we can only say Neil's lyrics are poetic if every line from every song is poetic?


To be honest I highlighted the most prosaic parts to be more easily understood, but I find ALL that lyric very "unpoetic". Kittybear underlines some of the... lets say "less worst" parts (I bet you can't say that in English!), but I still find it... well, it ruined a very good music to me.

quote:
(idem)
Throughout his career there are examples of songs that are more straightforward and less poetic. So what? He should write how he feels inspired to write .
quote:


Oh, definitely! It's the artist's prerogative, and I will never never deny this right to an artist. he's entitled to make the choices he wants.
But I can judge the results.

A song doesn't have to be poetic to be a good song, and Neil has never claimed to be a poet.


I'm happy you agree with me, here. Wink

quote:
(idem)
However, I find that there is usually a degree of poetry in his songwriting. Sometimes, it's a significant portion of the song. Sometimes it is just one profound line. Often it is a breathtakingly beautiful.


Sometimes breathtakingly beautiful, sometimes poetic, often interesting (even if not poetic), often... Ok, sometimes prosaic. Sonetimes to a degree I find barely endurable.

quote:
(idem)
So, okay, you can give an example of a song that is not really poetic. I can find plenty of those two. I can show you lots of pictures of birds that are not in flight, but that doesn't mean they can't fly. Just because he isn't always, consistently poetic doesn't mean he isn't poetic at all.


And just because he is poetic sometimes, doesn't mean he he's a poetic person. BTW, it's not an insult to him. I stated IMO he does poetry with his music, and I'm ready to repeat that in front of anyone (I bet you don't use this expression in English. OH God!).

quote:
Originally posted by Trutwisty:

I can go to an art museum and see beautiful peices, then get to the abstract section and that mess is all called art to someone to. And goes for some of the same money.

I don't really feel that any of Neil's work is a mess, some a little more abstract than others, but no right out messes. My point is only that I don't judge, because it doesn't make me right.


Do you realize that if you don't judge, you're not stating that something is bad, but you're also stating that something is good?
In the moment you consider Neil's music beautiful you're judging. In the moment you think CH songs are fantastic you're making a judgement. In the moment you hear something you don't like you're judging (even if you don't say it).
It's impossible not to judge, you would simply stall.

I judge music instead. It's the reason I'm here. I judgement is that Neil's music is gorgeous.

quote:
originally posted by Kittybear:

I'm wondering if part of the issue might me that Eudoxia has English as a second language and therefore she hasn't been exposed to much poetry in English. Maybe this means she relates to the words differently when they are detached from the music and laid bare on the page.


Here you probably hitted the right point. I suspect more and more that my sensibility to words as poetry is quite different from that of a native. But I haven't the faintest idea how to deal with this. I would need an extra life to have the time to study anglosaxon poetry.
I can only relate to my sensibility and my own culture, and anyway as you say in the end it'a matter of opinions... Smiler

quote:
Originally posted by Half-Full:

I think you both more or less said the same thing a different way, just that Twisty was emphasizing that she tries not to judge what she doesn't see as poetry/art/whatever because she recognizes that someone else might.


Back to the issue of judging, I just want to point out that every time you value something there is someone else that might not share you're opinion.

I guess it's more a question of respect. If someone is going to say that Neil's lyrics are a load of s*** in my presence, I'll probably punch him/her on the nose. But if someone criticize with cognition, explaining his/her reasoning, I can only answer (not punch).

Well, I can see the consecutio temporum agonizing in the corner. I have to go and stop her sufferings. Sorry if I wrote some horribly wrong sentence (grammatically wise). Hope you understand the message...

-
Did a mess with the quotes at a certain point, I will try to do it better:

quote:
OPB Half-Full:

Throughout his career there are examples of songs that are more straightforward and less poetic. So what? He should write how he feels inspired to write .


Oh, definitely! It's the artist's prerogative, and I will never never deny this right to an artist. he's entitled to make the choices he wants.
But I can judge the results.

quote:
(idem) A song doesn't have to be poetic to be a good song, and Neil has never claimed to be a poet.


I'm happy you agree with me, here. Wink

My fingers can be as unruly as Half-Full ones. I wonder if I can straighten them...

-
Errata corrige:

(reply to Trutwisty) "but you're also stating that something is good?"

is obviously "but you're also NOT stating etc,"

and "I judgement is that Neil's music is gorgeous." is "My judgement etc".

(reply to Kittybear) "as you say in the end it'a matter of opinions..." the poor it missed his "is" verb.

(reply to Half-Full) "there is someone else that might not share you're opinion". I suspect the "you're" is an intruder, and it should be "your" intead, but my fingers swear over their nails it' correct this way. I'm not convinced...

If you spot other mistakes blame them on the alzheimer (please!)
(and I will never again write a river of a post like this! Frowner )

-
I would like to clarify something for Eudoxia, that the word "judgement" can have slightly different meanings depending on how it is used.

Yes, it's true that we all make judgements of what we like or dislike, as an expression of our own opinions and preferences. When someone says they don't like to judge, though, they are referring to something a little different. They mean they are not judging the person who has a different opinion, and are not trying to rate their own opinions, preferences or beliefs as superior.

So what Twisty is saying is that, while she has her own opinions about what she prefers, she is not judging other people as having an inferior ability to judge for themselves.
quote:
Originally posted by Half-Full:
I would like to clarify something for Eudoxia, that the word "judgement" can have slightly different meanings depending on how it is used.

So what Twisty is saying is that, while she has her own opinions about what she prefers, she is not judging other people as having an inferior ability to judge for themselves.


I was just about to do the same thing ie. clarify for Eudoxia my view of Twisty's use of the word "judge", but I read it differently from Half-Full.

I believe Twisty was using the word "judge" as a simile for "criticise". So Eudoxia (rightly) thought it was strange for Twisty to say she doesn't "judge" because that would mean she has no opinions at all, good or bad. Whereas Twisty was trying to say she doesn't "criticise" Neil's lyrics, and gave the analogy of abstract art as something she herself doesn't like, but doesn't "criticise" it because she realises that someone else probably views it as wonderful art.

This is just an example of how we native English speakers can be sloppier in our use of English than a non-native, who has to translate our words more literally than we do.
quote:
Originally posted by Runner:
quote:
Originally posted by Half-Full:
I would like to clarify something for Eudoxia, that the word "judgement" can have slightly different meanings depending on how it is used.

So what Twisty is saying is that, while she has her own opinions about what she prefers, she is not judging other people as having an inferior ability to judge for themselves.


I was just about to do the same thing ie. clarify for Eudoxia my view of Twisty's use of the word "judge", but I read it differently from Half-Full.

I believe Twisty was using the word "judge" as a simile for "criticise". So Eudoxia (rightly) thought it was strange for Twisty to say she doesn't "judge" because that would mean she has no opinions at all, good or bad. Whereas Twisty was trying to say she doesn't "criticise" Neil's lyrics, and gave the analogy of abstract art as something she herself doesn't like, but doesn't "criticise" it because she realises that someone else probably views it as wonderful art.

This is just an example of how we native English speakers can be sloppier in our use of English than a non-native, who has to translate our words more literally than we do.


Yes, this too Smiler
I admit I'm really confused.

I really don't understand now which word I should choose to describe my opinion...

Runner comes very near to it:

quote:
So Eudoxia (rightly) thought it was strange for Twisty to say she doesn't "judge" because that would mean she has no opinions at all, good or bad.


That's exactly was I was trying to convey. I agonize on my dictionaries trying to find the correct words and verbs to express my opinion, but it's a tricky thing because shades of meanings change with the time so a 20 or 10 years old dictionary can be out of touch with the spoken, living language.
That's the reason I ask you so often to be patient, it's really hard sometimes to try to explain myself...

But Half-Full amazes me:

quote:
Yes, it's true that we all make judgements of what we like or dislike, as an expression of our own opinions and preferences. When someone says they don't like to judge, though, they are referring to something a little different. They mean they are not judging the person who has a different opinion, and are not trying to rate their own opinions, preferences or beliefs as superior.

So what Twisty is saying is that, while she has her own opinions about what she prefers, she is not judging other people as having an inferior ability to judge for themselves.


Do you mean that if I (as an example) "judge" a picture, I'm judging the painter? If I say "I don't like this picture" is like saying "I don't like anything you do"? Because you can't like a painter's picture, but like a lot everything else he did.

To me it's obvious that if you criticize a work (output?) you're giving your opinion on that work only, not on the author.

Correct me if I'm wrong, Please try to explain this better because it's really strange to me. I'm not sure I understood the nuance... Eeker

Is there a verb more accurate to describe an opinion, without dissing (well, I hope this is right!) an artist/author? I know how hard and difficult is to create, so I will always criticize works, not persons.

-
Well, that's where it's tricky. The word "judge", as I said, can mean slightly different things depending on how it is used. Sometimes "judge" just means to rate or evaluate, which is how you have been using it. If you're clear that you're judging the painting or the book, I think that people will understand what you mean. Sometimes, though, judging can mean making negative generalizations or harsh criticisms, especially about people.

"I don't like to judge" is a common phrase people say, and it does not mean that you don't have your own opinions. It means you don't mean to denounce or criticize, or that you don't like making unfair or hasty generalizations about something or someone.

If I'm not being clear enough, someone else can jump in!

Don't worry, saying you don't like a painting doesn't mean you don't like anything they do.

You're doing a pretty good job explaining yourself. English is a tricky language with lots of nuances.
WOW!! Opps I did it again!

Eudoxia I am so sorry to have created so much confusion for you!

And I greatly appreciate the attempts made on my behalf to correct or explain. I stand behind those explanations, the closest of which may be Runner's with the word criticise.

I certainly don't feel anyone should not have an opinion, least of all myself because then what would any of us have to talk about?!

I think my earlier post was simply my way of extending HF's explanation in my own words. I wasn't suggesting that anyone should not have an opinion because to me a judgement and an opinion are different things.

To me a judgement would be hearing one song by an artist or band and saying "I don't like that music and I never want to hear anything else they have to offer" An opinion to me, would be saying, "I don't like that song and here's why..."

I hope that helps to clear things up. I will try to remember when I'm typing that some of my English laziness will fall flat on ears of other tongues Smiler

Eudoxia, I value your input in these forums and would never purposely put down yours, or any other's opinions. Something I have found helpful when reading posts from anyone is to first think that no matter how negative a post sounds, that no one here is here to piss people off for fun. If it sounds like someone is more negative than is appropriate for the forum, I take a step back and try my best to see what the person is trying to say in the most neutral tone possible in my head. This helps me to see when even though some of us have strong opinions and strong ways of conveying them, that we are all here for the love of the music and there is no ill will to be found here Smiler
Lyric verse (defined for simplicity's sake as verse with a regular meter or pattern of meters, frequently but not always rhymed) is one form of poetry, and it would be odd indeed for anyone to claim otherwise.

From time immemorial to "Time Immemorial" and beyond, lyric poetry has often been set to music (a lyre, for instance). However, it's not necessary to do so. Lyric verse remains a type of poetry whether or not it is set to music.

Certainly not all song lyrics are of this type. I've heard and performed free-form unmetered pieces, whether sung melodically or delivered in spoken-word style, and set to music as songs, but not in any sense "lyric poetry" - despite being in some sense "lyrics." The verses of "Wild Thing" by the Troggs would be a good example, though the refrain reverts to a strong and simple meter & rhyme.

None of which really muddies the issue at all! Even if one wanted to disqualify such pieces as "poetry" (a dubious critique - one that would seem to hinge on a claim that free verse, unmetered, unrhymed, is not poetry), still lyric verse is a species of poetry, whether arranged as a song or not.

And it must be beyond question that the majority (all?) of the Finn's song lyrics are species of lyric verse. The conventional use of rhyme, meter and stanzas, the personal and emotional content, all typical of the old-school lyric tradition. This is lyric poetry.

But so what? So is "Pour Some Sugar On Me."

The fact that the form of a given work falls within the classification for a type of art does not make it good art. Even if it is a perfect example of the type, it can still be a lousy piece of work.
In the true spirit of Voltaire, I'd like to reiterate my view that everyone is entitled to express their opinion/judgement.

Provided that opinion or judgement is honest, legal and decent, it has equal validity with any other view. After all there are no rights and wrongs here only music, lyrics and our personal perceptions of it.
quote:
OPB Half-Full:

English is a tricky language with lots of nuances


A very tricky one, indeed. With a lot of words and an awful lot of nuances. Seemingly easy... They say about learning languages: 3 months for English, 3 years for French, 30 years for Germany (and how much for Mandarin? 300 years?). But my idea is that all languages has more or less the same degree of difficulty and speakers tend to supply to the semplicity of structure with "shadow structures" and so many nuances of meaning.

I'm glad that you and Trutwisty made this point, anyway, because I did'nt know this shade of "To judge/Judgement". The meaning you all give to that verb seems to be equal to the one we give to "criticize" in italian: that's negative, unless clearly stated (you may go to the point of clarify it's not "malevolent criticizing"). To judge is much more neutral (unless on penal matters, of course). If I say I'm giving a judgement on something is like saying I'm giving my opinion on that.

This bring me to ask which word is appropriate, if I only want to express my personal opinion. I see Half-Runner use "rate" and "evaluate". Any other suggestion?

I want also to state that I'm not offended at all if you correct me when I'm wrong. To better my knowing of the language can only be useful!

quote:
OPB Kittybear:

In the true spirit of Voltaire, I'd like to reiterate my view that everyone is entitled to express their opinion/judgement.


Thank you Kittybear, but I guess the trouble was only the different meaning we gave to the word.

I'll be cruising through the CH lyrics next days, I'll try to specify more carefully my stance on poetic matters... (I hope to do a better job this time Wink )

BTW, I shortened the "Originally Posted BY" to OPB, I hope it's not bad-mannered Smiler

-
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Sadly:
Lyric verse (defined for simplicity's sake as verse with a regular meter or pattern of meters, frequently but not always rhymed) is one form of poetry, and it would be odd indeed for anyone to claim otherwise.

From time immemorial to "Time Immemorial" and beyond, lyric poetry has often been set to music (a lyre, for instance). However, it's not necessary to do so. Lyric verse remains a type of poetry whether or not it is set to music.

Certainly not all song lyrics are of this type. I've heard and performed free-form unmetered pieces, whether sung melodically or delivered in spoken-word style, and set to music as songs, but not in any sense "lyric poetry" - despite being in some sense "lyrics." The verses of "Wild Thing" by the Troggs would be a good example, though the refrain reverts to a strong and simple meter & rhyme.

None of which really muddies the issue at all! Even if one wanted to disqualify such pieces as "poetry" (a dubious critique - one that would seem to hinge on a claim that free verse, unmetered, unrhymed, is not poetry), still lyric verse is a species of poetry, whether arranged as a song or not.

And it must be beyond question that the majority (all?) of the Finn's song lyrics are species of lyric verse. The conventional use of rhyme, meter and stanzas, the personal and emotional content, all typical of the old-school lyric tradition. This is lyric poetry.

But so what? So is "Pour Some Sugar On Me."

The fact that the form of a given work falls within the classification for a type of art does not make it good art. Even if it is a perfect example of the type, it can still be a lousy piece of work.


Thank you Mr S for this great post Smiler , I agree with your general point that the question is not whether songs are lyrical verse or poetry, (as you have pointed out most songs share the key technical requirements) but whether they make good poetry or whether they have depth.

My response is a that a song's lyrics and their merit as "poetry" can only be evaluated from what an individual reader/listener gains from the experience of hearing/reading them.

To illustrate, let me briefly compare and contrast two songs I really like:

Firstly Bohemian Like you by the Dandy Warhols

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovUGFmF0MF4 (Bohemian like you with lyrics)

This song is the tale of a lustful guy, a girl and her ex-lover/lodger and it centers around his efforts to chat her up. The language in the lyrics is unambiguous, you're left in no doubt what he wants and the lengths he's prepared to to go to get it. It's amusing, but there's no depth, you don't understand how the people are feeling and therefore you don't really care. The song works because it's carried along by some great drums, rhythms and some stonking Rolling Stones style electric guitar riffs.

Contrast that the Neil Finn's Into Temptation,

This song uses a mixture prose and poetry to tell the tale of a guy and his brief affair with a girl in a "new blue dress". Through the lyrics you don't learn much superficial information about the characters but through the poetic licence Neil use's in the lyrics you learn a lot about the way they feel.

Our lovers are not just lustful, they are torn, yet they are compelled and I know from the strength of the poetry exactly how they feel. Phrases like "Into temptation, knowing full well the earth will rebel", or "into your wide open arms, no way to break this spell, don't tell" and "the cradle is soft and warm" speak of their emotional conflict, compulsion and seduction. When I listen I really feel for these people that I don't even know, the poetry makes me care.

To conclude, I listen to songs all the time and in most circumstances I don't even hear or understand the lyric, it's not necessary to enjoy the music. But I gain so much from Neil's lyrics because of the poetry that I make a determined effort to try to appreciate them in their own right. Now I've been doing this for years and in a lot of cases I still don't understand them, but regardless I find myself consistently awestruck by their beauty and depth.
quote:
OPB Mr. Sadly:

None of which really muddies the issue at all! Even if one wanted to disqualify such pieces as "poetry" (a dubious critique - one that would seem to hinge on a claim that free verse, unmetered, unrhymed, is not poetry), still lyric verse is a species of poetry, whether arranged as a song or not.

And it must be beyond question that the majority (all?) of the Finn's song lyrics are species of lyric verse. The conventional use of rhyme, meter and stanzas, the personal and emotional content, all typical of the old-school lyric tradition. This is lyric poetry.

But so what? So is "Pour Some Sugar On Me."

The fact that the form of a given work falls within the classification for a type of art does not make it good art. Even if it is a perfect example of the type, it can still be a lousy piece of work.


Sorry, Mr. Sadly, I'm not sure I understood correctly everything you wrote. To me there's a logic jump between disqualifying lyrics as poetry (never done that) and with this disqualifying free verse, unmetered, unrhymed verse as well.

So I'm not sure how to answer. I think that song lyrics can be poetry. Not all of them, anyway. I believe that poetry can be metered, unmetered, rhymed, unrhymed, free versed. It's not the formal shape that determines poetry to me, it's an important aspect, but not the chief one.

Kittybear maybe express this better than me:

quote:
My response is a that a song's lyrics and their merit as "poetry" can only be evaluated from what an individual reader/listener gains from the experience of hearing/reading them.


And to me the deepness of feelings a text or song lyric can convey is an important factor to elevate that to poetry. That AND the way they are expressed through rhythm, the choice of words, the elegance of the verse. AND the deepness of the meaning, or at least the ability to suggest one.


quote:
OPB Kittybear:

Contrast that the Neil Finn's Into Temptation,

This song uses a mixture prose and poetry to tell the tale of a guy and his brief affair with a girl in a "new blue dress". Through the lyrics you don't learn much superficial information about the characters but through the poetic licence Neil use's in the lyrics you learn a lot about the way they feel.

Our lovers are not just lustful, they are torn, yet they are compelled and I know from the strength of the poetry exactly how they feel. Phrases like "Into temptation, knowing full well the earth will rebel", or "into your wide open arms, no way to break this spell, don't tell" and "the cradle is soft and warm" speak of their emotional conflict, compulsion and seduction. When I listen I really feel for these people that I don't even know, the poetry makes me care.


Even if I don't share all of Kittybear interpretation of the song, I admit that most of the images Neil evoke are beautiful and powerful, so much to "dress" very attractively a matter that can be... let say problematic.

And it was the first song that come to my mind as a poetic Neil's lyric.

But in the end Mr.Sadly's post troubled me a lot. I'm been thinking about this all the morning, trying to understand why to me Neil's music is pure poetry, and his words only sometimes. And why I have the impression (not the opinion) that he's not a poetic person.

I have to dig this out.

-
quote:
Originally posted by Eudoxia:

Even if I don't share all of Kittybear interpretation of the song, I admit that most of the images Neil evoke are beautiful and powerful, so much to "dress" very attractively a matter that can be... let say problematic-


No, I disagree, Neil is not dressing up the act of adultery "very attractively", his language makes it very clear, this is wrong and the the guy knows it, so wrong the earth will "rebel", he, the guy knows he's committing a sin "safe in the wide open arms of hell", is this the catholic guilt Neil was raised with?

But you're right about the seduction, the seduction is softer, more attractive "the cradle is soft and warm, it couldn't do me no harm.." (note the double negative) it is after all an act of temptation and we are not tempted by the unattractive.
quote:
OPB Kittybear:

No, I disagree, Neil is not dressing up the act of adultery "very attractively", his language makes it very clear, this is wrong and the the guy knows it, so wrong the earth will "rebel", he, the guy knows he's committing a sin "safe in the wide open arms of hell", is this the catholic guilt Neil was raised with?


Kittybear, I didn't mean that he tried to make the adultery attractive, this is very very clear from the lyric (that he thinks it's wrong).
When I wrote "dress very attractively" I meant that he took a very problematic, troublesome matter, and he was able to speak about it, to give us the idea in such a beautiful and powerful way, that we suspend our (moral) judgement and we understand the character. We can go to the point of feeling empathy for him (or both).

It was about the images he used, the words he choosed. It worked for me, and for you too, I suppose, since you seem to like this lyric very much. I do the same, even if I'm ready to kill my husband if I find him in this situation...

OK, I would only harm him.

Maybe I'm too tired and I'm writing in un unclear way. Maybe posts are too long, I don't know. Will try to write shorter ones, maybe they will get out more understandable.

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quote:
OPB FutureDave:

Leaving aside whether they are or not, surely crowded house are one of the most poetic bands going around?


Excuse me, but I have difficulties in understanding this sentence. Can you explain more? If they surely are, there's nothing to discuss about. But the discussion is really on the topic if they are or not. Sorry if I'm missing something...

quote:
(idem) I can't think of any that are more poetic. Much of the reason why I love crowded house so much!


I've been thinking about this in the last days. BTW, very useful (at least for me). I suppose we have to go to the point of what exactly poetry (and poetic) is.
Mr Sadly gave a definition, but I'm not completely at ease with it. It's very technical, but to me there's something missig (not a criticism, just an observation). A very elusive subject, anyway.

-
quote:
Originally posted by FutureDave:
Leaving aside whether they are or not, surely crowded house are one of the most poetic bands going around?


Musical poets I admire:

Bob Dylan

Steven Patrick Morrissey

and the most current band I listen to who I credit with writing poetry are Guillemots, Fyfe Dangerfield, certainly has a poetic soul.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...1&list=TL7YRwXQXvbtI (guillemots made up love song #43)

Of course Finn music will always be top of the list Smiler.

"Magnet and words up on the fridge, speak to the poet in all of us...." Neil Finn 2001, One Nil
Well, basically all I'm saying (I mean ALL I'm saying, this isn't really critique or disagreement - it's too ground-level for that) is that everyone's opinion is equally valid, but the validity if every sense of a term listed for a term in the OED (or similarly-reputable dictionary) is not a matter of opinion. All are perfectly valid, even though different senses definitely conflict, or rather, do not overlap.

But it's fine - never a cause for argument, since all that's necessary for understanding is that anyone using a term be able to say what they meant by it. Which sense of the word you use isn't opinion, merely preference. Whether the definition you pick fits may or may not involve a judgment call, but for certain definitions it is not. If anyone said the Finn's lyrics are not lyric poetry, they are incorrect. They fall soundly within the form and tradition, to exclude them is not opinion: it is an error of misclassification.

Semantics are trivial! Unimportant, not worth quibbling over. Especially not worth it if one must resort to calling straightforward definitions from the OED or the American Heritage Dictionary into question. I'm not saying dictionary's don't leave a sense out here and there - but for the plain, straightforward senses of a word that are in there, it's not a question of opinion whether this applies: "a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic or evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, it's apparent meaning."

Now that definition applies. One view might question, "How useful is a definition that is so broad?" I'd ask: "What benefit comes from insisting on a more restrictive definition?" Poetry is a literature of exceptions.

Certainly it's true that one's preferred definition is correct, if one's preferring an ordinary common sense of the word in one's language. Equally certain is this: one's preferred definition does not overrule the other accepted senses. Yes: Finn lyrics are poetry. Not by opinion. By definition.

All the question really asks is: pick your preferred sense of the word poetry, and: does it fit?
quote:
Originally posted by Kittybear:
[QUOTE]Thank you Mr S for this great post Smiler , I agree with your general point that the question is not whether songs are lyrical verse or poetry, (as you have pointed out most songs share the key technical requirements) but whether they make good poetry or whether they have depth.

My response is a that a song's lyrics and their merit as "poetry" can only be evaluated from what an individual reader/listener gains from the experience of hearing/reading them.

To illustrate, let me briefly compare and contrast two songs I really like:

Firstly Bohemian Like you by the Dandy Warhols

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovUGFmF0MF4 (Bohemian like you with lyrics)

This song is the tale of a lustful guy, a girl and her ex-lover/lodger and it centers around his efforts to chat her up. The language in the lyrics is unambiguous, you're left in no doubt what he wants and the lengths he's prepared to to go to get it. It's amusing, but there's no depth, you don't understand how the people are feeling and therefore you don't really care. The song works because it's carried along by some great drums, rhythms and some stonking Rolling Stones style electric guitar riffs.

Contrast that the Neil Finn's Into Temptation,

This song uses a mixture prose and poetry to tell the tale of a guy and his brief affair with a girl in a "new blue dress". Through the lyrics you don't learn much superficial information about the characters but through the poetic licence Neil use's in the lyrics you learn a lot about the way they feel.

Our lovers are not just lustful, they are torn, yet they are compelled and I know from the strength of the poetry exactly how they feel. Phrases like "Into temptation, knowing full well the earth will rebel", or "into your wide open arms, no way to break this spell, don't tell" and "the cradle is soft and warm" speak of their emotional conflict, compulsion and seduction. When I listen I really feel for these people that I don't even know, the poetry makes me care.

To conclude, I listen to songs all the time and in most circumstances I don't even hear or understand the lyric, it's not necessary to enjoy the music. But I gain so much from Neil's lyrics because of the poetry that I make a determined effort to try to appreciate them in their own right. Now I've been doing this for years and in a lot of cases I still don't understand them, but regardless I find myself consistently awestruck by their beauty and depth.


Excellent example! Without ruling a given work out "as poetry" (which is hardly useful, and for song lyrics, probably inaccurate by at least several valid definitions of the word) one can exercise one's opinion in a more illustrative way, if one wishes: one can evaluate the given works depth or other qualities.

There is, properly, quite a bit opinion involved in criticism!
quote:
Originally posted by Eudoxia:Sorry, Mr. Sadly, I'm not sure I understood correctly everything you wrote. To me there's a logic jump between disqualifying lyrics as poetry (never done that) and with this disqualifying free verse, unmetered, unrhymed verse as well.
I'm glad you agree it is futile to attempt to disqualify lyrics as poetry. I'd suggest disqualifying free verse would also be futile - and you agree there, too. I don't see it as a jump: both would be equally futile. This futility is the only connection. Free verse and lyric verse - these are both classes of poetry, after all! How precisely does one rule either out? How can one usefully try? How can one take a clear specimin of free verse, or lyric poetry, and say it is not poetry? I can say "I hate free verse" (opinion) or "I hate lyric poetry" (opinion) but if I rule either out as poetry, I'm quite wrong.

We appear to agree on that (that it is futile to disqualify a piece of free verse or lyric poetry from being poetry)- I'm just trying to clarify the connection that you questioned as a logic jump.

We can select our preferred sense, and we can make it known what we mean, but the opinion of a human being lacks standing to overrule and disqualify valid senses of words in English.

That's all I mean. Some lyrics are absolutely abominable poetry: and let's say so. That's taking a stand on a strong opinion! When I see bad art, I don't call it "not art." That's ludicrous: a toilet is art if Marcel DuChamp says so.

Nope, sorry, nobody gets to disagree with Marcel DuChamp on that. He has definitively won the point: and by definitively, I mean that art's definition includes that now. Who cares? All we need to know is what we like.

Now Kittybear hear is talking about what we like:
quote:
Kittybear:
My response is a that a song's lyrics and their merit as "poetry" can only be evaluated from what an individual reader/listener gains from the experience of hearing/reading them.

And I agree that one's response is a valid way to approach and evaluate a given piece of poetry, of course! Yet I must disagree respectfully with Kittybear that poetry can only be defined (or evaluated) in terms of the user experience. There are senses of the word poetry that are pure formalist definitions and categories. For that plain dry sort of definition, it isn't true that the user's experience can de-classify a work from belonging to that form.

Now that doesn't say the work is "poetic"! "Artistic" and "poetic" can be compliments - when used in the sense that means embodying the signal virtues associated with art or poetry. But "art" is not a complement. It's a category; many of them in fact. So too with "poetry."

This is all I mean. If there's a sense of the word that fits the thing, no point arguing semantics with the OED. What's that going to win you? Since we're all about touting the validity of opinion, let's apply opinion rather than misapply definition: Why not simply say the thing's a poor example of good art?


But it's not a big deal, or anything! It's just, even if all our opinions may be valid - if my opinion is that all words can or do mean the same thing, my opinion on that point is...well. No need to insult my hypothetical self. The value of my opinion would be pretty obvious, there: to just about everyone.
Mr. Sadly, I didn't post again on this thread because I've been thinking about this all the week.

I's an important topic, to me. Very much so. When I'll answer I want to try to be as clear as possible about my... stance? position? This will require some time, so I'm waiting to have it without troubles (I hope to be able to reply tomorrow, or monday).

Anyway before doing this, I have to ask you what the OED is. Excuse my ignorance, but I'm not a native, and what seems to be perfectly obvious to you can be a mistery to me.

Just to try my best to speak your language and make my point in a way that's comprehensible to you (and everyone else, of course).

-
quote:
Originally posted by Eudoxia:
Anyway before doing this, I have to ask you what the OED is. Excuse my ignorance, but I'm not a native, and what seems to be perfectly obvious to you can be a mistery to me.


Eudoxia, OED is the Oxford English Dictionary, which English-speakers generally regard as the most reliable and accurate source for definitions, usage etc.

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