Sunday, July 13, 2008

But it sounds cool

When I was a senior in high school, a friend of mine dashed off some lyrics to a piano riff I'd been playing with. The resulting song -- all about the evils of materialism -- was quite good. All it needed were a couple of lines at the end, something that would rhyme with "... never is enough." I volunteered the following:
You bribed yourself with trinkets
And now the world has called your bluff
Larry liked my little contribution, so it stayed. I was pretty pleased with it myself. Just one thing bugged me. The lines sounded cool, you know, like they meant something profound. But when I really thought about it, the "bribed" part didn't make any sense. Bribed yourself to do what? What I was really getting at was something like "distracted," but that word didn't scan.

No one else seemed to notice when Larry and I played the song for them, though. Because it sounded cool.

I thought of this earlier today while listening to Porcupine Tree's In Absentia. During previous plays I'd never paid much attention to their lyrics, which sort of got lost in the gestalt of the band's engrossing and echo-y prog rock sound. This time around I had headphones on, and I decided to see if the words would be easier to make out.

They were. I found myself grooving to the chorus of "Blackest Eyes":
I got wiring loose inside my head
I got books that I never, ever read
I got secrets in my garden shed
I got a scar where all my urges bled
I got people underneath my bed
I got a place where all my dreams are dead
Swim with me into your blackest eyes
I love that last line! I also am not entirely sure what it means. In the context of the song I can come up with a couple of vague ideas, but I don't know if either of them are correct.

Had I never attempted writing lyrics, I would hope that I'd someday become clever and sophisticated enough to decipher the meaning of these deep words. Now I wonder if Steven Wilson, the songwriter, even knows. Maybe he just thought it sounded cool.

No comments: