Monday, May 24, 2010

100 Poetic Songs Part II

The song that I think should be added to the list of 100 poetic songs:
Gravity ~ Sara Bareilles
This song is very poetic, scoring a 190 on the song rating sheet. While this number may not be as high as some others on the list, you have to take into account that the song actually has less lyrics to work with than those songs. But even though it has less lyrics, the song still manages to use a multitude of poetic devices such as imagery, paradox, hyperbole, symbolism, double entendre, alliteration, ambiguity, oxymoron, pun, and metaphor. It is also has a cohesive narrative, universal relevance, extended metaphor, sophisticated rhyme scheme, and a successful tone, and the vocals are emotionally evocative, showcasing an expansive range and being accompanied by virtuoso instrumentals. The song talks about the idea of not being able to get away from/get over something (I personally think it is getting over heartbreak; but the song is ambiguous because it is open to interpretation), using the metaphor/symbol of gravity to describe this feeling. The gravity is "keeping [her] down." This quote is also a double entendre because gravity literally keeps you down, but the "he" in this case is also keeping her down emotionally. This whole situation is accompanied by several paradoxes: "You hold me without touch/You keep me without chains". While these situations may seem illogical at first, this feeling of being kept by some unseen force actually happens a lot. That is the whole image that this song so adequately describes, by comparing it to gravity.
In addition to the poetic nature of the lyrics by themselves, this song is also very artistic in the way that the instrumentals, vocals, and structure of the music match up to the lyrics. The lyrics of the song describe a cycle: she starts off down ("Something always brings me back to you/It never takes too long"), throughout the middle of the song is building up strength to break free ("Set me free, leave me be/I don't want to fall another moment into your gravity" is the beginning of the chorus), by the bridge seems really angry and frustrated ("You're neither friend nor foe, though I/Can't seem to let you go/The one thing that I still know is that you're/Keeping me down"), before crashing back to where she began with the end: "Something always brings me back to you/It never takes too long." The music and the vocals match this cycle and build effect exactly. The song starts off soft, with just sparse piano chords, and builds up through the choruses and second verse. At the bridge, stacatto strings are added in giving the song a more agitated feel, it gets louder and the vocals get more urgent until all the music stops and all you hear is Sara' voice soaring on the word "down." Then the beginning repeats again; the chords and melody are almost exactly the same, indicating how the whole thing is a never-ending vicious cycle. For all these reasons, I think "Gravity" should definitely be on the list of the 100 poetic songs.

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