Monday, May 24, 2010

100 Poetic Songs

Hallelujah ~ Leonard Cohen
This song has been covered many times by many different artists, and with good reason, because it is a very good song. This song is extremely poetic, earning a grand total of 255 on the song rating sheet, and definitely deserves a spot on the list of the 100 most poetic songs. The song uses a multitude of poetic devices including imagery, allusions, characterization, ambiguity, irony, paradoxes, symbolism, allegory, and a motif of "Hallelujah." The song uses Bible stories as well as other religious allusions ("holy dove", "take the name in vain") to describe the painfulness of love. It uses irony because "Hallelujah" is usually used to express great joy; but in this case, "It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah." This song has universal relevance, because everyone has experienced that feeling where they are sad about something they should be happy about, and is very emotionally evocative. In addition, I always like when the tone of the lyrics match up with the mood of the music; but this song takes it one step further. The lyrics describing David's "secret chord:" "The fourth, the fifth/The minor fall, the major lift" are also describing the actual chord progression of that part of the song, which is something really artistic. Overall, this is definitely an extremely poetic song.
Lyrics

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hey There Delilah ~ Plain White T's
This song is poetic, but I don't think it is one of the 100 most poetic songs ever. It scores a 137 on the song rating sheet, which is pretty decent, but mostly it uses the same devices over and over again. These devices are alliteration (assonance and consonance), hyperbole, and imagery. It also uses a few allusions (New York City and Times Square), a simile ("Times Square can't shine as bright as you"), and a metaphor ("Listen to my voice, it's my disguise"). The song also gets points for cohesive narrative, epic/universal relevance, original point of view (epistolary), and is emotionally evocative. The instrumentals are also mastery. It loses a few points for cliche phrases such as "Times are getting hard," and "The world will never ever be the same." The song is very straightforward: its basically a love letter to a girl far away telling her how great she is and soon they can be together. It doesn't really have any ambiguous qualities that leave you wondering what meaning was the one that the writer originally intended. The song uses poetic devices, but I think it goes a little overboard on the hyperbole (I found 8), which I've noticed tend to go hand in hand with cliches. So yes, it's a nice, poetic song, but one of the 100 best? Not really.
Lyrics
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Across The Universe ~ The Beatles
I think that this song also warrants being on the list of 100 poetic songs. Scoring a 231 on the song rating sheet, this song racks up most of its points from imagery and personification/objectification, but it also uses alliteration, hyperbole ("Nothing's gonna change my world"), allusion ("Jai guru deva om"), ambiguity (it's open to interpretation), similes and metaphors, and symbolism. In addition, it has epic/universal relevance, a pervasive mood, a successful tone, is emotionally evocative, and has instrumental mastery. The chorus mostly repeats "Jai guru deva om" and "Nothing's gonna change my world," but the verses use loads of imagery and personification, along with similes and metaphors, to describe thoughts and emotions. The language in the verses is very figurative, and very poetic. A really good example of the beautiful, thought-provoking language used is in the second verse: "Images of broken light which/dance before me like a million suns." This uses imagery, personfication, alliteration, and a simile all rolled into two short little lines!
Lyrics

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment