Friday, October 17, 2008

Sending Out an S.O.S.

I've always considered song lyrics to be a particularly difficult type of poetry. If I could be a poet, I think I'd want to be a troubadour in the vein of Lyle Lovett or Townes Van Zandt. Yes, poets, both of them, to be sure. With song writing, not only does the poem have to speak to the audience, it has to fit within the frame work of the melody, not to mention the bridge. It is a skill I stand in awe of. That is not to say that only the singer/songwriter model of a lyricist is a poet, on the contrary, poetry can be found in every genre of music no matter whether it is to one's taste or not.

Hmm, funny how these blog posts work - that paragraph really didn't have anything to do with what I sat down to write about, but as I always tend to say - "that's another post", and then never get back to it, I think I'll expand a bit on that idea.

Yes, I suck at this stream of consciousness thing - So sue me.

Take Eminem for example. though you may revile his music, or him personally, and though his lyrics may be misogynistic and homophobic, the man is truly a wordsmith. Do I aspire to write his kind of poetry? Certainly not, but he is a poet.

It was through a song lyric that I first heard of Aphrodite. I looked her up in the library (no Internet back in those days), so I could better understand a particular song that was a favorite in my hard rocking adolescent days. I still look back amazed at how naive I was at 13. I can assure you, my children are far more worldly than I ever was.

So where am I going with this? I sat down to write about how this blog and blogging are a life line to me, and I suspect to many others, connecting isolated souls to like minded people. What made me think of this, was a song that came on while I was doing housework. More on that in a moment.

It may appear that I'm changing the subject again, but bear with me, someday I hope to have an amazing skill at tying seemingly disconnected ideas together into a beautiful post, but sadly, I am not there yet.

Do you remember a radio show called In The Studio With Redbeard? It apparently still comes on but I haven't heard it in years. The song I heard a while ago reminded me vividly of an episode of that show I heard many, many years ago. If you're unfamiliar with the show, Redbeard, the host takes the audience behind the scenes of a famous album and talks about when and how it was made, and interviews the artists, producers, etc... Great show, btw.

This particular episode was on The Police's 3rd studio album, Zenyatta Mondatta. During the interview portion, Steward Copeland called Sting the king of the three minute pop ditty, and noted that Sting considered it a high calling indeed. I think I'd agree with that sentiment on both counts. Yes, Sting can be pompous, and even pretentious, but come on - who else is going to work Nabokov into a pop song? A funny aside - during the same interview, Copeland said of Sting:
Sting is probably the person whom fame has changed the least, he was swaggering and cocky when he didn't have a dime to his name.

I love that.

So, back to the original post. As I'm cleaning house with the Satellite radio going, I'm thinking that I've really been neglecting my blog, and at the same time, not spending much time on other sites either. Most of my comments of late have been quick little one liners. I miss the ongoing conversations that comment strings can become. I was thinking to myself that it has been ages since I've sat down and just started writing whatever's on my mind. I miss it. I miss all of you, both here, and at your own little corner of the web.

As I'm think that, the live acoustic version of Message In A Bottle came on. As the final verse came on, I stopped folding the towel, and I just marveled at Sting's words. It gave me a little chill as he sang:

Walked out this morning, don't believe what I saw
Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Seems I'm not alone at being alone
Hundred billion castaways, looking for a home
Ill send an s.o.s. to the world
Ill send an s.o.s. to the world . . . . . . .

I thought to myself, that is exactly what blogging is, little messages, floating out on the vast ocean of the Internet, hoping to be plucked out of the water and to find a home. Who says pop music can't be poetry? Not me.

Here is a video of the same version of the song, it is most likely the exact same performance. It is from the Secret Policeman's Other Ball, and yes, I have the LP. Oh, and can one help but notice how young and beautiful he was back then?

Yeah, that's poetry.


Robin said...

He was prophetic, too, or at least he hit on a timeless sentiment. I think that's one of my favorite Police songs today. I also think I judge lyrical quality by comparing them to Sting's work. Not many compare positively.

My older sister was a big fan of theirs and had all the LP's too. I liked them but refused to be as fanatical as she was at the time. But she knew a good thing when she heard it, and to this day even my father is a big fan of Sting's (later) music.

Welcome back. While you were dealing with real life, we were thinking of you. Some of us might have even been living our real lives too! (Nah....)

kkryno said...

I know how you feel. I've been rather introspective as of late, and at odds regarding the content of my blog. I haven't posted in 2 weeks and don't feel that I have much to say. I am glad that you are writing again. I hope it means life is smoothing out for you and yours.

Sting=love. He's a master at imagery through words.

Bitty said...

Waves lap. Bottle washes up on shore...

Brave Sir,

As you got into poetic lyrics, I thought, yeah, like Sting's. Then you actually brought up Sting. "Fragile," "Russians," "We Dance Alone," so, so many favorites...

I liked Sting. Then I heard Dream of the Blue Turtles and it was all over for me. (Somewhere around here I have a VHS of the film Bring on the Night.) Poll my children and ask them who #1 is with me. Go ahead -- I'll wait; ask them. (Ok, one of them might go with Sir Paul, but he'd be wrong. SP's #2.) While I thought it might be a pseudo English-major-to-English-major-mind meld thing that Sting and I have going, I see that it affects some of the rest of you, too, so maybe not.

Blogging has also been hard for me lately. I too have been doing quick hit & runs everywhere I go. I blame politics (although the job is also sucking the marrow out of my bones). I'm completely consumed, even when I'm not watching or reading about the election. I'm scared that the wrong side will emerge victorious. (At times, I'm mildly empathetic because I presume that many people on The Other Side are scared as well, but gol'darnit, I have a hard, hard, hard time seeing how anyone can see John McCain as good for this country. For instance, as we awaited the announcement of his running mate, I genuinely hoped that he'd choose someone halfway decent to succeed him if necessary so we wouldn't end up completely down the crapper. As much as I don't want him to be President, I REALLY hoped for him to choose a capable running mate. You all know how that went. I just can't wrap my mind around how anyone can find either McCain or Palin suitable for the job.)

New topic!

Even the prolific Bee has slowed down lately. Sometimes it's just plain hard to do all we want (or even a fraction!) and be all we want to be. Life rudely interrupts, although sometimes in good ways.

Even if I've slowed down, like you, I really appreciate my bloggy friends, even if I can't drop in for tea or host a get-together every day.

That's all I can fit in this ol' bottle, Brave Sir. I hope this message, when it arrives, will find you well.

My best,

Bitty said...

By the way, which satellite radio provider? I have Sirius. I know they're merging with XM soon...

konagod said...

Sending Out An SOS I've heard twice in the past week here on KGSR.

I know I've missed seeing you around my blog but then I understand the term "busy."

Most of my comments, what few I leave elsewhere are of the one-liner, just to let them know I was there or whatever.

I'm hoping this weekend to really get to make the rounds and catch up on some blogs I haven't visited in awhile.

ouyangdan said...

I would have to say Sting...Sting is a hero of mine. All that music he makes...I don't listen to it, but the fact that he makes it...I respect that!

OK, seriously...I have always liked that about Sting.

Plus, he named himself a verb, present tense.

OK, done quoting other people.

I wonder if David Bowie was that cocky before he was awesome. I love David Bowie.

Anonymous said...

I thought you tied it all up pretty well, actually.

Anne said...

Just a quick one-liner to say YES! to all. Including the part about missing the comments that turn into conversations. One of these days life will slow down, right? ... right?

Okay, so that was more than one line. So sue me. :)

Bee said...

So, in addition to learning that we are all Sting fans . . .

BSR, really your message was loud and clear -- not a bit blurry. Although we may worry that it is slightly cheesy to find inspiration or identification in the words of a pop song, who hasn't done just that? My husband once summed up his feelings for me in a Sting lyric. The best songs are poetry, as you say . . . and so much easier to memorize (and thus imprint themselves) for being set to music!

I've thought before that blogs are just like messages in bottles. What random shores they wash upon!

The Cunning Runt said...

BSR, wasn't Jack Bruce just the Cat's Ass? [Re: your "Aphrodite" memory.]

I could listen to Tea In The Sahara anytime, though I'm more of a Tom Waites kinda guy, or Lenard Cohen...

seventh sister said...

My fav Sting song is Fields of Gold, pure poerty. I agree with songwriters being poets. James McMurtry is my current favorite, thta you would have heard of anyway.

Anonymous said...

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing