The Wisdom of Song Lyrics

In my life I have argued for and against the importance of song lyrics. Should they be meaningful? Do vocals even need to contain words we understand, or real words at all? But this week I have had some songs and song lyrics running through my head. So while working out this morning I paid greater attention to the sound coming through my earphones to come up with some song lyrics I thought about or remind me about things I've thought about this week. ...

The format of this post will be lyrics followed by where they are from. After that I will talk about the lyrics in relationship to my thoughts.

Hello world take a look at me.
Well you didn't,
but you should've
so I'm sure you'll agree;
Not paying attention
has cost you greatly...

- High School Dance by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones from the album Pay Attention.
This song was written in 2000 after the Columbine shootings and you can look at it many different ways. It is written in first person and along with the feel of the music you can almost understand why somebody would do such a terrible thing. Almost. In our quest to understand tragedies we often ask the question "Why?". This song seems to try to answer that.

If you want to make the world a better place
take a look at yourself
and make a change

- Man In The Mirror by Michael Jackson from the album Bad
This quote is really the basis of the thought process I had when writing my previous article, Who is responsible when tragedy strikes?.

Now we can fight one another
the way they they do on TV
or we can help one another
the way it's suppose to be

If we all give a little
it can really mean a lot
It's a small, small world
but it's the only one we've got

- Small World by Huey Lewis and the News from the album Small World
This quote works in life so often. It's really about choosing the world we want to live in. Do we want to live in a world where we are fighting each other? If we do then we choose to fight. If we want to live in a world where we help each other we choose to help each other. Perception is reality, and we each create our own reality every day. Which reality should we choose today?

Remember, this is just a temporary trip
If you stay down too long you can sometimes lose your grip

- Temporary Trip by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones from the album Pay Attention
While many of the things that have occurred this week will change the world forever by depriving the rest of us of the existence of certain individuals, we need to remember that things can and will get better. Hold on to that hope to help get yourself through the grief without losing it. The last movie I watched was Reign Over Me and it speaks to how easy it is to lose yourself in grief after tragic events like this. I can only speak from the emotion I feel whenever I hear the stories of the people who are gone but this basic idea of hope helps me out a bit.

When I heard that he was gone
I felt a shadow cross my heart
But he's nobody's hero
Saves a drowning child
Cures a wasting disease
Hero...
lands the crippled airplane
Solves great mysteries
Hero...
not the handsome actor
Who plays a hero's role
Hero...
not the glamour girl
Who'd love to sell her soul
If anybody's buying
Nobody's hero

- Nobody's Hero by Rush from the album Counterparts
This is an amazing song written about the sadness of losing anybody. We may not be strongly connected to them but just hearing about it brings great sadness to us. I think many people around the world can relate. As time goes by many of us will start to see how we are related to the people who are no longer with us after this week and we will be saddened a little more that day.

Since this week brought us some shocking images of death and how our lives can be cut short so easily I was reminded of two songs that I would like played at my funeral.

Inside my heart is breaking
My make-up may be flaking
But my smile still stays on
My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies
Fairytales of yesterday will grow but never die
I can fly - my friends
The show must go on
The show must go on
Ill face it with a grin
Im never giving in
On - with the show -
Ill top the bill, Ill overkill
I have to find the will to carry on
On with the -
On with the show

- The Show Must Go On by Queen from the album Innuendo
What a way to take an annoying, trite phrase and turn it into a powerful statement. I always get a little choked up listening to this song, especially at the line I can fly - my friend. Heck, I'm getting a little choked up just writing about it. Knowing what we know about this song and hearing Freddie Mercury sing it makes it extra powerful. It is a song of courage. Courage is not about acting without fear, but rather taking action despite fear. The "show" we put on everyday takes a lot of courage to put on sometimes.

And how I loved how he lived, how he was loved and admired
A knack, a certain flare for life, and how he had it wired
He'd never give up, he'd never give in, he had a wonderful way of living

There's not been a day, one hasn't gone by
When I don't think about the day he didn't die

Oh, I really miss him, he would have loved this, I hope he can hear me
I really miss him, he would have loved this, I hope he can hear me

- The Day He Didn't Die by The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones from the album Pay Attention
I like the idea of celebrating someones life rather than mourning their death. It takes courage but it can give us positive energy to be thankful we we're lucky enough to have them in our lives. Hold on to the good times. And remember waht Earth, Wind and Fire ask in the song September

Do you remember every cloudy day?

Words from the past - translated

Who is responsible when tragedy strikes?