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December 01, 2010


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Fascinating story. I remember hearing the news Lennon was shot too--even way out in NM. My mom came wailing down the stairs, and we put an ornament of him on our tree. But ours was a hippie house, and we had "Sgt Pepper" and "Rubber Soul" on cassette, much more kid-friendly albums. In fact, they feel exactly written for kids.

But only as an adult have I bothered thinking about the words--I think people are either lyrics-attuned or not. I'm just not--I can cheerfully sing along with catchy melodies without ever realizing what I'm saying. (Thanks a freakin' lot, Beck.) It does seem like a small failing...

(BTW, thanks for the FF! recipe shoutout way back. I think it came when I was on deadline, and I kind of lost the thread.)


@Zora, I totally agree on your point re: being lyric-attuned or not. As I sort of hinted at in the above post, I think I was much more conscious of song lyrics when I was a little kid. Outside of Mother Goose, pop songs were really the first kind of poetry I was ever exposed to, and I think that accounts for my realization — however primitive it may have been — that people sang in a language different than the one they used in normal conversation. Not that it has any business being discussed in a Lennon-related post, but I recall being deeply troubled by Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman to Me" when I was little because of the lyric: "she can carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleeding", which I took literally! -mike


Whoa. There is something there, some major difference, and who knew Billy Joel could illustrate it so well? For me, by contrast, it honestly took my 9th grade English teacher making us analyze a song "as if it were a poem" for me to even pay attention to anything more than the chorus of a song. And when my song (something from Paul Simon's "Graceland") had a lot of "baby" lines, my teacher had to point out to me that perhaps Simon _wasn't_ just singing to his girlfriend, and maybe he was singing to an actual baby--or at least I should consider that. Maybe I noticed that "different language" thing, but just assumed if I knew a few phrases, that was fine. (Hrmmm...kind of like my foreign language studies today.)

I think what makes the Beatles so instantly appealing is that the words just mean what they mean. And when they don't make any sense...they're just not supposed to. Plus they enunciate really well, so you can hear exactly what they're saying. It's some of the most literal pop music you can get. Sort of related, a guy I know transcribes pop music for orchestras, and he just had to do a huge batch of Beatles songs. "I hoped it would make me like the Beatles more, and really find something more complex there," he said. "But no. Still boring."

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