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 Opinion: How the Meaning of the Words to Songs Change,

ArtWhen Things Just Arenít Going Your Way

By Bob S. aka Shabby aka FrogDaddy

For those that know me a little, they know that I am a full-fledged music affectionato. A music nut you might say. I totally love music and besides creating my own, I love listening to another artistís interpretations of those eight little notes that make up the musical scales. Yeah, thatís me, I love it all, Jazz, Rock and Roll, Blues, Classical, Country, Bluegrass, Folk, you name it, I love it. It all just depends on what mood Iím in, thatís determining what Iím listen too Ö but Iím almost always listening. I believe thatís there is great music in all the genres without exception. You just have to listen to what the artist is saying, and if, he or she are good at their craft, theyíll transport you into another world.

Folks that know me, they also know that over the past years Iíve done many a radio show whether it be on the airwaves, over the internet or both. It used to take up most of the week for Sher and I to put together our shows and broadcast some live and some as recorded shows for syndication. Everyday, new CDís would show up either at our house or the studio, and weíd get to listen to all the new material before going on the air. I myself have played guitar for 35 years, even played some live gigs, sat in on recording sessions. I grew up in a musical family. ...

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We have a lot of connections in the music world and many a time weíd receive tunes even before they went on sale and have had the honor of introducing new music to new audiences. We did it all when it came to music and I still try to keep my hands in the business as much as I can. Thereís nothing like a country songís twang, or the strings of an Orchestra, the cranking of a rock guitar, and the vocals of a Jazz singer, Good Lord, you just have to appreciate and love it all.

But over the years, Iíve noticed that the words of the songs, and their meanings, blended with my own personal interpretations, have changed Ö or have they? What was the original intent of the song writer? What was the intent of the person or persons that recorded the song? Itís an amazing study to try and decipher what a songs true meaning was or is.

Some songs seem to change with you, as you grow older. Of course as a kid you interpret songs with so little life experience behind you, that you often miss the real intent Ö but is that true? Sometimes we hear and even sing along with songs and we never really hear the words and their meaning. We even know all the words to songs and still sometimes donít capture the intent of the writer. Why is that?

Then suddenly, one day when we least expect it, we hear a song that we may have heard a thousand times before and suddenly it hits us. This often happens after something in our life has changed, something big. Some event that is so important that it changed your entire outlook on life. Maybe you just recently fell in love and all those songs about love are suddenly lifting your feet off the ground and into the clouds. Even songs you werenít particularly fond of before.

Maybe a loved one just recently died and you hear tunes that are so full of meaning that every word just resonates through your body like never before. In my life this has happened many times, and I just never took the time to write it down or understand it. Music can make you laugh, make you dance, sing-along, cry. It can touch every emotion you have and yet, we donít always hear it.

My recent diagnosis of cancer* has done this for me. An actual ďside benefitĒ you might say. It has changed the meaning and intent of so many songs that Iíve known for years Ö some of them have changed enough to make me cry when I hear them. Others have brought joy to my ears like never before. Iím in ďtuneĒ with what Iím hearing, Hyper-sensitive, Iíd say, and Iím enjoying the same old songs over yet again and appreciating them in a new way. Itís wonderful. Music is a major life staple for me. I donít think people take enough time to really listen.

Just recently, I feel like I could listen to every song Iíve ever heard again, right from the little nursery rhymes my mother sang to me, to the folks songs we learned in the lower grades of school, the tunes I listened to as a teenager and right on up until today and re-interpret them with new meanings and feeling that I have not felt before. Music is food for the hungry soul and mind.

So next time your listening to some tunes, take the time to listen to the words, try and understand the intent of the writer at the time. This is what music is all about and why it is unquestionably one of the great and ancient, art forms. From the tribal drums of the jungle, to the loud cranking guitars of rock and roll, itís all a mirror image or a record of our lives and the way people live.

Go ahead, let yourself go. Get in touch with those emotions you havenít ďreallyĒ touched in a long while. We all have them. The heartbreak of a country song, the loneliness of a blues song, that jazz singer who can sing what you canít even say, that driving beat that makes your body move even if you canít dance. Can you feel it? Oh and donít forget that love song that can tell the one you love, how much you love them even better then you can.

Take an hour today and listen. Enjoy the trip.

Bob aka Shabby

*For more information please see:

[05 September 2009]

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