I suppose you could say I think about music too much. I think about how absurd the lyrics really are, if you take them at face value. I think about the emotion behind the words, and start bawling. I think and begin to wonder...has the artist really been done that bad? Or, the reverse, could anyone really be that perfect? Or perhaps, what must have happened to the musician to take them to the place where they wrote this song?
I am graced with a few people in my life who will go with me down this path. My son, Ryan, for instance. And my best friend, Kelly. We will look at songs, turn them upside down, and generally amuse ourselves with them, and sometimes others. Most of the time, though, I think people are annoyed with us, but I'm hoping you are some of the few that "get" us.
For example, the other day I was actually imagining myself in a song, so to speak. The song is "Closing Time" by Semisonic. Here's the video, if you aren't familiar with it.
Now, while this is an American band, from Minneapolis, MN, I like to imagine this song taking place in Ireland. Maybe it's because he says, "finish up your whiskey or beer," like there isn't any other choice of beverage at a bar. Maybe it's because I've been planning a trip there--but I digress. I just feel like this song captures the essence of closing time so well. I hear the bartender squeaking the bar towel around the last few glasses he's washing and stacking them on the shelves. The clink of bottles as he pulls them out, eyeballs the remainder, and restocks whatever is low. And then the dreaded "Last call for alcohol!" shout is greeted by a chorus of moans.
"What? No, man! I'm having fun. I don't want to go home."
To which he snaps, "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here." LOVE THAT LINE! "So gather up your jackets, move it to the exits, I hope you have found a friend." Isn't that what so many bar patrons are looking for? A "friend" at closing time? And then the "Time for you to go out to..." scratches his head, "the places you will be from." Like he doesn't have a clue, and doesn't really care, where his patrons come from. All he knows is that it's time for them to return there and leave his bar!
And then there is the plaintive chorus of "I know who I want to take me home." You get the feeling that whoever the singer is talking about isn't exactly interested in going home with him. Otherwise he'd be singing, "I know who is going to take me home. I know who is going to take me home. I know who is going to take me home, take me ho-o-ome."
And then there's the smashed philosopher at the end of the bar saying, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." The bartender slings his hand across this dude's shoulder and walks him to the door, shaking his head and saying, "Yeah. Sure. Deep. Whatever. Time to go, man."
I mean, really. Isn't this song perfect? It draws a scene so clearly with very few words. Awesome!
Well, I hope you have enjoyed this first edition of Music Analysis Mondays and will return for more. And remember, as I end this post, that every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. Profound!
Now, confession time. How many of you have been there at closing time? Have been the last few to shuffle out the door, stand on the sidewalk, and decide if you are going out for breakfast, or just home to catch some zzzs. Share some of your closing time stories with us!
How many of my author friends out there have done their own thinking about songs and let them inspire a book? Maybe this song will end up inspiring a scene in one of my upcoming rock books. You never know!
Thanks for joining us, and happy listening!