No. 7
March 2014
Newsletter of the Institute of English and American Studies at AAU
Thoughts and Fears
about Starting the New
Academic Year (3-6)
Melanie Degold, Laszlo
Bernath, and Doroteja Perse
share their thoughts about the
challenges and potential
problems of diving into a new
year of studying at university.
Living a Low-Tech Life
Thorsten Hoddow unplugs his
gadgets and finds new time for
old pleasures, face-to-face
conversations with friends,
coffee and Hermann Hesse. His
cat and his girlfriend had no
complaints, either! ;-)
Learning a Foreign
Language - Theories
and Practices (7-8)
This piece by Stefan Pickert
elaborates on ideas,
methodologies and strategies
in Second Language
Acquisition inside and outside
the language classroom.
Bottom line: Immerse
yourselves! ;-)
Goodbye Winter - Welcome Spring!
This newsletter is written by students in the Integrated
Language Skills class each semester. !
During our first class in WS13/14, students were encouraged
(well, forced!) to write candidly of their thoughts and fears
about the new academic year. See some of the results below –
and have your hanky ready! It was surprising to see how many
people had similar anxieties and insecurities, all of which
proved unfounded; as the weeks went on, some excellent
work was produced and a room of individuals became a group.!
A key topic this Winter has been the exploration of the
growing trend for opting out of our technology-dependent
way of life and what the alternative low-tech lifestyle might
look like. Thorsten Hoddow selflessly took the hit for the
team and conducted a real-life experiment over the holidays.
Read about the experience of our intrepid lo-fi pioneer and
the unlikely beneficiaries of his attempt to eschew the gadgets
we have come to depend upon.!
In the next section, Stefan Pickert elaborates on the theories
and practices of Second Language Acquisition, a central focus
in any foreign language classroom.!
No. 7
Sad Music (9)
Mean people don't have songs
('Böse Menschen haben keine
Lieder") - surely a truism. But
what about songs that bring
tears to our eyes, make us sad
and emotional? Sarina Bernath
explains the positive powers of
sad music and opens the floor
for a plethora of powerful
essays on students' favourite
pieces in minor chord.
Additionally, readers will find a
link to a BBC podcast on "Sad
Music" to provide more
background to the students'
essays that follow in the next
section of this Newsletter.
Students' Favourite Sad
Songs (9-42)
The largest part of this
Newsletter gathers individual
students' essays presenting
insightful thoughts on their
favourite 'sad song'. Students
were asked to pick a song that
has particular emotional value
to them and share their
thoughts. The collection
includes British, American and
Eastern European songs,
'originals' as well as 'covers'
from several decades of
musical history and provides
the reader with a plethora of
ideas and food for thought.
Each essay includes the song's
lyrics as well as a link to a video
on Youtube. The songs may be
'sad', but what better way to
start the spring season than
with a tune!
March 2014
Our final focus was a BBC World Service podcast on sad
music, which shone a light on some little-known and
unexpected facts. Did you know, for example, that tears
contain prolactin, the hormone found in mothers’ milk? This
accounts, in part, for the soothing effects of listening to
downbeat songs. Sarina Bernath tells us more about the
podcast, and you can listen to it yourselves via the link below.
Each student gave a talk about a song which moves them,
supplemented by a short paper, which you can read in the
following pages. The pieces include straightforward love
songs, angst-ridden cris-de-coeur and musical protests against
social injustice. There is a video link to each song; the lyrics
are also provided for you to sob along to.!
The sad theme continues; as you may know by now, I am
leaving the university for pastures new - it was a difficult
decision, involving numerous boxes of tissues! I thank
everyone who took my classes for your enthusiasm,
application and friendship. Your achievements have
reinforced my conviction that the most effective and
satisfying teaching is informal, reactive, personal and
enjoyable for student and teacher alike. You have all made
tangible progress in English and I am proud of every single
one of you. I promise that your skills in English will enrich
the rest of your life. You have a whole world of literature,
films, TV and music available to you. You might use your
English only occasionally or you might use it all the time, but
I would urge you all to build on the foundations we have
established together. Even if it is only to corner an English
speaker in a cafe and engage them in conversation about
football, the weather or the impossibility of securing a decent
cuppa beyond British shores! These three conversation failsafes are my parting gifts to you!!
With my very best wishes,!
Sue Burton!
Best wishes for the new semester and
an inspiring spring,!
Mark Schreiber!
No. 7
March 2014
The Start of the Academic Year (Melanie Degold)
Every summer, I hope that the first of October will be a
Wednesday or Thursday, because that means that I get
an extra week of vacation. This year, I get lucky and
university only starts on the seventh of October.
Although I nearly have one more week of holiday left, I
am not quite ready to start university life again. In fact, I
am pretty annoyed when my alarm goes off at 5:30 am on
Monday morning, because this means the official start of
the new academic year. !
As it seems that studying is the new trendy activity or
frequent choice of many, I am waiting in the crammed main hall with hundreds of other people. To
wake up, I join the queue of people in front of the Buffet to get a slightly overpriced coffee. Images
emerge in my mind of my first year at the University of Klagenfurt, when the university did not have
to accommodate such vast numbers of students and the place was not bursting at the seams. After
getting my coffee, I place myself in front of the classroom to wait for my first course of the new
semester. Again, the room is overcrowded and the noise, caused by people chatting and exchanging
holiday experiences, is deafening. How can anybody be that awake on a Monday morning?!
Due to a really tight timetable, I have to run from one class right across the campus to my next class
and am already stressed out after one single course. Stopping in the main hall to chat with some
friends, I enjoy the atmosphere of general confusion due to insufficient maps of the campus, the
anticipation of the start of the new semester and the excitement of seeing friends again.!
My next lesson could be pretty interesting and I am already looking forward to it. In class, I am
pleased to find that my expectations are not dimmed and am glad for having signed up for this course.
But my euphoria is quickly minimized. As this is an English class, whose aim is to train the four
necessary skills, we are given our first task. "Creative Writing". Great, because I am such a creative
and inspirational person. The semester can only get better from now on. The topic for expressing our
creativity is "The start of the academic year." Me, being completely uncreative, I start by choosing the
right color for the title. After underlining it seven times, I see that I cannot spend any more time on
this and start on the actual writing task. Taking a side-glance at the wall clock, I see that I still have
around 30 minutes to exhaust my creative mind. !
Ok, now being creative: How do I feel about the start of the new academic year? Coming from a really
ordinary small town, where people who love cultural events and modern art and who enjoy the
cosmopolitan atmosphere of coffee shops would certainly feel suicidal, it is really nice to be back in
Klagenfurt. Although my hometown gets the occasional tourist, who seems to welcome a brief stop
and listen to an eager sales representative doing a hard sell on Tupperware and vacuum cleaners, I am
pretty excited about being back in Klagenfurt, which is, to my standards, a mammoth metropolis. Not
only can I enjoy big city life by doing my weekly grocery shopping in different shops every week, but I
can also go out at 7 pm and still find people on the street and see lights behind drawn curtains.
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March 2014
Furthermore, not only can I participate in big city life, but I can also meet my friends again and
improve my Carinthian accent. !
Finally, not only is the social aspect a positive factor of the start of the new term, but also the
knowledge that I have just entered my final year of studying is pretty exhilarating. Till today, there has
been a slightly dull routine which has comprised of studying from October till June, finding a job for
the summer holidays and getting back to university the following October. Not this year though; I do
not have to apply for summer jobs or underpaid internships anymore. In fact, I do not have the
slightest idea what will happen next year at this time, neither do I know where I will live or work. All
I am sure about is that there will be major changes and I really appreciate these and am looking
forward to the coming year. !
Concluding, as to my start in the new academic year, I would summarize my feelings as already being a
bit stressed, but also excited and eager to finish my studies. It seems as if our time for being creative is
over and we are dismissed from class. Looking back at my notebook, I have to admit that creative
writing might be a better activity than I first thought and wow, nearly two whole pages: am I creative!!
The Start of the Academic Year (Laszlo Bernath)
Every semester is different and similar at the same time. You go back to the same university on the
same day of each year. You meet mostly the same students on the same corridor and are taught by
roughly the same teachers in the same classrooms as the semester before. The same uncertainty
before nearly each course whether you will be accepted in the first place. The same relief if yes, the
same disappointment if not. The same thoughts whether you have forgotten to bring something along
for the first session; the same conclusion that you have not, and the same realization that you have.
The same old story all around. Still, however similar the surface appears to be, there are changes that
can make everything look different. And they do.!
Generally, I have a positive attitude toward the beginning of each academic year. After three months
of holidays (sometimes even earlier) I always feel the need to connect pleasant with useful. I am
always full of anticipation. Therefore, I tend to expect the coming semester to be more pleasant than
it could ever turn out to be. I am curious what is going to happen, what the new courses and seminars
are going to be like. I always make some plans and promises some time between the two semesters. I
plan to prepare for the next semester in advance, promise to improve time management and prepare
for each session regularly throughout the semester. The exact arrival of those promises is usually
closely related to the time I receive my grades from the previous semester. It always motivates me that
I know that I could have done and could do it much better. But it is not my fault. It is the lack of
time, and something unexpected comes up anyway. Still, I will start to take it more seriously
tomorrow. And tomorrow. And tomorrow.!
This time, however, my attitude was somewhat different. Naturally, the general positivity is still
present. There are some mixed emotions, though. This summer was not as exhilarating as it could
have been because I had to take a course during the summer break. The deadly combination of two
unpleasant factors: having to take a course, and doing all this during the summer break. As a
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March 2014
consequence, the usual anticipation around the start of the new semester is now mixed with desperate
wishes for real holidays. My current perspectives for the coming semester are a bit darker than usually.
I am a little anxious about getting started with an already worn brain. So I am more realistic in a way.
This time I did not make rigid plans nor empty promises. I knew that I would have no time to
prepare in advance, so I made a simple option out of it: If I still have some time for that, I will make
some preparation. Of course, it never happened. The promises have been replaced by hopes.
Hopefully, I will have the strength to tackle despite the lack of regeneration during the summer.
Hopes are better than promises after all. The last refuge of a person who has no real reason to believe
that everything is going to work out just fine. To hope they are. Now, on the way to being realistic, I
will try to apply all my experiences from previous semesters in order to make this one better. I will try
to prepare for each session regularly and to take every single course seriously. But not today. I will start
tomorrow. Maybe.!
Whenever a new semester starts, you feel that there is something new around you. There are always
signs that things have changed. They are not tangible, but they are there, somewhere in the air. A
gentle breeze, perhaps, which was too weak to alter the basics, but just enough to bring in that feeling
that the big continuity is divided into chapters. A fresh flow of oxygen in your brain which gives you
the strength at the beginning that you no longer have at the end. These are only small changes that
make each semester look different. The same differences every time.!
The Start of the Academic Year : A Personal Reflection
(Doroteja Perse)
It is the start of a new semester. Here we go,
letting go and diving into the world of classes
and study. This semester marks the more-thanhalfway point, which makes me think of being
halfway to the finish line; most of the work is
done, but a lot is left. I am in so much hurry to
finish and get on with my life, but shouldn't I
be living in the moment and enjoying every
minute? We should never try to take shortcuts
in life's journeys, whatever they may be, because
we are on them for a reason. I should really be enjoying my time with the people around me and my
classes, and I mostly do, but not as much as I could . The trouble is the letting go part, and the
relaxing part, and also the living in the moment part. And instead of improving anything, all these
moving parts are making it harder for me to let go, which in turn makes me more impatient and
dissatisfied with myself. I suppose it also doesn't help that I feel pressured by the circumstances in my
life to finish university as fast as possible. However, the problem is mostly me, and I am one of those
people who have never been able to enjoy school as some people do. All of this leads me to ask myself
– what would I change if I could? What is it within me that feels this urgent need to "get a move on"
and leave this important part of my life behind?!
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March 2014
I suppose that if I could change anything, it would be the clarity and ability to see myself finishing
strong and proud. Fortunately, this is something I can fix, and which I am working on. I would also
relax more and be less of an introvert. !
On the other hand, I enjoy my classes; I have always loved learning, and I love meeting new people
from all walks of life and hearing about their lives and experiences. These are the things that inspire
me to keep going, keep trying, to stay open to change and the flow of life. But what keeps me under
pressure and feeling stuck is my own lack of clarity and focus. To fix a problem that exists in the head
it is best to find the right words to express it (stream of consciousness comes in handy), feel it, and let
it go. Rinse and repeat. I also need to think less about what others think, and focus more on what I
would like out of the university experience and life in general, and focus on these goals. !
This semester will be packed with classes, new beginnings, new experiences, new people and all I
really have to do is let go of the reins I'm holding like my life depends on it and live a little! We can't
control everything, but whatever we may be going through, we have the right to feel good, to enjoy
life as much as possible, and to appreciate all our incredible blessings and miracles, even if it takes
time to see them. As they say, hindsight is 20/20, and I know that I am where I am supposed to be. !
Living a Low-Tech Life: A Personal Experiment (Thorsten
I consider myself a regular guy. I have never been highly interested in helpful gadgets, so my
smartphone and a hand axe have a lot in common, at least in terms of functionality. Neither would I
call myself a social media addict, nor do I feel stressed-out as a student. I enjoy gaming a lot, yes, and I
love to be entertained by clips on the internet for hours. Other than that, I can hardly find any real
time-consuming bad habits in my life. Why,
then, did I feel the need to try this out? Well,
maybe it sounded strange enough to catch
both my attention and interest. !
When I first heard of this Lo-Fi or Slow-Tech
movement, I frowned. These characters that
were introduced in class, describing their
daily lives, seemed so surreal in their
opposition to almost all modern ways of
spending a day. Granted, they might have had
an actual point, but is it really necessary to
isolate oneself or simply refrain from making use of the fancy stuff offered today? Yet still, it was
intriguing in some weird way and the health issues mentioned appeared reasonable. As my awareness
was raised, I constantly questioned my daily activities, catching myself doing nothing at all out of
laziness, wallowing for hours in what entertainment the internet offered or making appointments that
surely enough made me stressed in the end. As a result, I finally decided to give it a try. !
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March 2014
The two weeks of winter break were about to begin. I switched off the mobile phone and unplugged
the TV. I found myself wondering what had put any pressure on me in the past, so I could try to avoid
it as best as I could. The PC surely had to stay off for a while.!
The first impressions I got were easy to predict beforehand: I got bored in an instance. Coffee was the
first thing that came to my mind; I went to the kitchen and prepared a cup. Instead of sitting in front
of a screen finding any old source of entertainment, though, I sat down at the table thinking of what
to do next - or more precisely, what to do at all. As I flipped through a magazine right next to me on
the table, I realized how much I had loved reading a while back and how much compensation it
offered when I was working. After slowly finishing my coffee and making a second, I went to the
bookshelf in the bedroom, rummaging for something proper and grabbed a book that fit well in that
particular moment: Hermann Hesse – Withstand Life. The chapter "Just don’t forget about the small
things" seemed particularly interesting, as it deals with coming to appreciate the small and few in
contrast to today's mass consumption - interesting. I took another book from the shelf, last year's
birthday present from my girlfriend. Admittedly, I had not read a single line of it before, so I started
to read.!
From then on, I actually began to enjoy the decision I had made, because I now had so much more
free time available, it seemed. Throughout the next two weeks, I rediscovered hobbies of mine that I
had abandoned long ago. Not only did I grab the guitar I had not touched in a while, even though it
was standing right next to my PC all the time, but I also found myself taking walks with my girlfriend
again. I had already forgotten how restorative it was to be in the cool, fresh air. Had I spent hours
playing stressful and enervating competitive games online with friends before, often just wasting time
to make new achievements or unlocks, I now enjoyed quiet conversation with friends, alongside
rounds of Pen and Paper, full of creativity and cooperation. While my cat surely got more attention
and playtime, the one that benefited the most from the new situation was my girlfriend. Often
enough had I heard her complain about me being a slave to the screen, but now we spent a lot more
precious time together. !
As the winter break came to an end and university with its appointments and assignment due times
knocked on the door, I had to get back to "normal life", of course. However, I believe I had learned
my lesson. Today, I think carefully about more productive ways to spend my days and rather take
timeouts that enrich my life instead of letting it go bad while staring at the monitor all day long. !
In retrospect, I can safely say that these two weeks came closer to actual holidays than any I've had in
the last few years and I can only recommend everyone to at least give it a try. !
Second Language Acquisition (Stefan Pickert)
Second language acquisition or second language learning is the process by which humans all over the
world learn a second language in addition to their native languages. Second language, target language
or L2 are all synonyms which are used to refer to any language learned in addition to the native
language called mother tongue, first language or L1. Furthermore, second language acquisition can also
include a third language, which is then called heritage language or multilingualism. Second language
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March 2014
acquisition (SLA) only refers to the processes the learner has to go through and has nothing to do
with the instruments a teacher uses for second language teaching. The main question researchers into
learner-external factors have had to face is how do learners get information about the target language?
Over the past few years, research has focused on the effects of different kinds of input, on the impact
of social context, and on pedagogical effects.!
The most important impact on
learning a second language is the
social effect. The process of
learning can be very stressful and
demanding, and the impact of
positive attitudes from society can
be very vital for learning. One
significant aspect which receives
particular attention is the
relationship of gender roles to
language achievement. Numerous
cultural studies have shown that
women enjoy an advantage over
men in learning other languages. But the interpretation differs in many ways, because some
researchers tend to ignore certain aspects of the field, while others scrutinize those aspects piece by
piece. Furthermore, the attitudes of a community towards the language can also have an intense
impact on SLA. For example, if the community has a broadly negative view of the learned language
and its speakers, or has a poor relationship to it, learning the targeted language is consequently much
more difficult. Moreover, the nature of the group dynamics in the classroom plays an important role,
owing to language learning. Early attitudes can strengthen motivation to learn in general, particular
with early exposure to the language. !
In addition to social effects, pedagogical impact plays an important role in SLA. Many efforts have
been made to evaluate the effectiveness of language teaching practices in encouraging second language
acquisition. Such studies have been made for every level of the language, no matter whether it is
phonetics of pragmatics. In addition to this, every current teaching methodology has been reviewed
and some general issues have been addressed, for example that many traditional language teaching
techniques are extremely inefficient in the areas of phonology, grammar and vocabulary. As a result, it
is generally agreed that pedagogy restricted to teaching grammar rules and vocabulary lists does not
give students the ability to use the second language with fluency and accuracy. !
The last important point is the source of information where students learn from, called input. The
best possibility for learners to gain information is the language itself. When they come into direct
contact with the target language, people can learn the most without much effort. However, this
incident has to be at a level that is comprehensible for them. A great deal of research has taken place
into input enhancement, which input causes the most effect on learning new vocabulary or reading
texts. !
In conclusion, it can be said that second language learning depends on many factors, such as social
surroundings and the kind of input students get from their teachers.!
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Sad Music (Sarina Bernath)
Last session, we learned that sad music's characteristics are minor chords, the use of suspended notes
and sometimes a breaking or cracking voice, giving the impression of grief. Countless sad songs are
primarily about romantic
topics such as unrequited love,
or mourning a missed chance
with a potential lover. There
are, however, songs which deal
with loneliness, world
weariness, the loss of a beloved
person, as well as many other
important issues. Personally, I
prefer these over romantic
music, but it largely depends
on my mood. Sad music
creates sad emotions, better
known as melancholy, in the
listener. This is quite a
paradox, since human beings
generally avoid anything which would have such an effect on them, but this is surprisingly not the case
with sad music. Over the past few decades, it has even become increasingly popular and today's charts
are made up of a majority of low key music.!
Why do we like to listen to music which holds such emotional power over us? In the podcast,
Amanda's answer was that we use it to cry, but it is not quite so simple. Humans are fairly emotional
creatures, but we hide our true nature and learn to repress our negative emotions in order to avoid
conflict and other complications. We push all our anger, frustration, hurt and sadness under the
surface, but do not really know how to deal with them afterwards. Therefore, we use sad music as an
emotional outlet, actively creating a sense of melancholy in order to bring our repressed emotions
back to the surface. This process has a refreshing effect on our mind and soul and aids us in being able
to think in a fresh and calm manner again. This reminds me greatly of William Wordsworth's famous
concept of 'Recollecting one's emotions in tranquility'.!
Check out the BBC Podcast here: !
Gary Jules & Michael Andrews: Mad World (2003) - Sarina
This song was first written and performed by the British pop band Tears for Fears in 1982. It proved to
be their first international hit from their album The Hurting. Two decades later, the song gained a huge
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increase in popularity when it was re-recorded by the composers Michael Andrews and Gary Jules.
This version is quite stripped down from the original; it is much slower and has a minimalistic style.
"Mad World" was used as the soundtrack for the movie Donnie Darko, as well as in the commercials of
the video game Gears of War. It is also frequently used in TV series, for example The Mentalist, Psych
and Dead Like Me in sad or dramatic scenes.!
Lyrically, it is quite loose and while it touches upon various themes, it does not say anything too
specific, leaving it free for interpretation. The band confessed that the theories of Arthur Janov, the
author of the book The Primal Scream, have heavily influenced the songs chorus: "The dreams in which
I'm dying are the best I’ve ever had." He says that dreams of intense experiences such as dying are the
best and only way to really release tension and frustration about one's life. The narrator in the song is
a teenager who looks out into a mad world, which he cannot seem to make any sense of and flees into
his fantastic dreams instead. The "worn out faces" and "worn out places" could mean that he feels
their tiredness of life. "Our daily races" are our hectic and busy lives, led as if for a great purpose, but
the lines "going nowhere", show that the narrator thinks that there is no purpose in life. "No
expression" could mean that he feels indifferent to everyone's sorrow and bitterness with life. "I find it
kind of funny, I find it kind of sad…" is quite confusing at first, since sadness and being humored by
something are opposite ends of the spectrum. However, what the narrator speaks about is a very dark
and twisted kind of humor that corresponds perfectly with his sadness. As a result, he seeks escape
through his dreams, which give him something his meaningless life cannot. With the next stanza, the
narrator brings us back to his childhood, a time of innocence, because children have no need for a
purpose in life, except for being happy. But already, he had felt left out by his peers because 'No one
knew him' and also the teacher just looked right through him. The main themes are consequently the
meaninglessness of life and feeling invisible and insignificant as a teenager.!
Mad World!
All around me are familiar faces/Worn out places, worn out faces/Bright and early for the daily races/
Going nowhere, going nowhere/!
Their tears are filling up their glasses/No expression, no expression/Hide my head I wanna drown my
sorrow/No tomorrow, no tomorrow/!
I find it kind of funny/I find it kind of sad/The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had/I
find it hard to tell you,/I find it hard to take/When people run in circles it's a very, very/Mad world,
mad world/!
Children waiting for the day they feel good/Happy birthday, happy birthday/And I feel the way that
every child should/Sit and listen, sit and listen/!
Went to school and I was very nervous/No one knew me, no one knew me/Hello teacher tell me,
what's my lesson?/Look right through me, look right through me/!
And I find it kind of funny/I find it kind of sad/The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever
had/I find it hard to tell you,/I find it hard to take/When people run in circles it's a very, very/Mad
world, mad world, mad world, mad world!
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N3N1MlvVc4!
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Bush: Glycerine (1995) - Anita Hallegger
Music has accompanied me through my whole life and has shaped certain phases of it. Therefore, I
connect specific songs with special events and persons. One of my favorite pieces of music is
"Glycerine" by Bush, which marked one of the most major adventures of my life. !
Bush is a British alternative rock band which was formed in 1992 in London. "Glycerine" is a power
ballad from their album Sixteen Stone and was released in 1995. The song was written by the lead
singer Gavin Rossdale. It is said that he wrote the song after he broke up with his girlfriend. Therefore
it is about love, relationship issues and regrets. I would not say it is a particularly sad song, but rather
a very emotional one. !
"Glycerine" is the song which sends my thoughts back to my au pair year in the USA. I heard the song
for the first time in Boston, where I was living during my year abroad. I used to listen a lot to Radio
92.9 and they played this song frequently back then. Therefore, I always think of my time in the US
when I hear this song. After a hard day, I had turned on my computer and listened to the song. It had
always calmed me down and made me feel comfortable. Sometimes it also made me a little bit
homesick. As a result, it is one of the songs which I connect with the memories of America. !
The song has various elements through which it achieves its effects on me. I love the guitar riffs and
Gavin Rossdale’s raspy singing voice. His powerful voice makes the song emotional and you can
almost feel how he is suffering. The cello makes it even more dramatic, and all these features produce
a great piece of art with a strong melody. "Glycerine" contains a variety of emotions, such as sadness,
regret, anger and love. These elements are expressed through strong riffs, sustained cello parts and
heartbreaking lyrics. !
The lyrics tell the story of a broken relationship. Contradictions such as: !
"everything all white, now everything's grey, now you're here, now you're away"!
and "I'm never alone, I'm alone all the time" as well as "Black moon white again" represent the ups
and downs in the relationship. Especially the part "we life in a wheel" indicates that the whole
scenario is like a circle and things are happening over and over again. The line "Where everyone steals,
but when we rise it's like strawberry fields" shows that there are hard times but when the relationship
works it is like heaven. The regrets are shown in the following sentence: "Could have been easier on
you, I couldn't change though I wanted to". The line "Don't let the days go by" might mean that he is
running out of time and does not know how to fix the relationship issues in time. !
Glycerine is a sugar alcohol, sweet-tasting and of low toxicity. These attributes could be compared
with the bitter-sweet relationship situation. Furthermore, Glycerine is used in the food industry to
preserve food, which could be a connection to the line "Don't let the days go by". The most
interesting way to look at the word is to see it as Nitro-Glycerine, which is an explosive. NitroGlycerine could stand for the intense relationship which could blow up any second. It is said that
Gavin Rossdale once said in an interview that love is like a bomb. !
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Glycerine is a song which can unearth emotions and memories, and which can push me back into the
past. It is a song based on a range of emotions expressed through magnificent musical elements and
memorable lyrics. !
It must be your skin I'm sinking in/It must be for real 'cause now I can feel/And I didn't mind/It's not
my kind/It's not my time to wonder why/Everything's gone white/And everything's gray/Now you're
here now you're away/I don't want this/Remember that/I'll never forget where you're at/Don't let the
days go by/!
I'm never alone/I'm alone all the time/Are you at one or do you lie?/We live in a wheel/Where
everyone steals/But when we rise it's like strawberry fields/If I treated you bad/You bruised my face/
Couldn't love you more/You got a beautiful taste/Don't let the days go by/Could have been easier on
you/I couldn't change though I wanted to/Should have been easier by three/Our old friend fear and
you and me/!
Don't let the days go by/Glycerine!
Don't let the days go by/Glycerine!
Black moon white again/Black moon white again/And she falls around me/I needed you more/When
we wanted us less/I could not kiss just regress/It might just be/Clear simple and plain/Well, that's just
fine/That's just one of my names/Don't let the days go by/Could've been easier on you, you, you!
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZdTSGEoiDc!
Rise Against: Everchanging (1999) - Lukas Adlassnig
I've chosen the song "Everchanging" by the alternative rock band Rise Against, because it was once
not only my favorite song, but the most important one, too. !
Rise Against is a punk/hardcore band that was founded in 1999 and which has released 6 albums since
then. Like many bands of this genre, they have written both songs that convey a political message, as
well as songs that express personal experiences or feelings. !
The original version of "Everchanging" was released on their first Album, The Unraveling in 1999, while
the acoustic version of the song was officially released on their latest b-sides album, Long Forgotten
Songs, in 2013. !
During my final year at high school, I listened to a great deal of music from this band, but
"Everchanging" wasn't always one of my favorites. I thought it was interesting, but not as good as
some of their other songs that were easier to relate to or that were simply more catchy. !
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Shortly after my 18th birthday and during the last months of high-school, a weird feeling of change
slowly began creeping up in the back of my head. I was on the verge of both being an adult and
finishing something that I had done for almost half of my life, and it must have been the title of this
song that sparked my interest. I found myself listening to it more frequently and, although it's lyrics
are about a failed relationship, it had a broader and different meaning for me.!
With plenty of confidence and friends from many different classes, it is safe to say that I had a blast
during my final school year. But the more I enjoyed myself, the more I began to worry about what
would happen once it was over and the more I related to this song. I realized that the days of
"something that I thought would never end" were numbered and that "another year, without
direction, full of fear" might lie ahead. !
Although I was aware of this change, I was shocked how fast it happened. Within one or two months,
a lot was different. Those who had finished school with me seemed too busy moving on to the Army
or wherever they were going to attend university, while those who were still attending school felt
distant. Everyone except my best friends seemed to become more and more alienated, slowly turning
into a memory that listening to "Everchanging" would always bring back. At this time, the last part of
the song grew in importance for me. Following the rest of the song, which made me indulge in
memories and mourn what had happened, the ending felt liberating and signaled to me that it was
time to move on with my life, as well. !
Three years later, listening to this song makes me feel slightly melancholic and it brings up many
memories. The feelings of doubt and change that I had when I initially listened to it are long gone,
though, and I no longer like the ending because it's important to me, but simply because it is
beautiful. As you can see, "Everchanging" is not only the song's title, but also it's meaning for me.!
In the face/Of change/That's when she turned to me and said/"I'm not sure anymore"/!
And there/Amidst the waves and the cloudless skies/That blanket the year before/I watch my life
wash ashore/!
Have you ever been a part of something/That you thought would never end?/And then, of course it
did/Have you ever felt the weight inside you/Pulling away inside your skin?/And then something had
to give/!
Now the lines are drawn/Is this feeling gone?/The best parts of this have come and gone/And now that
is all this is/With the reasons clear/We'll spend another year/Without direction, full of fear/And now
things will be different/!
There's nothing simple when it comes to you and I/Always something in this everchanging life/And
there probably always will/Now that time is getting harder to come by,/The same arguments are always
on our mind/{We've} killed this slowly fading light/!
Now the lines are drawn/Is this feeling gone?/The best parts of this have come and gone/And now that
is all this is/With the reasons clear/We'll spend another year/Without direction, full of fear/But now
things will be different/!
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And now something/Has kept me here too long/And you can't leave me/If I'm already gone/!
Well now something (hey)/Has kept me here too long/And you can't leave me (hey)/If I'm already
Now let's say that something (hey)/Has kept me here too long/And you can't leave me (hey)/If I'm
already gone/!
And we make the same mistakes/We're always hanging on/Break the promises we're always leaning on/
All this time spent waking up/{Now I} keep this line open to get this call from you/{As you} speak the
words that keep me coming back to you/Now this time it's all different/!
Now something/Has kept me here too long/And now I'm gone!
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRHP7CSGNlM!
Rise Against: Hero of War (2008) - Angelika Schneider
Rise Against, an American punk rock band formed in 1999, have produced a number of commercially
successful albums and are known for their support of organizations such as AmnestyInternational and
PETA.The band focuses on themes such as politics, war and animal rights.!
Appeal to Reason, their fifth studio album, was released in 2008. Although some of their fans criticized
the variations and changes in their music style, Appeal to Reason is still their most successful album to
date. The acoustic song "Hero of War" portrays the traumatic experiences of an Iraq War veteran and
illustrates three aspects of dehumanization: obedience, peer pressure, and misjudgment.!
First, the song starts with a father convincing his son to enlist in the army with promises to "get paid"
for it. All he needs to do is to "carry this gun" in order to "see the world". For the purpose of making
his father proud and to earn some money, he decides to join the army. Then, in verse two, he describes
his first experiences with the Armed Forces: getting his hair cut off, marching, singing, and becoming
friends with the other soldiers while they learn "how to fight". Verse three starts with the overpatriotic statement that he is "a hero of war" and that he is willing to "carry this flag to the grave" if it
comes to the worst. Therefore, these lines show his blind obedience to the U.S. military and his
willingness to die for his nation.!
Secondly, this song exemplifies how easily peer pressure can affect a person's behavior. The soldier
literally changes from a hero to a murderer, due to the fact that he is taking part when his military
peers capture a man and kill him gruesomely.!
Although he probably knows that this act of cruelty is not right, peer pressure encourages him to
engage in this activity.!
Thirdly, the incident with the woman is undoubtedly the most traumatizing experience for him during
the Iraq War. The woman is walking towards him, and he is begging her to stop where she is. But,
despite his desperate request, she continues to come near. In order to protect himself, he kills her.
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Afterwards, he realizes that she is dead, lying on the ground, holding a white flag in her hand. The flag
he is referring to at the end of the song could be the woman's white flag, which will always remind him
of his dehumanization.!
As a result, "Hero of War" is a powerful and emotional song about the horror of war and its damaging
consequences for humans. It tells us that everyone can be transformed from a hero to a criminal
during war, due to the influence of obedience, peer pressure and self-defense.!
Hero of War!
He said, "Son, have you seen the world?/Well, what would you say if I said that you could?/Just carry
this gun, you'll even get paid"/I said, "That sounds pretty good"/!
Black leather boots, spit shined so bright/They cut off my hair but it looked alright/We marched and
we sang/We all became friends as we learned how to fight/!
A hero of war, yeah that's what I'll be/And when I come home they'll be damn proud of me/I'll carry
this flag to the grave if I must/'Cause it's the flag that I love and a flag that I trust/!
I kicked in the door, I yelled my commands/The children they cried but I got my man/We took him
away, a bag over his face/From his family and his friends/!
They took off his clothes, they pissed in his hands/I told them to stop but then I joined in/We beat
him with guns and batons/Not just once but again and again/!
A hero of war, yeah that's what I'll be/And when I come home they'll be damn proud of me/I'll carry
this flag to the grave if I must/'Cause it's flag that I love and a flag that I trust/!
She walked through bullets and haze/I asked her to stop, I begged her to stay/But she pressed on/So I
lifted my gun and I fired away/!
And the shells jumped through the smoke/And into the sand that the blood now had soaked/She
collapsed with a flag in her hand/A flag white as snow/!
A hero of war is that what they see/Just medals and scars, so damn proud of me/And I brought home
that flag, now it gathers dust/But it's a flag that I love, the only flag I trust/!
He said, "Son, have you seen the world?/Well, what would you say if I said that you could?"!
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DboMAghWcA!
Iced Earth: Dracula (2001) - Thorsten Hoddow
The song I want to write about is by the Heavy Metal band Iced Earth, that was founded in 1984 and
has been influenced by other sub-genres of metal, such as thrash, power, and speed metal. The song is
called "Dracula" and is one of the songs on the album Horror Show which was released in 2001. It is a
collection of 11 songs dealing with mythical and historical figures such as Jack the Ripper,
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Frankenstein, Im-Ho-Tep and the Phantom of the Opera. The title of the track refers to the popular
vampire, well known through Bram Stoker’s novel, followed by dozens of movies, and is both the
speaker and singer performing in the song.!
The song itself can be divided into two main parts. The first part introduces the song with a soft
voice, accompanied by a classical guitar, and a moderate tempo and is significantly shorter than the
second part. It poses questions to the listener, whether s/he knows about true love and destiny and
continues to raise the subject of the singer's own experiences with his former beloved wife whom
"they" have taken from him. He also mentions continuous praying, his faith in his deity and his strong
and painful memories of that person.!
The second part represents a radical break in the way the song is performed, which in fact is typical
for this genre. The classical guitar is replaced by electric guitars, drums and a bass guitar, and the
tempo and volume are increased. Additionally, the voice of the singer changes from a hushed narrating
to a loud and harsh one, and a chorus with multiple voices functions as amplification in the refrain. In
terms of content, the second part no longer deals with melancholic thoughts, but instead gives vent to
his agony and hatred of "them" and his now abruptly reversed faith in God. The singer continues to
tell of betrayal via lack of assistance, even though he fought in God's name. Being blinded by his own
wrath, he then declares that he is going to avenge his true love by feeding on "his precious child".
What is meant by this is that he will feast on humans, which are God's creation, taking their blood
and thereby spreading his disease as a vampire.!
Similarly, the way the song is divided into two parts technically also offers two main references. On
the one hand, there is the mythical or fictional figure of the vampire, depicted in the identically
named movie Dracula from 1992, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Within the lyrics, there are
numerous connections to the movie, most of them dealing with the latter's prologue, showing the
happenings four centuries earlier. Firstly, the question raised in the lyrics asking whether this was his
reward for serving God's own war, which happens right after Dracula is told by priests, surrounding
his wife's dead body, that, according to God’s law, her soul is not allowed to ascend to heaven. The
lines "and Christ I defy" and "Renouncing God off his throne" are further quotes from Dracula, being
enraged hearing this from the priests. Additionally, the uttered threat of raising from his own death to
avenge her with all the powers of darkness, carries through the entire song. Furthermore, the line "the
blood is the life", mentioned in the lyrics, can also be found in the prologue, right after he has rammed
his sword into the cross on the altar that starts to spill blood and fill a goblet that he immediately
drains. Lastly, the first two lines in the lyrics that refer to a later scene, in which Count Dracula spots
the lawyer's opened locket on a table, revealing the portrait of his fiancée who looks exactly like
Dracula's former wife, shown in the prologue of the movie.!
On the other hand, we have references to the historical figure behind Dracula, presenting the
background of the story and song. Prince Vlad Draculae, a Romanian ruler living in the 15th century, is
the actual figure behind Bram Stoker's novel, at least it served as an inspiration for the author. His
surname Draculae means "son of dracul", his father's title which itself means dragon. The order of the
dragon, mentioned in the song, was a Romanian order defending Europe’s Eastern border and thereby
the whole of Christendom from hostile forces, such as the Ottomans invading Europe at that time.
Ironically, the term dracul can also be translated to "devil". By repelling the Turkish army, a seemingly
insurmountable force, and impaling 20,000 of his beaten enemies, he got the title "Tepes", which
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means impaler. Legends tell of a second wave of Turkish soldiers who retreated after being confronted
with thousands of their own men on poles, partly still alive. The reason for such cruelty was the fact
that Vlad himself was taken hostage by the Turks in his early years, having to experience and witness
similar deeds. Thus, it can be seen as an act of revenge.!
The first time I stumbled upon this band was roughly 15 years ago, as I was looking for bands similar
to Slayer, my favorite thrash metal band. Later, I accidentally discovered the song "Dracula" and
instantly loved it. Not only did I enjoy the powerful voice of the singer, but I also admired the band's
skillful handling of their instruments. Only a few years later, I also started playing the guitar and the
first steps I took were attempts to get Iced Earth's riffs played properly. Due to the fact that they are
well-versed, I stuck with them for quite some time. In fact, even some rather talented friends of mine
tend to practice with their songs now and then, as they pose a decent, yet fairly manageable challenge.!
Even though contemporary movies often deal with the mythical vampires, from today's adolescent
soap opera version in "Twilight", to the more thorough portrayal as presented in movies such as
"Interview with a Vampire", I never found these really interesting. What fascinated me by the song,
after some research, was not only the historical figure described, but rather the themes of the song.
First of all, the nostalgia or melancholy when talking about his beloved, yet past, one, the betrayal of
the faithful by God and the eventual change from sadness to hatred. In fact, the latter is something I
often noticed in my own behavior as well and seems typical for the way I usually react in sad
moments. Instead of wallowing in self-pity for days, I welcome the energy and the power of the song,
as it reliably pulls me back to life.!
Do you believe in love?/Do you believe in destiny?/True love may come only once in a thousand
lifetimes…/I too have loved... they took her from me/I prayed for her soul... I prayed for her peace/!
When I close my eyes/I see her face, it comforts me/When I close my eyes/Memories cut like a knife/
The blood is the life, and Christ I defy/My sworn enemy... birth of a new creed/!
Is this my reward for serving God's own war?/The blood I've spilled for faith fulfilled/To damn her, a
disgrace, you spit back in my face/I served you loyally, and you spew blasphemy/!
I avenge with darkness, the blood is the life/The Order of the Dragon, I feed on human life/!
There are far worse things awaiting man than death/Come taste what I have seen/I'm spreading my
disease/I will feed upon His precious child/The human race will bleed, they will serve my need/!
I avenge with darkness, the blood is the life/The Order of the Dragon, I feed on human life/!
I am the Dragon of blood, the relentless prince of pain/Renouncing God off His throne/My blood is
forever stained/!
For true love I shall avenge/I defy the creed that damned her/!
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj5JSYiNrcc!
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Nine Inch Nails: Hurt (1994) - Bianca Gentilini
Music plays an important role in many people's lives. It has many functions, for instance, in setting
certain moods and providing comfort in stressful or unpleasant situations. This particular essay deals
with a piece of sad music. The song which will be dealt with is "Hurt" by the band Nine Inch Nails.!
The song was written and produced by the lead singer of the band Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor. It
was first released in 1994 on the album The Downward Spiral. During the time of recording this album,
Reznor showed signs of depression and became addicted to alcohol and drugs. The lyrics of the song
represent the dark times Reznor was going through; it is a personal song and reportedly his favorite
one. There is no actual music video for this song, but it is always played as the last song of the concert.
Furthermore, other artists such as Johnny Cash or Leona Lewis have covered this song. Cash's version
of it is very successful and is his best-selling song. The lyrics of the song suit him perfectly, since he
had a complicated life and was addicted to drugs, too. However, the album The Downward Spiral is a
concept album and deals with the destruction of a man until he reaches the bottom of the downward
spiral. The last song on the album is "Hurt", which includes themes such as self-mutilation, selfloathing and addiction. Taking a closer look at the lyrics will prove the self-destructive nature of the
individual. !
In the first stanza, the protagonist makes it clear that he is suffering from depression by hurting
himself. People who suffer from severe depression often cut themselves to actually feel something to
prove to themselves that they are not empty shells. Additionally, self-harm can also be seen as a form
punishment for the depressed person. Furthermore, 'the needle tears a hole' is an indicator for drug
abuse, especially heroin. With drugs, the person tries to forget his surroundings and problems, but
after the high the difficulties are still the same until he gets the next fix. In the second stanza of the
song, the narrator looks back at his life. It seems that the person does not recognize himself anymore.
It also implies that someone has gone through a painful time of loss. This might be related to the
addiction and his unforgivable actions or due to not giving something up that is hurting others. In the
following line, 'My empire of dirt', the protagonist refers to the circumstances he is trapped in, which
is probably the reason why he lost the people who actually cared for him. In the last two lines, it
indicates that he cannot keep a promise to become sober; instead he is hurting people again and again,
finally pushing them away. The third stanza tells us more about the life of the narrator, his drug
addiction and his distorted view on his life. At this point, he has almost reached the bottom of the
downward spiral; it gives the impression as if he has lost all hope that he will ever get any better. 'The
broken thoughts he cannot repair': he can neither forget what was happening in the past, nor does he
see any hope that it will get better. In the final stanza of the song, the narrator implies that he has
come to peace with himself, accepted who and what he is and that there is a way out of his misery.!
To sum up, the song has a very powerful message and gives people hope that even if they are stuck in
such a situation, they are able to face their fears and start a new and better life. It is important that
people talk about their problems and feelings and look for help if it is needed, because depression and
addiction is not something someone should be ashamed of. !
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I hurt myself today/To see if I still feel/I focus on the pain/the only thing that's real/The needle tears a
hole/the old familiar sting/Try to kill it all away/but I remember everything/!
What have I become?/My sweetest friend/Everyone I know/goes away in the end/You could have it all/
My empire of dirt/I will let you down/I will make you hurt/!
I wear this crown of shit/Upon my liar's chair/Full of broken thoughts/I cannot repair/Beneath the
stain of time/the feelings disappear/You are someone else/I am still right here./!
What have I become?/my sweetest friend/Everyone I know/goes away in the end/You could have it all/
my empire of dirt/I will let you down/I will make you hurt/!
If I could start again/a million miles away/I would keep myself/I would find a way...!
Link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvJKVKglIRs!
Johnny Cash: Hurt (2002) - Manuel Rieder
Today, the majority of successful songs are feel-good songs. People enjoy listening to music that makes
them happy and gives them a good time. It offers them a way to escape reality for a few minutes. On
the contrary, there are more complex songs. Songs that make people think and reflect upon life. One
of those songs is "Hurt" by Johnny Cash.!
He covered the song in 2002. It was originally recorded by the band Nine Inch Nails in 1994. The
band leader and singer of the band Trent Reznor tried to process a bout of deep depression and his
experiences with drugs. Commercially, it was one of the most successful songs by the band. Reznor
repeatedly said that Hurt was his most personal song. That is the reason why he did not fully
appreciate the version by Cash in the beginning. It felt to him as if someone stole his song. He
accepted it, though, after some time and was honoured that the famous Johnny Cash covered it.!
When analysing Reznor’s version, one has to read it quite differently compared to the version by
Cash. As mentioned above, Reznor was feeling blue and was addicted to drugs. The song was an
attempt to express his feelings at that time.!
In the first verse, he sings about hurting himself with the needle, injecting drugs. His pain is the only
thing that is real. Drugs gave him a way to forget his problems and escape reality for a short period of
time. In the chorus, he questions himself and what he has become. Everybody leaves him because he
lives in a world of dirt, ruled by drugs. He has no friends, as he will let people down.!
In the second verse, the original version differs slightly from the version by Cash. Reznor sings "I wear
this crown of shit", instead of, "I wear this crown of thorns". The crown of shit can be interpreted as
the world he has created for himself. Reznor is the king of his broken world. He has thoughts on his
mind he cannot understand himself. Everyone else in the world changes, but he stays the same. This
verse shows that he is stuck with his problems and drugs do not help him overcome adversity.!
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In the last verse, he sings that if he could start again somewhere else he would find a way.!
Although only one word of the lyrics was altered in the version by Johnny Cash, the song gains a
completely different meaning because it is sung by Johnny Cash. When looking at Cash's life, this song
seems as if it was tailored for him. It is known that Cash had problems with drugs throughout his
entire life. However, in order to fully understand the meaning of the song, one has to know more
about his childhood. !
When he was in his early teens, a tragic event shaped his life. John and his older brother Jack were
working in a saw mill. John left early to go fishing. Jack then had an accident and bled to death.!
John's father, Ray Cash, always said it was John's fault that Jack had died. His father even said he
would have preferred if John had died instead. This event had a strong impact on young John.!
When he started his career in music, he simultaneously started to take drugs. He was on tour day and
night. In order to stay awake, he would take some pills. Cash realized that the drugs could also ease his
mind and help him forget about his brother and the difficult relationship to his father. It gave him a
way to handle the guilt he must have felt. Knowing this, one can better understand why the song suits
Cash very well.!
In the first verse, he sings about hurting himself. One can now see that he does that because of what
happened in his youth. It is still on his mind and he still feels guilty.!
In the chorus, he then addresses the love of his life, June Carter, when he sings: "What have I become,
my sweetest friend". Cash disappointed some people throughout his life because he could not give up
taking drugs and was not reliable. He lost many friends because of drugs.!
In the second verse he sings: "I wear this crown of thorns". This can be seen as a reference to Jesus.
Cash, in a way, was a saint to some people because he was the king of country music. Country will
always be connected with Johnny Cash and vice versa. He had to carry this burden throughout his
entire life. He could have been proud of it, but it did not mean much to him. Furthermore, drugs
turned him into a liar. Nonetheless, he could not change what happened.!
In the final verse, he sings that he could make it somewhere else if he could start again. Maybe he
would handle his problems differently in another life.!
It is interesting to see how the same song can have two different meanings. The story of Cash and
Reznor is different, nonetheless, both tried to ease their mind and solve a problem. They tried it by
doing drugs. However, drugs are no solution. They only create more problems and addicts get stuck. I
personally see the song as an anti-drug song. Some people may see it differently, but that is the
beautiful thing about music. There is no single true interpretation.!
It is important to look beyond what is played on the radio all day and sometimes listen to songs that
have a story to tell. It is worth the time to listen to a more complex song, as it can enrich one’s
knowledge and understanding of life.!
I hurt myself today/To see if I still feel/I focus on the pain/The only thing that's real/The needle tears
a hole/The old familiar sting/Try to kill it all away/But I remember everything/!
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[Chorus:] What have I become/My sweetest friend/Everyone I know goes away/In the end/And you
could have it all/My empire of dirt/I will let you down/I will make you hurt/!
I wear this crown of thorns/Upon my liar's chair/Full of broken thoughts/I cannot repair/Beneath the
stains of time/The feelings disappear/You are someone else/I am still right here!
[Chorus:] What have I become/My sweetest friend/Everyone I know goes away/In the end/And you
could have it all/My empire of dirt/I will let you down/I will make you hurt/!
If I could start again/A million miles away/I would keep myself/I would find a way!
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aF9AJm0RFc!
Fences: Boys Around Here (2010) - Paul Winkler
Finding a sad song suitable to write about is not as easy as it might appear to be. However, after going
through my endless lists of artists and titles, I finally discovered one which seemed appropriate to me.
Boys Around Here by Fences caught my eye and the idea of writing about it did not leave me. !
The song is rather simple, in that it is somewhat monotonous, which is underlined by a very mellow
sound. However, its unpretentiousness makes the song so beautiful and distinctive; there is simply
nothing superfluous involved. An acoustic guitar, a piano, some percussion, and a very soothing voice
are the secret ingredients of this song, which evokes melancholic feelings. The lyrics go well with the
song; they are easily comprehensible, yet their meaning is camouflaged. !
Like many other sad songs, this one deals with break up and the associated problems. After the ending
of a relationship, people tend to drown their sorrow in alcohol, which is not particularly useful, but
considered a natural reaction by almost anyone. This is also true for lead singer Christopher
Mansfield, who became addicted to drugs and alcohol after ending a long-term relationship.
Therefore, the song can be considered as a sort of confession and a description of the mood he
experienced in the process of getting over the relationship. Obviously, the boys around here who did
not respect him stand for the people he met during his escapes from reality. Since this line is repeated
very often throughout the song, it stands for the repetition of the alcohol and drug excesses which
were not respected by other people.!
I am not sure about the exact date I discovered the song, but it must have been around February 2013.
I can, however, say with certainty that my best friend introduced me to this band. Reminiscing about
this time, I remember well that my two best friends and I were experiencing a lack of motivation and
a bit of depression, since we were already longing for the long-awaited spring (which came, of course,
late that year). Around this time, every one of us was in the gray, daily grind, and spare time was rare.
And when we had some days off, the weather was not really in our favor. So we spent our spare time in
pubs or at home, drinking and listening to music. I remember that Fences was one of our favorite
artists. !
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While listening over the song again, I can feel a little melancholy arising, but it does not make me feel
sad. What concerns me more is that this time I spent with my friends is gone. Now that we are in the
daily grind again, we have somehow lost sight of each other. Reflecting upon this time, I came to an
enlightening insight: being able to share the same feelings about the same unlucky situation with close
friends is one of the best things a person can imagine, since it is the shared experience that enriches
this melancholic memory and makes it special in its very own way. I think remembering the good old
times is like eating dark chocolate – it is sweet, even though it has a slight bitter aftertaste.!
Boys Around Here!
These mighty eyes./They looked at me with no intention./They hit me twice. At first glance, and then
a second time./!
She said to me, "that shit you say can really hurt me,/I wrote this note, I'll read it once. I feel like
giving up"/The boys around here don't respect a thing at all./The boys around here don't respect me at
It’s been a while since the night that I first met you./I still got dusty shoes, fear of love, fear of losing
you./I'll be alright if I can just stay in tonight. I don't want to talk./Just let me drink, tomorrow we'll
give up./The boys around here don't respect a thing at all./The boys around here don't respect me at
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjmXcPBiqkI!
Enya: Only Time (2000) - Laís Lopes Dezen
There are songs which always link us to certain memories, to an experience we have had. "Only Time"
is a piece of music which I adore. It is somehow relaxing and at the same time it makes me reflect on
moments in my life which I am passing through or which I had to pass through. I already knew the
singer, Enya, and the first time I heard this very piece of music was in a movie: Sweet November (2001).!
Enya is an Irish singer, instrumentalist and songwriter. She began her musical career in 1980 and in
2000 she released her album which is called A Day Without Rain and the track "Only Time" was one
of the most famous tracks on this album. It was used in the film Sweet November and after that it was
also played in some television series, such as Friends. Her work has earned her four Grammy Awards
and an Academy Award nomination.!
Shortly before 2001, a friend of my family was being treated for an illness. She had cancer, and one of
the last requests to my mother was to play Enya at her funeral. Three years later, my grandfather had
the same illness. My mother used to listen to this song with him while he was in the hospital because
he liked it, too. He used to say that he felt better listening to this piece of music, and my mother
never denied a request of her father-in-law’s. Whenever it was possible, my mother used to bring the
CD and play it for him. !
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The song is about time. It is about how unpredictable our lives can be. This piece of music teaches us
that time is a way to acquire wisdom; it may be a metaphorical term for being patient with everything
that happens around us. Our choices, our regrets, our judgments, sad and happy moments become
experiences, which are transformed into wisdom acquired via the obstacles life provides. Besides,
people who have gone through various experiences needed time to learn how to deal with them, and
even those who have vast previous experience do not yet know all the answers for everything that
occurs to them, "only time" does. So they would need more time to learn more and yet it would not be
enough to have the answers for all of life’s issues. !
Although I came across this song during a difficult time in my life, I adore it. It helps me to calm
down whenever I am upset about a certain tough moment or when I am mad at people. So, while I am
listening to this song, I take a deep breath, feeling as if a sort of breeze is inside myself, a very fresh
one, reminding myself that life goes on. This song also reminds me that we do not know everything.
Even when human beings are arrogant, saying they can manage everything, they cannot. !
Sometimes, we simply have to accept our limitations and be humble, trying to learn from the situation
we are living in and that is what "only time" shows me: that we have to be patient, as well as wait,
sometimes. We try to be better and we try to learn everything from our past. However, learning
requires patience. And patience requires wisdom - which "only time" can bring.!
Only Time!
Who can say where the road goes/Where the day flows, only time/And who can say if your love grows/
As your heart chose, only time/!
Who can say why your heart sighs/As your love flies, only time/And who can say why your heart cries/
When your love lies, only time/!
Who can say when the roads meet/That love might be in your heart/And who can say when the day
sleeps/If the night keeps all your heart/Night keeps all your heart/!
Who can say if your love grows/As your heart chose - Only time/And who can say where the road goes
Where the day flows, only time/Who knows? Only time.!
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wfYIMyS_dI!
Jelena Bozovic: Red Flower (2004) - Jovan Topalovic
Kosovo is a province in Southern Serbia. You will most likely first think of the conflict that occurred
at that location in 1999. You would not be wrong in thinking this, but the conflict put a mask on what
Kosovo really represents. For Serbs, Kosovo is more than just a word, just a province, or just a
location. The term itself is woven into the Serbian personality and, in a way, defines the Serbian
mentality. Most people do not know that this place is the cultural cradle of Serbian civilization. Our
cultural heritage is strongly tied up with this province and there are more than two hundred
monasteries and churches that originate from the 13th century and earlier. What is more, there are
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some written transcripts that originate from the early middle ages. However, the most significant
event that has shaped Serbian civilization was the great battle of Kosovo on June 28th 1389. Many
legends have emerged from it, and these legends are embedded in the soul of every Serb.!
You may wonder how this affects me. Well, the thing is that I was born in a small town in Kosovo, and
I lived there till I was ten. After the conflict, my family had to move and find a new place to live,
because my home town was no longer safe for members of the Serbian community. After we settled in
Nis, Eastern Serbia, I was really dissatisfied with the fact that I had had to leave the place of my
origins. The only comfort was that my grandmother was still living there, in a tiny village near my
home town, so I could visit her, but not as often as before. So, every summer I was there and every
autumn my dissatisfaction grew because I could not spend even more time in the birthplace of my
ancestors. !
When I was seventeen, my dissatisfaction reached it climax. I had found a girlfriend just a few days
before I was supposed to return to Austria. Disappointment was at the highest level, and everybody
could see me nervously wandering through the house. Later, back at home, I was just listening to
music; all day sad songs were on my menu. As I was drifting through youtube videos, I stumbled
across an interesting song. It was called "Red Flower", and immediately caught my attention. Red
Flower is a synonym for a plant called "Kosovski Bozur" and it has an interesting legend behind it. It
is believed that after the great battle, the land absorbed the blood of fallen Serbian heroes and in
return gave birth to the most beautiful flower in the world. After playing the song and seeing those
first images of the video, I was in tears. I thought that I could never cry to a song, but this is
something that breached my emotional boundaries.!
The song is performed by a church choir and thus fits into the 'ethno' genre. The version that I like
the most is performed by a church choir consisting of boys and girls no older than 15 years. They sing
for the church of St. George in Zvecan, in the Northern part of Kosovo. The song was written and
first performed by the famous actress/songstress Jelena Bozovic in 2004. The song became heard of
and performed at every folklore event throughout Kosovo. The sounds are unique, as you can hear the
voices overlapping, but also create the feeling that they are united. Unadulterated harmonica sounds
add to the effect of unity. The rhythm is very calm and inspiring, even relaxing. What is more, the
lyrics are right on the mark with those strong metaphors. In the opening stanza, they address the red
flower and say that it is overgrown with darnel and grass, meaning that all that heroism is now under
the shadow of recent events. There are strong religious metaphors and spiritual references. The song
is complemented by the video. The first images portray burning monasteries, which is grotesque,
because they are now under the protection of NATO armed forces. But it does not only show the
dark side of the current situation. It present a hope that monasteries will not be at risk of destruction
in the near future, and that better days could emerge, but only when the Serbian population returns to
its roots. The song says that the people should be free to express their respect for their culture and
not be discriminated for doing so. Although many soldiers appear on the video, the song does not call
for strife or another uprising; instead, it calls the population to return to God and Christianity. !
I have chosen this song because, at a particular period of time, it evoked a thunder of emotions in me.
It made me sad and nervous in those opening stanzas. But now the surge of positive emotion fills me
with optimism, and makes me believe that better days are just around the corner. This song also
evokes patriotic feelings, and returns me to where I want to be, and in my mind I am there by simply
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listening to this song. Contrary to what others may think, this song does not insult anybody, it just
celebrates Serbian culture.!
In the opening stanza, the performers are addressing the flower by saying that it is now overgrown by
grass, meaning that all the heroism was for nothing. The author is comparing Kosovo with a crying
little chicken, and makes a statement that it was taken without anyone asking her. This depicts
feelings of occupation. Afterward, the author is praying that no one leaves the province without belief
in Christ and the saints, and that the Serbian name does not disappear from the inhabitants of
Kosovo. It is said in the song that it should not happen because of the pride of the heroes, the glory of
the Serbian lineage, and the happiness of young girls.!
Throughout the song, there are clear holy metaphors that represent Christianity and the Serbian
heritage. By stating that angels will lay down a church in the center of the old emperor Dusan's
capitol, the city of Prizren in the western part of Kosovo, the song is alluding to the saying that
Kosovo was the Serbian main territory centuries ago, that Serbs were living there ages ago, and will
continue to do so. It was asked from God that he bless with pure faith those well known and holy
monasteries, such as Gračanica, Devič, Dečane and Zočišta.!
The only desire is that the inhabitants, who had left the province, return and do not give up on the
sacred place of their ancestors. In the last stanza, the author is stating that she is willing to give her
life to be able again to freely pick one of those red flowers. !
Red Flower!
Hej crven cvete prerasla te trava,/Pet godinica nisam tebe brala./Kosovo mi pile krilom suzu krije,/
Dadoše te pitao me niko nije./!
A ja molim te…/!
Zbog ponosa junaka,/Zbog slave srpskog roda,/Zbog sreće devojaka,/I Božjeg blagoslova./Ti ne daj da
ti odem,/Bez krsta i bez Slave,/Ti ne daj Vidovdane/Da ime mi nestane./!
Cvete moj…/!
Ponoć drhti svi junaci Boga mole,/Da s nebesa sjajnu zvezdu spusti dole./Da obasja čistom verom sina
Hrista/Gračanicu, Devič, Dečane, Zočišta./!
Da se vratim…/!
Na Paštrik na planinu/Da jaganjci izjave,/Na Drimu da ih pojim/Da dragog mi pozdrave./Što mač
istine nosi/A ljubav mu je ime,/Na oblak crkvu zida/Da u njoj zaprosi me/!
Cvete moj…/!
Ej, anđeli će crkvicu da spuste,/Na sred stara Dušanova bela grada,/Metohija sjajna zvezdo bićeš moja/
Oče naša nek bude opet volja tvoja./Oj, Božure/I život bih dala,/Kad bih tebe ovom rukom brala.!
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YWgKNPCyp4!
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Regina Spektor: Samson (2006) - Anna Maria Otti
The singer-songwriter Regina Spektor emigrated to the USA with her family from Moscow when she
was ten years old. She attended Jewish schools for a few years, which explains her knowledge of
biblical stories and why she is apt to using religious references in her work. Spektor studied classical
piano and later completed a composition program, graduating with honors in 2001. At first she
performed in the anti-folk scene in downtown New York and at local colleges, selling self-published
CDs at these performances. In 2004 she signed a contract with Sire Records. Since then she has
rapidly become more and more famous.!
Her interests are widespread and her work is influenced by many different musical genres, from
classical music to hip hop and punk. Spektor claims that her songs are not autobiographical, but just
seem to flow to her. They often show influences from literature and her Russian and Jewish
background. She aims at making every song she writes a distinct piece of music, rather than trying to
develop a common style for all of her music or a common theme for an album.!
Samson was originally written for her first album, but reworked and finally published on Spektor's
fourth, Begin to Hope, in 2006. As the song is a favourite for many of her fans, she often reserves it for
the encore of her concerts. It is written in B Major, which is said to by one of the toughest keys to hit
and interestingly sounds a bit like a minor key.!
When I first heard Samson a few years ago on the radio, I was intrigued. I did not know Regina
Spektor back then and did not catch much of the lyrics, but the music and her voice alone had a
powerful effect on me, pulling at my heartstrings and evoking feelings of happiness and sadness at the
same time.!
Back then, one could not avoid the song, as it was played on the radio a lot. What I caught of the
lyrics made me curious. Of course, I roughly knew what the story of Samson according to the bible
was about. In this song, however, the story was somehow told differently. Or was it another story
altogether? There were certain parallels, like the name "Samson", his hair being cut short and of course
there was mention of the bible. I tried to find out what the song might be about, but had no luck. All
I could find were far-fetched guesses, but nothing that convinced me.!
A week ago, getting terribly lost in the depths of the internet when doing research on the meaning of
another song, I accidentally, luckily, stumbled across Samson again. This time the interpretations I
found rang true to me. The story that Regina Spektor tells in her song makes me appreciate it on a
whole new level.!
One possible interpretation for the song is that it is being told from the perspective of Samson's first
wife. She cuts his hair, so he loses his power and both of them can lead a normal peaceful life, without
anything worth being mentioned in the bible or a history book ever happening. (Samson went back to
bed. Not much hair left on his head. […] And history books forgot about us and the bible didn't
mention us).!
However, I personally find it more plausible that the infamous Delilah is the one telling Samson's
story in the song. According to the bible, she is the one who sells Samson out to the Philistines.
Samson falls for Delilah and tells her the secret of his superhuman strength, after she keeps asking
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him about it. At first, he lies to her and tells her his power can be broken by being tied with
bowstrings, then that being bound by new ropes does the trick, and one day later he claims that his
hair being woven makes him weak. Each night, Delilah tries these things, but Samson is as strong as
ever. Finally, he gives in and tells her that he loses strength when someone shaves his hair. One night,
she has a servant cut Samson’s hair and in the morning he is easily captured by the Philistines, bereft
of his power. Well, at least that is how the bible depicts it.!
After thinking about it, I found the story had some unclear points, like many stories told in the bible.
For example, why would Samson confide his secret to Delilah, after she clearly betrayed him three
times already? And how could she bind him, weave his hair and even cut it in the nights they spent
together without him waking up and assenting to it?!
I like Regina Spektor's version much better. For me, the story tells what could have been, again the
outcome being that the two of them live happily ever after. Sadly it did not work out that way, which
makes the song both a beautiful love song but also has this melancholic ring to it, knowing how the
story ends in the bible.!
"You are my sweetest downfall" in the lyrics should be attributed to Samson at first glance. But it
could be argued that from a different angle he is Delilah's downfall, with her giving him everything she
had to offer when falling in love with him head over heels: her heart, soul and body.!
"I loved you first" counters the bible, where it is never mentioned that Delilah felt anything for
"Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth" could mean, that the truth about Delilah can be found
when reading between the lines.!
"Your hair was long when we first met" is clearly a reference to the original story, so we recognize what
the song is about. Samson has long hair at first until Delilah cuts it. This is the heart of the story.!
"Samson came back to bed, not much hair left on his bed". He was not captured by the Philistines
that night. He came back to her bed and nothing happened.!
"And the history books forgot about us and the bible didn’t mention us" again says how it could have
been. They would have lived an ordinary life, maybe loving each other until old age. Samson, being the
hero chosen by god with all his strength, could not lead such a life. Without his long hair, being just a
normal man with no unusual power whatsoever, he had better chances of living in peace and quiet
with Delilah.!
"Told me that my hair was red" is probably mentioned for two reasons. Firstly, Delilah's appearance is
never brought up in the bible and secondly people with red hair were always considered something
special throughout the ages.!
"I cut his hair myself one night" as opposed to how it is told in the bible, where Delilah tells orders a
servant to do it. Delilah herself cutting the hair makes it a much more intimate act.!
"He told me that I’d done alright" tells me that he gave her permission to cut his hair. Samson trusts
Delilah fully, why wouldn't he?!
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"And kissed me till the morning light". In the bible, Delilah always tries to take away his strength in
the night and the Philistines want to take him prisoner in the first light of the day. In this song,
however, they use the nights for something else, kissing and enjoying each other's company with no
Philistine interrupting their togetherness.!
"Oh, we couldn't bring the columns down; Yeah we couldn't destroy a single one" references the end of
Samson's story as it is told by the bible. After some time in prison, the Philistines brought him to a
temple for everyone to see and to celebrate his capture. Samson, his hair already quite long again,
pushed against two pillars causing the temple to collapse and burying himself and thousands of
Philistines under it. Of course, in Regina Spektor's version of the story, Samson never was captured
and so there was no need to bring the columns of the temple down.!
You are my sweetest downfall/I loved you first, I loved you first/Beneath the sheets of paper lies my
truth/I have to go, I have to go/Your hair was long when we first met/!
Samson went back to bed/Not much hair left on his head/He ate a slice of wonder bread and went
right back to bed/And history books forgot about us and the bible didn't mention us/And the bible
didn't mention us, not even once/!
You are my sweetest downfall/I loved you first, I loved you first/Beneath the stars came fallin' on our
heads/But they're just old light, they're just old light/Your hair was long when we first met/!
Samson came to my bed/Told me that my hair was red/Told me I was beautiful and came into my bed/
Oh I cut his hair myself one night/A pair of dull scissors in the yellow light/And he told me that I'd
done alright/And kissed me 'til the mornin' light, the mornin' light/And he kissed me 'til the mornin'
Samson went back to bed/Not much hair left on his head/Ate a slice of wonderbread and went right
back to bed/Oh, we couldn't bring the columns down/Yeah we couldn't destroy a single one/And
history books forgot about us/And the bible didn't mention us, not even once/!
You are my sweetest downfall/I loved you first !
Link to video: http://youtu.be/LziZhCX-bBM!
Tupac Shakur: Changes (1998) - Doroteja Perse
I'm 23 years old. I might just be my mother's child, but in all reality, I'm everybody's child. Nobody raised
me; I was raised in this society. (Tupac Shakur)!
My favorite sad song is, in my opinion, more on the thought-provoking side of the proverbial "sad
scale" of songs that are sadness-invoking. It is intense, fast, a little bit angry, poetic, and sung with an
in-your-face attitude that catches your attention. This song is an invitation to change the way we treat
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each other as human beings, even if we're from different races or nations. The rap piece "Changes" is
one of Tupac Shakur's most well-known songs. !
Tupac Amaru Shakur was born June 16, 1971 in the East Harlem part of Manhattan in New York City
to Afeni Shakur and Billy Garland. Tupac's parents and some of his close family members were active
Black Panther Party members and spent time in prison for various crimes. When Tupac's mother was
in prison, he was raised by his maternal grandmother. In middle and high school, Tupac studied
poetry, acting, and dance, and also performed in school plays, he was a popular and creative child and
young adult. In the early 90's, Tupac gained recognition with his debut in a rap song for the
soundtrack (of the same name) for the 1991 film Nothing but Trouble. That same year he signed with
Interscope Records and published an album with the title 2pacalypse Now, which became an
underground hit and produced the single Brenda's Got a Baby. However, life was not all "rapper’s
paradise" for Tupac after his rise to fame; he was arrested several times in connection to shootings,
assault, and sexual assault. On September 7th, 1996 Tupac was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las
Vegas, Nevada, after attending a boxing match. To this day, his murder is unsolved and no arrests have
been made.!
Many album releases followed Tupac's death, one of which was Greatest Hits released in 1998,
containing the hit "Changes". This song was originally recorded in 1992 and produced by Deon Evans
and later remixed in 1997 to 1998. It reuses lines from another of Tupac's songs, "I Wonder If Heaven
Got A Ghetto" and samples the hit song "The Way It Is" (1986) by Bruce Hornsby and the Range. It is
still one of Tupac's most recognizable songs.!
The reason I chose "Changes" for this assignment and as my sad song is because, after a prolonged
internal monologue in which I debated about the sad songs I listen to (and realized that there aren't
very many), this one came to mind, even though it is not current. "Changes" is not a recent Billboard
hit, but it was in 1998. The first time I heard it, I was 11 years old, at a friend's house in Pennsylvania.
At the time, I had been living in the USA with my mother and brother for a year. The lyrics intrigued
me right away. This song inspired and stimulated my indignation at the lack of social justice and the
problems we face as human beings, as members of different communities and races, and to question
what is causing them. "Changes" often made me feel sad and thoughtful, at the least, because in my
teen years I began to learn about the things that were happening in the world that were cruel, unjust,
and senseless, and I wanted to do something about them, or at least to understand them.
Unfortunately, it also stimulated the teen attitude of "it's a hard life, I've got the world on my
shoulders and if no one is going to save it, it might as well be me." "Changes" was always on my
playlist until my twenties; a faithful old companion in times good and bad. I listened to it for the
memories, at times when I was questioning the world, or when I wanted to be reminded that there are
still many changes needed in this world for many people. I also listened to other Tupac songs and
albums, but I think that "Changes" is the song that resonated with me the most from when I first
heard it until now, fourteen years later.!
For me, rap is spoken poetry if the lyrics are good, and "Changes" fits the bill. Good rap music
releases within me powerful emotions and feelings, just like poetry can, but the addition of a voice and
a beat makes it a whole new experience. In "Changes", the lyrics confront African American issues in
the United States, such as racism, poverty, drug abuse, racial profiling, gang violence, and encourages
members of the African American community to unite instead of fighting each other. It is also a
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message of inter-racial peace and understanding. This song accompanied me through my teenage years
and oftentimes it helped me feel strong when I was feeling down, even though it's not happy.
However, I now know that sad songs don't necessarily making us feel sad; they can actually help
relieve sadness. Now that I look back, I agree. Even though I no longer listen to Tupac, and the role of
music has changed a lot in my life, I look back and I am thankful that music can inspire people to
look beyond what is, to question life, to look inside, and to reach for a better world, starting with
oneself. I think that is what Tupac wanted to achieve with this song and I think that he is still helping
change the world for the better through his legacy.!
No matter what these people say about me, my music doesn't glorify any image. My music is spiritual when you
listen to it. It's all about emotion, I tell my innermost, darkest secrets. (Tupac Shakur)!
Come on come on/I see no changes. Wake up in the morning and I ask myself,/"Is life worth living?
Should I blast myself?"/I'm tired of bein' poor and even worse I'm black./My stomach hurts, so I'm
lookin' for a purse to snatch./Cops give a damn about a negro? Pull the trigger, kill a nigga, he's a
hero./Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares? One less hungry mouth on the welfare./First ship
'em dope and let 'em deal to brothers./Give 'em guns, step back, and watch 'em kill each other./"It's
time to fight back", that's what Huey said./2 shots in the dark now Huey's dead./I got love for my
brother, but we can never go nowhere/unless we share with each other. We gotta start makin' changes./
Learn to see me as a brother 'stead of 2 distant strangers./And that's how it's supposed to be./How can
the Devil take a brother if he's close to me?/I'd love to go back to when we played as kids/but things
changed, and that's the way it is/!
[Bridge w/ changing ad libs]!
Come on come on/That's just the way it is/Things'll never be the same/That's just the way it is/Aww
I see no changes. All I see is racist faces./Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races we under./I wonder
what it takes to make this one better place…/let's erase the wasted./Take the evil out the people,
they'll be acting right./'Cause both black and white are smokin' crack tonight./And only time we chill
is when we kill each other./It takes skill to be real, time to heal each other./And although it seems
heaven sent,/we ain't ready to see a black President, uhh./It ain't a secret don't conceal the fact…/the
penitentiary's packed, and it's filled with blacks./But some things will never change./Try to show
another way, but they stayin' in the dope game./Now tell me what's a mother to do?/Bein' real don't
appeal to the brother in you./You gotta operate the easy way./"I made a G today" But you made it in a
sleazy way./Sellin' crack to the kids. "I gotta get paid,"/Well hey, well that's the way it is./!
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We gotta make a change…/It's time for us as a people to start makin' some changes./Let's change the
way we eat, let's change the way we live/and let's change the way we treat each other./You see the old
way wasn't working so it's on us to do/what we gotta do, to survive./And still I see no changes. Can't a
brother get a little peace?/There's war on the streets and the war in the Middle East./Instead of war on
poverty,/they got a war on drugs so the police can bother me./And I ain't never did a crime I ain't have
to do./But now I'm back with the facts givin' 'em back to you./Don't let 'em jack you up, back you up,
crack you up and pimp smack you up./You gotta learn to hold ya own./They get jealous when they see
ya with ya mobile phone./But tell the cops they can't touch this./I don't trust this, when they try to
rush I bust this./That's the sound of my tool. You say it ain't cool, but mama didn't raise no fool./And
as long as I stay black, I gotta stay strapped and I never get to lay back./'Cause I always got to worry
'bout the payback./Some buck that I roughed up way back... comin' back after all these years.!
Rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat. That's the way it is. uhh!
[Bridge 'til fade:]!
Some things will never change!
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nay31hvEvrY!
Sarah Brightman: Time to Say Goodbye (1996) - Melanie
A lot of people really like to listen to music and express their feelings and emotions through it. I
started to really listen to music during my high school years, but once I finished my education I was
not interested in music anymore, except for one song. I guess everybody has this very specific song
that brings up feelings that one can hardly put into words. When you hear your special song, all you
want is to be on your own, lock yourself up in your room and completely give yourself up to the song
and the accompanying emotions. Even though I am not interested in music anymore, I still have this
very special song that triggers feelings in me which are hard to put into words, but I am pretty sure
everybody will understand what I mean.!
My song is called "Time to Say Goodbye" by Sarah Brightman. The original version is called "Con te
Partirò" and was written by Lucio Quarantotto (lyrics) and Francesco Sartori (music). The original
version is in Italian and was sung by Andrea Bocelli. He first performed it at the San Remo Festival in
1995. In the year 1996, another version of the song was released. This version was performed by
Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman and was sung in two languages, English and Italian, whereby
Bocelli interpreted the Italian and Brightman the English part. The third version that I have chosen
for my paper is called "Time To Say Goodbye" and performed by Sarah Brightman in English. !
I first heard this song almost 20 years ago. At least that is the time when I actively started to
recognize the song. When I was little, I lived near a graveyard. Funerals do not take place in churches
or nicely decorated halls in my hometown. Instead, it all occurs out in the open. I lived right across
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from the place where funerals were held and from my bedroom window I could see the black mass of
people standing in front of the coffin. I could hear what the priest was saying and also listen to the
songs they played. "Time to Say Goodbye" was played at every funeral. As a child, I always liked the
song and was fascinated when I heard it, but back then I did not know what it meant. Around the
time when I turned ten, I started to realize what was going on and what was happening while I was
listening to this song through the crack of my open window.!
I think that the lyrics cannot be taken literally but have to be interpreted. In my opinion, the song is
about two people, one of whom is about to die. Two people are separated by the sea or the horizon,
which are both boundaries one cannot easily overcome. A person is dying and leaving another one
alone, but some day, they will rejoin and rejoice in heaven. The whole song is about death and coping
with death and how beloved ones who already passed away still exist in our everything. !
The song is played in a minor key and dominated by string player and drums. The drums slip further
in the background and, due to the rhythmical percussion, give the song an overall impression of
marching music. Furthermore, the song is dominated by strings and a rather slow and calm singing,
except for some parts, when the singer's voice rises to a higher octave. The song creates a feeling of
longing and craving for something. Furthermore, it makes one feel distraught, but creates an
atmosphere of calmness and safety at the same time. Furthermore, the song emanates feelings of
reassurance and closeness. For me, the music and the lyrics go well together, as the song creates a
feeling of safety and longing and the lyrics express the same. The song has two meanings for me: the
obvious one, which is the issue of death and coping with death, and the rather personal one, which
symbolizes the ties to people I have lost. Furthermore, the song evokes and elucidates personal
memories and reminds me of the past. !
I really understood what the song was about when my grandmother died and I heard the song playing
while putting on my shoes in my room. From that time on, this song became the saddest, but at the
same time, the most beautiful song to me. When I am down and just want to be on my own, I switch
on my CD-player, listen to this song and completely turn off my mind, escape reality and be in my
very own world. As soon as I hear the first notes of the song, all the old memories are evoked. On the
one hand, this song makes me really sad, depressed and still gives me the creeps, but on the other
hand, it evokes really beautiful memories. It can be said that "Time to Say Goodbye" makes me feel
lonely, sad and depressed, but at the same time it makes me feel protected, comfortable and
surrounded by people I loved. The song soothes me and gives me the feeling that I am never truly
Time to Say Goodbye!
When I am alone I sit and dream/And when I dream the words are missing/Yes I know that in a room
so full of light/That all the light is missing/But I don't see you with me, with me/Close up the
windows, bring the sun to my room/Through the door you've opened/Close inside of me the light you
see/that you met in the darkness/!
Time to say goodbye/Horizons are never far/Would I have to find them alone/without true light of my
own with you/I will go on ships over seas/that I now know/No, they don't exist anymore/It's time to
say goodbye/!
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When you were so far away/I sit alone and dream of the horizon/Then I know that you are here with
me, with me/Building bridges over land and sea/Shine a blinding light for you and me/To see, for us to
Time to say goodbye/Horizons are never far/Would I have to find them alone/without true light of my
own with you/I will go on ships over seas/that I now know/No, they don't exist anymore/It's time to
say goodbye/!
so with you I will go/on ships over seas/that I now know/No, they don't exist anymore/It's time to say
goodbye/so with you I will go…/!
on ships over seas/that I now know/No, they don't exist anymore/It's time to say goodbye/!
so with you I will go…/!
I love you!
Link to video:! English Version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thXKwGEXyQo!
Original Version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsmVnN3pzFI!
Archie Roach: Took the Children Away (1990) - Jasmeen Kaur
"Took the Children Away" is a very famous, touching song, sung by indigenous Australian Archie
Roach in 1990. It won many prestigious awards, for instance, the ARIA and International Human
Rights Achievement Award. Described commonly as a protest song, it reflects the pain endured by
indigenous people when their children were taken away by the Australian government. The cruelty of
the authority on the poor and innocent indigenous Australians is depicted in the song. Even though
the indigenous children had families, they were forced to lead lives like orphans in foster homes.!
Aboriginal children were taken away from their families from 1909 to 1969. The main aim of the
Australian government in snatching the children from their parents was to educate and civilize them.
However, studies show that these children were mistreated and abused in the orphanages. These
unfortunate aboriginal children who were forcefully taken away from their families are referred to as
the 'stolen generation'.!
The singer Archie Roach is an indigenous Australian and was also forcefully taken away from his
parents; Archie spent his childhood without their love and affection. The loneliness which resides
deep inside him is exposed in this song. The incident when he was separated from his family and the
desire to be reunited are both described in the song. !
I heard this song for the first time in one of my classes at Klagenfurt University. The painful, yet true
story of the singer Archie, as well as other aborigines, provokes resentful feelings in the listeners.
Moreover, the imagery of the song is very heart-rending, as it represents the true story of the stolen
generation. Along with it, the trailer of the movie Rabbit Proof Fence, makes the song even more
touching. It's the story of three aboriginal sisters who try to escape from the foster home.!
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Archie Roach wrote this song in order to tell his story. On the one hand, the lyricist describes the
good intentions of the White people in authority who took the aboriginal children with them, to
provide them a better life-style. However, on the other hand, the incredible pain of separation born by
the indigenous people is reflected in the song.!
Took the Children Away!
This story's right, this story's true/I would not tell lies to you/Like the promises they did not keep/
And how they fenced us in like sheep./Said to us come take our hand/Sent us off to mission land./
Taught us to read, to write and pray/Then they took the children away,/Took the children away,/
The children away./Snatched from their mother's breast/Said this is for the best/Took them away./!
The welfare and the policeman/Said you've got to understand/We'll give them what you can't give/
Teach them how to really live./Teach them how to live they said/Humiliated them instead/Taught
them that and taught them this/And others taught them prejudice./You took the children away/The
children away/Breaking their mothers' heart/Tearing us all apart/Took them away/!
One dark day on Framingham/Come and didn't give a damn/My mother cried go get their dad/He
came running, fighting mad/Mother's tears were falling down/Dad shaped up and stood his ground./
He said 'You touch my kids and you fight me'/And they took us from our family./Took us away/They
took us away/Snatched from our mother's breast/Said this was for the best/Took us away./!
Told us what to do and say/Told us all the white man's ways/Then they split us up again/And gave us
gifts to ease the pain/Sent us off to foster homes/As we grew up we felt alone/Cause we were acting
white/Yet feeling black/!
One sweet day all the children came back/The children come back/The children come back/Back
where their hearts grow strong/Back where they all belong/The children came back/Said the children
come back/The children come back/Back where they understand/Back to their mother's land/The
children come back/!
Back to their mother/Back to their father/Back to their sister/Back to their brother/Back to their
people/Back to their land/All the children come back/The children come back/The children come
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLXzKYP1uCw!
Sixx A.M.: Oh My God (2011) - Robert Koller
Music has always been important for so many people all over the world. Some listen to music to spice
up their everyday activities with a theme song that motivates them. Others simply listen to music
because they cannot endure silence. The importance of music depends on how much a person gets
involved with it. Music won't have a deep meaning for a person who isn’t at all interested in the lyrics,
or stories, behind a song. Such a human being might prefer music while driving the car, or having a fun
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night out. Still, there are plenty of people who really live and breathe a song or a certain type of music.
Furthermore, they also love to express their feelings and thoughts through music. !
There are numerous genres of music, with their own clientele of supporters and admirers. Whether
it's Pop, Rock, Jazz, or Reggae, – each kind of music means so much to the particular fan. Taking a
closer look at music, one can distinguish between happy, optimistic, ecstatic music on the one hand,
and sad, nostalgic, or depressing music on the other. Each category has its own purpose for the artist
who writes and performs the song. The main purpose of a song is to inflame feelings. People should
identify themselves with that one song, or songs of that particular band. A song loses its magic when
the lyrics do not suit the sound, or are plain shallow. Mostly, these are the ones which enter the charts
immediately, and are played day in and day out by every radio station in the country. They are then
played over several months, so often, that any fan subsequently shifts from enjoying to enduring them. !
There are a lot of positive, optimistic songs which have the substance to become an all-time hit. They
then might be played at bigger gatherings, where a large group of usually civilized people suddenly
turns into a fierce crowd of soccer (football) fans. !
Far more intimate songs are the sad ones. They mostly express the artist’s feelings or opinion, not only
about desperate love, but also about political issues or social iniquities. Moreover, these pieces of
music are so individual that they are picked by people to become their own theme song. Picking your
favorite sad or serious one is not an easy thing to do. No one wants to share their favorite sad song
with the masses; otherwise, it would lose its magic. The lyrics have to click perfectly with the music in
order to ignite your most intimate and unique emotions. !
When I first heard the song "Oh my God" by Sixx A.M., I immediately knew that this one wouldn't
vanish from the playlists of my iPod for a long time. It is not the typical song everybody would love to
listen to. Hence, I understand the band's decision to not include it in their set. This great piece of
music deals with social inequalities, poverty, and the widening gap between the rich and the poor.!
As stated in the first stanza, there are so many homeless people in our communities whom we do not
care about, as long as we are well-off ourselves. Moreover, as the example of the aftermath of New
Orleans shows, we feel sorry for them, but we actually do not offer adequate help. !
While the first stanza simply describes the situation within our society, the second stanza appeals to
our conscience, that we should not be satisfied with the way our society works. The chorus confronts
us with the real message of the song, that we should be ashamed about how we tolerate injustices
within our society. !
Oh My God!
She was born at 6am on New Year's Day,/In an alley right at the heart of where the homeless children
play,/And the truth is that we will never even know her name,/‘cause as long as we can fill our glasses
up, we will look the other way./!
And it's not that far from here, to New Orleans,/Where the seemingly forgotten people are still
foreclosing on their dreams,/And we'd just assume keep on staring at the TV screen,/While this world
she bleeds to death like some romantic end to a movie./!
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Oh my God, this is insane,/How'd it get like this, or has it always been this way,/Oh my God, I'm so
ashamed,/That we try to close our eyes and make this go away./!
Well, we sit in our high rise apartments and complain about things that don't matter,/And we race
through this life just to see who can die with as much as we can gather,/And a few blocks away a
teenage mother plays Russian Roulette with her daughter,/Is this the best that we can do? Is this the
best that we can do?!/!
Oh my God, this is insane,/How'd it get like this, or has it always been this way,/Oh my God, I'm so
ashamed,/That we close our eyes to make this go away./W!
We just turn our heads away…!
Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ArI7ZLRjZ0!
Gianluca Bezzina: Tomorrow (2013) - Lisa Consonni
Music? I have to say I'm pretty out of the loop! I often think of myself as music-barbarian, because my
songs repertoire is very limited. Even when I know the theme and some words, I am often unaware of
the title or the name of the singer. No wonder I almost never sing at karaoke. The reason, I think, is
that when it comes to music I'm very picky and only songs I really like make their way into my mind
and remain there long enough to leave their mark. The concept of favourite singer does not exist, at
least for me. Each name is a first in my playlist and I don't think there's a single one that appears
twice. Sometimes in fact, like an epiphany, there is a song which strikes me, no matter the genre or the
name of the singer.!
Last year, I came across one of my favourite ever. It's "Tomorrow" by Gianluca Bezzina, the singer
representing Malta in the 2013 Eurovision song contest in Malmö, Sweden. At first, I didn't care much
about the song, to be honest, but the singer, smiling throughout the whole performance, immediately
caught my attention. It was his international debut, but he was not concentrating purely on his
singing; his face was not hollow, emotionless and contrite, in the desperate attempt to look cool and
world-wise. He was simply disarming, transmitting emotions in such a natural way that I decided to
listen to the song once more, no video this time, so as not to be diverted. I looked the lyrics up on the
internet and, while listening, I realised that the song was amazing. There are no other words to
describe it. The rhythm is chirpy and up-tempo, and yet I wouldn't consider "Tomorrow" a cheery
song. It seems more one of those songs that could be listened to during a particularly hot summer, in
the car, on the way home after work, when music is just some sort of background company no one
really cares about. But for me it's something different. I can't really explain how it makes me feel. It's
electricity, storm and stress. It's a powerful flow of energy, hope of endless possibilities, willingness to
go beyond one's limits; it fills up your heart with joy, your lungs with air and your mind with sadness. !
Yes, sadness, because it makes me reflect on my life, to think of lost opportunities and of what I know
I should do, but I don't. For fear, for lack of determination, or simply for laziness. The words I like
most in the song are "An extra careful guy, sensitive and shy, risk assessment is his investment, in a life
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of no surprise". When I first heard them I thought "OMG! My male counterpart!", because I know
I'm too careful, I know that I think too much, that I should seize the day instead of carefully planning
details, because, as Quintilian, a Latin author, said long time ago, "while we are making up our minds
as to when we should begin, the opportunity is lost". Lost opportunities to do something rather
stupid, to let myself be, to let it go, to slow down and enjoy the present, to take my time to speak
calmly and slowly enough to be clear, slowly enough to have time to organize the load of ideas swirling
around in my head, with otherwise no chance of coming out as a complete meaningful sentence.!
Songs like "Tomorrow" help me to think outside the box, to find the strength to do what otherwise I
wouldn't, to get in the mood necessary to act differently, to put aside expectations, anxieties and fears.
This song is an exhortation to enjoy the present and to do, day by day, what makes us happy, without
constantly evaluating possibilities, because, even after the most careful planning, in real life things may
have an unexpected outcome. Putting off our happiness to tomorrow is pointless and brings no
advantages. After listening to such music, I often try to surprise myself by doing something I know is
not typical of me, surfing the wave, following the spur of the moment and taking decisions that do not
satisfy my rational, but my emotional self, just for the fun of it. Like some sort of cool and
regenerating shower to break the stiffness of routine.!
Songs help you to better understand yourself and the world around you, they make you notice that you
are not alone, that other people share the same feelings and have experienced the same doubts and
insecurities. Listening to songs we like can be almost as inspiring as surfing the internet and stumbling
across someone who wrote: "You understand you are really hot only when you let your feet dangle
from the bed, without caring about the monster that could eat them". Well, it seems that mine wasn't
the only monster hiding under the bed. With music it is the same. You feel part of a whole. You feel
understood, accepted, cuddled, and cheered up as a natural consequence. I am firmly convinced that
every song has the potential to somehow influence people's lives, though no one, neither the singer
nor the composer or the writer themselves, is aware of when and how this is going to happen. It's up
to each one of us to unearth and appreciate the hidden meanings that make songs unique pieces of art.
But feelings are a very subjective matter; they depend on a person's past and present and it is highly
improbable that the same emotions, sensations and memories are evoked in different people while
listening to the same song, but this is the true beauty of music.!
Whoah oh, oh oh/Whoah oh, oh oh/!
His name is Jeremy, working in IT/Never questions why he has always been/An extra careful guy,
sensitive and shy/Risk assessment is his investment in a life of no surprise/Till she walked into his life/!
She's spontaneous indeed, uncertainty's her creed/She has always been neither black or white/Just a
curious delight/She threw affection his direction, a collection of her smiles/And to his surprise, whoah
She's like tomorrow, oh so distant, she just wants to play/Like tomorrow she is always one day away/
All the time she slips away it's close but yet so far/It's time to follow her tomorrow, whoah oh/Time to
follow her tomorrow, whoah oh/!
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He fell for her too fast, we all thought it wouldn't last/'Cause good ol' Jeremy likes his rigorous
routine/'Cause he only thinks today but tomorrow is a way/To find a new direction and you'll be okay/!
She's like tomorrow, oh so distant, she just wants to play/Like tomorrow she is always one day away/All
the time she slips away it's close but yet so far/It's time to follow her tomorrow, oh oh/Time to follow
her tomorrow, oh oh/!
Time to follow her tomorrow, oh oh/Time to follow her tomorrow, oh oh/!
She's like tomorrow, oh so distant, she just wants to play/Like tomorrow she is always one day away/
One day away (One day away)/One day away (One day away)/!
All the time she slips away it's close but yet so far/It's time to follow her tomorrow, oh oh/It's time to
follow her tomorrow, oh oh/It's time to follow her tomorrow, oh oh!
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WmJXIR9xtw!
Imagine Dragons: Demons (2013) - Leonie Schlagg
Imagine Dragons is an Indie-Rock Band from Las Vegas. The group was founded in 2008 and consists
of 4 group members: Dan Reynolds as lead singer and songwriter, Ben McKee plays bass guitar, Wayne
Sermon plays guitar and Daniel "Z" Platzman plays drums. They had their big breakthrough in 2012
with the songs "Radioactive" and "It's time". My sad song "Demons" appears as the fourth track on
their debut album Night Vision, and was released in January 2013. This kind of sad song not only has a
very good rhythm, which goes directly into the ear, but also has a deeper message conveyed in the
song lyrics. !
The song "Demons" deals with the dark secrets that everybody hides from loved ones. I can see a lot
of hidden information in the lyrics. The first two lines "When the days are cold, and the cards are
fold" can be interpreted to mean that when death is near, people tend to start to regret things they
have done during their entire life. But the dice has been cast and it is too late to change anything. The
next stanzas "I wanna hide the truth, I wanna shelter you" are about people who do not want to tell
the truth about their dark secrets in order to protect their loved ones. "But with the beast inside,
there's nowhere we can hide": at some point you have to admit that you cannot hide your beast
inside, which is seen as a symbol of evil. Everything comes to light. "When the Curtain's call, Is the
last of all, When the lights fade out, All the sinners crawl". My interpretation for these lines can be
seen as: people should stand by the decisions they have made during life, whether they were wrong or
right. It can also be seen as a warning for family members not to make the same mistakes. Of course,
people do not want to disappoint anyone by letting them know who they really are. "Don't wanna let
you down, But I am hell bound, This is my kingdom come": these three lines show me that the
Imagine Dragons believe in a life after death. But it is not important whether it takes place in hell or
heaven. !
When I heard the song for the first time, it was hard to believe that it was classified as a sad song.
Nevertheless, the lyrics are sad but it gives me hope all the time I hear it. We are all human and
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humans make mistakes. The greater meaning behind the whole lyrics might be that we have to be
honest with ourselves, accept our mistakes and make the best out of life.!
When the days are cold/And the cards all fold/And the saints we see/Are all made of gold/When your
dreams all fail/And the ones we hail/Are the worst of all/And the blood's run stale/I wanna hide the
truth/I wanna shelter you/But with the beast inside/There's nowhere we can hide/No matter what we
breed/We still are made of greed/This is my kingdom come/This is my kingdom come/When you feel
my heat/Look into my eyes/It's where my demons hide/It's where my demons hide/Don't get too
close/It's dark inside/It's where my demons hide/It's where my demons hide/Curtain's call/Is the last of
When the lights fade out/All the sinners crawl/So they dug your grave/And the masquerade/Will come
calling out/At the mess you've made/Don't wanna let you down/But I am hell bound/Though this is all
for you/Don't wanna hide the truth/!
No matter what we breed/We still are made of greed/This is my kingdom come/This is my kingdom
come/When you feel my heat/Look into my eyes/It's where my demons hide/It's where my demons
hide/Don't get too close/It's dark inside/It's where my demons hide/It's where my demons hide/They
say it's what you make/I say it's up to fate/It's woven in my soul/I need to let you go/Your eyes, they
shine so bright/I wanna save that light/I can't escape this now/Unless you show me how/When you
feel my heat/Look into my eyes/It's where my demons hide/It's where my demons hide/Don't get too
close/It's dark inside/It's where my demons hide/It's where my demons hide!
Link to video:
Four Year Strong: One Step at a Time (2010) - Stefan Pickert
The task is to say something about our favourite sad song. It didn't take me long to come up with one
and it is a track that is very important to me. It's "One Step at a Time" by Four Year Strong. The
group is an American pop punk band from Worcester, formed in 2001, consisting originally of five,
now of four members. The song itself was released on the 18th of March in 2010 on the album Enemy
of the World.!
The band is actually my favourite one and I also have a tattoo relating to their music. The words
"team up" are written on my ribs. These lines refer to a song by Four Year Strong called "Heroes Get
Remembered, Legends Never Die", where they sing about the importance of friends and family.
Furthermore, they try to convey the message that, alone, it is much harder to cope with problems, as
you can tell from the phrase "alone I can barely light a match, but together we can burn this place
If you listen to the song for the first time, you do not think that it is a sad song, due to its pace and
the way it is played. Gaining knowledge about the lyrics will suddenly change your opinion on the
song. It is about the younger brother of one of the vocalists, who died of leukemia in November 2004,
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as you can recognize in the lyrics "and every year, November gets closer, and every year, it gets a little
bit colder". Dan O'Conner, writer of the song, wanted to write a track which people can relate to
when they are going through dark days in life. Dan tries to cope with the death of his brother through
this song. While listening to the song, you can feel the emotional process he was going through. "I will
never forget the day my heart fell from my chest. It was the moment that I said goodbye and I laid
your body to rest" gives me chills every time I hear it. The intensity of this phrase is so huge and
breath-taking and the listener is able to feel the broken heart of the songwriter. Subsequently, he tries
to tell people to live their life to the fullest after a loved one's death, so that they can honour their life
and memory: "I'll never take this life for granted, I'm living it for two".!
This song is able to give me so much strength in cold times. The line "one step at a time, one foot in
front of the other" enables me to see the positive things and look into the future, even in the hardest
periods. It does not matter if you are going through a break-up or a member of your family has died.
The point is that you just take a deep breath and start to carry on, step by step. There is always
something better, something more powerful, coming and life goes on, whatever happens.!
One Step at a Time!
Sometimes it's hard to say the right thing/The right way on the hardest day of your life/Breathe in,
breathe out, it'll be okay/Breathe in, breathe out, I know it's hard to say/!
And every year November gets closer/And every year it gets a little bit colder/Breathe in, breathe out,
it'll be okay/Be strong, hold on, make it through the day/!
One step at a time/One foot in front of the other/I'm gonna get through this one way or another/
Cause I know it's warmer where you are/Cause no matter how far the view/I still always look up to
Sometimes it takes a second to sink in/That your life is never gonna be the same again/Breathe in,
breathe out, it'll be okay/Breathe in, they say the pain will fade away/!
And every year November gets closer/And every year it gets a little bit colder/Breathe in, breathe out,
it'll be okay/Be strong, hold on, make it through the day/!
One step at a time/One foot in front of the other/I'm gonna get through this one way or another/
Cause I know it's warmer where you are/Cause no matter how far the view/I still always look up to
I'll never forget the day my heart fell from my chest/It was the moment that I said goodbye/And I laid
your body to rest/I'll never take this life for granted/I'm living it for two/And since you're always the
one who sang the songs/And I'll be singing this one for you/!
One step at a time/One foot in front of the other/I'm gonna get through this one way or another/
Cause I know it's warmer where you are/Cause no matter how far the view/I still always look up to
you/I'll always look up to you!
Link to video:! acoustic version: http://youtu.be/NgIXCgyidzo!
studio version: http://youtu.be/DscQuPvZX54!
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Metallica: The Unforgiven (1991) - Laszlo Bernath
The single "The Unforgiven" was released in 1991 by Metallica, a Californian heavy metal band, on
their fifth studio album entitled Metallica. The song's main theme is the consequences of the
oppression of a child, who, despite his constant struggles, cannot break away and takes this burden
with him all the way through his life. The tonal construction of the song does not necessarily express
strong emotions. It is rather the condition described in the lyrics which evokes various emotions in
me. Most importantly, however, this song aims to draw attention to the ever-lasting damage that the
wrong kind of parenting, oppression and negligence, which are common issues in society, can do to
individuals. The lyrics, as in most of Metallica's songs, are strongly influenced by what the songwriter,
James Hetfield, has personally gone through in his life.!
Although there are many kinds of emotions expressed in the song, it does not evoke emotions in me
the way typical sad songs do. In terms of its effects on me, this song works rather like a poem. It is
mostly the story told that creates certain feelings, the most important being sympathy and empathy.
The feelings the song expresses are disappointment, regret, hopelessness and acceptance. Most
importantly, however, it makes me think about the complexity and importance of child raising and
caring about those who are excluded by society. Therefore, the strength of the song's emotional effects
depends on how much the listener is involved in the issue, and how much s/he can sympathize or
empathize with the person in the song.!
The lyrics describe the entire lifetime of songwriter James Hetfield. The lyrics are based on personal
experiences, because Hetfield was a rather withdrawn child, who was under the strict control of his
obsessively religious parents. His parents divorced, and not much later, when he was sixteen, his
mother died. Therefore, the consequences of oppression, having grown up in a broken family as well
as having been an outsider, have always been very common themes throughout the band's career.
Listening to songs from each album in chronological order, a certain development can be seen,
starting with struggles to break away from himself (till 1988) followed by an angry outburst (Dyers Eve
in 1988), leading to the realization that there is no way out (1991). Between 1995 and 1999, only slow
songs deal with these issues, indicating the repression of anger and fears, which then finally burst out
through the entire St. Anger album in 2003. This specific song is the one that reflects on a similar
process by summing up his feelings and attitude in the main periods - childhood, adolescence,
adulthood - of his life.!
Although "The Unforgiven" is a rather lyrics-based song, a ballad, there is a significant difference as to
how the introduction and the ending are constructed in terms of sound and speed. In the
introduction, both the rhythm guitar and the lead guitar become relatively lively, although they
already suggest some tragic outcome at the very beginning. The ending, on the other hand, is made
much more melancholic by the slow solo and the vocals. This structure follows the direction of the
development in the lyrics, where the active, struggling, but still devoted child finally ends up as a
passive old man, who has given up on all his hope, accepts his fate and prepares to die.!
To me, "The Unforgiven" appears to be a confession. Although the song seems to be about a random
person at first, the subject finally turns out to be the singer himself. Disregarding the refrain, it is only
the very last statement that makes it clear who the person actually is. It shows to me that he is
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March 2014
ashamed of his failure to break out of the oppression because it seems that he only dares, or is able, to
talk about it if he depersonalizes the story by using the third person. Only then, when the story has
been told, is he able to mention that "that old man here is me". He only tells the story in the first
place because, as is stated toward the end, he does not care, does not hope anymore. He basically
pours his soul out like people on their death-bed do.!
The Unforgiven!
New blood joins this earth,/And quickly he's subdued./Through constant pained disgrace/The young
boy learns their rules./!
With time the child draws in./This whipping boy done wrong./Deprived of all his thoughts/The young
man struggles on and on./!
He's known a vow unto his own,/That never from this day/His will they'll take away./!
What I've felt,/What I've known/Never shined through in what I've shown./Never be./Never see./
Won't see what might have been./!
What I've felt,/What I've known/Never shined through in what I've shown./Never free./Never me./So
I dub thee unforgiven./!
They dedicate their lives/To running all of his./He tries to please them all –/This bitter man he is./!
Throughout his life the same –/He's battled constantly./This fight he cannot win –/A tired man they
see no longer cares./!
The old man then prepares/To die regretfully –/That old man here is me./!
What I've felt,/What I've known/Never shined through in what I've shown./Never be./Never see./
Won't see what might have been./!
What I've felt,/What I've known/Never shined through in what I've shown./Never free./Never me./So
I dub thee unforgiven./!
What I've felt,/What I've known/Never shined through in what I've shown./Never be./Never see./
Won't see what might have been./!
What I've felt,/What I've known/Never shined through in what I've shown./Never free./Never me./So
I dub thee unforgiven./!
Never free./Never me./So I dub thee unforgiven./You labelled me,/I'll label you./So I dub thee
Never free./Never me./So I dub thee unforgiven./You labelled me,/I'll label you./So I dub thee
Never free./Never me./So I dub thee unforgiven.!
Link to video: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ckom3gf57Yw