Self Expression Magazine

Analyzing Lyrics

Posted on the 23 October 2012 by Eternalmusing @HanaMuses

Here's an essay I wrote for one of my classes. If you steal it I will haunt you in your sleep for all eternity. My work. Not yours. Got it? Good. Now I wrote this paper on my favorite song ever. Link to the music is here. Enjoy. The song “Something More” by Secondhand Serenade can be interpreted by looking at the diction, imagery, and repetition. Then the meaning is enhanced further when listening to the tone and the way the performer delivers the song. The overall meaning is essentially a struggle of someone trying to move on from a breakup and live on with a greater purpose in life and to persevere. It is a song about regrets for possibly not being honest with a partner, wearing a “mask” like a façade and he suffered greatly for it when his partner realized he was not being honest or his true self. Thus, the song is almost a hypnotic mantra on how the performer (or the narrator of the poem) is pleading to begin anew. Before delving into the actual tone of the song, it is important to note the song lyrics and how they contribute to the overall meaning. In regards for repetition, the whole song is set as a mantra, and most lines in the song are repeated. The only lines that are not are the ones that explain his problem. The rest of the lines act like epiphanies, lines to convince him to keep living, that although things have gone awry in his life, he can still move on and “start [life] over”. In regards to the diction of the song, I did not note certain words used, but rather the type of words used. I have created a theory that throughout the entire song, the songwriter constantly uses a pattern of “breathing”. Using the vowels ‘a’, ‘e’, and ‘i’ to portray an inhalation and using the vowel ‘o’ to portray an exhalation. For an example “And all these masks we wore, we never knew what we had in store, Breathe in, breathe out…” The ‘a’ and ‘i’ sounds in this example widen the mouth to bring about an intake of breath, while the ‘o’ sounds are like a release of a breath. Furthermore, the way he says “breathe in” comes from deep within is chest, giving off the illusion that he is breathing in as he says so. Therefore, by using certain words, the performer brings about this method to give off an impression of breathing. There is not a single thing I dislike about the song, but many things that I appreciate and love. Small elements throughout the piece affect me as a listener. One major thing is the sound effects. For one, when he says “it’s gonna rain for years and years” there is a small thunder sound that rumbles when he says “years and years”, which creates a tone to the part, setting a scene. The rain is not a pleasant rain, not a blessing. It makes the interpretation clear that the rain is vicious, clearly a bad omen. Another element that affected me was the ending. It was a constant repetition of “Breathe in, breathe out, there must be something more,” in which he stretches out the “more” until he uses up his whole breath, as if he was going to exhaust all the air in the lungs, but then he counters it with “breathe in, breathe out”. The song concludes with an angelic sound and a quick beating of a drum, ending the song with a note of hope.  This song could easily be considered a poem by its ability to interpret and make one’s own assumptions about it. Poems can invoke a feeling within a person without them really understanding what the poem is conveying. Sometimes a string of words can evoke a memory or a thought that relates to the piece. The same goes with songs, except now one has a musical aspect as well to spur more feelings. Music could narrow down how one should feel about the poem because it would set a tone to the words, invoking feelings that the performer wants to share with everyone else. 

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