Don’t let the lyrics get lost in the lovely, loopy musical notes

Spinnaker

If you’re a fan of the feature editor’s weekly “Top Five Songs to [insert quirky and/or timely topic here] … ” then you might enjoy this rant blog on the often forgotten and personally adored song quality — lyrics.

Most artists let the instruments’ tone force the listener’s mood, and some artists with this mindset spout either little-heard, little-understood or completely nonsensical lyrics. As a lover of words and an avid car/shower singer, I beseech you — the “most” I speak of! You’ve probably never opened a new tab to google “lyrics [insert artist and song title here].”

Maybe it’s best, as the aforementioned hobby can become obsessive all too quickly. Example: Me, at the iTunes or Grooveshark with ten open tabs, each one a different lyric, debating which one most relates to my current situation.

Call it what you will. I consider it the personalized (and free!) psychic adviser inside me. As an English major, my job is to (sometimes) subjectively analyze others’ work. As a journalist, my job is to (sometimes) objectively analyze others’ lives. Therefore, I have enough experience to analyze myself without the aid of others.

But that isn’t very much fun, is it?

Picture this. You know the feeling. That feeling as you’re listening to a song for the first time, and its melody takes you into that mood — whether it be nostalgia, melancholy or bliss — then just as you start to feel sleepy or excited with the beat, your mind forces you to listen (to really listen) to the lyrics, those simple yet poignant* words that stir memories like once-settled salt now free floating around in your heart.

And, if not memories, then feelings of finally being understood, if not by a friend or family member, by this invisible, all-powerful entity. Not the band, not God, but Mother Fate whom has somehow brought this one song to you at this one moment. In a word — destiny.

If you don’t believe in destiny, at least believe in the power of shared and similar human experience, which has allowed this experience. Believe in the “someone else” miles, maybe countries, away, that someone who wrote down the way s/he felt, which is now the way you are also feeling.

It is this miracle of empathy that has led to my obsession, and I have since made it my Twitter’s main purpose to post song lyrics that describe my various day-to-day situations. For a long time before that, I was the annoying girl on Facebook who posted random sentences or words from songs as my status. I encouraged my pesky friends to start googling my stati if they didn’t understand them. It was (and still is) perhaps my own special way of allowing an interested person to get to know me, because the people who don’t care wouldn’t take the time to look it up.

My latest tweet — “google search: yet switchfoot lyrics” — is from my favorite band Switchfoot’s latest album. “Hello Hurricane” reflects their transition to hopeless yet hopeful melancholy. Switchfoot has always been hopeless yet hopeful, but 2005’s “Nothing is Sound” emanated a HYH political and intrapersonal outrage and 2006’s “Oh! Gravity” was a HYH call to action.

The line that grabbed me onto a google tab: “I’m losing ground and gaining speed.”

As with NASCAR, monster trucks and the rest of life, when time gets speedy, so does control (and/or the lack of). This is potentially hazardous, heartbreaking and definitely exciting.

The line that began my typing into tweet: “If it doesn’t break/if it doesn’t break/if it doesn’t break your heart/it isn’t love.”

In this out-of-control NASCAR race that is life, if it doesn’t make you feel, if it doesn’t make you hurt, if it isn’t difficult, if it doesn’t almost kill you … well, it isn’t worth having, now, is it?

“It’s when you’re breaking down with your insides coming out/that’s when you find out what your heart is made of.”

Perhaps it’s masochistic of me to analyze my own guts after every second or third song I hear, but hey, what’s the point of life if you don’t learn who are you and constantly change that which you don’t admire about yourself?

*I used this word to make the editor in chief smile (or frown?), because he likes to use this word when he talks about lyrics, and I like to point it out, as it’s perhaps the least specific word in all the English language.