Friday, 31 August 2012

Life begins at 50

 Hello, world!

 This is a very special blog post... it is the fiftieth post on this blog!

 In the very first post I did, way back in March 2011, I mentioned some of my favourite songs lyrics-wise. I decided that between this post and the next one I will listen again to these songs and and see how I feel about them now, almost a year and a half after I made that list.

 I will also see if, through keeping this blog, I have discovered any other songs that deserve to join that list. I'm sure there are many! But I am looking for the very best for my lyrics hall of fame.

 The first song I mentioned in that list was Can't Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon.

 I remember when I first heard this song, it was while in the car flicking through 80s songs on the mp3 player I had at the time. It included a few 80s albums on which I wasn't sure what half the songs were because it hadn't recognised the album and just called the songs, Track 1, Track 2 etcetera. I was listening through them to see what they all were when I discovered this song, which I don't think I had heard before.

 I thought it must be Candle in the Wind by Elton John. I wasn't familiar with said song at the time, and I decided this must be it as I thought I heard the line, "You're a candle in the wind". I'd also heard Candle in the Wind being hyped about and as this song was amazing, I thought this must be the song.

 I turned out to be wrong on several counts. The line was, "You're a candle in the window." The song was Can't Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon. Candle in the Wind isn't an 80s song so probably wouldn't have been on that album anyway. And I've since heard Candle in the Wind and don't think much of it, which is a shame because I sort of want to like it.

 Anyway, the bottom line is that I discovered a song that I really loved, and that I still love. Since I wrote that blog post in March last year, Can't Fight This Feeling has been featured in a TV advert in the UK for - I think - yoghurt which has a cow running along a beach dreaming of being a horse. The ad is certainly memorable, and I think that may have brought the song to a new audience as I heard one of my friends my age singing it around that time.

 In July 2011, this song took on a huge new significance and poignancy to me, as I used it in the film I made of my college trip to France, and now listening to the song evokes so many amazing memories of that wonderful trip. Here is my film, in case you are interested - Can't Fight This Feeling begins about seven minutes and fifty seconds into the film.

 I chose this song for the aquarium segment of the film because I could see direct links between the lyrics - les paroles in French - and some of the things that happened in the aquarium, for example the reference to the ship. I also loved the general tune and sentiment of the song, and wanted to use it as part of my record of our trip.

 Now when I'm listening to the song and I get to the part where there's talking in the film, I subconsciously expect to hear that talking, and I always feel surprised when the music goes on and the talking doesn't occur! I love this song more than ever and it certainly retains its place as one of my favourite songs ♥

 "It's time to bring this ship in to the shore, and throw away the oars, forever..."

"My life has been such a whirlwind since I saw you..."

 The next song on my list was The Whole of the Moon, by the Waterboys.

 Well... There isn't much to say about this song, I feel. Yet there is a whole ocean of things to say... It is amazing. It is beautiful. It is perfect. It is a very, very special song to me. I love it. 

 I first heard it in the car - I'm pretty sure I can remember exactly which stretch of road we were driving along, and where we were going. It's the same for Can't Fight This Feeling! Not the stretch of road, but the fact that I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard both songs. Songs can be so powerful when it comes to bringing back memories attached to them.

 I love the lyrics to this song - I really hope that Mike Scott, who wrote and sung the song had a particular person in mind when he wrote those lyrics. There seems to be a lot of debate over who the song was written for, but all I care about is that he wrote it from his heart and with complete love and sincerity. That is when a superficial love song becomes a beautiful, evergreen love song.

 This is one of the songs I would most like to be able to sing in concert if ever I got a band together. I always envision a full orchestral arrangement with trumpets and violins and maybe even a choir to do the backing singing in the last verse.

 However, such powerful lyrics as these could hold their own in sung a cappella or just spoken... you could do so much with this song, so many different arrangements, and as long as you mean the lyrics and sing them with all the love and emotion you feel for that person is in your life who saw the whole of the moon, it will be something amazing.

 "I spoke about wings, you just flew.
I wondered and I guessed and I tried - you just knew.
I sighed, but you swooned,
I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon."

 The third song that was on my list of top songs lyrics-wise is Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits. As well as learning to spell their name properly - I was shocked to see, "Dire Straights" on that first post, which was swiftly corrected - I have been listening a lot to music by Dire Straits, with two particular songs being among my favourites: the aforementioned Romeo and Juliet, and Brothers in Arms. 

 I am planning to do a longer blog post involving Brothers in Arms soon, so for now I will just say that it is a song I have loved for a long time, and which think I can add to my lyrics hall of fame. As for Romeo and Juliet, I shared my thoughts on it as part of a blog post about love songs that I did last year, and I still love it.

 The next two songs on my list are both by Fleetwood Mac: Songbird and Sara. I adore Songbird and have sung its praises in my blog post about the amazing Christine McVie (whom I love and who is one of my greatest influences musically). 

 Sara is a song that has been in my head a lot recently - maybe partly because I was planning to do this blog, but I think it may also be partly to do with the fact that in one of the novels I am trying to write (my dream is to have a book published one day, and I am working on several potential novels) there is a character called Sarah. 

 Her naming had nothing to do with the song; it's just a name I like. But writing about her often reminds me of the song.


"Wait a minute baby, stay with me a while, 
You said you'd give me light, but you never told me 'bout the fire."

 I always liked this song, but never as much as some other Fleetwood Mac songs such as Gypsy, Little Lies and Say You Love Me. However, I've recently come to like it a lot more. Stevie Nicks has the knack for making a song not just a song, but an experience... something you get completely sucked in to, and when it finishes you feel as if you've come out of a cinema into daylight; like you have been absorbed in a story; in a far away place. In another universe.

 The initial piano chords from Christine McVie have always reminded me of the church bells ringing out in my town, and whenever I hear them, this song comes straight to my head.

 "Sara, you're the poet in my heart,
You never change, and don't you ever start."

 I saw a documentary about Fleetwood Mac in which Stevie Nicks claimed that this song was written because she was having an affair with Mick Fleetwood, and then Mick Fleetwood ended up in a relationship with Stevie's friend Sara. The exact meaning of the lyrics of this song has always puzzled me, but I can feel a lot of love behind the words. I have come to really like this song - it still isn't my favourite Fleetwood Mac song by a long way but I do really like it.

 I will sign off for now and in my next blog entry I will finish my list of top songs lyrics-wise; commenting on the work of Nanci Griffith, and of Ricky Ross and Deacon Blue, and I will add some more songs to the list, songs that I have discovered or rediscovered since I started my blog which I think merit a place on that list.

 Thanks for reading,

 Liz x

Songs: Can't Fight This Feeling - REO Speedwagon - 1984/85
The Whole of the Moon - The Waterboys - 1985
Sara - Fleetwood Mac - 1978/79

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