Music, Meaning: A Descent Into Madness

Music has always been a large part of my life. Mostly I listen to music as a soundtrack to my day; it tends to keep me grounded and focused. That is why I was so excited for the latest PLP project: “The Sounds of Poetry”. During this project we learned to more accurately recognize literary and poetic devices in music. This constitutes for a deeper understanding of the literary elements that make up interpretation of a song’s meaning. On the other hand, there is something to be said about thinking too hard about these songs can detract from the original value and beauty a song has for me personally.

 

We first exercised recognizing the tone and mood of a song, for this we were asked to use a song that we would label as one of our favorites. I choose to analyze the tone and mood of “The Glow Pt. 2” by The Microphones. You can view that full analysis right here.

 

This was a taste of what was yet to come as the final product of the project was to create a playlist of 5 songs that had personal meaning to you. In this playlist we would include annotations of the lyrics (if there were any) that visualized our identification of poetic and literary devices as well as full literary analysis/critiques of the songs we chose.

 

Here is my final playlist.

 

You can read my in depth analysis of these songs right here. Or you can watch my video presentation on three of them here.

 

Reflections:

I got a bit over zellis with this project. I was so excited about this project that I got trapped by thinking that because the schoolwork was engaging that would make it easy. I also wanted to do the songs I chose justice, and that meant I had a really hard time settling on what interpretation for a metaphor best represented me or whatever “lens” I chose. This led to rewriting some stuff a lot. Taking so much time on these little details detracted from the overall narrative I wanted to showcase with this project. It also led to some plain grammar errors which are embarrassing. I started off really strong, yet let go of the gas last minute, and I don’t know why.

 

On the other hand, I did strongly argue for my interpretations, and I do think I did a job deserving of a decent grade. Even though my follow through wasn’t the greatest for this project, I would hope that the strength of my content could make up for it in some capacity, but I understand that I don’t really have much control over that.

If I could, I wouldn’t change a thing. I still learned a lot, and writing some of these thoughts out allowed me to unearth some ideas about myself and what I want to get out of my education and how I view music.

 

I believe that art criticism will typically say more about the critic than it does the art. That rule holds true when it comes to musical interpretation as well. I believe that I have the privilege to choose what I get out of songs. In other words: we define the meaning of songs, not the artist nor the general consensus of what a song means. I think that learning to be able to strongly support our choices of interpretation not only with just music is the essence of the PLP Humanities class. That is to say some interpretations can certainly be stronger than others.

 

My identity and my personal philosophy is not defined by these songs but rather what defines these songs to me. This is why I preface all my statements in my analyses with “I think”, “I would argue”, or, “To me”. It is not because I am unsure about my interpretations, it is however because I feel the need to implicitly repeat that I do not want to present my interpretations as fact. So, How Might I Use Music to Represent Myself and text? The answer to this question is found in between the lines of my analysis and this blog post. I hope it is clear that my identity is reflected through my analysis of music and the associations I make with them.

 

The literary and poetic devices found in music are just another means to reflect self. To me, the music is a mirror that reflects the self with a tint of a beautiful colour.

 

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