Hi everyone and welcome back to another end of project reflection post. In PLP we just finished a rather short project all about poetry, except instead of doing your typical read a few poems, try to write a few of your own, then move on, this project used a musical lens to look at poetry. The driving question was “How might we use music to represent ourselves and text?” During class we would analyze different songs as well as different poems to point out poetic and literary devices used in both. As soon as I found out about this project I was so excited as especially recently I have been super into music and practically listen to it 24/7.

My Spotify hours from the past week

This turned out to be useful when it came to the final project of picking 5 songs to represent your life, as I had a larger bank of songs to pick from than many. Immediately I knew I wanted to give my playlist a theme, as picking 5 songs to represent my entire life seemed too broad and too random. It took me a while but eventually I settled on the idea of a song to represent who I was each year of high school. My final playlist ended up showing how I changed and matured each year and used music that I actually enjoy listening to, to show my growth in high school. I was shocked at how much I have changed just within the tones of the songs. Starting at grade 8 with the upbeat, joyful song of “September” to finish at grade 12 with a slow and chill rap song, “San Marcos“. Below is my YouTube playlist with lyric videos to all of my song choices, feel free to listen. I am super happy with my final playlist and I believe it’s a really good reflection of me which I showed in my five different song analysis. For each song we had to pick out poetic devices used within the lyrics, as if they were poems, and analyze how that added to the song or helped with its messaging. On top of that, we also connected to why the lyrics and poetic devices connected to us and were chosen as songs to represent us. Below are my 5 different song analysis, if you’re interested in reading them just click on the colourful bar to see my paragraphs and the slides I used during my presentation for each grade.

“September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire is a song guaranteed to put anyone in a good mood. The song has an undeniable groove that focuses on a carefree ‘living in the moment’ philosophy, meanwhile its lyrics focus on remembering the good times of the past. These two things coming together makes for an extremely uplifting, energetic, and overall happy tone. While the lyrics may be telling a story of someone in love or in a relationship, I believe the words can relate to the feeling of excitement in anyone. Instead of just being about romantic feelings this song can relate to anyone’s life and feelings, whether they have had a relationship or not. This is shown clearly in lines “Our hearts were ringing, in the key that our souls were singing” (0:34). These lyrics personify the heart and soul which gives them more meaning and makes them more relatable for me. I chose this song to represent my grade 8 year which was full of brand new opportunities making me excited and happy most of the time. There was so much wonder and curiosity within myself at the time that the thought of my heart “ringing” and soul “singing” makes perfect sense.

Earth, Wind, and Fire also use imagery in the lines “never was a cloudy day” (1:00) and “golden dreams were shiny days” (2:16) so the listener is placed in the lovely and happy times being sung about. Listening to these words makes you visualize whatever good times this song makes you think about in your head. These lines place me right back to my first days at Seycove with beautiful sunny Septembers and seeing all my new classmates as we waited outside the front doors. The use of repetition in this song, especially near the end when the chorus repeats itself, is also a good representation of joy itself and my grade 8 connection. Cynical people often view “over happiness” as annoying or exhausting and now looking back on that year I may cringe at myself for being so naive and excited for something as simple as school. However when you are the person feeling the repetitive joy it is as if it could never get old, and that is one of the best feelings. The use of the musical groove along with the personification, imagery, and repetition, create so much pure energy in this song. This is why I chose it to reflect my personality and experiences through grade 8. As Allee Willis, one of the songwriters, said, “the song’s just eternally uplifting. It’s impossible to be depressed when you hear it.”

In this song Ariana Grande celebrates success and brags about her achievements. While anyone can enjoy the catchy beat, this song feels very directed towards women to empower and inspire them. The first verse uses irony to make this feminist statement clear as it paints an image of a hard working female coming home from work to tell her husband about her day at work. The lines “I just got some real good news from work, boy (It's a surprise, surprise), You can't imagine what I'm 'bout to say,” feel as though you are watching a scene take place that has been shown hundreds of times in film and tv (0:18). This is the scene of a man coming home to his wife to speak about work, but in this version the gender roles are switched. This irony helps Ariana’s message within this song of female power and success. This song also uses lots of repetition to support the message. Within the chorus, the word “successful” is used four times, which is an effective way of making the listener believe it. The song is made for women who want to celebrate their achievements and hard work, and by adding these literary devices, Ariana makes the listener feel confident in themselves.

I chose this song to represent myself in my grade 9 year as it was one of my most hardworking years. I had a super full schedule all year and had many school classes, yet I managed to stay on top of things and accomplish lots. I performed in the Deep Cove Pantomime, played select soccer, played in two bands, volunteered at a theatre, and played baseball, all while having a full timetable. I look back at that year and feel great pride in myself for doing so well, so young, just like in the chorus of the song with the lines “it feels so good to be so young, And have this fun and be successful” (0:53). At the end of grade 9 I received the PLP exemplary learner award and a band award which are symbols of my hard work and dedication I showed all year. This song places me back in that time when I was really at the top of my game and being successful, just like Ariana said.

In the song “10/10” by Rex Orange County, he sings about self-improvement and trying to become a “ten out of ten”. The track is full of metaphors to help put his mental state and journey into words that people can relate to. Even using the cliché of “ten out of ten” in the title is effective, as ranking yourself on a scale from one to ten is a universal practice that everyone understands. In the beginning of the chorus, Rex repeats the words, “I did it again, I did it again,” which I believe alludes to a setback in his journey of self help (0:32). This line is then followed by, “No control over my emotions,” which points out how he had lost control, leading to a setback (0:34). In the second chorus we hear the same lines but instead, this time the second line is replaced with, “But this time I took control, And turned my shit ‘round” (1:27). The growth that can be seen in his mental state is massive; the song really tells a story. My favourite metaphor in this piece is found in the first chorus where he writes, “Twelve rounds in, fightin’ solo” (0:46). This metaphor compares some sort of fighting/boxing match to mental struggles, which I personally relate to heavily. Sometimes improving yourself can feel like a never ending battle, but in the end it’s always worth it.

I connect to this song in many different ways and felt there was no better year for it to represent than my grade 10 year. For starters I first heard this song in my first few days in grade 10 and so I instantly picture myself hanging out with my new friend group and meeting all the international students as soon as I hear it. Not to mention I was lucky enough to see Rex perform this live at his concert in 2020 before the Covid lockdown. This year was pretty huge for me as it’s my last memory of “normal life” before the pandemic and so this song holds major value to me. The lyrics, “I had a year that nearly sent me off the edge” also relate to my burnout after having such a hectic and intense grade 9 year (0:10). This song’s message is all about bettering yourself, which in grade 10, I was really trying to do socially. I was becoming myself and figuring out who and what I liked, trying to be the best version of myself. I was on my way to becoming a ten out of ten.


Pursuit of Happiness by Kid Cudi is a beautifully sad song that describes the feeling of longing for happiness. In this song Kid Cudi sings about drugs and alcohol being outlets to give him temporary happiness, but “Everything that shine ain’t always gonna be gold,” makes it clear that while these substances may seem like the answer, they are not (1:13). The metaphor of comparing these vices to gold is super strong as I believe so many people are always looking for something to fill a void, and most times are let down. Cudi’s lyrics about these substances prove that while they do give some enjoyment, there is no permanent reassurance. This is why he takes part in this ongoing “pursuit of happiness” like the song title and chorus state. The song uses a considerable amount of repetition and is very straight to the point. There is not too much symbolism in this song to over complicate it, but instead tells it how it is. The blunt lyrics mixed in with a depressing and hopeless tone work perfectly to help portray Cudi’s tone of a dreaded “nightmare”. The song is supposed to make the listener feel scared, sad, or uncomfortable feelings.

This song represents the feelings I had going through grade 11 after the Covid lockdown. While the focus of the song talks about someone going to drugs and alcohol as a vice to give happiness, I personally relate it to my tendency to get mini obsessions. My entire life I have gone through phases of obsession over tv shows, movies, etc and it can often be used a distraction when I’m having a tough time. Grade 11 was a strange year with everything going on to do with Covid and I found myself looking for anything to give me optimism, excitement, or happiness, like the song says. Last year the sport Formula 1 was able to become that source of serotonin and gave me something to get passionate about every other weekend. The line, “I’ll be fine, once I get it,” explains the hope I had when looking for that one feeling of pure contempt (1:07). While now I have come to realize that is almost impossible to find, I am less “on the pursuit” of that golden feeling than I was a year ago.

SAN MARCOS is a song that deals with matters of mental health once again. The artists within BROCKHAMPTON each have verses mentioning their own issues and the entirety of the song seems to feel very hopeless. The tone comes from a defeated point of view, as if the rappers have given up on trying to better themselves and are instead just becoming very self aware of their struggles. “I know it’s unhealthy, appreciate your patience,” clearly demonstrates a dynamic of someone battling mental issues and feeling like a burden to others around them (2:50). The end of the song features an outro where the words “I want more out of life than this, I want more” are repeated many times (3:00). This outro is super powerful with the usage of repetition. It feels like a cry for help; someone has given up hope and is asking over and over again for anything to bring it back.

I chose this song to represent myself currently in grade 12. I have not had the easiest year so far especially when it comes to motivation. I have found myself feeling very stuck, bored, and just ready to move on from this chapter in my life. The chill and soft mood from this song relates to how I feel most of the time and some of the lyrics connect to my personal feelings. However, the outro is the main reason I chose this song. Two years into this pandemic with lockdowns and restrictions, I am ready for something new and like the line says “I want more”.

At the end of this project it was time to show our learning to everyone. Everyone got into groups of three and took turns doing 7 minute presentations on their playlists, while primarily focusing on 2 or 3 song analysis. To present mine I created slides, one for each grade, with photos of myself from that time. The goal of the slides were to give my classmates a visual to what type of person I was in that time period so when I explained the lyrics and connection that they could clearly understand my song choices. As someone who loves presenting and public speaking this was probably one of the hardest presentations I’ve had to do as this project was so heavily about me and my feelings. It wasn’t super easy to be in front of people and explain why these songs were meaningful to me and talk about my personal feelings or connections to them. Despite my nerves I did it and had an engaging presentation; I’m proud of myself for that. Overall I was a big fan of this project and felt I really improved my text analysis skills by being forced to do it so many times. I came into this project wanting to get better at text analysis especially when it came to music because, like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I am really obsessed with music at the moment and I want to improve my critical skills when I listen to so many new songs and albums. In our group activities such as the poetry jigsaw I was a leader in discussions and constantly bouncing ideas off other people. I showed strong participation in many group discussions and activities. For this project I wish I gave myself more time to work on my paragraphs as I feel a few of them are rushed and I definitely could have managed my time better. However, I think despite that I produced strong writing, a good presentation, and made deep personal connections with my learning. This was a super great project to ease me back into the school year and I cannot wait to take the critical thinking and analyzing skills I worked on here into my future projects. To get a taste of our class feel free to listen to our combined class playlist with a song from each person’s project.