This post is about our recent project which was all about music and poetry and how it impacts us. This was quite a short project compared to most so I don’t have to much to share. The goal of this project is to explain how we might use music to represent ourselves and text. To understand and comprehend text we looked at the songs we listen to everyday to learn a bit more about music
The first part of this project was just understand what we were looking for in our songs. We looked at a few songs and poems and tried to identify as many literary terms as possible. Literary terms were a huge focus throughout this project as they are the techniques artists use to communicate a message to their audience. This at first was really tough as there are 42 terms with unique meanings, but it got a little easier after we started using them more often.
We now move into the toughest part of the project which is applying these skills to songs that we listen to. I found this part tougher than I expected, and I think that is because I had never really thought about what my songs were really about. In addition to that I hadn’t really thought about how they relate to me. Here are my songs and my connects to each.
Rich ***** problems- A$AP Rocky
This song connects to me in a way other than through lyrics, or even the underlying message. The reason this song connects to me is through the memories I get when I hear the song.
It all started when I first joined the Jr. National program. Practices started at 7:00am at a field in Surrey, meaning I was up at 5:30am getting ready to head out every Saturday. I would get rides with guys who were on my team and could drive me, and on my first early morning training this was the song that I heard on the way to the field.
When I hear this song I am brought back to 5:45am with some university guys who had the base on this song put to 200%. The reason this is such a predominant memory is because the Jr. National program was probably the biggest turning point in my career as an athlete, and the biggest change in my life at that point.
When I look at where I am now, those past memories reminded me of a younger and probably less confident version of myself. However now I can look back on that time and see how much progress I have made, and I think that progress is what I value the most in my athletic life. That’s why this song is so important to me.
In addition to all of this I can relate somewhat to the message behind the song. “When that ain’t enough and the black ain’t enough, you just don’t want to be famous”( 0:19) , this line is repeated throughout the the song backing up the idea that the artist wanted all these things, he wanted to be famous, but now that he has them he wonders was it really worth it? “ when you don’t drink champagne but you ordering cases, all your friends hanging cause they know that your paying” (0:28) How has to influenced his life? How has it influenced those around him?
“ gotta mink door mat that says ***** we made it” I think this was one part where the use of personification was used highly effectively to show the how the artist views his new riches. This is were me and the song separate, A$AP Rocky is questioning whether all this money and fame was worth it, where as I know the progress I have made in my athletic career and just life in general is worth it, and has shaped me into who I am today.
Back to Life by Russ.
This song is based around one idea, the success that the artist has accomplished despite others trying to intervene. I think the overall theme, pushing through until you succeed, is one that can be applied to everyone who listens to the song.
Right from the beginning of the song you get a chill beat with that the rappers follow throughout the song. Their tone is quite neutral as well, it’s not angry or joyful, almost as if they are telling the audience how it is, just the facts. This is made clear by the repetition, “pick myself up, watch them all start tweaking”(1:00) this sentence essentially means when I get up they ( they being the opposition) all start to panic or worry, which fits well with idea that despite what others may try and do, he always continues towards success. Another example would be: “got a target on my back that’s what’s different boy, that’s what confidence in tracks that what winning does”( 0:54). He puts this metaphor to good use in enforcing the idea that no one can interfere in his work.
The repetition builds this up and reinforces the main theme. In addition to that I would say the idea the artist would want us to remember is that nothing can stop him and nothing is impossible, and because the repetition is so catchy, even after listening only once you are likely to remember that line.
Russ also uses personification to connect ideas that wouldn’t make sense together, for example “ they want me to kill myself, but the only thing suicidal is the doors of my McLaren”. As a listener when you understand the lyrics like these you think “ how did he think of that?”, or at least I did.
To sum up the song I would say the main theme is that success is not something others can tamper with if you put the effort in. I think in some way I can relate this back to myself as well. If I train hard enough and put in the effort then I should continue to get better and become a better player despite what others do. I think this is a really cool thing to keep in mind, especially because in the past when I trained with the jr. National team I felt that everyone else is older or better than you, but this will push you to be the best and most efficient version of yourself.
Just keep going- Tobi Lui
The message that is repeated many times throughout the song is about not being satisfied with current lifestyle, and wanting to get a break from all that’s going on. “ f*** my nine to five, disappear for weeks” ( 0:30) this is repeated in the chorus twice within the first 1:20 and really emphasizes the idea that right now it’s all to tough and it would be better to take a break. The evidence that this is in fact the theme of the song is in these lines “I’m trying to chase these dreams, why they wanna wait for me? Money going make me bleed, make my blood turn green”( 2:25). Dissecting these lines we can see that in the process of accomplishing his dreams, the artists has faced struggles, and examples being money. Our blood is what makes us up, so when he says money is going to make his blood turn green, it sounds like he is suggesting money is changing who he is.
For the first part of the song it follows this same message, but in the last half the most repeated line is “just keep going” which is also the title of the song. “I know that you are going through somethings, keep going”(2:44) and when he repeats these lines it sounds like he is talking to himself, as though he is encouraging himself to continue. When I listen to the whole song I notice how it transforms from being about escaping, and wanting to live an easier life, to what seems like a self motivational song.
This is a message I carry with myself and is why I liked this song when I first heard it. As an athlete when you have to constantly push yourself to your limit, it might be tough to keep on going. In my head I always tell myself to push through the training, and that all of this just improves you, and I think this songs overall message to “ just keep going” is what encourages me to do just that.
Fine Tune Da Mic- Maestro
Maestro is an artist I always liked to listen to for a verity of reason but I think there is one or two main reason why Fine Tune Da Mic has really spoken to me over the years. To begin with the song is incredibly clever with its use of Literary terms which
I was originally introduced to this music by my Dad, who listened to this music when it was first released back in his childhood. Ice Cube, Maestro, Notorious B.I.G, these are all artist who he grew up with. When he share these songs with my brothers and I, it feels not as if we are just listening to music with him, its almost like he is passing on this music to us. I think that is one reason why I feel attached to this music and why I think it has influence in my life.
Another part of the song is the unique way that Maestro intertwines parts of his identity into his raps, more specifically he mentions his Canadian background often in more than just this song. What was interesting to think about is he is Canadian, but at the same time he is not. His lyrics ( like most artist these days) boast about his life and his accomplishments, which when you think about it is not very Canadian-like. We aren’t known to boast, but Maestro somehow mixes these two sides of himself into his music, and personal I think this gives his music a unique twist.
“ I like to rock a hundred miles, but you know I am far from running”(0:26) is one of clever lines that make Maestro who he is ( a hundred miles being a clothing brand from Toronto). I guess another reason this reason this music is amongst by favourite is because it just sounds good, it gets you pumped up. Since I usually listen to music while I am working out it makes sense that most of my top choices are those that pump you up. Adding onto that I don’t think I could listen to slower music just because I am not patient enough. When the music flows fast, that’s when I get interested listening. In the song for example “live like a wire, MC for hire, rappers all admire, but retire, when I annihilate, deducts, and take bucks, who the hell needs luck?”(2:09). This free verse type lyrics mixed with similes are fast, even though when you look at them it’s hard to picture how they could rhyme.
Now a that I had the hard part done, all I had to do was present my ideas to my classmates. This was easier than I thought, and I had a good time listening to what others had to say about their own songs as well.
Looking back at the project I can say that I have definitely learned more about how music can be connected back to text. Ideas are explained through the text but it’s the sounds and music that brings out the emotion that the artist put within the text.
Overall I had a good time during this project. The one thing I wish I could express about the project is that I wished we could just chose songs because we liked them. I know this defeats the purpose of connecting them to ourselves and to literary terms, but I thought it would much more fun if I was able to incorporate more of the music I actually listen to. Don’t get me wrong, the music I mentioned definitely ranks amongst my favourite and I would say some of them are actually my top songs, but not all. The reason I listen to music isn’t because I like the literary terms, or because I think it really connect to me as a person. I listen because I don’t want to think about it or anything to do with it, I just want to hear some good music. If it sounds good then its good music, that’s all there is to it in my opinion.
That’s all for now