Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Give and Take of Art

A few nights ago, I was reading the CD insert for my Seal CD and came upon this wonderful sentiment:
One of the most popular questions people seem to ask is, "Why don't you print your lyrics on the album?" Well, the answer to that is that quite often, my songs mean one thing to me and another to the listener. But that's OK because I think it's the general vibe of what I'm saying that is important and not the exact literal translation. How many times have you fallen in love with a lyric that you thought went, "Show me a day with Hilda Ogden and I'll despair," only to find that it went "Show me a way to solve your problems and I'll be there." I guess what I'm saying is that the song is always larger in the listeners mind because with it they attach imagery which is relative to their own personal experience. So it is your perception of what I'm saying rather than what I actually say that is the key.

You give something.
I give something different.

I take something.
You take something different.

That is the beauty of art. That is the beauty of life.

1 comment:

Leatherwing said...

I recently read an analysis of the meaning of a song that I happen to like (a lot). The opening lines are:
'Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord'

The analyst, based on the rest of the song, assumed it was about unrequited love. The opening lines made me think of David, King of Israel, and his relationship with God. My interpretation of the song included themes like sin, grace, redemption, and eternity. It was very interesting (and kinda sad) to read the analysis of someone who didn't know that story.
Here's a link to the song's full lyrics: