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Contemporary Examples of Real Words in Music (Read 734 times)

Offline thejeev

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Contemporary Examples of Real Words in Music
« on: February 17, 2016, 12:56:56 AM »
I want this thread to serve as a fun place for us to provide examples and explainations of real words found in music. That is, any examples of which we know the inspiration of the music was a specific word. I am going to start with a contemporary example, but we can branch into classical and romantic works if (if I ever manage to convince anyone this is possible.)

Because I'm Canadian, Matthew Good was an alternative artist back in the 90's known as Matthew Good Band, until he and his group split apart in 2002.

In the group's 1995 release of "Last of the Ghetto Astronauts", contained the track "Alabama Motel Room". The Lyrics are as follows:

ALABAMA MOTEL ROOM
________________________________
What is life if not a joke
 one night she went out for smokes
 and they took her apart like a rag doll
 in the back of a van
 in an Alabama motel room
 I have one of them tied up in the bathroom
 I am down and out
 but he will not get away with it again

 When the night comes in
 I hope I'm out of the rain
 When the night comes in
 she makes me whole again

 I never sleep, I just watch TV
 and the gun it lies next to me
 whispering
 in an Alabama motel room
 I reflect on her sweet perfume
 I am down and out
 but they will not get away with it again

 Say you love me
 we will never get the chance again
______________________________

For this analysis I will be using the following youtube link which relates to any timestamps I post:



ANALYSIS:
The literal title and phrase "Alabama Motel Room" is taken and translated rhythmically into the music. I will indicated the rhythm derived from this phrase below:

ALABAMA (4 syllbales/beats)
MOTEL (2 syllables/beats)
ROOM (1 syllable/beats)
________________________
Total = 7

By extending the last beat "room", the phrase fits perfectly in common time with six eight notes followed by one quarter note as the driving theme. The last beat is extended by one beat to put a longer emphasis on the word "room", just as it would sound when spoken aloud. Here is a breakdown of the beats derived from the phrase:

ALABAMA MOTEL ROOM
1  1 1 1    1   1    2

This gives us:

| eighth eighth eighth eighth eighth eighth quarter | per bar

This is how the music supporting the lyrics was formed. This is found everywhere in the piece (and in all music), and I provide the following timestamps with brief explanations, used with the youtube link above.

0:03: ENTER guitar "Alabama Motel Room" 1-1-1-1-1-1-2. Notice the emphasis they put on "room", they change the panning so that the word "room" sounds 3-dimensional, as if you were in a room. Do you see what they are trying to doing here? They're trying to create an effect that tricks your brain into thinking the music is coming from different angles, as if you were in a room. It's these sorts of tricks that are responsible for those weird feelings we get when we listen to some pieces or songs.
0:10: Drums enter on the last statement omitting the first 4 beats to simply ephasize "MOTEL ROOM"
0:11: Whole band pretty voilently "shouting" "Alabama Motel Room"
0:17: "Motel Room" is extended by one beat each, ascending, preparing vocal entry, base enters and fills in "Alabama Motel Room" with an alternate tempo as follows:

AL   LA   BA   MA -  A     MO-
8th, 8th, 16th-8th, 16th-8th, rest

The above occurs 3 times until the bass finnaly ends the statement on the 4th repeat:

AL   LA     BA  MA - A    MO - TEL - ROOM
8th, 8th, 16th-8th, 16th-8th, 8th, 8th

This idea with the base sticks through the song.

0:26: ENTER vocals. Base does it's thing above in the background, modulating every now and then.
0:51: This one might be hard to spot, but it starts quietly in lower guitar. It starts quiet and grows loud, bending the last note downward to emphasize the "room" Don't get this confused with the base, this is a guitar:

AL   A   BA  MA  MO TEL ROOM   AL   A   BA  MA  MO TEL ROOOOM (bends)
8th 8th 8th 8th 8th 8th  4r,        8th 8th 8th 8th 8th 8th  4r,

Now this sort of thing goes on, few changes here and there sometimes, but there is one more I want to bring up. There is a great drum part that really emphasizes this once again.

2:53: The drums: "Alabama Motel Room" and the bass really picks up on "room" and bends it right down to get a life-like pronunciation of the word "room".

Disclaimer:

I am not sure how common knowledge this sort of thing is. For example when you hear a song like this, do you actually hear and acknowledge the "alabama motel room" in the music as I do and automatically know what it is? If so, please tell me if I am wasting people's time.

This sort of pattern I see in all music, everywhere, from all time periods. It always reduces back to some idea, that can be expressed in words. Perhaps not always directly, but in some shape or form yes. If this is normal, then forgive me for the post.

If not, I hope this post has been in someway helpful to someone, in some shape or form.
      

Offline thejeev

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Re: Contemporary Examples of Real Words in Music
«Reply #1 on: February 17, 2016, 01:48:29 AM »
I should also add, when I apply the "tone" of the above analysis and interpret the music as such, the literal interpretation is as follows; I will copy and paste the bolded lyrics and explain underneath:

ALABAMA MOTEL ROOM
________________________________
What is life if not a joke
Telling us life sucks, and he's about to tell us why
one night she went out for smokes
 and they took her apart like a rag doll
 in the back of a van

It's a narrative, he's telling us what happened
in an Alabama motel room
 I have one of them tied up in the bathroom

He's telling us that whoever was responsible for, what we will soon learn, killing "her", he had him tied up in a bathroom in an Alabama motel room
I am down and out
He didn't get his revenge, he had to leave abruptly
but he will not get away with it again
This is telling us he still wants to enact revenge

When the night comes in
 I hope I'm out of the rain

The "night" here means revenge. The rain is his borderline insanity/depression.
When the night comes in
 she makes me whole again

When he allows his revenge fantasy to occupy his mind, thoughts of avenging her murder, he is "made whole", as if it gives him a purpose to live. Alternative: "When I think of avenging her, I have reason to live, otherwise I feel like dying/killing myself"

I never sleep, I just watch TV
This revenge/suicide struggle keeps him up all night
and the gun it lies next to me
 whispering

Whispering: "Ohh Mattt... See how shiny I am?"
in an Alabama motel room
 I reflect on her sweet perfume

While in the hotel room, he was acting in the interest of avenging her murder
I am down and out
He re-states this again, as if he now regrets leaving
but they will not get away with it again
This is repeated too, could he have made up his mind to finally avenge her brutal murder?

 Say you love me
 we will never get the chance again

This is the introspective, take it for surface-value, real feelings being expressed. No analogies here, he misses her. Matt does this in almost all of his songs, they all toward the end strip down all the walls and come out with a serious call for help, desperation, sometimes it's obvious, sometimes it's subtle but really well done if you understand it.

When the night comes in
 I hope I'm out of the rain
 When the night comes in
 she makes me whole again
When the night comes in
 I hope I'm out of the rain

He ends it here to leave us thinking, did he do it? Maybe it's because even he hasn't decided yet himself. But he was careful to leave the idea open, there was no overcoming instinct, no lesson learned, he's just talking about a dilemma he hasn't resolved.

Now whether or not this ACTUALLY happened to him is unlikely, but he could be assuming the identity of a real event that happened to someone, and doing a character analysis of how that person might be feeling in that scenario.

Now I am not particularly "into" his music, his older stuff was pretty, just full of rage, I'm not into that kind of thing, but I thought this song would be a good illustration of decphiphering music back into a real tangible thought or idea.



______________________________

Offline thejeev

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Re: Contemporary Examples of Real Words in Music
«Reply #2 on: March 02, 2016, 05:01:23 PM »
Incase anyone cares, which I doubt, I've made an audio clip demostrating everything I wrote in my original post.

http://picosong.com/hdVn/

I'd appreciate if anyone could tell me how obvious this was to them? Did you already realize that the music was based on the title of the song in this way?