Welcome back! This week, I thought we'd look at the power of words cemented in age-old traditions and imagery. Why do they continue to be so successful?
Besides having a very cool band name, what makes Lord Huron stand out? Lord Huron stands out due to a stripped-down, folk sound, but still...
Bands like Lord Huron have a lot of competition these days. I mean, the Lumineers are at the forefront of this folk movement, and we can't forget Judah and the Lion falling into place with their unique folk-hop sound. So, what makes this band unique?
Let's look at one example. Here are the lyrics:
Lord Huron - "Fool for Love" "I'm leaving this place behind And I'm heading out on the road tonight I'm off for the winter lands Way up north to have taught you to stand Before I commence my ride I'm asking Lily to be my bride I know there's another man But he ain't gonna delay my plans I know she's gonna be my wife Gonna fall in love I'm gonna live my life with her You know I bet he's not so tough Ain't afraid of him cause I'm a fool for love I've come far to find Big Jim Well here I am and I guess you him I see how you got your name You're tall as hell and broad as a train They say you a hard-broiled man And the baddest guy in the whole wide land Well I'm not afraid to fight Let's step outside and I'll show you why I'm humming like a revved up truck Never mind the odds I'm gonna try my luck with her Just tell me when you've had enough I'm dangerous cause I'm a fool for love You know you don't hit half bad For my love I will lay in the grave tonight Just wait until I catch my breath Gonna send you off to an early death I lie in the drifting snow Bleeding out as it covers me up If Spring comes before I'm found Just throw my bones in a hole in the ground I lost friends along my way I knew I'd need them eventually No I'm not afraid to die Just mad I left Big Jim alive I know I should've never looked back But you ain't gonna win a woman's heart like that I never should've called his bluff I was born to lose cause I'm a fool for love I stare into the endless sky And I saw a tale of my life go by I drift into the great unknown I really don't know where I'm going I stare into the endless sky And I saw a tale of my life go by I drift into the great unknown I really don't know where I'm going"
Okay, if you remember WAY back to before I took my break from writing, I did a segment on narrative style songs. This song is another great example of that. Narrative style songs are great ways to make space to tell a story. They are as close to us as speech because for years and years we did not write things down; we sang and we told. We performed. This song stands out to me because while the musical performance is light-hearted and fun, the lyrics reflect a performance. This guy falls for a girl, but she is taken by another. He has it in his head that doesn't matter. In fact, he is going to go all "Fight Club" on this guy. Now, this is an age-old story, right? Guy fights for girl. Hopefully, he wins, but sometimes, he doesn't. It is the music paired with the light-hearted imagery that really sets this apart. For example, "I'm humming like a revved up truck." He is anxious, making noise to drown out any thoughts that could put him off from his task at hand, and yet, he knows he is a formidable force to be reckoned with comparing himself to a truck. Comparisons like this are so helpful to audiences because while the content may not be original, but the way we describe our basic human nature IS. Lines like this make us laugh and nod in agreement saying, "OH yeah. I know that feeling." Another key piece to this song is how essential the title is. I am a huge proponent for the useful title. The words should mean something, and this song holds true. First he is, "dangerous because I am a fool for love." Then, he learned, he "was born to lose because he is a fool for love." This title works throughout the song. It doesn't need a chorus to repeat it for us because it easily winds it way through the song, adding to the definition of a "fool for love" as the song continues. He begins saying he has the power to do anything because he is a fool for love, but when he loses, he realizes (or claims) he didn't beat the other guy because that isn't any way to win a girl's love. Then, he realizes, he must find happiness elsewhere and his next steps. So, to sum it up, what makes this song lyrically awesome? Having a purposeful title. Get the audience involved. Hook them in! Make comparisons using imagery to get your audience relating to the feelings. Find the beauty, heartbreak, and humor in humanity and find ways to connect to others. Isn't that what music is all about? Until next time.