SongMeanings.net and Perspective

Attempting to see from someone else’s perspective has always fascinated me. When you think about it, there are a LOT of people on this planet. Seriously. Stop and think about it for a second.

I’ll wait.

Yah done? Okay. Now think about what it must be like to be someone that… isn’t you. Your roommate. Your siblings. That Wal-Mart greeter you passed by and didn’t acknowledge. What must his day be like? He stands at the entrance, waving to passerby’s, maybe half of whom ever respond. That’s his entire job. He’s likely retired. Maybe he doesn’t even need the money, he just wants to get out of the house because he is bored. He probably people-watches, judging them as they enter the store based on their dress, or maybe their responses. He probably tries to see things from their perspectives.

One of my favorite things to do that I recently discovered is reading Songmeanings.net. Essentially, the website allows users to post the lyrics to a song and discuss what they believe it means. What intrigues me is the amount of variety in people’s responses. Take any popular song right now. As of 3/3/12, the number one song on iTunes is We Are Young by Fun.

Personally, I believe the song to be about a guy who did something to hurt his relationship, but he is working hard to recover and prove to her that he is committed. But you wouldn’t get that from listening to the party anthem of a chorus. Let’s take a look at the comments…

 Great song! The meaning of the song… is about a guy who has made mistakes and wants to amend and apologise but it was too late.

So this one is pretty simple, I can totally see that.

 I don’t hear what others apparently hear. I hear a song about a guy who had/has a rough relationship with someone (he’s left “scars”); he doesn’t like himself very much…he feels responsible for her pain. All he wants to do is to be with someone to ease his pain. He doesn’t seem to care who he’s with as long as she wants him. And if the girl at the bar is able and willing than he’s going home with her. This is a sad, but good track.

I can agree with this one, except for the random girl he picks up. The narrator talks about his “you”, this girl at the bar, who he acknowledges is his lover.

 Has anyone here ever heard of Carpe Diem poems? It seems like that’s what this is. The speaker’s pretty much saying: we’ve had our differences, but let’s go home and have sex.

This guy is just high out of his mind.

this song is obviously about forgetting about a domestic dispute between a couple. Hence the line ” ‘asking bout a scar’- ‘I know I gave it to you months ago. – I know you ‘re trying to forget” yeah nice melody terrible meaning behind this song. I mean they are at a bar and they are with people who don’t care or chose not to react to their friends physically harming one another…. or at least thats what I hear. I think I’m just annoyed by Glee covering it trying to make it seem like a happy forgiveness song when it’s actually really sad. If you are REALLY listening to the lyrics.

This guy just sounds indignant about Glee. I love how he capitalized REALLY cause he is REALLY MAD at GLEE. It’s a sad song you guys. C’mon.

 I thought of this as a song more about innocence than domestic abuse. Such as in the line “I know I gave it to you months ago, I know you’re trying to forget” It seemed to me more about a guy apologizing to this girl about taking her innocence and hurting her really bad, and wishing he could take it all back because it wasn’t worth it to him. Saying “So if by the time the bar closes and you feel like falling down I’ll carry you home tonight” he is trying to make up for what he did to her by being there for her instead, and perhaps she is drinking away her sorrow over it? Trying to rid herself of the painful memories with drugs and alcohol…

I can totally see this one too, but that’s too much of a downer interpretation for me.

This song may be about a DUI. He may have given her that scar by getting in a car accident with her while driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol (drugs maybe due to the initial lyric about their friends getting higher than the empire state but he’s not taking part in it). He’s “trying hard to make it right” by carrying her home instead of driving, also he is also finding someone to carry him home instead of driving. Again, by not smoking up with their friends in the bathroom, he’s also working to “make it right”.

So, he is going to make it right by trying to find someone to carry the both of them home? This boyfriend sucks. Also, there is absolutely no mention of a car, anywhere in the lyrics.

It’s about life, and living it to the fullest. It’s about having a strong relationship with people and having their backs no matter what. Even you make a mistakes with those people you know they will always be there for you. Not evertything is about sex. It’s saying go out, set the world on fire, burn brightly in that moment but make sure to help each other all get home safely so you can do it another time. Have fun but be responsible and if you make a mistake learn to get past it and forgive each other because even if you fall down you’re going to need each other to lean on so you carry them or they can carry you home.

Not everything is about sex you guys. Also, this interpretation is REALLY upbeat. I wish I was as optimistic as this guy.

The guy who said DUI nailed it (or drunk-driving accident). It’s all about having someone you can trust to take you home at the end of the night, and how you establish that trust after breaking it.

Did he? Did he really nail it? Is that what people are agreeing on?

Clearly, you can interpret the song a million different ways based on what state of mind your listening to it in and how your own experiences influence how you interpret it. Another really cool thing to do is going back and listening to the song after reading some of the comments. Take the domestic dispute angle. When listening to the song through that perspective, a few lyrics stand out:

            “I know I gave it to you months ago (a scar), I know you’re trying to forget…” “But between the drinks and subtle things… you know I’m trying hard to take it back…” “But our friends are back, so lets raise a cup.”

The listener has interpreted the songs meaning based solely on these lyrics, and even more fascinating, that interpretation is EQUALLY true to your own interpretation. No one, except maybe the artist, can argue that the song is not about domestic abuse. And, even than, the artist can’t argue with his fan that the song isn’t about domestic abuse. I don’t know why he would want to, but hey, it could happen. If those are the lyrics that ring out to the individual, than that’s what the individual has chosen to take away from the song. No other listen is going to sway his or her opinion about the meaning.

This may all seem very obvious, but it’s fascinating to me. I strongly encourage checking out songmeanings.net for some of your favorite songs. I’m willing to bet that the way you interpret a song is vastly different than what others may say.

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