ALL ABOUT THE LYRICS: The Wordnerdy Half of the Songwriting Coin

ALL ABOUT THE LYRICS: The Wordnerdy Half of the Songwriting Coin

By popular demand, I present All About the Lyrics, intended as a permanent home for discussion/deconstruction of the words in David Cook’s music. (This includes David’s own work and his work with collaborators.) All About the Lyrics provides a forum for observations, criticisms and feelings regarding the words, spanning work from Axium, “Analog Heart,” the “lost album,” DCTR, and all future releases. Discussion must be limited to work that has been published, recorded and/or performed. (Discussion of leaked material/snippets will not be allowed, by the expressed direction of TPTB.)

Potential subjects for discussion include:

* What the words ARE (in absence of definitive text from the author)
* Themes of particular songs, as well as common themes in the body of work
* Use of metaphor and simile
* Use of compositional techniques such as rhyme (end rhyme, internal rhyme), meter, alliteration and so on
* The influence or possible influence of lyrical collaborators
* The potential meaning(s) of songs
* Citations of interviews where David discusses his process/thoughts regarding the creation of lyrics

Please limit your citations of lyrics to portions being discussed, rather than always quoting the entire song, unless the entire song is relevant to your post. This will help make the length of posts more manageable.

Because there is obviously significant overlap with our sister thread, All About the Music, I direct you there for relevant information regarding David’s musical influences, as well as covers he’s selected to sing.

I launch this enterprise with enthusiasm, but also with sympathy for the guy whose work is the subject of scrutiny. In his own words from a recent interview: “The lyrics have to be perfect.” With such an attitude, he’s clearly invested. You don’t have to love everything he writes, but – respect for the writer will be required here.

And finally, a cautionary tale about deconstruction, particularly in terms of figuring out what a song is “about” or where it “came from.” It’s risky business to wade in these waters, and it’s good to remember that very often, opinions regarding “what it’s about” say more about the observer than the subject. If he author does not choose to make an overt explanation, then it’s “about” whatever you, as the listener, make it to be. I am entertained by the following passage by the novelist, critic and author C.S. Lewis. In discussing critical analysis of one of his essays, about which the critics were putting forth varied theories regarding Lewis’ process, influences and feelings, he said:

Reviewers, both friendly and hostile, will dash you off such histories with great confidence; will tell you what public events had directed the author’s mind to this or that, what other authors had influenced him, what his overall intention was, what sort of audience he principally addressed, why – and when – he did everything….

My impression is that in the whole of my experience not one of these guesses has on any one point been right; the method shows a record of 100% failure. You would expect that by mere chance they would hit as often as they miss. But it is my impression that they do no such thing…. As I have not kept a careful record, my mere impression may be mistaken. What I think I can say with certainty is that they are usually wrong.

Nevertheless. Analysis is fun, and is a compliment to the writer if done with this caveat in mind. So, once more into the breach, dear wordnerdy friends!!! Analyze away!!!

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Resources (general)

Transcribed lyrics for This Loud Morning album, confirmed against album liner notes.

Link to music/lyrics from DCTR here at DCO. Recently reappeared after absence. Still problematic.

http://www.davidcookofficial.com/us/music/david-cook

Unofficial lyrics compilation by the fans at the DC42 forum,, as well as their consensus regarding differences between their analysis and the lyrics once posted at DCO. Documents courtesy of ellemarie.

UNofficial UNconfirmed lyrics c/o CookiesBR

DCTR lyrics at Cherry Lane Music Group, David's publisher, of yet-unverified authenticity

Unofficial discography, extensive, chronological, by DCO regular QTTaquito

Unofficial discography, extensive, alpha order by writer/co-writer, by DCO regular QTTaquito

Analysis of imagery and recurring themes in the lyrics, as blogged by Sharon C with input from annie702

Unreleased songs from fall 2013 David Cook tour (as transcribed by DCO members)

Resources (individual songs)

"Permanent" analysis by the folks at the d-c.org forum, aka "The Dash"
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Comments (1479)

Hi Nina! Thank you for your kind words. Yes, it is hard to explain how David makes us feel when we listen to his music, especially to non fans or those people who are not acquainted with David. He cuts through everything that is in the way, and gets to your heart. I have felt these same things, and somehow David is able to give them words and melody, and then he pierces our hearts with his magnificent voice, with all of the feeling...it's hard to communicate this...but he leaves me feeling like a broken hearted teenager unable to be consoled. It's the same way I felt when I listened to his Analog Heart music.

But Circadian and REM are particularly haunting to me. He takes me into his dreams, how he fights for the love of his life, and how he fights to get back to it, even at the detriment of losing his own reality. You can feel him fighting for it against his own better judgement that waking up will make it all go away, trying to stay asleep. Then yelling out "somebody save me" like maybe God could change time and allow him to travel back in time, even if it is just in his dreams. He's trying to get back...trying to get back...very haunting. Like he's aware he's dreaming, but he wants it to become his new reality. It makes me want to hear it over and over again, so that maybe I can figure it out... I don't care what anyone says, this is a masterpiece. And so was "Permanent"--there is no way to improve his music. It has its own life!

"Floating towards the floor" makes me think of two different things, with two different meanings.

One is a helium balloon that is running out of helium, and starts sinking, but rises, but sinks again, and eventually lands on the floor. Bad.

Another is coming to a landing on solid, firm ground, and floating to the ground is much better than crashing to the ground. Good. (Although LMFFY features crashing to the ground.)

So, sink or swim. Bad or good. Are you on the ground because you lost your "lift," and you sunk? Or are you back in reality of your own free will and moving towards something new and good?

HI!!!

Squirrellygirl: you just posted while I wrote mine and I just wanted to say YES to what you wrote "his music touches me like no one else can" and that somehow it is beautiful how he can write about not wanting to wake up. It is so hard to explain (maybe not among the fandom) what it is about David Cook and his music that touches you and puts it in a league of its own!!! If you try to tell non fans about it I mean!

HI!!!

Minstrel: your part starting with "he gives you so much to chew on etc" sumbs up pretty much how I feel about his music too. He just manages to draw you in, he IS very brave in his writting and the "honesty" is something I appreciate too. Although his lyrics or certain words can almost hit me in the gut or touch me so much I feel like some is taking the air away. On the other hand that is an art of it self. The top of all that is when you have read the lyrics and he sings them to "you". OMG he is so good at singing what he feels and give the words an extra dimension?!

Min: I forgot to tell you earlier that I absolutely love the piano and mayday part on both Circadian and REM. It makes TLM come full circle. I understand why he needed both songs on that album and in those orders.
YES you are right the bonus tracks brings a new mind set and THANK GOD for them as well. We really got quite a GIFT from David?!

I think the "right" refers to reality. Till the loud morning gets it right. Everything sorts itself out in reality, the awakening. But maybe the sleeper is avoiding reality and wants to stay hidden in his dreams where he can still experience the life of his missing partner. The loudness of the morning approaching means to me that it surely will get here very soon, but he wants somebody to save him from the reality of it. A last request to hold on to his dreams, because as long as he is dreaming, it could still be real (especially if he doesn't wake up). It's very sad, but beautiful to me that David can express it this way. His music touches me in a way no one else can. I know this music is open to different interpretations. This is just one that comes to me.

On the 'oxygen' line - Minstrel, your explanation is very similar to a discussion I had with LaviniaP a few pages back, except that you say it sooo much better Smiling

I have to say that I'm going with the loud morning as having malicious intent - after all, the words 'gets it right' is followed immediately by 'and does me in'. So getting it right = doing me in. Not sure if I've mentioned it before here, but what gets me even more about that line is that it's clear that to the narrator, this is a prolonged and repetitive 'attack' - the loud mornings aren't going to give up until they succeed.

Aw, thanks Nina. Would be interested to hear many viewpoints. The writing of the second verse is pretty cryptic and I think could accommodate multiple interpretations. Like... what is the 'floating towards the floor' about? Are we just stuck in the pattern of sink/swim, some futile grief processing pattern? Or is it a reference to a bigger idea, a life-processing pattern... in other words, is all of daily life just a process of slow sinking toward an inevitable end? (it's a long way down between the summer and the fall, you know... or, we're all 6 feet in on a one-way street.)

He gives you a lot to chew on here, and precious little comfort, if any. Which is why I'm glad those bonus tracks exist -- that he could write them, in a different mood, and deliver the whole shebang so effectively. He is consistently brave, and he is honest when he writes, which is probably a lot of what I appreciate about his music....

HI!!!

Minstrel: I´m not gonna comment too much on what you just wrote, because you kind of said it all. And quite beautifully. I can follow you on the sad part of the song! You should have a lot of WOW´s (from me at least) ´cause of what you just wrote about the "oxygen" part. I have liked that certain word from the start, but your fantastic explanation just blew me away and made it so much clearer to me. If I can I will absolutely hop on that boat with you. WOW. The next time I listen to REM, I will have your comments with me and may get into just another layer!
"To put these memories away" is actually a line that touches me very much. There is pain in them and I understand the fact that he does not want them to go away. Like he is afraid of loosing them. I think everyone who lost someone knows that feeling about being afraid of forgetting the person or certain times in that persons live or with that person?!

Thanks Minstrel for bringing REM on an even higher (better) level for me!!!!

Nah, Nina, you are not the only one.

I find REM to be such a sad song. I think because it is so desperate -- and unlike Circadian, where the 'mayday' cry seems to think that someone might actually be able to help, with REM I just get the picture of this endless cycle of the desire to escape and the impossibility of making the escape last. Because there is, of course, no getting back to a time that is past with a beloved one who is gone. It's just "stuck in this pattern evermore of sink or swim."

The oxygen line, I have puzzled over for a while. What it seems to be saying is that staying awake -- breathing the 'awake' oxygen rather than sinking into the sleep/dream state -- is killing memories he does not want to let go of. Maybe that just the daily routines of life are making him feel distanced from his loved one, even more than any condolences or anything he could try to write about it. And he does not want that kind of forgetting -- so, more sleep. These rapid eyes will keep on moving, seeking out the dream that is escape and reunion.

And the piano interlude seems to me to be the soundtrack of the sinking down phase, but at the end the choir is still singing 'mayday', still asking that someone would throw a rope. (It interests me that both Circadian and REM end on major chords that are fully resolved, because a lot of songs on the record end in an unresolved way, even some of the ones that are ostensibly upbeat. yet at the very end here there is at least a musical promise of some peace, if not a lyrical one.)

ETA -- the 'fore this loud morning gets it right' line is also one that I have pondered for a good long while. Is the morning actively trying to do him in -- in otherwords, getting its malicious intent right? Or is the 'gets it right' some acknowledgment that you do, in fact, have to live in the day -- that people are meant to live in the conscious world, their natural and 'right' place, even though living there feels like a death sometimes and sleep seems infinitely more appealing? It's a very interesting lyric when you think hard about it.

HI!!!

Am I the only one who gets really touched when David sings "Give me one more quiet night ´fore this loud morning gets it right and does me in" on REM???? OMG those words just hit me everytime, I love to hear his beautiful voice sing them (to me) and they just say so much!!! Of course Davids story about his loud mornings had a lot to do with it. BUT I think we have all been there and can totally relate to them?! "Sink or swim, does this story have an ending?" WOW there are so many layers in this song that I have yet to discover and figure out!

I´m just listening to 4LW and I have a hard time understanding why it took me a while to "like" that song. I mean it was not my first go to song. The more I listen to it the more the lyrics and like a lot of other times, certain words just gives me goosegumps. Its like that with the very beautiful GTTG (which I liked from the first listen, but just wasn´t my favourite on TLM). The lyrics on that is touching too. "Now I´m just a vessel lost at sea" was one of the first lines I remembered!

Sorry I don´t have time to write more for now, but might come back later. I will say I´m sooo impressed at what you all get from these lyrics!!! Some of you are poets like our David!!!

6ways2sunday, I can't help it but have to tell you my experience too. It happened to me once also in another thread. After I saved a post, I noticed that there was no edit button to it but the one of another poster's (just right after my post) had one. I thought it might be mine so I clicked on it but was denied access. And then when I went back to the main Dwop thread and reposted with an edited one. After saving, everything went OK. I got an edit button and the other poster's was gone. And also the edit button of my original post had reappeared. Then the next day, I noticed my original post was deleted by maybe Lisa (thanks Lisa) seeing it was a duplicate post.
My take was that it could be possible that the other poster and I had clicked our posts simultaneously and at almost the same time and something happened in cyberspace like maybe our edit button got interchanged or something. But I don't know what the other poster was seeing during that time and whether she had her edit button or none and saw mine instead. So what do I know? I guess it was a crazy (twilight zone) idea, lol.

eta: oh I see that there is no other post just before or after yours. Maybe it was at another thread but it would be difficult to find out now. oh well.

eta 2: I just saw your post of Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 20:13 and closeyoureyes at Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 20:12. Hmmmm that's very, very, very close. Maybe could had been a millisecond? I wonder.

I have a question that has absolutely nothing to do with lyrics, but I was on this thread when I noticed. I can't edit my posts, but I see an edit button on closeyoureyes' posts. Any ideas as to why that would be?

ETA: The edit button on her posts went away, but it was interesting to see. So, nevermind. Smiling

LOL minstrel! I think a lot of us are in that "hornswoggled" boat with you, especially about some of the lyrics from DCTR.

Went and got my songbook. Which is not infallible alas. Half baked anyone? But it does in fact say worst. I stand corrected. I'll be hornswoggled. Lol.

And yeah lmffy. I knew there was another like that on TLM.

Ha NEMO. I was just finished reading back to catch up, and refreshed to post the same thing you just did. Well the part about "words" vs. "worst". (Only half tearfully mourning the lack of official lyrics for DCTR) Eye-wink

It reminds me of all the healthy debating about so many DCTR lyrics. For example: "I'm taken" vs. "I'll take you", "half baked vs.half-faith", and so on. I even remember being on a boat with you and some others floating down the river of "DeNial"over a few of them. Those were some good times. Smiling

Just a quick post from a lurker - love this thread, love your ideas, thanks for sharing them everyone! I certainly agree that if David reads anything on DCO, I hope it's this thread occasionally - how unbelievably exciting and flattering to any artist to have his work so carefully considered, with such sincerity and well-informed affection.

Just wanted to comment on Minstrel's quote of this line in her post about David and the theme of struggle with words that occurs in his writing:
"I would like to introduce Mr. Sensitive/ the one who never let the words get the best of him."
Unfortunately, the lyrics (such as they were) for DCTR here on DCO appear to be gone. But I always heard this line as:
I would like to introduce Mr. Sensitive/ the one who never let the worst get the best of him.
#curseOfMissingLyrics lol Don't want to derail your discussions - just kinda laughed at the idea that we're still unsure of so many DCTR lyrics, let alone what they mean.
Carry on!

minstrel another one from LMFFY I'm hanging by a thread / With all the words you never said

Talking about LMFFY, when I was young I would prefer a guy to just say "Let me fall for you" than "Let me love you" or "I love you". I think I was scared of that word because, as Opibinia said, would mean a guy is very serious and I was still a student. But most of the time for me, I couldn't trust a guy who said that word to me especially if he says it nonchalantly because at those young age it would mean that he could be a player and said it to many girls. Also at those age and where I grew up I noticed boys avoid saying those words. I think the word usually used was " let's go steady" or a lighter type of word/s. The most important thing for me was for the guy to show his feelings through actions (not the "x" one, during those times none of that was acceptable by our custom and even now) like making me feel special and being faithful among others.

Back to David maybe he is just a sensitive guy or is it still usual for most young guys now a days to prefer not to say this word?

There's also this compilation of 2011 Interviews (work in progress, which you just reminded me I need to update LOL) http://www.scribd.com/doc/59476670/Interviews-With-David-2011-to-date

closeyoureyes:

"4 Letter Word is one I did with Matt Squire and Claude Kelly. I love the tongue-in-cheek aspect of [this song]. Love is obviously a four-letter word, but it's also implying that love is a curse word. It's kind of a jaded view on love, but I think again it fit into the back-half of this record. From the Billboard Track by Track"

I thought I remembered him saying it somewhere, thank you, cye for finding it. DC pretty much summed up what I was trying to explain, only so much better than I could. And, with fewer words. Smiling

Minstrel, I created a blog with the transcripts of the DCO Track by Track, the Billboard Track by Track, & a few extracts from the Broken Records Mag interview together with links to the originals: http://www.davidcookofficial.com/za/blog/loud-morning-track-track-fromth...

Not CYE, obviously, but I also found this link very informative and had only seen it within the past week or so. It's the Billboard Track by Track:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ElXrTmnwHY

no prob, 6ways. it means... "know what I mean?"

cye, thanks for the comments from the Source. cos you are good at this -- are all the 'behind the music' things linked in a single blog/news post here someplace? rather than just individual items as they originally appeared? I want to think there's an omnibus someplace.

If you DM me that, as well as the link to the Billboard 'track by track,' i'll put them up in the OP. They'd be handy to have there. thanks.

Minstrel:

"6ways, lol -- it was the writer's train of thought I was wondering about, not yours. But as for 'dirty' words -- you're right, they're just words. I don't make a big deal about them, personally -- though it's useful to have a few in the back pocket for effect. (if you use all of them, all the time, what do you do when you really want to throw the verbal grenade? But that's neither here nor there.)

I was only saying that the idea of "4 letter word" has to mean something in the context of the song -- not just the fact that "love" is spelled with four letters, kwim? It has to mean something ironic, something that the term "love" normally is not -- whether that is the concept of something forbidden, obscene, impolite, profane, angry, a general concept of "swear" or ... whatever. It has to represent some sort of twist/contrast or the song wouldn't work."

A man's train of thought can certainly be difficult to decipher. I am pretty sure about one thing (it is a given...it always is..LOL), other than that, I have absolutely no clue whatsoever.

One of my favorite phrases is: "A time and place for everything". That way, when you whip it out, the person you are saying it to, stops in their tracks and knows that it just turned ugly.

I will get back to you later on the love-irony thing. I have an idea about it, but I want to write it out first to make sure it make sense before I post it.

One more thing, what does KWIM mean? I see it all over the board, but I just don't understand. Help a girl out, here. Thank you.

Well, this is what David himself said about it:
4 LETTER WORD
[David Cook – Claude Kelly – Matt Squire]
I love kinda the tongue-in-cheek-premise of that. You know, I’ve heard that phrase a few times in my life, you know - ‘Love is a four letter word’. I don’t know … I’ve just always kinda thought that phrase was a little clever. “Love is a four letter word’. [small smirk] So as we were putting this record together, I thought “A man, that phrase actually kind of works within the context of the record. That track – I really enjoyed the process of writing it.

(From the Track By Track vids on DCO.

And this
4 Letter Word is one I did with Matt Squire and Claude Kelly. I love the tongue-in-cheek aspect of [this song]. Love is obviously a four-letter word, but it's also implying that love is a curse word. It's kind of a jaded view on love, but I think again it fit into the back-half of this record. From the Billboard Track by Track

So yeah, definitely love as a curse word.

thanks for bringing that, CYE. Is cool.

6ways, lol -- it was the writer's train of thought I was wondering about, not yours. But as for 'dirty' words -- you're right, they're just words. I don't make a big deal about them, personally -- though it's useful to have a few in the back pocket for effect. (if you use all of them, all the time, what do you do when you really want to throw the verbal grenade? But that's neither here nor there.)

I was only saying that the idea of "4 letter word" has to mean something in the context of the song -- not just the fact that "love" is spelled with four letters, kwim? It has to mean something ironic, something that the term "love" normally is not -- whether that is the concept of something forbidden, obscene, impolite, profane, angry, a general concept of "swear" or ... whatever. It has to represent some sort of twist/contrast or the song wouldn't work.

A & R guy's wife's take on Circadian. I find it really cool that so many people from disparate backgrounds can find something to relate to personally in his lyrics.
http://www.asuburbanstateofmom.com/circadian-david-cook

Minstrel:

1). ""yeah, 6ways, when you look at it i can see how you could read it as an updated version of "lie." That'd make it a later-stage sort of a song that might fit better chronologically (though one could argue that there were already a couple of clear 'goodbye' songs in front of it and another one after it). I don't think it's a perfect progression either way, if one wanted to be trying to make a strict story out of it. But since it's a record, not a musical, maybe it's not that necessary that it work so neatly."

"Hold your tongue, hold it tight Or we'll be destined to fall like the sun did tonight Leave it out `cause it might Take from both of us down before we both get it right"

This is the part that reminds me of "lie". (Someone else had mentioned Lie, as well) It seems to me that he doesn't really want the relationship to end, even though he knows it is coming apart. He thinks if they work a little harder, the relationship can make it through. Denial, of course, but who hasn't been there? Even when you know a relationship is done, sometimes a tiny little part of you wishes you could work it out. The record is supposed to be a progression, and based on the two prior songs, he already knows it is over, and I think the song after, GTTG, is the one where he actually says goodbye for good. REM is the one where he wonders if it is worth trying to get back together, or not. 4LW fits right in there as the denial part. (I know we are discussing 4LW, but we are also talking progression. I also know there are other ways to interpret the record. Smiling )

2). "I still think the "can't commit due to prior baggage" is an equally valid way to hear the song, esp if "love," itself, is the "4 letter word." But either way it begs the question -- what's a 4 letter word, anyway? It's something indecent, obscene, impolite, shocking? (Lol. Well, prob not that shocking, given the frequency -- and D certainly loves him some eff word. But fundamentally, a 4 letter word is obscene, profane, not fit for polite company. Dirty.)"

"Looking back, now I see Saying just how we feel causes such misery All I want is to keep This moment alive between you and me And I know just what you're thinking But if we ever let it go"

To me, the "Looking back indicates that they have already said "I love you", even though he uses the present tense in the rest of the sentence. When he says "all I want is to keep this moment alive between you and me" is also why I think that. Another little touch of denial here, because based on the songs before this one, he already knows it is over.

Aaahhh, obscenity. What a lovely word. Words are obscene, dirty, or what have you because people make them so. They are just words that describe things that we do, are, go, or whatever. It seems when somebody gets offended, it suddenly becomes a bad thing to do. I don't know. Maybe it is just me. There are so many terrible things in this world, (rape, murder, hunger, natural disasters, diseases) it seems kind of stupid to me to get all in a tizzy over a freaking WORD. Just sayin'.

3). "Which is really kind of an interesting perspective -- the notion that love itself could be a dirty word. Not just sad, when it is broken, but obscene. I expect it's just wordplay, you know -- a twist taking into account the word lengths? But when you break it down... i dunno, I raise my eyebrows at that, wonder what prompted that train of thought, lol......"

It very well could be a play on words. I guess it depends on how angry you are, how it is said to you, and how you feel about the person who said it to you. I have seen arguments between people where it certainly seemed like it was.

Are you talking about my train of thought or his? My train of thought can be difficult to explain at times and could take all day. Eye-wink

I think all points of view are valid. Makes life more entertaining.

Now, let's see if I can get this to post. My cat has been "helping me" and this is the third time I have written this post. Love my Skye kitty. Smiling

For an articulate guy, he's actually pretty fascinated with the "words" thing -- their usefulness or lack thereof.

Are there any words to say that could ever be enough?

I can feel in the evening air, all the words I want to say/but I can tell as you turn away that they wouldn't make you stay.

Only if you care about [with] these words unspoken. (In the lyrics booklet it's "about," and there's a comma before "unspoken" -- which makes me think these unspoken words are "take me as I am.")

Saying just how we feel causes such misery... it could all get ruined if it's ever said out loud.

Because... who's to say the rhymes beside your bed will keep you warm when everything is getting colder?

You turn away from all those things that I've been trying to say.

I would like to introduce Mr. Sensitive/ the one who never let the words get the best of him.

And that's just right off the top of my head. I think if you look at the earlier work, there is probably going to be more of that. (Or a long-ago vlog, decrying the lack of a term bigger than "thank you" -- that the phrase was trite and completely not up to the job of expressing what he wanted to express.)

So, to me, it is interesting, that this self-confessed word nerd (yeah, he did give up the title but in fact I think there is no giving it up) has a continual fascination with the inadequacy and damage potential of language. Just as he prefers not to use the word "love" at all in his lyrics. It always makes me smile that what I think is the actual climax of the song Fade Into Me, at 3:15 to 3:20, is wordless. The strings do the job.

Actually, he said it first. And meant it. That's what was so scary; it wasn't a game any more.

ETA: Sorry for making this more personal than I should have. Just wanted to say that it isn't always the guy who's reluctant to commit.

Opabinia, you said it better than I did.
I know a man, one of my husband's friends, who has a different girlfriend every year. Seems head over heels in love every time, but as soon as the woman gets serious, he's off. Quits his job and moves to a different city. And he is one of the nicest persons I know. Just can't take commitment.

A s I interpret it, 4LW (like TLG) is really from the male perspective (not intended to be sexist, but the singer is male) . In other words, not meant to be what "the girl" wants to hear, but how the guy feels inside at certain points of a relationship.

The relationship has been fun and uncommitted. But now it's getting serious, but either side may not want to utter or hear "the 4 letter word" that while not obscene, threatens the relationship. Because love means commitment. It means there are expectations now, and those expectations might cause the relationship to break up.

Also, in "Take me as I am" he asks to be accepted "with these words unspoken". I'm guessing that "these words" might be "Love" also.

A "4-letter word" can also be assumed to be forbidden, taboo. And this POV isn't necessarily
male. Without going into tedious autobiographical detail, I remember quite well (in the distant past) a college sophomore with minimal dating experience who was terrified to say it out loud for the exact reasons implicit in these lyrics. Yes, once spoken, there was resulting misery, crumbling, crashing and burning -- isn't there always? But we "got it right" eventually.

But you know, to me, this song is what someone would be thinking secretly to themselves, not yet having worked up the courage to examine the relationship and decide if the L word and what it implies are genuine and worth the risks.

yeah, 6ways, when you look at it i can see how you could read it as an updated version of "lie." That'd make it a later-stage sort of a song that might fit better chronologically (though one could argue that there were already a couple of clear 'goodbye' songs in front of it and another one after it). I don't think it's a perfect progression either way, if one wanted to be trying to make a strict story out of it. But since it's a record, not a musical, maybe it's not that necessary that it work so neatly.

I still think the "can't commit due to prior baggage" is an equally valid way to hear the song, esp if "love," itself, is the "4 letter word." But either way it begs the question -- what's a 4 letter word, anyway? It's something indecent, obscene, impolite, shocking? (Lol. Well, prob not that shocking, given the frequency -- and D certainly loves him some eff word. But fundamentally, a 4 letter word is obscene, profane, not fit for polite company. Dirty.)

Which is really kind of an interesting perspective -- the notion that love itself could be a dirty word. Not just sad, when it is broken, but obscene. I expect it's just wordplay, you know -- a twist taking into account the word lengths? But when you break it down... i dunno, I raise my eyebrows at that, wonder what prompted that train of thought, lol......

When you don't love someone anymore and you tell them, it hurts. That's what makes it a "4-letter word". Maybe he doesn't want to hurt her. Maybe they both feel the same way, and just don't want to end it because they still care, just not enough to stay together. Our maybe, she is the one who is ready to move on and he sees it. Saying it makes it all too real. 'Lie" redux or not. TLM is about loss. I don't see how this theory doesn't fit in with the other levels, as someone posted downthread. It is also about loss. All this is, of course, my own opinion.

There is also the theory that if you never say it in the first place, then it might be easier for both people to just walk away when the time comes. That theory, to me, doesn't really fit the theme of the album. Which I also think that someone posted downthread.

Anyway, maybe I am just not getting it, or maybe I just like my theory better. Eye-wink In any case, it's all good.

Minstrel, I have the same issue with that line in 4LW. I think I even mentioned it in this thread awhile back, because I wasn't understanding it. I initially interpreted it as "If we never say we'll never crash and burn," but as you said, once you read the next line, you realize that can't be right. I feel like giving my third graders that line as an example of how to read things in context. LOL

I'm not crazy about 4LW either, but rather because of the music than the lyrics, so I guess we're on opposite of the fence on this one, Minstrel Smiling

I understand what you're saying, but I don't have a problem with it. For me TLM is about showing different stages in the process, so I don't have a problem with a less "mature" viewpoint in particular songs.

For me, 4LW represents a particular emotional stage. At that point, the narrator thinks that placing too much pressure on the relationship is what kills it:
Looking back, now I see
Saying just how we feel causes such misery

In some ways, it's the counterpoint to We Believe. He's been burnt, burnt very badly. And at this stage, he just doesn't have the emotional courage or reserves to deal with 'believing', to openly and irrevocably commit to the relationship. Because if you name it, it's real, KWIM? And real is dangerous, as he has learned to his cost.

Of course, bargaining with the fates doesn't protect him either. But that's a story for another song or two or three.

If they didn't say the words(that they didn't love each other anymore) they didn't have to end the relationship.>/em>

Isn't that "Lie" Redux - on the relationship level? "...if we put too much light on it we'll see through all the cracks." - "....So Lie to me and tell me that it's gonna be alright." Better the devil you know?

Disclaimer - being aware these songs are written on more than one level - I am trying to only address the relationship level, but the interpretation also has to work comfortably with the other levels, to belong in the loose arc... IMO. The other disclaimer is that normally, I prefer instrumental music - so lyrics need to have depth and congruity to get my attention

But I didn't perceive that - it was much more "don't say the word aloud, you'll jinx it" - to me. It could have gone other ways...I don't feel as if it did. "You told me that you loved me but you lied, you &%#)! and turned love into a cuss word." had a lot more scope - but it would not fit at all with the undercurrent of the album - so IDK where else it had room to go with that 4Letter Word theme.

I get it - but I want to see a statute of limitations on that POV - (Or maybe, just a confident female co-writer?) It mitigates present pain, but cheats everyone involved, in the end. "It's easy when it's done being hard" was a truer read, IMO.

And that may be why LMFFY resonates more - this is the dude on the overpass in 2007, who is nervous of exposed heights, and poses for the pic anyway...the guy who says "bring it" - I'd like to see that reflected in a lyric or two on the next album.

JMO. Of Course.

"Minstrel"

I am sure that what I do not love is the sentiment, you know? If this guy were singing to me, I would say -- "dude, own it or not, but don't act like just saying the word is what's going to cause ruination." Better to just be honest and say, "I really like you but not enough to stick with you" ... or the time-honored "it's not you, it's me." Or even "I am feeling something powerful for you but it scares me to death, in light of my prior baggage ("looking back now I see"). so please be patient with me and do not lay the L word on me yet."

I kind of got a different feel from the song. Maybe I am reading it wrong. I thought he was saying that they were in love and now he wasn't sure if they felt that way anymore. If they didn't say the words(that they didn't love each other anymore) they didn't have to end the relationship.

Could be wrong. I don't know.

Actually, I'd be interested in talking about the lyrics to "4 Letter Word" with some specificity. Because it's definitely my least preferred of the songs on the record, though as music it is perfectly fine to my ear -- in fact it is quite catchy -- and D does his usual excellent vocal job of selling the material.

I am sure that what I do not love is the sentiment, you know? If this guy were singing to me, I would say -- "dude, own it or not, but don't act like just saying the word is what's going to cause ruination." Better to just be honest and say, "I really like you but not enough to stick with you" ... or the time-honored "it's not you, it's me." Or even "I am feeling something powerful for you but it scares me to death, in light of my prior baggage ("looking back now I see"). so please be patient with me and do not lay the L word on me yet."

I think the bridge is actually sort of intended to be a statement of something like the latter. It just doesn't quite go far enough in that direction to win me over.

Plus the stickler in me is always bugged a little bit by the missing "it" in the chorus ("you know if we never say [it], we'll never crash and burn"). If you don't have the words in front of you, it's a little unclear, the function of the comma after "say." Because you can hear it as "if we never say we'll never crash and burn" also, kwim? (Obviously the fact that the next line is "cause" makes that reading wrong, but the ear does kind of go there for a minute.)

Anyway. Clearly it's a mood for the POV character, and I am sure it is honest writing. I sure don't hate it, or skip it when playing the record. just personally prefer the "the hell with it, I am scared but I am jumping anyway" guts of LMFFY. IMO. YMMV.

Nina Skaaning:
Yes, out of 14 songs, there is only most of one that that I don't like...kinda breaks my heart cuz so many love it. I want to love it. As for 4LW, that grew on me, took about 2 weeks, and I LOVE it! Oh the drums, the bass guitar, I just love all of that! I am happy that TMO has grown on me, sure took long enough! Ya know, on DCTR, the only song I didn't care for was Mr S....it grew on me at shows, but was at the bottom of my list...

I don't want to have any at the bottom of my list!

What I find truly amazing is the lyrics to ALL the songs on TLM....I just love the lyrics!
I think my fav lyrics songs are HTB and 4LW and TMAIA and WB and LMFFY and TINTLT lol! Oh, and REM! Love that song!

Ilovedcyes......you posted in the right thread because you were making the statement that you liked the lyrics of those two songs and not the music.
I am the one Smiling that got us side tracked to the music..on Walmart soundcheck....it was just that I had wanted to bring this up to you on other times when you mentioned skipping those two songs. That's alright you are allowed, if they do not grab you Smiling At least you are only skipping one now and you like the lyrics of both. There are all the other great songs to enjoy Smiling P.S...just wanted to tell you I enjoyed your recap of your first meeting with David! That was awesome. Ok, I am getting out of the lyric thread for now since I got us completely sidetracked Smiling Have a great day !!

HI!!!

IloveDCYES: I think you are very "brave" to admit that you don´t like or care too much for the two songs on TLM. Especially in here. But thats what so great around here: you can be who you are and it is ok to say things like this out loud.
I remember when TLG came out and some fans did not like it, but they admitted it. I have a hard to time to like his Axium stuff (few songs) so therefore I concentrate on AH, DTCR, TLM and TQN. There is enough to like and the journey does not end here. I think the only song that just took me a bit to like from TLM was "4 letter word". Now I´m crazy about that song! Now I have a hard time understanding what it was about it that I did not like. I think there were just sooooo many great songs that I just kind of needed the time to discover 4LW!!!

LuvCook: Thank you for Walmart Soundcheck! I had not seen that lol! I like Circadian up to just before MAYDAY... after that I just don't care for the music....sadly...and TMO is ok now but I still don't care for the music, and it bothers me. Like I said, I love the lyrics to these songs, but not the music Sad I LOVE the first part of Circadian though...I must be the only one. I want so badly to like both these songs, enough to stop skipping them...I still skip Circadian at Mayday til the end, but at least I am listening to TMO.....Circadian starts out so wonderfully for me! I love it up to Mayday!
#whatswrongwithme?

Just realized I put this in the wrong thread...should be in Music......

Nina......Thanks and I am with you........... bring on the tubeys Smiling I too am in awe of David's voice, it is amazing! I personally would be happy no matter what he sings...even the ABC's.... and I would love it.....the lyrics are a wonderful bonus:) Have a great day!!

HI!!!

LuvCook: thank you vey much for your kind words......and you being one of us that have not seen David yet, I appreciate that you can put that aside and hope that I will get to see him someday. Thank you and likewiese!!! Right now I´m just looking forward to the new "Tubes".
Your post (sep 4, 14:58) was very good.

I think for me it is still to difficult to put into words everything about TLM. I still feel that everytime I listen to it, something new appears......the many layers, the lyrics is absolutely a food for a thougt, his VOICE still blows me away and one day one word touches me the next day it is another one. There is so much to internalize on this amazing album. I´m very impressed with what everyone have written about it and maybe someday soon (oh oh) I will be able to sum it up.
It is a SPECIAL album and I too hope (and believe) that a lot of people will get to know it, hopefully buy it and spread the word.......so others could get the pleasure of this art!!! Happy to have it and thanks David for the story behind.......he really SHARED with us!!!!
But for now I will enjoy this fantastic gift and get into the next layer.

What I do know and think is fantastic is that there is lyrics this time. Sometimes I think I get a (new) meaning by just looking at the words. He really is an amazing songwriter and I like the fact that we got them with his handwriting.
I like how certain songs in the beginning meant one thing to me and after a while I got a whole new meaning, because I looked into the lyrics.

By the way that Walmart Soundcheck was amazing and I have watced it ????? times!!!

Ilovedcyes....sorry no edit key, Walmart Soundcheck should be:
http://soundcheck.walmart.com/david-cook

Ilovedcyes..... I remember you mentioning those two songs before, glad you are starting to like the lyrics. This is not lyric related so much but, while you do not have to like every song on TLM, I have meant to ask you before this, if you ever listened to those two songs on Walmart Soundcheck. Circadian became one of my favorite songs when I listened to it on soundcheck...was not convinced at first....love the performance...kinda like a mini concert...but also love the music ... .David is marvelous...Kyle is on fire Smiling ...Neil, Monty, and Andy so good. Time Marches On....is also excellent. Just a thought Smiling

//http:soundcheck.walmart.com/david-cook

There are two songs on TLM that I don't love.....musicallly....but I DO love the lyriics. One of them I don't skip anymore, as of this week, the other one I still do skip. I want to like that song so bad,but only like the music in the first minute or so...then it is downhill. Yet I love the lyrics!

NIna........Minstrel.......Thank you for your kind words. It just happened to be one of those mornings when the world was all quiet/rainy and feelings came to the surface...when I read Cye's inspiring post.
TLM is far from being a downer for me .......we all can or will at some time... relate to the loss in our lives... aspect of this album, but David's music does inspire and yes that is what makes it special....and actually is very comforting. And yeah, I do not believe this is going to be the only kind of music David Cook will put out there and I think this album is just great, would not want to change a thing! But David is just beginning....like Randy said he's our rocker....and more songs like LMFFY may be next Smiling, or whatever, he wants to put out there, we will gladly listen. Right now, is the present and I am throughly enjoying this album. This, like many have said is the record, David needed to make....not only about his loss, but also like Opabina said, he had to process all the unexpected changes and challenges in his life that happened in a short amount of time. Like many have said before on DCO, this album has so many layers, possible meanings.... no matter if it is.... lyrics, voice, music, ect. that there is something in each song, line, word for someone. This is the what David wanted, I believe, to make us think about the lyrics/music and make up our own minds....example being GBTTG. We will probably still be breaking down these lyrics for years to come....and all of its many layers....hopefully future generations will be doing so Smiling Just hope more people will come to love these songs/ album...and it may take a little longer to reach a steady climb....but it will happen....it has staying power...written all over it. David just needs to start singing these songs....and as they say... Scott always quotes: No one Sells David Cook like David Cook. Getting so excited about the tour and hoping more ears will hear what we all, already know about David and his music Smiling After all we don't want to keep it all to ourselves Smiling

Nina.....you need to comment more on the lyrics thread....you did excellent, loved your post about TMAIA Smiling I have never commented on the lyrics, but I too enjoy what others have to say, not only on here, but all the threads. I have never seen David live... hope to some day when funds allow, but I truly hope you get to see him soon....you bring a lot of joy to DCO...with your excitement and it is contagious Smiling

Minstrel, I agree about We Believe not being mere whistling in the dark, and that thematically it's very close to TINTLT and LMFFY. It's clear that in We Believe the narrator is very aware of the reality of loss and the dark side of life. To me, it's a conscious decision, a brave leap of faith if you will, to cling on to the hope in the face of that knowledge. But within the story arc of the album, it fits for me at the beginning. Because even if you make that decision, your core belief system will be shaken to its very foundations when and if the loss actually materializes. The rest of TLM (main storyline) reflects that process for me. The alternative storyline symbolizes a return to We Believe, but now much deeper and poignant. Because even after the loss has become reality, after the narrator has experienced the despair and the hopelessness and the senselessness of it all, at the point when you would expect cynicism and bitterness, the narrator chooses to embrace the hope again. A much, much harder proposition IMO when the prospect of loss is no longer abstract, but an inescapable reality.

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