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 (1471)

Whew, Hbird, more work than it's worth to try to find AH discussions here. This thread's had a lot of pages. And I cannot swear that that particular song was discussed anyhow. Either way, for sure it is not a dead horse, so discuss away. And thanks for bringing lyrics. (I do hear "unseen" and "obscene," btw. I think he wouldn't repeat 'on the scene' so close together in any case...)

That said? I have no idea what this song is about. It's about establishing a mood and the chorus (what are you looking for etc) is genius, and the chorus tends to be what I remember. (I hear him singing that a lot when I think about insatiable fandom, in fact. LOL. But that is a PB discussion.)

A number of the songs on this record are more about mood than strict narrative, to my way of thinking. This one in particular always makes me think of "Plush" by the Stone Temple Pilots, which is similarly unclear and addictively hooky. Supposedly that song might be about a murder and search for a body. And maybe Makeover is about death, or leaving town, or a breakup, or ... Lord knows what. And why is it called... Makeover?

Don't know.

CYE, will be interested to hear your thoughts. I always hear a lot of existential questioning in TLM, but ... I bring a belief system to bear on that, kwim? I've had some trouble figuring out a respectful way to discuss it here because there's not a way I can keep some of these ideas out of the discussion and also be honest. Probably an inevitable issue when dealing with death, despair, eternity, hope, love.

*Waves to QTT*
Agreed with you that I don't try to assign a precise meaning to every word of every line - it's about the general feeling or idea it evokes for me.

But to me, It's 'red lights unseen', because that fits with 'And her fears, they bled before she's convinced that they're real", as well as 'Close your eyes, just pretend the bullet isn't there'*. The character is one of those people that (perhaps wilfilly?) go through life without real insight or reflection - she is unaware of the warning signs (that is why she is 'colour-blind'), she ignores her fears until she is actually wounded by the reality she is trying to deny.

*One of my favoritest lines ever, and the true source of my username.

BTW, I have a long post in my head on the 'existential crisis' storyline on TLM - will try and post tomorrow after I've had a little sleep.

If you listen to what David is actually singing, those oft-quoted lyrics might not be completely correct for the first two lines. I hear:

"Completely color-blind, these red lights are going on the scene.
Fall (far?) behind, with words unsaid, you know they're always on the scene."

I've made a personal choice to not dissect David's songs to the extent that I expect every single word to fit a specific meaning. I think sometimes a writer has to choose words for the rhythm of the music, for the overall way they sound together lyrically. So I tend to go with my overall sense of what the lyrics all together say a song is about. With Makeover, to me it seems to be about a suicide or suicide attempt.

"Completely color-blind, these red lights are going on the scene." I think of the red lights as representing an ambulance, they're always there for this situation, no matter who you are. That ending wailing note of his beautiful, plaintive guitar solo in the bridge also puts me in mind of a siren's wail. "Fall/far behind, with words unsaid, you know they're always on the scene." No need to be told, no need to say anything. It's happened before, the ambulance has been there in the past. Perhaps POV "falls behind" or stays "far behind" because he can't take this situation any more, doesn't want to hear it again.

David has used bleed/bled to represent feelings/emotions: Truth is a Gun: "I'm waiting to bleed so I know that I am alive.", especially emotional pain of being hurt: Feed Your Ego: "Why you don't bleed like I do."; Clean Break: "Bleeding, forming scars in vain"; Stitches: "Stitch me up, And bleed me out". So I believe "My ears they bled before, I need to let them heal", means, "I've been hurt so much in the past by what I've heard, I can't take more right now." (Perhaps calls about previous attempts, past sirens?)

With "Her fears, they bled before she's convinced that they're real." seems to me to be saying that what she feared might happen, actually was happening before she even realized it. (I don't know if that makes any sense to anyone else. It somewhat does to me. That she was not mentally stable, had founded and unfounded fears, not able to discern reality.)

"Broken Legs" and "In her mind, she's blinded by all she sees." Paralyzed by her fears; unable to cope.."Close your eyes, just pretend the bullet isn't there. No surprise, no need to pretend that no one really cares." If it's intended literally, the meaning of the first sentence is obvious. The latter sentence seems to be saying the fact is, no one does care (though the POV character does seem to, or at least did at one time). "Are you prepared for what you'll find?" Find where...on the other side? He won't be there, he won't be joining her? Baffles me.

David had said he enjoyed the fact that people drew different meanings from his songs, and that one of the songs on Analog Heart was actually based on a story he read in a newspaper article. I've often wondered if that song was Makeover.

One interesting note: David played all instrumental parts except drums on Makeover. I love his guitar work on this song, love that solo and his cool emphasis on bass.

Thanks for posting the lyrics! Alright, here we go. “I’m ready… For whatever that’s worth…” TM DC. I’m going to try to take this one line (or phrase) at a time, stick my neck out, and give my thoughts on them. Since it’s late, I’m only going to look at the first verse tonight.

”Completely colorblind, these red lights are going unseen”

The two phrases together are easy enough for me to understand. The colorblindness makes the red lights fade into a shade indistinguishable from all others, and therefore unnoticeable. My question is, what do the red lights represent? I immediately think of red as meaning “stop,” but I feel like that doesn’t go with the rest of the song… It seems like the girls is trying to get out of the situation that she’s in, so the only way I can see “stop” working is if she’s asking the whole world to stop, or the situation to stop. Curiously, I’m getting the mental image of the emergency flashers on a car going off. Maybe that’s what it means: Watch out, give me some space, back off.

”Fall behind with words unsaid you know they're always obscene
'cause my ears, they bled before; I need to let them heal”

The first part here makes me think of 4LW. Is it possible that the obscene words are words of love and affirmation? If that’s the case, I don’t think they’re obscene for the same reason that they are in 4LW. In that song, it’s because the POVC is worried that they’ll ruin the good thing they already have going. In Makeover, I think it’s because those words are blatant lies. I’m not sure about the “falling behind” bit. Falling behind where they want the relationship to be? Falling behind in emotional growth? I think the second part is a bit more straight-forward. Whatever the obscene words are, the speaker has heard them before, been abused before, and still needs time to recover.

”She fell out; her broken legs won't let her walk away
From this town that couldn't give a single s*** either way”

She fell out… I think of the infamous “fall from grace” here, but I’m not sure that’s what it actually means. Maybe she fell out of love? That makes some more sense to me. Whatever it was, it tore her spirit to shreds. It sounds like she lost her confidence to leave a bad situation, even though those involved could care less about her and what she does.

And her fears, they bled before she's convinced that they're real

She’s afraid of something… Maybe more abuse, maybe an inability to stand on her own two feet, or leaving behind all that she knows. She’s not sure if they’re worth worrying about, but she’s going to let them color her actions regardless. It makes me think of agoraphobia, where people are so afraid of what might happen that they won’t leave their homes. The fears hinder her from making any real stand in her life.

That’s all I’ve got for tonight. Aside from the late hour, I don’t want to continue until I’ve heard some other thoughts on this portion. If I’m way off base, it won’t do me much good to move forward!

I was admittedly a late comer to this thread. I started lurking about the time there was a debate going about Declaration - the great debate over I'm taken or I'll take you. I have definitely felt like David used both of those. We know he forgets lyrics and changes them up sometimes.

minstrel - If you don't mind kicking a dead horse, I could use some help. If you would rather not, then I guess Mayawolf and I could go on a search through all 1117 posts to see if we can find the discussion on our own. Eye-wink

Back to Makeover, I would love it if some of y'all could post your thoughts on this song. I know I love it very much, but I am really confused about the lyrics. Beginning with the red lights lyric in the beginning to bleeding ears and then broken legs keeping a girl stuck in a town where she may not be wanted. I could keep going but I think I'll just post the lyrics and see if anyone will please weigh in.

Makeover (courtesy of Lyricsmode.com)

Completely colorblind, these red lights are going unseen
Fall behind with words unsaid you know they're always obscene
'cause my ears, they bled before; I need to let them heal
She fell out; her broken legs won't let her walk away
From this town that couldn't give a single s*** either way
And her fears, they bled before; she's convinced that they're real

What are you looking for?
Are you looking for something more?
It's not me
It's not me

Lost her way from everything she swore she knew, a friend
Run away from start to finish though it never ends
In her mind she is blinded by all she sees
Close your eyes; just pretend the bullet isn't there
No surprise; no need to pretend that no one really cares
But in her eyes you will find the very best in me

What are you looking for?
Are you looking for something more?
It's not me
It's not me

When did it all unwind?
Are you prepared for what you'll find?
It's not me
It's not me

Now I love metaphorical lyrics,but this has been like an unsolvable riddle for me. HELP!!!

As someone who missed the AH discussions, which I'm sure happened at some point, I'd absolutely love to look at those lyrics again and see what people have to say. I love the songs, dearly, but I have no clue what half of them are about. Makeover seems like a great place to start. I'm going to take some time to really marinate on the lyrics, and hopefully read what some others have to say, and then maybe I'll have some ideas to share. Thanks for the suggestion, Hummingbird!

I think a lot of AH songs were discussed back in the day. But we can certainly do it again Smiling

I cannot believe how incredibly quiet it is in here right now. I thought I would take this opportunity, during the lull in conversation, and ask about Makeover. Did y'all ever discuss the meaning of the lyrics in here on this song? If so, can someone enlighten me on what the consensus was as to the meaning behind the song? These lyrics are really puzzling me.

My sister's cookification is very cute to observe. It's like watching myself 3 years ago - the unstoppable need to talk about him, insisting on playing his music whether bystanders want to hear it or not, quoting of lyrics at loved ones in an attempt to make them see the awesome ..... Next step, finding out about the pre-Idols music--> the person behind the music--> irretrievably over the edge like the rest of us. Smiling.

CYE ... first of all YAY to the Cookification of your sis! Smart girl just like you Smiling

Yes, what you described with the book is yet another example of how we don't let go for a time which is so natural and you brought up a very good point ... this was a very intelligent, rational person, but emotions are neither ... they're just what they are and oftentimes don't make 'immediate' sense until you think about what's inspiring those emotions. It's actually quite 'rational' to hold on to what you love, so we reach for that goal even when it's impossible or I should say, it's impossible to hold on to them in the physical sense. It takes time to work through it. We've all had some experience with this sort of thing which is one of the many reasons why this album is so relateable to people and he's put it together in such a creative way that it makes the effort all the grander, I think.

Yes, Lavinia, I think that's a fairly common reaction. My sis (whose been completely cookified by TLM) has been telling me about this book she was reading called (IIRC) The Year of Magical Thinking. The writer's husband died unexpectedly and in this book she describes how she reacted to it. Even though she is a highly educated, rational person, she spent a year trying to figure out how his death could have been prevented, and refused to pack away his clothes etc. And the reason for this was that she believed, knowing that it was impossible, but believing it anyway, that if she could pinpoint the crucial moment, she could go back in time and bring her husband back.

This is part of what I love about TLM. It's an honest look at loss and the reactions it evokes. It doesn't try to sugarcoat it in the cliches that people try to hang on to as comfort, and it doesn't portray grieving as a linear process with a defined and 'healed' end.

CYE - if the character does, indeed, want to stay in his unhealed state, that's actually pretty common as I've seen more than one person who has suffered tragedy do just that. There seems to be a correlation when in grief that that grief is an extension of the person that's been taken, so to let go of the grief would be letting of the one you love which, of course, you will never let that person go - not ever. But while grieving, there are so many totally emotional thoughts and reactions that it's hard to see through it and make sense of any of it.

As an example, one of our friends lost their son in an accident. His mother did not want to move past the grief out of fear that she'd lose him completely somehow and she became very concerned that people would forget him because he wasn't on the physical plain anymore. But death actually does the opposite and I know that first-hand as I lost my twin sister and I can tell you that in death she became even bigger than life than she was when she was with us. In death, we attain an exalted place with the living and that's incredibly powerful. For some, it takes longer to let go of the grief due to fear than others. Just my perspective on all of this.

I'm sure this is all old news to you guys, but this just struck me (yes, I'm slow):
But the oxygen is proving
More than words could ever say
To put these memories away
So this is it
These rapid eyes will keep on moving
These rapid eyes will keep on moving

So oxygen represents surfacing in the real world (counterpoint to sinking into the water on Circadian). And it's real life that buries the memories underneath all it's (niggling and big) demands, far more than any words of comfort can ever do. You know, the old adage about time healing wounds. But the POV character doesn't want that 'healing' (which IMO isn't really healing, just displacement). He wants to cling on to the memories, and the only way to do that is to escape back into dreamworld. It almost seems like he's making a conscious decision to remain in that unhealed state - "this is it: these rapid eyes will keep on moving". It's more than a desire to return to the dreamworld - there's an air of finality to the decision.

The rhythm of "Rapid Eye Movement":
The beat of REM really creeps me...to the marrow...really....I wonder why it keeps me from getting my ears an LSS of it.

Maybe i's because of the tenor-baritone/lyrics combination on it, especially to these words (the chorus, I mean):
I, I can't seem to find
A way back inside
Every last thought of love we made
That still keeps me awake
Still keeps me from everything we had
That I'm trying to get back

There's something cryptic on those word combinations, esp. to the "trying to get back" phrase. I think i's about Dave wanting to backtrack on something that he had lost (Adam Cook....hmmm?), and to something that he said while he composes this song with "he got the idea of waking up and doing things loudly (the recordings, events, and some experiences that he may be finding a bit 'neat and awkward' to him)".

cimorene: At first I was reluctant (and felt bad) to come in and dissect his words (almost seeming like his heart at times). I felt I was being somewhat invasive but the complexity and challenge of the words were too hard to step away from. At times like these, it is quite a good thing to be just a nameless face in the crowd when posting your thoughts and commenting on his words.

Interesting comments you have written and I'll be off to ponder those Eye-wink

JeannieL, that was a very interesting take on the song. I find it fascinating that we can all come up with so many interpretations of the words D writes, yk?

Personally, and especially now that we know D used the AC guitar for the final time before it was retired in the recording of the song, I see it as almost directly written as the final step of acceptance of his brother's death. "Six feet in on a one-way street" connotes burial to me -- the one-way is an indication of going somewhere and being unable to come back out. The imagery of "pearls in an endless sea" also recalls the symbols of pearls as tears -- and in this case, a sea of them. It's a song of accepting that one must move on in spite of the pain; a song of harsh realities; and in some ways, a song of goodbye (which makes it all the more interesting that TLG is the next song on the album -- because while the subject matter of TLG is almost one-dimensionally about a romantic relationship, there's a sort of underlying message that works in the context of the songs' arrangement and order on the album.)

On a completely different topic, lately I've been fangirling over the imagery, alliteration, and internal rhymes in GTTG. D doesn't write this way often -- the bridge in WOHWWS is the only other song that I can recall is written using similar poetic technique, in the bridge -- but holy crap does he do it well. Specifically:

GTTG -- the imagery is evident, as are the internal rhymes. The alliteration is in: paint another picture (p); black and blue (b); take another moment, one or two (t); when did all the gold around us (d; it works because although the d comes at the end of two of the words, these words are followed by other words that start with vowels); all the love (l); goodbye to the girl (g); breath til the lines blur (b); take another picture (c/k); vessel lost at sea (s).

It's one thing that he writes with such vivid imagery -- picture metaphors aside, the song really is as vivid as a painting; but to couple it with the structural poetic tricks he does is just mind-blowing, to me.

(The bridge in Honest is similarly done:
The ceiling paints a picture
And everything’s a welcome work of art
Amidst the chaos in the mirror
The lies in lipstick red

Alliteration in paints a picture (p); welcome work (w); amidst the chaos in the mirror (m); lies in lipstick (l) -- basically, in every line. And interestingly enough, the imagery also refers to a painting as well. I'd suggest that the metaphor is conducive to writing so vividly, except that I don't think people consciously write that way. Still, I think this bridge and the entirety of GTTG are possibly the best lyrics he's ever written. Ever.

TMO
I‘m very intrigued with the two phrases “you were six feet in” and “on a one way street” used in combination with each other. At first you would think of death in relation to the phrase “you were six feet in”. Thinking of it now coupled with “one way street” gives it two different takes for me.

The two phrases combined could mean that it was a person coming into a relationship with a preconceived yet staunch notion on not returning the love or feelings.“You were six feet in” might mean deeply committed with a feeling or it could mean that the feelings were deeply buried within someone. “On a one way street” might mean the opposite of love being a two way street. One very special person (pearl) did not share the same passion of the feeling that the other person (that pinned their heart on the pearl’s sleeve) felt. During the relationship (the person that put their heart on a sleeve) thought back then that it was all they needed at that time but might have come to realize differently now. Time will not wait for feelings or people to change and sadly marches on. As for the ending of the song, at that time it was the worst thing to happen but is what really needed to be done.

Another take on this could be him writing about what he felt to himself. He was deeply buried (six feet in) in a commitment with his dreams towards a career (one way street), found and gave into love but it was just not the right time. At the end of the song, questioning himself if he would have done it differently. Finally coming to a conclusion that at that time when he left to pursue his dreams ( “pack his bags and leave this town”) it was the last thing he needed at that moment (hurt and pain of ending it) but yet needing it to be done to get where he is today (“all I needed”).

A rueful story perhaps, reaffirming that time waits for no man (or his feelings)….

Black and blue is the metaphor of darkness and loneliness. Many songs have been devoted to the color blue to evoke sadness (Bluer than Blue, Song Sung Blue, etc). In using a palette of colors in a canvas, blue would be absorbed by the black pigment, creating an all encompassing black.

"Take another picture off the wall" - also reminds me of the act of leaving one's house when changing residences and go through the process of removing, then packing our precious belongings. So in that sense, the phrase also signal the inevitability of change and the need to move on.

ETA: Imogen, your RHWY reading is beautiful.

I know the common thought of "paint another picture black and blue" is that of bruises and hurt, but with the theme of sleep and the recent wildfires in AZ I can't help but think of night (black) and day (blue). Paint another picture night and day. Then the song goes on to contrast when gold turned to rust, love to dust, and take a look at where we use to be. He paints a day and night world.

Also together with, "take another picture off the wall" it makes me think of a picture I removed off our wall this past June. It was one of my favorite spots in the White Mountains. That spot is now ashes. The wildfires destroyed it. I was sent another picture of that same spot this past week. It is nothing more than a forest of black tree trunks against a bright blue sky. It has gone from a living forest to a dead, silent, black forest. For now the reminder of what was lost hurts a little too much, yes like a bruise, so the picture came down. When enough time passes I'm sure that picture will find a new spot. Bruises, night/day, life/death, black/blue.

I agree with minstrel's analysis of the first line of GTTG. Black and blue = bruises

Ah, ildcy, it's poetry so it means whatever you think it means... there is no way of knowing what it meant to the writers.

To me it invokes a bruise, which is a metaphor for hurt that D's used before, even in the title of an Axium song (Colors of a Bruise). the 'picture' shows up in both verses -- like something he was creating, but now it is 'black and blue' like a bruise, or falling into the ocean blue. It also makes me think of TLG, the broken piece of art put on display. It sounds like he's acknowledging that the attempt at this relationship was done with the desire to create something beautiful and lasting, like a piece of art, but it ended up badly and can't stay on the wall. (And if it's "another picture" that implies that it's not the first time the POV character has tried to make love work, with bad consequences -- or maybe, more cynically, that the world is full of sad, black/blue pictures and this is merely "another." But i'd lean toward the first interp. Either way there's resonance with the sentiment in 4Letter, where he says "looking back" shows that saying how you feel "causes such misery." Like there is prior experience with this.)

that's what it means to me. beyond that, it's anybody's guess.

imogen, appreciated your blog -- discussion of that song below also zeroed in on the possible A/D interpretation. like a lot of these songs, you do not have too look to hard to find some existential ideas bubbling below the framing boy/girl story. what D was saying is anybody's guess, again, but ... it's not exactly buried, the theme of eternity and fidelity. (and if you believe in a forever then that line is not denial but affirmation. i do, so it's affirming to me. what D himself believes about it all is for D alone to know. he just raises the questions and lets you ponder. TINTLT is dealing with these issues as well, IMO. Is cool.)

ladyP, re it not being angry -- you're right. it's not. maybe he just was not in that place, or at least this particular set of songs was not expressing how it is when you're in that place -- we don't know what else is in the pile.

Sorry for jumping in, but I was just listening to GTTG in my car, melting, not only from David's voice, but the heat. Anyway, what does the first line mean? Paint another picture black and blue? I have not been on this thread for a while.... ???

imogen, this is wonderful! i left you a comment on your blog. glad to hear from you, you've been missed here.

Finally sat down and wrote some thoughts on RHWY. I had meant to post this on my personal blog (outside DCO) but thought the better of it, I think fans will be better able to appreciate it.

Thoughts on RHWY: http://bit.ly/qZQVwy

Some pondering...

When Dave says the songs are the "right" songs" rather than the "best songs" out of the 86 choices, then he clearly has a master narrative or theme in mind, at least for him, and hoping listeners can access them through their particular experiences.
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A thought on juxtapositions - clearly in these songs we have the spectrum of hope and despair (RHWY, WB, TINTLT > TMO, GTTG, PH) and presence and absence (RHWY, TLG, GTTG, FIM, FLW). I was trying to think why there is no "anger" in the songs chosen (PH's damn me is just mild anger for me), but then I thought, there is actually no songs that celebrated 'love' either. FIM, for me is not really about love per se, but escape into someone else's world. 4LW is the treatise on love, yet it gives us a dark take on the subject.

I don't really have a point - LOL! just pondering TLM....

JeannieL: Not only is it a great song for a recent ending relationship but how about one that you ended many years ago?

i like that. there's nothing in TLG that says it's a recent split, and with him figuring that by now there's someone else in her life, it makes sense that there's a bit of distance. i've always seen this song as one grasping for closure. any relationship can linger with you after it's over, and to really be the last goodbye, there would have to be previous ones, be they mental or emotional or physical.

I have to put a brighter spin in here since my last post Smiling ...

Thinking of TLG....

Not only is it a great song for a recent ending relationship but how about one that you ended many years ago?

Almost every line is so perfectly fitting to how I felt then. You have no idea how bad I felt that I was the one that broke it off. It still bothers me today. I almost think I could deal with it better if it were the other way around.

I'm listening to the part where he sounds like he is actually talking on the radio and says "If you hear this on the radio". In my case it would have to be "If you see this on the TV" because my real first boyfriend went on to become an actor/producer. I don't really watch TV but about a year ago I happen to have had it on extremely late one night. I was sprawled out on the couch and who do I see on my giant screen...it was my old boyfriend on a commercial. Talk about falling off a chair (in my case the couch). Seriously, I rolled right off that couch scrambling (and tripping over my feet) to get closer to the TV.

I guess now when I hear that part that I noted above...I have some closure...
After seeing the commercial...it was The Last Goodbye for me LOL

I Love this.... minstrel: If you hit a wall that you can't climb, a bunch of us are still going to be here to give you a boost. If you stumble at the finish line, heck, we'll go back to the start and just race with you again. And we'll all sing along. 'Cos... we believe. You know?

^^^AMEN....Thanks David for sharing your heart and soul and emotions with us. We will always be there for you.

Minstrel: I'll have to share a ride with you on the heart thoughts/reflections. I see many topics on the forum about all the different body parts of the guy ( which is cute/amusing), but to me the most appealing and attractive parts of him lie within his heart and mind. Physical attributes sometimes are like a gaily wrapped present, it will certainly attract the eye but it doesn't always unfold to display the gifts we treasure most. Therefore, I guess it is without any doubt, that he truly exemplifies a fine example of "the whole package".

"If you hit a wall that you can't climb, a bunch of us are still going to be here to give you a boost. If you stumble at the finish line, heck, we'll go back to the start and just race with you again. And we'll all sing along. 'Cos... we believe. You know?" -- Minstrel

That was beautiful and made me tear up. ... Count me in.

kitunen, let me add my thanks for your writings about the record. Such good work. brava. thank you for sharing it with all. And thanks to all who post in this thread. I hope D reads it. I think he probably does read it sometimes. (I would not be able to resist substantive discussion about my work, if I were him. Then again, I'm ... not him.)

Re the heart/sleeve business -- that's one of his primary metaphors for who he is, obviously, as a human being. Pretty accurate from what I have seen, at least of the public persona.

The discussion made me think of the analysis of 'paper heart' here a while back, because that is sort of the 'anti heart on my sleeve' song. Where the singer is so tired of feeling everything and wants to punch a hole in it. What use is it, kwim? (A lot of use, actually. But sometimes not fun.)

It does get tiring, sometimes, to feel deeply. This record is tiring to listen to, sometimes, because it makes me go places that are painful and consider things that are sad. I remember that he said he wanted DCTR to be an exhausting experience for the listener, or something to that effect. That one (other than Permanent) was not exactly that, overall, for me. But this one? Yeah, most definitely it is. Exhausting, cathartic. I hope when he sings these songs going forward, many times, he will also find it to be cathartic.

Because even when the light runs from the day, and it looks like the darkness might be too much? We Believe. Still. Even after everything we've been through. On the first listen to the full-album stream, that is the song that made me gasp. That is the song that made me cry. That is the choice of hope over despair. It's a choice, and it's not wimpy, either. He says it five times, there, at the end. Which, really, is a pretty ballsy songwriting move. It's overkill, you know? The 3x repeat is much more standard in a situation like that.

But with heart-on-sleeve Cook, what you get is... this crazy tenacious affirmation, despite all the underlying grief and anger and confusion and pain. To me this song is a progressed and more direct version of Daily Anthem, where the repeated 'oh oh ohs' also dealt (to me) with the choice of hope vs. despair, and with the power of community. (Let's all sing along, at the top of our lungs, even when it is ... a long way down between the summer and the fall.)

And I would say (were he reading this, heh) -- yo, Cook. If you hit a wall that you can't climb, a bunch of us are still going to be here to give you a boost. If you stumble at the finish line, heck, we'll go back to the start and just race with you again. And we'll all sing along. 'Cos... we believe. You know?

Smiling

Jeannie - Those were not erratic ramblings. Beautifully sincere and open, like David's heart on his sleeve. So sorry about your sister. But your relating GTTG to that gives me yet another perspective with which to listen to it. It always grabs me and tosses me around like a vessel lost at sea...

I love all the labors of love of interpretation you all have done. You have saved me a lot of work!

My approach right now seems to be more visceral and more of getting the gestalt of the word pictures and emotions. As I listen, depending upon where David takes me on any given day, I am hearing different stories, different feelings, a multitude of perspectives. Sometimes they are love songs. Sometimes they are meditations on the Universe, The Infinite, the spiritual, the deepest recesses of our souls and hearts. Sometimes they contain multiple voices singing to each other. Sometimes they are solos. Sometimes they are Impressionistic paintings; sometimes they are Abstracts.

This album is so full of wonder. I am so grateful that David was willing to spill his guts for us all.

Kitunen, thank you for your thoughts. I had forgotten about Still. I totally agree with what you said. I love the emotional honesty in his lyrics and how he conducts himself publicly. He is a rare find, IMO. I enjoyed reading your blog, and I apologize for not commenting sooner, but I read it after my post. I was happy to see that I was not the only one who thought TMO was primarily about Adam's passing. I am going back to lurking, but I look forward to reading more of your posts!

Capefan and luvcook...thanks y'all! I'm glad you liked my interpretations, it felt good to just sit there and write at length about something that I care about. Smiling

tg, if you're looking for more songs to add to that list, he also uses the phrase in "Still", the bonus track from Axium's Blindsided. That tells me that the concept of wearing one's heart on their sleeve is something that he has perceived and included as part of his self-image (rightfully so) for quite some time. One of his priorities (and prides) seems to be staying emotionally honest, in his music and otherwise...so I'm not surprised that the phrase has become a bit of a motif throughout his repertoire. I like interconnecting threads between different works, and the thread is strengthened by the fact that he seems to really uphold and value that characteristic of "wearing one's heart on their sleeve" within himself.

Hi. I rarely post and have never done so on this thread, but I do enjoy reading others' viewpoints and was wondering if anyone has thought about and would care to comment on David's frequent use of the phrase "heart on my sleeve" or a variation of it? I apologize if this has been discussed before and I missed it. I have noticed this for sometime and have tried to link the songs that contain the phrase together and now it has shown up on TLM (TMO). The phrase is also in Declaration, Optimistic to a Fault, and Therapy for Me.

Though I hesitate to speculate, I feel that this is who he is and he expresses this in a song for his fans (Declaration) and a song for his brother (TMO). David has said in interviews that his brother is in many songs on TLM and not just one, but I feel that TMO is mostly about the loss of his brother or dealing with it and I felt that the fact that he played his AC Les Paul on that track for the last time is significant.

Therapy for Me is one of my all time favorites and it is so beautiful, emotional, and perhaps personal (?). Optimistic to a Fault recounts a relationship and dealing with loss again. Any thoughts? Thank you for allowing me to share.

Kitunen....Young lady, IMO you so get this album!

So many of your thoughts are the same as my thinking and feelings that go thru my mind each time I take a listen to these wonderful songs on this album. However, you are so intelligent and articulate about this album and also knowledgeable about music theory and express far beyond what I am ever capable of expressing verbally....even though I know exactly what I am feeling about David's songs and what emotions they bring out in me. I believe I will print out your review ( with your permission of course lol....and refer to it each time I want to really dig deeper into this album). So glad this review was brought over here to The Lyrics thread....it really belongs. I love reading on this thread, also in The Voice thread, it was magicalbeck's amazing review on Amazon that moved me to first post, along with so many others here on DCO. Lets keep this review visible so it never gets buried....but I am sure once others get a chance at reading Kitunen's review it will be a must read.....just like magicalbeck's brillant review. Just want to say thanks.
Hope David gets a chance to read your review.

Kitunen, thanks for pointing us to your blog.Your intelligence and sincerity shine through and make it a great read! It impresses me even more because you're still so young. Hope to read some more from you in the future...

chavirni_ochi: First of all huge hugs to you and am so sorry for your loss. I'm sad that you had to feel that despair of saying goodbye to your sister. I wish I was made differently inside so that I didn't care so much for other's pain but it always touches me deeply to hear of these things.

It sometimes seems like he has a special key to what's in our hearts when he writes those beautiful lyrics. I know at times I have locked the door to certain rooms in my heart, not wanting to view what is stored away in there, but sometimes it is good to have a friend come take a look and help you sort through your stuff....

I think we might hear "Sunlight" performed live. No need to worry about good production during live shows. Smiling

JeanneL: I get the same feeling from GBTTG -- Black and blue - bruises; dust - death. That's why I consider it the "Permanent" on this cd. There was no place for me to hide from the pain/grief when saying goodbye when my sister passed... And I interpret the final 'goodbye to the world' as HER saying goodbye.

Goodbye To The Girl

Erratic ramblings ahead....

I think this song is about his loss and the word "girl" was scribed to let the listener liken it to a romantic story. I take it that as he sits by the ocean recalling memories and mental pictures (the wall being his memories/pictures in his mind) of times with his brother. "Paint it black and blue" means that these wonderful mental images/memories he had now have the mark of the reality that it is in the past and could never be recreated. This is very painful like a bad bruise. Those memories were such treasured times and then fate stepped in to tarnish all they had with those golden moments. The dust simply means death. He realizes that he cannot be saved from the memories/thoughts with nightfall indefinitely although sleep sometimes can toss a life jacket saving us from having to deal with painful thoughts. Eventually in the morning the feelings will be there once again. Holding your breath til the lines blur could be a way to steady yourself with a huge intake of breath, thwarting what might be a torrent of grief surging forth to flood over you. He then ponders on all they had together in life and he is just so terribly lost without him.

This whole album has hit me like a ton of bricks as I can interpret it all to relate to what I have been feeling the last few years. I'm sure you all connect the songs to whatever is and has happened in your lives just the same. Sadly for me Goodbye To The Girl is everything I interpretted from his words but the "Girl" happens to be the energetic, unstoppable , full of life girl that my sister once was that is now confined in a half working shell caused by the God awful effects of what a brain injury did to her. I also just cannot get over this and still don't know what to do........

imogen: With regard to what might be "Sunlight"...I hear "I couldn't hold it together / and today turned into night"...I'd really like to hear the full song, I like his tone on the first line we heard specifically...but if they couldn't find a satisfying produced version, who knows if we ever will. :/

Over the past few days I finally compiled my thoughts about TLM and wrote a bit...well, more than a bit, heh...about my interpretations, among other things. cye suggested that I bring it to this thread, since a lot of it is pertinent to lyrics discussion. It's in a blog here...if anyone decides to read it and has any followup thoughts, I'd love to discuss...

To my shame, I hadn't listened to all the Track-By-Track vids posted here on DCO. But the facts that it's on the DVD made transcribing it kind of irresistible to me. Here you go - http://www.scribd.com/doc/59750756

Discuss at will.

Enjoying myself reading through here (I love lyrics!) Saw the RHWY at the start of the Making Of video being discussed so I thought I'd make this mp3 clip, I amplified it so you can hear it better - http://bit.ly/q4zgjS?

What I'm hearing is -

I can see there's something wrong
You could be a love that's strong

There's also this snippet of a song that we haven't heard before (it's at 17:30 of the Making Of video), I'm thinking it might be Sunlight - http://bit.ly/oPc3JK

...? it and hold it together
in the daytime and tonight

@COOKistas "David Cook - This Loud Morning" Complete Lyrics. Thanks to @Dammit_David http://t.co/ZmUKIoV
@COOKistas
LYRICS: This Is Not The Last Time - David Cook/David Hodges http://on.fb.me/pb6WWz
@COOKistas
LYRICS: Let Me Fall For You - David Cook/Rune Westburg http://on.fb.me/qB48tj

YaminaC - Right Here With You could be viewed as almost chivalrous -like a 21st century Sir Lancelot/Guinevere story. There's intense bravery, yet that opening verse alludes to distance IMO.

Or maybe GWTW. In another thread, I read someone mentioned TLM would be good for a Broadway similar to “Gone With the Wind” and I was about to respond that I totally agree with her but RL took over and I forgot where I read it when I got back.

In a way the dream to be similar to GWTW would make sense and could explain why the guy decided to leave the girl despite professing an everlasting love during RHWY. They were having problems because guy thought that girl was still pinning for someone else. There were misunderstandings, bad timing and a tragedy. With GWTW the song sequences could be different.

“We Believe” – the show (dream) could start maybe after the war and during reconstruction time but life was still hard so an inspirational song may be suited for this. Everybody could be singing.

“Let Me Fall For You” – Scarlett visited Rhett to asked for help to pay for taxes. Unfortunately unable to help because his funds were frozen. When she left, he thought of the time he fell in love with her at a ball and tried to kiss her but she rejected him.
-----------------------
“Right Here with You” - the marriage proposal song -I think the opening verse could very well describe Scarlett O’Hara or similar character and the POV guy could be Rhett Butler

”Everyone was watching you as everything just slipped away” - she had many misfortunes like losing 2 husbands and also there were scandals, like stealing and marrying her sister’s bf when she learned he became rich… to survive because she became poor and had money responsibilities. Many people resented her and did not like her.

”And all they ever wanted was the light you gave them” - Then when everything went bad because of the war, everybody seemed to be depending on her.

”You’ve always been the sweetest song” - In the beginning of the movie she’s shown as the belle of the town, beautiful, carefree, fun and everybody loved her.

”And even when the world went wrong” - During the war everything went bad

”You never let the sun go down and fall into pieces” She was always strong, did not give up and took care of any problem, like taking care of her family and Melanie, the wife of the man she thought she loved.

I could never walk away with you here - The guy was away during the war to fight and so was not able to help her and defend her when everybody were against her.

The chorus - noble words and promises that he would always protect and defend her.

Second verse – so after her second husband was killed because she was somewhat responsible, she was again being disgraced and hated by everyone. So the guy offered to marry her so everything would go away, restore her reputation and would be right again.

Third verse – promises that his love will never change and will never leave her.
---------------------------
"Fade In to Me" – they got married

“Hard to Believe” – could be a duet between Rhett and Scarlett – right before he left her for the first time to go to London with their daughter

"Paper Hearts" – maybe this is Scarlett’s song because it was Rhett who left? And I think she started to realized she loved him and got hurt

"The Last Goodbye" – self explanatory

They have to go back because daughter was asking for mom.

"Goodbye to the Girl" – a goodbye to his daughter who just died and goodbye to the world because he decided to leave the life with Scarlett

"Take me as I Am" – Scarlett’s song – she realized Rhett was leaving and asked him to give her another chance and take her with him

"Time Marches On" – too late for her cause he already decided to leave her

"This is not the Last Time" – Scarlett’s song for hope and thinking of some way to get him back
----------------------------

Sorry, I think I'm kind of obsessed with a back story of TLM, lol. Hopefully this will be the last time I'll be posting about my crazy imaginations. But anyone is welcome who have different ideas in mind.

Yes, so many ways to look through David's kaleidoscope.

Here's a word choice in RHWY that struck me as interesting yesterday: The phrase " I'm on your side." The meaning would change significantly if he had written " I'm by your side."

To be "on" somebody's side is to be there to help them defend themselves against naysayers, to take their part.

To be "by" someone's side is more the romantic love notion of steadfast companionship. It is to be "right here with you." ( the song is playing as I write, ain't that strange, lol?)

But, perhaps it was considered redundant to sing "I'm right here with you; I'm by your side." The response to that might be, "well, duh, obviously, if you're right here with me you're by my side."

Still, to be "on" someone's side is to be ready to do battle for them.

Just another interesting lyrical-choice tidbit.

Right Here With You could be viewed as almost chivalrous -like a 21st century Sir Lancelot/Guinevere story. There's intense bravery, yet that opening verse alludes to distance IMO.

Min, I watched the Making Of vid for the first time last night, and those lyrics jumped out at me immediately. I watched the first 30 seconds about four times before I convinced myself that it was, in fact, RHWY. Given how many lyrics rewrites that song went through, I assumed those were jettisoned lyrics. And, if I'm honest, I concur with that decision.

nice post, abeth -- it is cool how everyone has a different 'movie' playing for this song.

And 5 minutes ago I discovered something weird, only because i had the itunes version playing and it flows right into the video after the two bonus tracks. i stop it manually there, usually, but this time I did not and lo and behold, there's a snippet of RHWY at the very beginning of the 'making of' vid.

Only, it is lyrics to a verse that must've been jettisoned or rewritten later, because the verse he is singing is not on the record.

The words seem to be: "i can see there's something wrong, you could be a love that's strong.'

or maybe "you give me a love that's strong." it's not perfectly clear. (actually it sounds like "you could me a love that's strong," which is obviously not only not strong but completely wrong. ha.)

just thought i'd throw it out here.

United States

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