The 2017 Grammy Awards – the glitzy extravaganza honoring the best and brightest in the music industry—are Sunday night on CBS. Music is an emotional thing, and it can reach you in different ways. Sometimes it’s the music of the song, and sometimes the lyrics themselves speak to you. They might remind you of something happening in the here and now, and other times the words might flash you back to your past.
Song lyrics are also often interpreted as poetry. The late Jim Morrison of The Doors was known for his brooding, introspective poetry. Another classic rocker of some ability is Bob Dylan, who scored a Nobel Prize for his “poetic expressions.”
But on a more contemporary note, is rap music considered poetry? The definition answers the question: poetry is “the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts.” Sounds like a good Kendrick Lamar single to us. Then again, maybe rap is more verse than poetry. Verse is usually considered a broader category than poetry, or it could be that the real difference is between substance (poetry) and form (verse).
Let’s take a brief look at some of the lyrics for the Song of the Year nominees—is everyone in formation? Bonus Factoid: Song of the Year goes to the writer/composer of the song, while Record of the Year goes to the actual recording artist and producer for the song.
The lyrics of the Beyoncé-recorded song are a pointed social commentary, and deal with a variety of topics including female empowerment. According to a Marie Claire story, two of the four co-writers of the song, Khalif Brown a.k.a. Swae Lee and Mike Williams a.k.a Mike Will, came up with the lyric’s hook at the 2014 Coachella festival. “‘So we’re in the middle of the desert,'” said Will. “‘And we’re just coming up – we just freestyle, you know? And Swae Lee said, ‘Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation.'” That’s where the proverbial light bulb flipped on. The two created a basic track and sent it to Beyoncé’s camp (all big time singers have “camps”—Frank Sinatra had a camp) which eventually resulted in the song’s very popular video. Note: the lyrics are explicit.
Adele told The Today Show’s Matt Lauer that her song was about “reconnecting.” She experienced a severe case of writer’s block when it came to creating the super selling “25” album, as you’ll see in the clip below. She co-wrote the song with Greg Kurstin. In the excerpt of the song lyrics, you can see that the writer is trying to reach someone that she’s been separated from. A story on Mic.com says the person Adele is trying to reconnect with is … Adele.
Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal ya
But I ain’t done much healing
Hello, can you hear me?
I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free
I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet
I Took A Pill In Ibiza
Artist Mike Posner wrote and recorded this song, which is clearly about a singer who has made it in the business but doesn’t much care for what it’s done to him. Such are the pitfalls of fame, no? Do I buy two new BMWs or three? If you’re not familiar with the song title, Ibiza is an island off the Spanish coast in the Mediterranean. The songwriter himself comments on the lyrics and their irony. And in case you were wondering, “Avicii” is the stage name for a Swedish musician named Tim Bergling,
But you don’t wanna be high like me
Never really knowing why like me
You don’t ever wanna step off that roller coaster
And be all alone
You don’t wanna ride the bus like this
Never knowing who to trust like this
You don’t wanna be stuck up on that stage singing
Stuck up on that stage singing
All I know, are sad songs, sad songs
Darling, all I know, are sad songs, sad songs
Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin and Ed Sheeran co-wrote this song with Bieber recording it. This one is clearly a song about the end of a relationship. A straight ahead song with no deep lyrical context here. He’s moved on, but she’s still using his rep to get in clubs. That’s showbiz for you.
For all the times that you rain on my parade
And all the clubs you get in using my name
You think you broke my heart, oh, girl for goodness’ sake
You think I’m crying on my own. Well, I ain’t
And I didn’t wanna write a song
‘Cause I didn’t want anyone thinking I still care. I don’t,
But you still hit my phone up
And, baby, I be movin’ on
And I think you should be somethin’ I don’t wanna hold back,
Maybe you should know that
My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone
And I never like to admit that I was wrong
And I’ve been so caught up in my job,
Didn’t see what’s going on
But now I know,
I’m better sleeping on my own
Written by Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard and Morten Ristorp, and recorded by the band Lukas Graham. The hit song by this Danish group reads like the life experiences of someone growing up. Forchhammer himself said in a Radio.com interview it’s about “becoming a good father.”
Once I was seven years old my momma told me
Go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely
Once I was seven years old
It was a big big world, but we thought we were bigger
Pushing each other to the limits, we were learning quicker
By eleven smoking herb and drinking burning liquor
Never rich so we were out to make that steady figure
Once I was eleven years old my daddy told me
Go get yourself a wife or you’ll be lonely
Once I was eleven years old
That’s it for the Song of the Year nominees- here’s a Spotify playlist to enjoy until showtime!