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Song Club: Song For November

Discussion in 'Words and Music' started by HarperPR, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. HarperPR

    HarperPR My destiny offers me up like a lamb

    Nick Harper


    Before They Put Me In The Ground (Harperspace)

    Before they put me in the ground
    I’d like to make a sound for someone
    I’ve got something to say
    In the middle of last night
    I turned on the light and stared into space
    And her song began singing me
    Her music was playing me
    And I heard myself say
    I hope she’s okay

    I remembered my life living me
    And my smile even smiling me
    Far and away
    When the distance between us pulled itself tight
    Wrapping us round our butterflies
    In a beautiful way
    And then more than a memory
    Her name came out of me
    And I heard myself say
    I hope she’s ok

    An aura around us fused us into one
    Lifting us high flying us on
    But in one mad rush of blood
    I seized the future and I shook it
    I remember the day

    And her groove has spun my spiral since then
    Out of her into her again every day
    And my destiny offers me up like a lamb
    My will surrenders it’s a sham
    I’m given away my love

    Now they can out me in the ground
    I’ve made a sound for you in my own little way
    My love
    I hope you’ll be ok
    I know you’ll be ok

    This is a song that means a lot to me. It touches on several levels, both lyrically and musically. I can’t remember where or when I first heard it, just that it is one of my top five of Nick’s songs. In other threads on here when board members have been naming personal favourites, BTPMITG has been included by more than one person, yet sadly it is a song little heard live (I’ve only done so three times in the last three years).

    We are softly lead into the song with deep, resonant guitar chords, for 40 seconds before the lyrical refrain comes in of the narrator wanting ‘to make a sound for someone’, after the person has come into his mind the night before. Haven’t we all been here? In the quiet of the night, betwixt wakefulness and sleep when thoughts are still lucid, but drifting, someone we once knew – an old acquaintance, a past love – crosses our thoughts; for awhile we ponder on where they might be now, what they’re doing and hope they’re okay…

    The deceptively simple and plaintive recall of past remembrance, of how the narrator once was (‘I remembered my life living me and my smile even smiling me’) and how a relationship was both born and two people brought together (‘an aura around us fused us into one’), before the narrator breaks the connection (‘but in one mad rush of blood I seized the future and I shook it’). But there is still the memory of that time in his mind (‘her groove has spun my spiral since then’). The final lines have him saying well, now I’ve said this, about what was; I’ve put it down in words.

    The song builds up in tempo as it proceeds, with vocal range and raw, yet gentle, emotion as he sings, ‘and then more than a memory her name came out of me’, so that the listener becomes a willing aural voyeur of this personal statement of the narrator; flowing into, midway, a flamenco-ish interlude and the peak with the third chorus, before after five minutes, all has been said and, ‘now they can put me in the ground’.

    Is this song a reflection? A lament for what was/might have been? What is ‘a sham’? Is it merely the narrator having something to say to himself, directed inwardly more than as a verse to someone else? Only the lyricist has the answers.

    N.B. Members please refer to the STORMCOCK SONG CLUB thread if you missed it for details of how to post your own song.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  2. Travellerman

    Travellerman Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    Yep, I think you've said it all :D

    Lovely song, lovely sentiment, a favourite of mine too.

    I'm going to have another listen....
     
  3. Bob Jacobs

    Bob Jacobs Ride away in style

    Yes. It's a beautiful song. Harperspace is the first Nick album I bought and still one of my favourites. I can't hear this song in my mind, so I must go back and listen. What strikes me about the lyrics is the extraordinary, clever and moving device of expressing normally active passions as passive ones: "her song began singing me", "my life living me", "my smile smiling me", "her groove has spun my spiral". Nick has always been clever with his words, especially in ways to shed new light on hard-to-grasp emotions. His music augments this with passion.

    Bob
     
  4. pete c

    pete c I've got a zappy little nappy

    Excellent choice young lady.

    This was the song that leapt out from the "Harperspace" album, immediately declaring itself to be a classic. It just has that indefinable "class", a perfect meld of lyric with delivery, an atmosphere. Other songs that have it are "Three Magpies", "Imaginary Friend" and "The Verse Time Forgot", the absolute pinnacle of a pile of good stuff. Well done Nick.
     
  5. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    I was of afraid of this

    After my last comment re SOTM club, I realized you'd probably "PICK NICK" first. I haven't bought his music yet (it was a conscious decision to complete my ROY first) and have only heard through the podcast.

    Where's the best/only place for a YANK to buy this CD? I like to absorb songs before I give my commentary (or I'll sound ignorant, too late).

    I'll examine the lyrics in the meantime.

    Good job selling one of Nick's CDs, Linn.
     
  6. scotpaulabear

    scotpaulabear Halfway up my own guitar, propping up another bar

    NC, especially as the exchange rate is more in your favour now :wink: I'd point you straight to harperspace.com to buy the CDs - eliminates the middleman :biggrin:
     
  7. aspwatterson

    aspwatterson The Unknown Soldier

    Now I know..

    Now I know you are that sensitve-to-music-writer who deserves her credentials. Well done for recognising the road of life and all it's distracting distractions....

    chrs
    andi [post counting!]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2008
  8. Bob Jacobs

    Bob Jacobs Ride away in style

    Did you really need to quote the whole thing?

    (pd edit - I snipped it out :) )
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2008
  9. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    I knew it was something obvious...

    Thanks for saving me a search (I'm so lazy). Heading there now...

    Exchange rate? Have you been reading the "DEBATE" between Andy R. And me on my Blog post TEOTWAWKI?
     
  10. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    Can't connect to the shop

    I got the site, but whenever I click on the shop I get:
    "Can't write template cache in the directory: /home/.sites/28/site136/web/xcart/templates_c.
    Please check if it exists, and have writable permissions."

    This is a new one to me. Can SPBear or Linn let them know?
    I try again in a day or two...

    Thanks.
     
  11. HarperPR

    HarperPR My destiny offers me up like a lamb

    There's a temporary problem with it. It is being worked on. Please try again later. Your custom is important to us!:)
     
  12. HarperPR

    HarperPR My destiny offers me up like a lamb

    The Shop is once again open for business. Thank you for your patience. Please call again soon.:)
     
  13. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    It Worked!

    I was so upset I bought THREE Nick CDs (instead of just the one). Harperspace, Double Life, and Blood Songs so I might get up to speed with all you experts.

    Thanks for following up. Good sale.
     
  14. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    Btpmitg

    On first two readings, it is a POEM about love and how it affects us with a life of its own. We give in to love and we are rewarded. Even the memories of a lost/former love are part of the reward.

    Love the imagery of the second verse right away.

    Curious how the emotion of the music modifies and/or reinforces my first impressions.

    Still waiting for my latest order of Roy to arrive (taking longer this time, but the USPS recently announced they're starting layoffs too.)

    Hopefully I'll have new Nick by end of next week.
     
  15. NoCelebrity

    NoCelebrity Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    My Final Word?

    Well, I’ve now owned three Nick Harper albums for over 24 hours. I’ve listened to most of BLOOD SONGS and DOUBLE LIFE once, HARPERSPACE twice, and BTPMITG five or six times. I’ve read along with some additional song lyrics. His “phrasing” (timing of the lyrics) is exceptional, a talent he shares with Roy.

    I’d first like to say I’m impressed with Nick’s talent, voice (higher than I remembered from the podcast), energy and composition. There is good variety. There is also the pleasure of hearing the similarities and differences with his dear old Dad.

    Now let me add to my friends, (in a sarcastic tone), “Thanks a lot. I’m still getting caught up on Roy, and now all this additional homework!!!”

    BTPMITG on reading the lyrics appears to be a loving romantic song. It is. I listened to the entire album in order. I hear “The Verse Time Forgot” as a bookend with our Song of the Month. It’s an easy assumption, may even be right. I have virtually no idea what Nick may have written or said about his music. First impressions are generally flawed in some ways.

    There is a lyrical similarity between BTPMITG/“Lily’s Song.” “Her Song Began Singing Me.../She Makes Music...” The lyrics and music suggests to me a man (father AND husband) expressing poignant memories/feelings of love and the need to protect. A bit sentimental for me (a non-parent) to listen to on a regular basis, but a beautiful song if you don’t over-analyze it too much. TVTF seems to be an earlier version of the same man sharing memories of his first crush and a longing for his Mom, taken too early from him (the Verse in Nick’s life time forgot to write?).

    There is an optimism in Nick’s work that is refreshing. Some of the darker songs are creative little stories, they don’t seem to bring you down but entertain you or make you think in more abstract ways. Nick seems to accept what works in writing lyrics and music without much prejudice. This is hard for some who want to pigeonhole and others who want to find fault. Every generation has its songs filled with double-entendres. We can each find our own meanings in juxtaposition (of ideas) where none was intended.

    Nick’s music can certainly entertain, tap your toes, and make you think. I can’t say at this point I would choose BTPMITG as my favorite Nick Harper song. I naturally favor livelier tempos most of the time, but don’t dare pick an alternate favorite at this time. I don’t usually settle on one favorite anything anyway.

    I hope my comments are appreciated and weren’t too blunt for anyone’s feelings. Now it’s someone else’s turn to pick apart my commentary or add remarks. And if I’m too darn polite, well I wrote this on my WP, so I could edit myself a little more. (Ironic, huh?)
     

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