A song that seems incredibly deep no matter how many times you hear it

Monday, September 05, 2011

Song extravaganza week 11 ...

"Semi-Charmed Life" by Third Eye Blind was released to radio in 1997, just as I was just about to entire junior high school. It was played over and over and over again on the radio for probably a year, until all the words turned to chicken warble nonsense for me (I mean, stream-of-consciousness was not in my vocabulary at the time so Stephan Jenkins pretty much lost me at "she lives for me / she says she lives for me ovation").

It wasn't until a year or two ago, when I started learning about songwriting, that I revisited this song with its jibberish lyrics. Little did I know that it was so jam-packed with content! 12-year-old me probably wouldn't have understood the references even if Z100 hadn't censored it (not sure whether they did or not; I could dig up my old tapes).

Every time I listen to this song now, I marvel at how much I missed the first 200 times I heard it, and how much I continue to miss because of the fast-paced sing-talking in the song. I think it's brilliant, the use of extended metaphor ... and it's sad and beautiful in its poetic imagery. Drugs or not, who could deny the deliciousness of the way these words roll off the tongue?

The sky it was gold, it was rose
I was taking tips of it through my nose
And I wish I could get back there
Some place back there
Smiling in the pictures you would take

And my favorite part, the breakdown ... a surge of calm amid the madness:

I believe in the sand beneath my toes
The beach gives a feeling, an earthy feeling
I believe in the faith that grows
And the four right chords can make me cry
When I'm with you I feel like I could die
And that would be all right
All right

Other songs that will always seem incredibly deep to me:
- virtually anything Stevie Nicks has written, aside from "Landslide" (e.g. "Edge of Seventeen" and "Rhiannon")
- "Imagine" by John Lennon ... because surely it can't be that simple, right?

Semi-Charmed Life Edge of Seventeen
 Rhiannon Imagine (2010 - Remaster)

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