General Cure song meanings discussion thread

Started by SueC, December 24, 2019, 05:31:39

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word_on_a_wing

Thanks for your thoughtful ideas Sue

This is a song I also love, however the lyrics ...well, I suppose I wish they were discussing something more profound than a finite, romantic relationship (whether that be the infidelity scenario, or the break-up sex scenario).
The imagery created in the lyrics, for example with the dress sliding to the floor, seems to make it hard to argue it could be about something else. ...I wonder though...what if it is?

Ok, I acknowledge my own projections may colour my views, but some things I hear/see in the lyrics:

"I've never been so
Colorfully-see-through-head before"

"Surrender
Remember
We'll be here forever
And we'll never say goodbye"

"Wake up ...
A different name
And miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
Away from home again"

What is home?
Is home a place where you know the reality that we are not limited to this body/name/role/concept of self?  To be see-through-head, and wanting to remember "we'll be here forever" makes me feel in that moment he is aware of and abiding in that truth, that we are in fact infinite (is it drug induced? Some kundalini awakening? A profound dream experience?  I'm not sure).  ...then this experience of heightened consciousness shifts, and he slips back into a more limited view again...
"a different name" ...whose name? What if he is referring to his own name? Perhaps he had been floating in an expansive space, beyond concepts (including name) and then ...he's back in his body, and definitions of who he thinks he is, and who others think he is (including name) all coming back to awareness.

...so all this comes to mind for me, but again I acknowledge my own projections are likely influencing things. 🙂
"Where the flesh meets the spirit world,
Where the traffic is thin..."

Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on January 04, 2020, 05:07:37And this is lovely poetry, but when I got to the last verse the first time, I flipped, because the last verse would be consistent with serial infidelity

But this is just an interpretation. (Apart from the fact that these things do happen and any writer is allowed to pen lyrics about it...)

Quote from: SueC on January 04, 2020, 05:07:37And then if you read the lyrics of Trust back-to-back with that, in that context, you can get even growlier

I wouldn't. What's the point? Sitting on morale highground going "you're not allowed to write about that (even though my interpretation might be wrong anyway)!"?

Quote from: SueC on January 04, 2020, 05:07:37Anyway, yes, it could be about serial infidelity

It could be about many things, use your imagination! (Don't fixate on something just for your own bad experiences.)
It's never enough...

Ulrich

Quote from: word_on_a_wing on January 04, 2020, 08:38:30"a different name" ...whose name?

"Same old game
Love in vain"

The name isn't that important, apparently the persona in the song experiences the same thing again (love in vain) with another person (only the name has changed)...

That's only my interpretation and it's of course 100% correct (because I say so)!  :winking_tongue
It's never enough...

SueC

Quote from: Ulrich on January 04, 2020, 10:06:52
Quote from: SueC on January 04, 2020, 05:07:37And this is lovely poetry, but when I got to the last verse the first time, I flipped, because the last verse would be consistent with serial infidelity

But this is just an interpretation. (Apart from the fact that these things do happen and any writer is allowed to pen lyrics about it...)

Yes, exactly, and I said exactly this, so I don't know why you're repeating that now.

And yes, these things do happen and people are allowed to write about it.

It was also explained why I flipped about it - it's response to old trauma.  I'll explain it some more.  It's like a trigger situation. This is what happens in psychological trigger situations - you just may never have experienced this, because maybe you didn't experience deep trauma as a child - which then makes you equally triggered by a subsequent bad "home" experience - and of course if you grew up with deep emotional trauma and have complex PTSD, it makes you more likely to have subsequent bad experiences as well, which is ironic but how it goes, until you can sort these things out.  The triggers, however, won't ever disappear entirely, they just fade into strong (and then less strong) emotional reactions, which after living with that all your life you can often actually laugh about at the time, because you know how it goes.

A trigger response is not a response from the cerebrum, but from the limbic system, which is not under rational control.  You can manage it, like managing other things from the limbic system, for instance phobias, in a process that's a bit like herding cats.  You can't use your rational thinking to turn off your emotional responses, even if they're not useful emotional responses.  You have to work around it, by getting your cerebrum to shepherd your limbic system a bit.  @word_on_a_wing might be able to explain this more clearly for you, since she will be familiar with this aspect of psychology.


Quote from: SueC on January 04, 2020, 05:07:37And then if you read the lyrics of Trust back-to-back with that, in that context, you can get even growlier

QuoteI wouldn't. What's the point? Sitting on morale highground going "you're not allowed to write about that (even though my interpretation might be wrong anyway)!"?

Well, you personally wouldn't, but you're not me and you don't have complex PTSD. And I don't know where you're getting the idea I was sitting on moral high ground or saying nobody was allowed to write about this kind of thing, because that's not what I believe.  But, @Ulrich, I am equally allowed to write about my responses to this sort of thing - and as I explained before, this was a strong emotional response (in response to a PTSD trigger), a snap response, not an intellectual response.  Maybe read again what I actually said.


Quote from: SueC on January 04, 2020, 05:07:37Anyway, yes, it could be about serial infidelity

QuoteIt could be about many things, use your imagination! (Don't fixate on something just for your own bad experiences.)

And now I do think you owe me an apology, because in the very post you're responding to, I presented three different possible scenarios, one of which did not involve infidelity - so maybe read it again.  And I said there were probably other ways to see it too, but I was going to lunch, and that I would be prepared to discuss supporting evidence for each of these readings - and I've never supposed that these three possible readings are the only possible interpretations.

And I do have an imagination, thank you very much :cool, and use it on a daily basis, and am not fixating on anything - and I don't know how on earth you think you can support those ideas based on what I wrote, if you actually read it all the way through and didn't just kneejerk react to my own initial reaction that I described (and explained the cause of).  If you think the human mind can be entirely controlled by the will into only producing reasonable emotional responses, then the evidence is against you, including in your own reaction to my post... (unless you considered that to be a thinking response!)
SueC is time travelling

SueC

Quote from: Ulrich on January 04, 2020, 10:13:26
Quote from: word_on_a_wing on January 04, 2020, 08:38:30"a different name" ...whose name?

"Same old game
Love in vain"

The name isn't that important, apparently the persona in the song experiences the same thing again (love in vain) with another person (only the name has changed)...

That's only my interpretation and it's of course 100% correct (because I say so)!  :winking_tongue

And that's the level on which I hope we're going to continue this discussion - that's far more conducive.
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on January 04, 2020, 12:14:15It was also explained why I flipped about it - it's response to old trauma.
And now I do think you owe me an apology

Yes, I'm sorry, you did indeed explain it. I do apologize. (Maybe I shouldn't have read it at all, because you were only answering to woaw's question anyway.)

I guess it was mostly the words "flipped" and "growl" (because if someone does that just because of some song lyrics, something seems to be strangely wrong...) which crossed an invisible line within my mind... sorry again!  :1f633:
It's never enough...

word_on_a_wing

This has me wondering if males, even the well meaning ones, may not fully 'get' something in this ...a raw response that can run very deep for females.
I'll give you an example, just last week I awoke from a horrible dream where I was in a building (which I realised afterwards must have been a brothel), and there's a guy, and someone is saying to him to go with me because "she's a new one" (to this place). It felt that I had no choice. There was such a raw fear I felt at the idea of being penetrated by this creep (and it was close) ... very upset I protested (but my protests felt like they wouldn't change anything, which was even more terrifying), then I awoke.
...now I know that's a pretty graphic scene, but perhaps it sheds some light on what it can feel like to be female.  It can run very deeply, and I wonder if it's not just due to individual reasons, but societal reasons. I hope the energy of the Me Too movement continues, but even more widely, towards societal change.  In my opinion we need more strong female leaders to help find a way out of the shit the male leaders have got us into. And a heart-centred way will rule, rather than coercion and forcing things on others for an individuals gain (sound familiar to the themes in the dream?) ...meanwhile the consequences are scary, and currently feeling very close to home as someone in Australia with all these fires burning ...yet the male politicians continue to back the mining industry that is raping this planet in the here and now, and jeapordising the future of us all.
...no wonder these themes are haunting my dreams.

Coming back to the lyrics...
I have wondered at times if RS says things in a way to provoke us to think for ourselves. ...like if he does sing about what may sound like serial infidelity, maybe those lyrics are there with the intent of seeing its response.  ...will we adoringly and mindlessly applaud, or will we think for ourselves and say "wait! What the f*ck!?"
"Where the flesh meets the spirit world,
Where the traffic is thin..."

SueC

Quote from: word_on_a_wing on January 04, 2020, 08:38:30Thanks for your thoughtful ideas Sue

This is a song I also love, however the lyrics ...well, I suppose I wish they were discussing something more profound than a finite, romantic relationship (whether that be the infidelity scenario, or the break-up sex scenario).

I guess a lot of romantic relationships are ephemera in reality, whether or not people intend that at the outset.  People with the best of intentions don't always have a happily-ever-after, nor is that something that I personally think everyone should necessarily strive for - that happens to be what I prefer for myself, but some people are fine just having shallower relationships or less committed relationships or whatever, and as long as they are honest about that at the outset, and everyone involved is happy with that, that's OK.

What I think is not OK is when someone purposely hoodwinks someone else into thinking they're serious because they know that's the only way the other person is going to get involved with them, and all they're really intending is to make another notch on the bedpost and then move on to the next thing.  I've got friends who were deceived in this way, and if it happens a few times in a row, it can really put them off and make them think very negatively about relationships, or their chances of finding the long-term, committed relationship they were actually hoping for from the outset.  The confidence just erodes, and you spend your time as a friend saying, "Yes, unfortunately this happens, but there actually are decent people out there, don't give up entirely."  I don't like it when people use others and then just throw them away, or when people carry on with multiple people at once while pretending to each of them that they are the only one.

But two people with the best of intentions don't always make the long haul, because they may not realise until after they've gotten involved that they've got fundamental incompatibilities that can't be easily worked around, or they may find they don't grow in the same direction, and I think it's more honorable to end an unhappy relationship than to flog it to death, if you can't fix the unhappiness.

Now about the breakup sex type scenario that's one possible fit for From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea, this doesn't necessarily mean the relationship was intended to be temporary either.  Sometimes, when people get together, they hit an impasse and separate, and they may have these highly emotional breakup sex scenarios when they meet up (because they remember all over again what they loved about each other, and all of their past road together and the grief of that ending).  Sometimes that's like a relationship's death throes, but sometimes too people can find a way to get past whatever they couldn't get past before, and they do actually end up going forward in a stable, happy, mutually supportive long-term arrangement.

I guess one of the reasons I really like the song, including the lyrics with its difficult areas, is because the human experience isn't always a neat one, and because it would be really boring to only ever hear songs about how wonderfully a particular relationship has worked out and how deliriously happy the singer is - it would kind of feel like living in a Disney world, to me.  Real life is about struggles and trying to find your feet and making mistakes, and having a few successes too when you get better at it, and not giving up.  That's why it's important to have songs about people's mistakes or their difficult phases, and why I'm grateful to people who present their own experiences honestly, without airbrushing them and turning their life into some sort of Instagram thing where what is presented frontstage is so edited that it's not representative.

Of course, not every song is autobiographical either, but like in novels, I still prefer songs to deal with the whole range of the human experience, not just those Instagram moments.



Quote from: undefinedThe imagery created in the lyrics, for example with the dress sliding to the floor, seems to make it hard to argue it could be about something else. ...I wonder though...what if it is?

Someone taking their clothes off in those sorts of situations kind of goes with the territory, and to me isn't itself a good thing or a bad thing, it's the context that's more important here for me, and there I think people are going to have a range of opinions with what they think is OK or not.

I think it would be entirely natural for that to happen in a scenario where people have a lot of history and a lot of emotions for each other - not just in relationships where the primary interest is just sexual.


Quote from: undefinedOk, I acknowledge my own projections may colour my views, but some things I hear/see in the lyrics:

"I've never been so
Colorfully-see-through-head before"

"Surrender
Remember
We'll be here forever
And we'll never say goodbye"

"Wake up ...
A different name
And miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
Away from home again"

What is home?
Is home a place where you know the reality that we are not limited to this body/name/role/concept of self?  To be see-through-head, and wanting to remember "we'll be here forever" makes me feel in that moment he is aware of and abiding in that truth, that we are in fact infinite (is it drug induced? Some kundalini awakening? A profound dream experience?  I'm not sure).  ...then this experience of heightened consciousness shifts, and he slips back into a more limited view again...
"a different name" ...whose name? What if he is referring to his own name? Perhaps he had been floating in an expansive space, beyond concepts (including name) and then ...he's back in his body, and definitions of who he thinks he is, and who others think he is (including name) all coming back to awareness.

...so all this comes to mind for me, but again I acknowledge my own projections are likely influencing things. 🙂


So I'm going to have to try to wrap my head around that last paragraph, and get back to you, which I will, because that's going to be an interesting discussion, I think. :cool

It's interesting you're looking at the definition of "home", and I think that's important.  If you define "home" as "the place you live with your spouse" then that may lead you to conclude that the song has to be about infidelity, but with a different definition of home, like as a place of warmth and safety and harmony and mutual support, then you can be miles from home when you're in a relationship situation that doesn't offer all of these things (because you've not been able to make it work out / work out yet).
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

We're veering towards the off-topic once more (but that's the usual thing these days, it seems).

Quote from: word_on_a_wing on January 04, 2020, 13:32:28This has me wondering if males, even the well meaning ones, may not fully 'get' something in this

Maybe, but then again a reaction like "flipping" seems "hysterical" (typical female??) when it comes to a "pop" song lyric.  ;)

Quote from: word_on_a_wing on January 04, 2020, 13:32:28In my opinion we need more strong female leaders to help find a way out of the shit the male leaders have got us into.

I don't think so. What did Theresa May do differently compared to her peers? What has Angela Merkel done that's totally different to what a male chancellor in Germany would've done? Nothing... (imho).

What we'd need is wise(r) leaders with an eye on the future for upcoming generations. (But let's discuss this kind of stuff in the "off topic" section, there is much space for political discussion, if necessary.)

Quote from: word_on_a_wing on January 04, 2020, 13:32:28I have wondered at times if RS says things in a way to provoke us to think for ourselves.

Difficult to say. Anyone got any (links to) old interviews in which he talks about his lyrics?
It's never enough...

SueC

Quote from: Ulrich on January 04, 2020, 13:10:06
Quote from: SueC on January 04, 2020, 12:14:15It was also explained why I flipped about it - it's response to old trauma.
And now I do think you owe me an apology

Yes, I'm sorry, you did indeed explain it. I do apologize. (Maybe I shouldn't have read it at all, because you were only answering to woaw's question anyway.)

Thank you, I really appreciate that - and you know, it's really great when people aren't too self-important to say sorry when they've slipped up with something.  :cool  I'm sure I'm going to have to apologise to you at some stage as well, because I'm not perfect either, and I say unwarranted things at times too, even with the best of intentions.

And when something is posted in public like this, I think everyone has a right to read it! :)  Your good self included.


Quote from: undefinedI guess it was mostly the words "flipped" and "growl" (because if someone does that just because of some song lyrics, something seems to be strangely wrong...) which crossed an invisible line within my mind... sorry again!  :1f633:

No problems!  I do growl, actually.  And I'm married to a growly bear!  ;)

When I flipped reading those lyrics the first time, I briefly turned into John McEnroe, without the expletives and with better hair.  ;)

And I'm part-Italian, so it's completely normal to have dramatic reactions to stuff from that perspective - and makes life kind of fun actually.  It also makes for a deep engagement with literature - to me, "just literature" or "just lyrics" is an oxymoron...
SueC is time travelling

SueC

Just as a brief aside in response to question of gender and leaders, I think it would be nice if what was elected in parliaments was representative of the population, for gender and also for ethnicity etc, instead of having mostly a houseful of white middle-aged middle-class/upper-class males, and ones of dubious at best character at that, as is mostly inflicted on us in this country, especially at the moment.

Besides that, I think Thatcher got us into just as big a mess as Reagan, and I think undesirable leaders come in either gender, as do better leaders.  My current outstanding leader award goes to Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand.  :heart-eyes  I wish we could annexe with NZ and have her instead of the androids we actually have here at the moment.  Be glad you have a better parliament than us, @Ulrich.  What we have here is the total dregs.
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Much as I try to avoid looking up too many possible "song meanings", I do like this one:
https://www.songfacts.com/facts/the-cure/pictures-of-you

QuoteSmith explained the emotions behind the lyrics in a 1989 interview with Music Box TV: "It's about the idea you hold someone. It goes back a bit to a song like 'How Beautiful You Are.' The idea of you hold someone isn't really what that person is like. Sometimes you completely lose touch with what a person has turned into. You just want to hold onto what they were."

And this:
https://ig.ft.com/life-of-a-song/friday-im-in-love.html
Quote from: undefined"Genuinely dumb pop lyrics are much more difficult to write than my usual outpourings through the heart," Smith told Spin Magazine in an interview published a few months after the release of Wish
It's been reported that one line is based on Smith seeing his wife Mary in their kitchen late at night: "Spinning round and round / Always take a big bite / It's such a gorgeous sight / To see you eat in the middle of the night."
It's a memorable encounter that adds levity and specificity to the track.
It's never enough...

SueC

Quote from: word_on_a_wing on January 04, 2020, 08:38:30This is a song I also love, however the lyrics ...well, I suppose I wish they were discussing something more profound than a finite, romantic relationship (whether that be the infidelity scenario, or the break-up sex scenario).
The imagery created in the lyrics, for example with the dress sliding to the floor, seems to make it hard to argue it could be about something else. ...I wonder though...what if it is?

Ok, I acknowledge my own projections may colour my views, but some things I hear/see in the lyrics:

"I've never been so
Colorfully-see-through-head before"

"Surrender
Remember
We'll be here forever
And we'll never say goodbye"

"Wake up ...
A different name
And miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
Away from home again"

What is home?
Is home a place where you know the reality that we are not limited to this body/name/role/concept of self?  To be see-through-head, and wanting to remember "we'll be here forever" makes me feel in that moment he is aware of and abiding in that truth, that we are in fact infinite (is it drug induced? Some kundalini awakening? A profound dream experience?  I'm not sure).  ...then this experience of heightened consciousness shifts, and he slips back into a more limited view again...
"a different name" ...whose name? What if he is referring to his own name? Perhaps he had been floating in an expansive space, beyond concepts (including name) and then ...he's back in his body, and definitions of who he thinks he is, and who others think he is (including name) all coming back to awareness.

...so all this comes to mind for me, but again I acknowledge my own projections are likely influencing things. 🙂


I'm coming back to this to ask you, because I'm not sure, if you believe in some sort of conscious eternal existence for human beings on some sort of spiritual level, beyond the grave.  Because I don't, and have therefore, all along, been necessarily answering you from the perspective that we all die and that this represents the end of organised consciousness for the individual we each are.

So in the universe I live in, you have the here and now, and however much is left of the fourscore and a bit you might get if you're lucky, and you have to make it meaningful within these constraints.  And unlike some (but not all) of the existentialists I've read (and I don't personally subscribe to that philosophy), I believe having a meaningful life within such constraints is eminently possible, because I think we can create our own meaning, instead of needing to have it handed to us on a silver platter.

I used to believe in some sort of spiritual realm beyond the material, in my 20s and into my 30s, as a result of an experience I had at age 14 and which I now see differently - because I've learnt that the brain can conjure up all sorts of things that seem extraordinarily real, as a form of coping with stressful circumstances and in the service of emotional survival.  So from remembering that universe I lived in then, I can perhaps relate back to other people who think there's something going on beyond the material.

But, living in the universe I do these days, I think you don't need to have an eternal soul in order to really love another person, or to care for them in a meaningful way - and I think that relationships matter, even if they're all temporary if you're looking with a long lens.

This bit:

Surrender
Remember
We'll be here forever
And we'll never say goodbye


...I read as a temporary suspension of disbelief and entering into a fantasy, and a common romantic fantasy at that - not as an allusion to eternal life.  From what I've read and seen, the person who wrote these lines appears to be openly atheist, at least these days.  Anyone here who can confirm that?
SueC is time travelling

SueC

Quote from: Ulrich on January 04, 2020, 15:30:29Much as I try to avoid looking up too many possible "song meanings", I do like this one:
https://www.songfacts.com/facts/the-cure/pictures-of-you

Quote from: undefinedSmith explained the emotions behind the lyrics in a 1989 interview with Music Box TV: "It's about the idea you hold someone. It goes back a bit to a song like 'How Beautiful You Are.' The idea of you hold someone isn't really what that person is like. Sometimes you completely lose touch with what a person has turned into. You just want to hold onto what they were."

Thanks for digging those up!  I just want to respond briefly to the first one. I've not looked at song meanings for that one, but because I've looked at a fair few YouTube clips of that track live, I've seen a lot of YouTube comments where people are reading that as a breakup song, but I've never personally read it as that.  The idea of having "pictures of you" to me personally related to mental pictures, like this biblical idea that it's a really bad thing to make graven images of someone - and I didn't take that to mean making physical representations, but having an image in your head that's displacing the real person, and stopping you from seeing the real person, and who they are - for which you have to borrow their eyes, and have lots of communication with them, on an ongoing basis, since people are supposed to grow and evolve.

It ties in with the idea of having and sharing an authentic self, and encouraging others to have and to share their authentic selves.  The biblical graven image warning was on one level saying that you needed to really see people, really look, instead of thinking you knew who they were and running off with some fantasy construct in your head.  To not see the real person and instead see a projection is misrepresentation, and often an unwillingness to see and hear others, and to get to know them.  You can't have a meaningful relationship with a projection (or with a ghost from the past).
SueC is time travelling

MeltingMan

Quote from: piggymirrorIt's like on the Wish album credits, there is a quote from some author I forgot, saying "our sweetest songs are the ones with saddest thoughts".

That was from Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Complete Poems. 😉 👍🏻
Le futur projette une ombre, comme le passé.
(Modestie et vanité, p. 333.)