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Topic: Significance of lyrics< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Fox Offline




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Posted: June 17 2000, 04:03

This might belong in the lyrics section, but I think it will get more attention if I put this question with the album it pretains to.

When Mike was writing these lyrics, did he intend them to have meaning? To France, Crystal Gazing, Talk About Your Life, and Saved by a Bell -all of these songs I don't really understand what the words mean. Poison Arrows and Discovery I think I understand; but not the others.

I'll bet Mike explained them in an interview somewhere, but I haven't found it. Does anyone know what the lyrics mean on any and all of the songs on this album??
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CarstenKuss Offline




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Posted: June 19 2000, 16:50

I read the following interpretation somewhere: After having released TB (and the media buzz), Mike was "suffering in hell" (= depressive), and was "too blind to tell" that he was really "saved by a bell" (= the success of TB).
But the SBAB lyrics are all about astronomy: telescope - milky way - universe - sagittarius - jupiter - saturn - galaxies - and so on.
Can someone resolve this, please?
Carsten

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Rod Offline




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Posted: June 28 2000, 21:30

I think Mike always wanted to be an astronomer not a musician... wink
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alex Offline




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Posted: July 29 2000, 09:08

When I was trying to find the significance of To France I decided to start my searching from the end of the text;
I see a picture
By the lamp's flicker
Isn't it strange
How dreams fade and shimmer

Well- dreams fade and shimmer.Why? Probably because you're never going to get to France...And France is a place behind the restless sea, far from the islands...And if France was something like the aim, the place where you are heading to through whole your life? And you are heading to France altough it's far from the islands and you've got to sail the restless sea to get there? If it was the wish which you want to make real?
So, why are you never going to get to France? Maybe because you haven't got enough courage to sail the restless sea and be taking on water? Not enough courage to make your dreams real? So- never going to get to France- never going to make your dreams real and those dreams fade and shimmer because of this...
And what means will they find you? Maybe it's about the dreams, which you have left on the sea when you were getting out of your ship to the land which is not France but the land, where you are walking like the shadow and searching for sanctuary? The foreign ground is probably the reality in which you've got to find your feet after leaving your dreams on the sea. The land seems to be less dangerous than sailing the restless sea and searching for France but is it good to stay there? For sure you are not happy and safe at all (walking on foreign ground like a shadow, roaming in far off territory (...), searching for sanctuary) and you know, you're never going to get to France...( when you were sailing the restless sea, you didn't know that you're never going to get there...).
Well-I see a picture
By the lamp's flicker
Isn't it strange
How dreams fade and shimmer

So, everyone in his life tries to be going to get to France and search for it behind the restless sea and white water.But it seems too difficult, well most of people leave their wishes and land on the foreign ground, where they aren't very happy and safe but it seems to them as resonable and less dangerous than searching for France...
...But France is so close to the British Islands...

P.S.I don't think that my interpretation is good at all, well write what isn't right to you...I am only a self-taught philosopher! wink


[This message has been edited by alex (edited 07-29-2000).]
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CarstenKuss Offline




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Posted: July 29 2000, 17:51

Wow, alex, what an interesting analysis! I agree that 'France' might be symbolic for some ideal(ized) state of living. There's a song by Marianne Faithfull, 'The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan', in which a similar symbolism occurs:
"At the age of thirty-seven, she realized she'd never drive through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair."

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Fox Offline




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Posted: July 29 2000, 18:41

Amazingly, that's more or less what I thought it meant: some sort of goal in life that you're never going to reach for one reason or another. I'd never given it that much thought before.

I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head in my opinion, alex.

The main reason I haven't tried to interpret the lyrics to that extent before is because I'm afraid that one day as I make a three page essay on the words to, say, "Moonlight Shadow," or even "Crystal Gazing," Mike Oldfield will email me saying "what are you talking about, Fox? I just picked a few random words from a rhyming dictionary and formed a tune around those words!" I'm afraid I'll read too much into the words hahahahaha.

I'm certainly glad someone isn't as afraid as I am. In this case, I think you're quite accurate about what the lyrics mean. Got any thoughts about the rest of the songs on Discovery? Imagery I can figure out very easially, but symbolism is difficult for me.
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: July 29 2000, 19:10

I wouldn't want to enter too deeply into this discussion because I'm not a philosopher [as alex is wink], so I'll just add a side note: the book included with the Elements box set says that "To France" was inspired by the unhappy life of Mary Queen of the Scots...alex, why do you never mention, in your (VERY) accurate analysis, that the song is about a certain Mary Queen of chance? smile

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Ugo C. - a devoted Amarokian
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alex Offline




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Posted: July 30 2000, 06:00

To Ugo...
I'm not very keen on history of Great Britain...( The history of Russia is much more interesting! smile)
And the full version of Elements ( including 4 cd-s) has been never published in Poland...
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CarstenKuss Offline




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Posted: Aug. 01 2000, 15:48

On Ugo's hint, I did some reading on the History of Scotland.
- Mary Stuart was about a week old, when her father, James V of Scotland, died. So she was raised in France, because her mother was French.
- Mary was married to Francois, son of Henry II of France. When Mary was 16, Henry was killed in a tournament. Two famous astrologers had predicted this. Maybe they were CRYSTAL GAZING.
- Francois became King of France, but died a year later. Mary went to Scotland to be Queen. But the Scottish didn't accept her, and she had to flee. She tried to get back TO FRANCE.
- The English caught and imprisoned her. For 18 years, she feared to be killed - maybe by POISON ARROWS, since the crossbow was popular.
- She was finally beheaded.

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Fox Offline




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Posted: Aug. 01 2000, 17:07

Hey, now there's an idea! Looks like we have two completely plausable interpertations of the lyrics (one generalized to everyone, the other a history-based context).

I think both are excellent, and are quite workable! Hey, Mr. Oldfield, care to help us out here? lololol.

Under the historical interpertation, it looks like we also may have good explanations for the meanings behind a few other songs, too. Good points, CarstenKuss! Good points, Alex! Both interpretations bring new light to the song. This makes me wonder what you think about the rest of the songs on the album, too hahahaha.
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TimHighfield Offline




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Posted: Jan. 08 2001, 09:40

Although your points about Mary Queen of Scots are absolutely correct, CarstenKuss, the most important, interesting and unnecessary fact about her was lacking in your list and Mike's song (oh dear):
When she was beheaded, her lips kept moving for 15 minutes after the head was removed from the neck. I don't think anyone made a record about what words, if any, she mouthed after the execution though.

-Tim-
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raven4x4x Offline




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Posted: April 21 2002, 03:37

In 'Saved by a Bell', I prefer the interpretation that MIke himself was 'Saved by a Bell' (Tubular Bells, of course), but it is Richard Branson that Mike wants to 'Suffer in Hell' for being 'too blind to tell' that Mike rocks. Yes, it is sort of egotistic from Mike, but that perfectly encapsulates Mike's feelings for RB.

I don't really know about the other ones. Poison Arrows seems the perfect song for one of those games where you run around shooting each other with laser guns, but I'm not sure about a more serious interpretation. 'Talk about You're Life' is certainly about a relationship of some sort. It seems like the perfect song for some sort of musical, really.

I've never been good at interpreting songs which don't have an obvious meaning. Oh well

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PICTURES IN THE DARK Offline




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Posted: Nov. 29 2003, 20:38

Actually, I think most of Mike's songs could be perfect for a musical :D.
I agree about the interpretations of To France, but I still don't understand Crystal Gazing, can anyone tell me what it means in Spanish?
I thought Poison Arrows was a bit 'paranoid'. It makes you feel as if someone was chasing you ('Somebody's out to get you';). And Talk About Your Life... Umm, it's a weird song. Seems as if the person who sings the song (Maggie, for example) was telling another person (Mike perhaps?) to be more open and extrovert ('Do we have to be so distant?';) By the way, has it got anything to do with To France? They are very similar...
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Rider in the Blue Offline




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Posted: Jan. 20 2011, 01:29

One doesn't need to be a philosopher to understand the lyrics, just read them as poetry; I've often thought that songwriters are poets.  I think this album has an occult theme. With the exception of 'To France' (obvious and explained correctly in this thread as being about Mary Queen of Scots), I've always interpreted the lyrics like this:

Poison Arrows: Paranoia, someone (Mike?) fears that they're being hunted in some way; someone's trying to attack him/her. Poison arrows are an unlikely weapon in the Western world. Hiding in shadows, the attacker is sneaky. 'Watching every move you make / And everything you do /Evil eyes will be on you' enforces the occult theme and suggests that the person is being watched by the attacker constantly; there's no escape. And the drumming at the end suggests a hunter moving in for the kill.

Crystal Gazing: The occult theme is here again. Crystal gazing means trying to read and interpret the future. 'Reaching through the dark / Do you have to go?' suggests the narrator is trying to contact someone whose left her - 'the dark' suggests death. we also have 'Won't you talk about on the other side?'. So her sweetheart has died, she wants desperately to contact him but he's gone.

Tricks of the Light: Again there's an occult theme, suggesting a woman whose gone to a seer.  'Signs keep changing' might relate to astrological signs. Barry Palmer's character (the seer) wants to confirm something but isn't sure as the data (signs) are changing. He's searching for certainty and meaning. Maggie's 'Some tricks of the light / You never know / Make a flickering midnight light / Into a glow' means that the human eye and brain, especially in low lighting, play 'tricks'. It's known that the brain seeks to make sense of uncertain data - this is why we see faces in tree bark, rocks etc. 'It's a trick of the light' is her dismissal of whatever she's seen. 'Something tells me how / Her bright blue eyes are smiling' - he's receiving some information but isn't quite certain. Again Maggie dismisses this. Then we have Barry's 'She turns and take his hand / Breaking his concentration / She burns at his command / Makes some transfiguration' - Maggie's character has interrupted the seer and he's performing a ritual. But to her, it's just a trick of the light - or is it? You never know...

Discovery: This is about a partner whose hurt the narrator; he's hurt and he wants to hurt her back. The first verse is a question - why should anyone be surprised when she finds herself without friends if she's lied to him? He only wants the truth from her - 'Give me some truth, stop making me crawl'.

In the next verse, he's asking her how she can live with herself; 'How can you sleep / How can you turn away? etc'. In the third, he's asking for some confidence - he wants to rely on her truthfulness but he can't. 'Who's keeping secrets? / I've got my spies' - his friends tell him what she's been up to. Finally, 'Does anybody think we live in paradise?' - he wonders what others think of the couple's lifestyle; whilst they may be happy on the surface, their relationship is far from ideal. The uncertainty and plain anger in this song, with its secrets and lies, seems to underpin the occult theme too.

It's no secret that Oldfield recorded this LP whilst he was in the midst of a divorce. I'll deal with Side Two another time...


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