02 August, 2010

Better Done Than Argued

The Yardbirds have some really good lyrics. They're good 60s anti-Establishment lyrics that I can really relate to. For example, the entirety of Mr. You're A Better Man Than I is brilliant social commentary. Even as the type of music listener who usually tunes the lyrics out, there are examples like this that I've noticed. But surely more that I've skipped over.

Like, I was just listening to Think About It - a song I love from the Jimmy Page era with a guitar solo that was recycled when Page recorded Dazed and Confused for Led Zeppelin's debut album - and I noticed the line "when will the good people have their say?" Now, I could see some people writing off lines like this as being a sort of cliche appeal to the corruption of the Establishment and an idealistic jab at how things could be better - but those are the same people who would write off John Lennon's Imagine; which, as a song, is kind of bland, but its lyrics deserve the repeated mention they frequently get.

I may be a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world can live as one

Anyway, I was listening to Over Under Sideways Down, and, after noting the line in Think About It, I was paying more attention to the lyrics than I usually do. And I realized that, as simplistic and poppy as the song is (though it has a great riff), the lyrics really are pretty interesting. And I've come to understand why my brother has said in the past that he relates to this song. It's not just about "cars and girls are easy to come by in this day and age", it's about "when I was young people spoke of immorality; all the things they said were wrong are what I've come to be". And it's not just about "I find comments about my looks irrelativity", but "when will it end, when will it end?" Funny how I'll pick out some lines in a song, but not really notice others. Not that I didn't know those lines were in the song - I probably could have sung them from memory - but that I never really thought about what they mean before.

Well, the one line that got to me was, "I'm not searching for a reason to enjoy myself, seems it's much better done than argued with somebody else." Now that's something I can relate to, and not strictly in the context of doing things to enjoy myself. Often I'll decide something I'll want to do, but then I'll pretend to be undecided and surreptitiously seek the encouragement of others in the guise of asking them what they think about it, whether it seems like a good idea. And inevitably, in the cases where they disagree, which is bound to happen now and again, my plan backfires and instead of getting encouragement I get discouragement! And yet, in some cases (where it isn't clear that my idea was really a bad one to begin with), I'll go ahead and do what I wanted to do anyway. I didn't really need other people to sign off on my plans - at the end of the day what matters most is what I want to do and not how others feel about it - yet I still felt like I needed that extra encouragement to work up the courage to go through with my plans.

But what this line in the song articulates for me is that it really is much better for me to just do whatever it is I want to do, without seeking the approval of others - which can so easily turn into an argument where I'm trying to support my plan (if just in my own mind) against a less sympathetic world view, which doesn't take into account my initial drive to do it (which is purely subjective) that is the most important factor in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. I'm impressed you remember my connection to the song. Definitiely my favorite Yardbirds lyrics along with Mister.

    In a round about way, you could easily say that doing what's described here is how I became happy.

    I don't always notice all the lyrics either. Like with Luna, it seemed like such a pefect little love song. Guy's in love with a girl named Luna, she meets him at his window so they can go enjoy the night together. Then I realized there was something completely different going on... And what I thought was a cliche' love song lyric like "I am a prisoner" ends up meaning quite something different!