(Post from this time last year)
I’ve written before about my love for the app Genius, which holds explanations and analyses of pretty much every music and poetry lyric in existence. So, for me, Genius is like Disneyland in an app. Why don’t they have real-life libraries like this? So we can just go in and read about Jay-Z’s latest album and feel like we’re studying Plato. Hey, maybe I’m onto something…
Anyway! I thought it could be cool to start sharing my favourite lyrics, or just lyrics that make me think and that perhaps go a bit deeper than your run-of-the-mill, poppin’ bottles poppin’ tags malarkey (I’m looking at you, Future), and hopefully you guys might offer up some alternative interpretations and make me see the lines in a different light. I spent two years in Sixth Form studying English and picking apart layers and layers of meaning in poems, so I figured, why not delve a little deeper than Genius and do this with songs? I mean, they’re basically a form of contemporary poetry, right?
My first set of lyrics is from the Drake song, Furthest Thing, which appears on his 2013 album Nothing Was The Same. I’m actually writing this while sat in a Nothing Was The Samehoodie. I’m not sure why that’s relevant, so moving on…
One of my earlier post titles (on my old blog) is actually a cheeky nod to this song’s hook, if you fancy it you can read it here :) - https://themaximoblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/furthest-thing-the-travails-of-being-a-perfectionist/
So these are the lyrics I’ve chosen. They’re the opening lines to the song -
Somewhere between psychotic and iconic
Somewhere between I want it and I got it
Somewhere between I’m sober and I’m lifted
Somewhere between a mistress and commitment
I don’t know if it’s because I’m on a Gap Year, and I kinda feel in a bit of a limbo between High School and University, and the lyrics are based around a feeling of being inbetween emotions, but even though they’re nearly 5 years old I still get a tingle in my spine when I listen to them. I love the juxtaposition, coupled with the almost chilling honesty and the vulnerability that comes with this. Rapping has always had a braggadocio attitude associated with it, so whenever I hear a rapper just laying themselves bare for everyone to see and pick apart, I can't help but admire them.
And I think everyone can relate to the feeling of being unsure of your feelings, and having a sense of being stuck between where you started and where you want to get to. Even the last line, ‘Somewhere between I’m sober and I’m lifted’, I feel as though I can empathise with. I don’t take drugs (unless caffeine counts) and I don’t drink much, but for me the lyric is about the mentality of being super alert and ready to seize the day, and being serious about your future, i.e. the sober part, and then trying to balance this with being more spontaneous, laidback and carefree about your worries, i.e. the lifted part. The whole stanza is like the constant flipping of a coin, showing us both sides of the artist's personality, and how he is trying to find a middle path between them, a way of striking a harmony.
The contrast between ‘pyschotic’ and ‘iconic’ is really interesting to me as well, because I think everyone wants to leave behind some kind of legacy, whether it be through their children or through their work. But the assonance in this lyric hints at how closely linked an unyielding determination to succeed can be to an unhealthy obsession. Perhaps there’s a little ‘live for today, not tomorrow’ motif being weaved in here.
Too deep? Maybe, but as a great man once said, ‘the deeper it gets boy the pressure increases…but pressure makes diamonds’. Wait, I think I might be mixing my MCs as well as my metaphors here…!
Please feel free to agree, disagree, say the lyrics aren’t actually all that. I’m open-minded on this, so hit me with your best and wackiest interpretations :)
Yours sincerely, but not too seriously,
P.S here's a link to Drake's Furthest Thing...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2lTZ7YU0T8
Hello! I'm currently studying Philosophy & Theology at Oxford University, UK. Having always loved writing and music in equal measure, and having always hated decision-making, I figured hey, why do I need to choose between the two?