BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND TWITTER BACKGROUNDS »

The Poets

October 05, 2009

Lake of Fire (Nirvana)


I love it when I come across song lyrics that clearly have a poetic structure. I’ve said this before, and I’ll reiterate it here: the song writer may or may not have intended it to be so, but to read the lyrics as poetry and to then hear the song performed is almost always interesting (I should just say always).

A few blogs back I focused briefly on some song lyrics written by the artist Sting that I felt carried a poetic import. Listening to these lyrics sung, especially in the acoustic version, was for me an utter delight. Now I can’t be certain he intended these lyrics to take on the form of poetic meter, but his reliance on a metronome seems clear enough.

In the comments area of that blog I posted a brief note pertaining to a song done by Kurt Cobain, the late lead singer of one of my favorite rock groups, Nirvana. The song is called Lake of Fire. An observation was made there by me:

Most of Kurt Cobain’s written lyrics (from my perspective) seem a little more chaotic than free verse poetry, but when he does intend a poetic form it’s usually very visible. Take as an example his song: Lake of Fire.

Lake of Fire

Where do bad folks go when they die?
They don't go to heaven where the angels fly
They go to the lake of fire and fry
Won't see em again 'till the fourth of July

I knew a lady who came from Duluth
She got bit by a dog with a rabid tooth
She went to her grave just a little too soon
And she flew away howling on the yellow moon

Where do bad folks go when they die?
They don't go to heaven where the angels fly
They go down to the lake of fire and fry
Won't see em again 'till the fourth of July

Now the people cry and the people moan
And they look for a dry place to call their home
And try to find some place to rest their bones
While the angels and the devils try to make them their own

Where do bad folks go when they die?
They don't go to heaven where the angels fly
They go down to the lake of fire and fry
Won't see em again 'till the fourth of July

Again, I can’t claim certainty here, but if Cobain didn’t intend a poetic meter in these lyrics (which I personally find hard to believe), then he was consciously or unconsciously dependent upon it for symmetry.

I thought it would be nice (and cool) to post those lyrics here along with his performance of them.

Now I don’t expect everyone to love the song, but I do urge anyone to first read the lyrics and then watch the video (I find it very interesting to compare one’s initial take on the lyrics- as poetry- to the performance of the song itself). Let me know what you think- anybody.

As a side note, as the case was with Sting’s performance, watch Cobain as he sings the song … you might like or dislike this particular piece, but you can’t deny the reflective passion he delivers with it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cobain didn't write this song... it's a Meat Puppets song.

As of April 9th, 2010