Lyrically evocative

Did you ever hear a song, and think “Yes!”. That song is so evocative of your own life, and it seems as if the songwriter had you in mind when they wrote it. Somehow, they captured a moment of your existence, perhaps even your whole life, and put it into words in a form that you would never have been able to express in the same way.

This might have been a lost love, a period when all was going great, or one dark time when everything seemed to look black. Someone you have never met and had absolutely nothing in common with appeared to be able to get inside your very soul, and articulate your innermost feelings.

In 1982, I heard a single by the band Japan, written by David Sylvian, the charismatic front man. It was a track from their latest album, ‘Tin Drum’, which had been released in 1981. The haunting song was good enough on its own, but even at the age of 30, it resonated with me so strongly, it sent chills up my spine. Thirty-six years later, and it is more relevant than ever, as I look back on my life, and wonder what happened.

Here are those lyrics.

When the room is quiet, the daylight almost gone
It seems there’s something I should know
Well, I ought to leave but the rain it never stops
And I’ve no particular place to go

Just when I think I’m winning
When I’ve broken every door
The ghosts of my life
Blow wilder than before

Just when I thought I could not be stopped
When my chance came to be king
The ghosts of my life
Blew wilder than the wind

Well, I’m feeling nervous, now I find myself alone
The simple life’s no longer there
Once I was so sure, now the doubt inside my mind
Comes and goes, but leads nowhere

Just when I think I’m winning
When I’ve broken every door
The ghosts of my life
Blow wilder than before

Just when I thought I could not be stopped
When my chance came to be king
The ghosts of my life
Blew wilder than the wind

Just when I think I’m winning
When I’ve broken every door
The ghosts of my life
Blow wilder than before

And this is the song.

Let me know in the comments, if you have a song that you feel the same about.

57 thoughts on “Lyrically evocative

  1. So many songs over the years I’m struggling to pin one down. Its normally when I hear them again that I’m reminded of the time and why it was ‘speaking to me’
    Not too sure about this Japan track.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair enough, Eddy. I am not putting this one out for new fans to admire, but it’s about how the lyrics seemed to sum up my life, and my view of it. At least from 30-66! πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A Jackson Browne song “The Pretender” came out at a time in my life when I was really faking it. Hearing it again really takes me back there with gratitude that I moved into a more authentic life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You never cease to surprise me Pete, never picked you for a Japan man, next on my list is Nightporter, times I’ve listened to these (Ghosts and Nightporter) countless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t like everything they did, Bobby. But I always rated Sylvian as a singer, and his lyrics were often amazing, as in my choice today.
      Cheers mate.
      (I like surprising people…)
      Pete.

      Like

  4. At different points in my life, individual songs and music have struck chords in my life ranging from the first I remember, The Little Engine That Could, to the new World Sympathy. As for the theme in the Ghosts, a photo of my family in about 1955 evokes a similar one in my mind. In that photo, I see myself as a little kid without a clue. When I look in the mirror today, I see an old man, still clueless.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t have many songs that cling in memory and I feed on them to relive what never was but for some reason The Motels’ β€œSuddenly Last Summer” stops me cold and I am almost in a time warp. So much going on in the 80s for me, this kind of packages a decade. Weird. Thanks for the memory.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s probably my earphones, but the musical accompaniment drowned out the voice just enough that I couldn’t make out the words. So I read the lyrics separately. There is a lot of thought in the lyrics, which I’m sure is pertinent to many folks, but the rhyme scheme is only half developed (lines 2 and 4), and one of the pairings doesn’t rhyme at all: “king” and “wind.” I counted the beats per line to see if the structure was consistent from one verse to the next, and it wasn’t. Of course, there are some great songs that toss rhyme and structure to the wind, such as Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights,” so that alone is not a basis upon which to judge a song. Aside from musical accompaniment, voice, and lyrics, there is also the question of melody. I couldn’t really detect a melody. Maybe it’s there, and I just couldn’t get a handle on it with one listening. There are a handful of songs that succeed despite having little or no melody. And then you have a song like America’s “A Horse With No Name,” where the verse is monotone, but the refrain is very melodic. That song works beautifully.

    In short, although the musical accompaniment might evoke a passing interest, I think the song’s only real merit lies in the context of the lyrics. So if they speak to you, then that is enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have never had any trouble hearing him sing, David. The song doesn’t all rhyme, I agree, but I think the chorus construction holds it together. It is mainly about the lyrics though, which resonate so heavily with me.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, John. I see you picked the Andy Williams version, and I was glad you didn’t choose Audrey Hepburn singing it in the film ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’. πŸ™‚
        Best wishes, Pete.

        Like

  7. i can’t think of a particular song that is evocative of my life, but I do remember the first song that made me aware of the phenomenon: “Killing Me Softly” sung by Roberta Flack. I am moved to compassion for those people who lives are described in songs like “Eleanor Rigby.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is the grave of a real Eleanor Rigby in a Liverpool churchyard, but McCartney has always denied that inspired his song. The character he wrote about certainly had a sad life.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve liked this song for a long while, for its minimalist approach and brooding atmosphere but I can’t say I relate to the lyrics personally. Sylvian has been quite experimental and diversely collaborative since Japan and often featured on Radio 3 Late Junction.
    But, early on, I remember him being accused of sounding like Bryan Ferry.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t really know Japan, but could only listen to this track for a couple of minutes before I’d had enough of the tuneless warbling. The lyrics are very poignant though so for me it’s a shame there wasnt a better tune and voice to go with them.

    Liked by 3 people

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