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Meaning Of Song Lyrics

Discussion in 'Tilted Art, Photography, Music & Literature' started by Split Brain Blues, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. I'm new here so I apologize beforehand if there is already a thread like this I'm not aware of. I guess the purpose of this thread in a nutshell would be to discuss what you think a songwriter is trying to say.... or what you get from the lyrics.

    I was driving home from work the other day when the song 'Hotel California' came on the radio. I asked the person sitting in the passenger seat what they thought the song was about. So a discussion like that is basically what I aim for. Here are the lyrics for the one person who has probably never heard the song:

    Hotel California

    On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
    Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
    Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
    My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
    I had to stop for the night
    There she stood in the doorway;
    I heard the mission bell
    And I was thinking to myself,
    ’this could be heaven or this could be hell’
    Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
    There were voices down the corridor,
    I thought I heard them say...

    Welcome to the hotel california
    Such a lovely place
    Such a lovely face
    Plenty of room at the hotel california
    Any time of year, you can find it here

    Her mind is tiffany-twisted, she got the mercedes bends
    She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends
    How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
    Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

    So I called up the captain,
    ’please bring me my wine’
    He said, ’we haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine’
    And still those voices are calling from far away,
    Wake you up in the middle of the night
    Just to hear them say...

    Welcome to the hotel california
    Such a lovely place
    Such a lovely face
    They livin’ it up at the hotel california
    What a nice surprise, bring your alibis

    Mirrors on the ceiling,
    The pink champagne on ice
    And she said ’we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
    And in the master’s chambers,
    They gathered for the feast
    The stab it with their steely knives,
    But they just can’t kill the beast

    Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back
    To the place I was before
    ’relax,’ said the night man,
    We are programmed to receive.
    You can checkout any time you like,
    But you can never leave!

    Feel free to chime in, add your own songs, whatever.

    And I really have no thoughts about what this song might mean but I'm pretty sure it is not to be taken at face value. The most off the wall interpretation I have ever heard is that it's about a man in a car accident (the shimmering light) who finds himself trapped in some kind of bizarre, subjective afterlife from which there is no escape.
  2. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia ...

    I always figured it was about the decay of the California lifestyle...after the Beach Boys and Beach Blanket Bingo...through the hippie era...to the Manson murders. What drugs and excess can do to beautiful things. Something like that.
    • Like Like x 3
  3. That interpretation does make a lot of sense.
  4. PlaysWithPixels

    PlaysWithPixels Getting Tilted

    Wikipedia had some good info on it. I looked it up on my phone earlier today and it was pretty similiar to what MM had in her post. I think it was the degeneration of the music industry?

    He also was asked about the reference to wine and spirit - as "wine is not a spirit" and was somewhat defensive about the answer. Or maybe I read too much into it.
  5. Well, spirit has a figurative meaning too. Zeitgeist - spirit of the age. Which kind of fits, though maybe I am reaching.
  6. OT, have been to Hotel California in Baja California. They sell a bottles of Hotel California tequila there. I will be forever kicking myself for not buying one.

    Not really sure if this is had anything to do with the song though.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Didn't realize there was an actual Hotel California but now that I think of, they probably sprung up like weeds after the song became famous.
  8. Time to resurrect this thread from the dead. This one came on my playlist today and got me thinking:

    Synchronicity II - The Police

    Another suburban family morning
    Grandmother screaming at the wall
    We have to shout above the din of our rice crispies
    We can't hear anything at all

    Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration
    But we know all her suicides are fake
    Daddy only stares into the distance
    There's only so much more that he can take
    Many miles away something crawls from the slime
    At the bottom of a dark Scottish lake

    Another industrial ugly morning
    The factory belches filth into the sky
    He walks unhindered through the picket lines today,
    He doesn't think to wonder why

    The secretaries pout and preen like cheap tarts in a red light street,
    But all he ever thinks to do is watch,
    And every single meeting with his so-called superior
    Is a humiliating kick in the crotch
    Many miles away something crawls to the surface
    Of a dark Scottish loch

    Another working day has ended
    Only the rush hour hell to face
    Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
    Contestants in a suicidal race

    Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance
    He knows that something somewhere has to break
    He sees the family home now, looming in his headlights
    The pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache
    Many miles away there's a shadow on the door
    Of a cottage on the shore
    Of a dark Scottish lake

    Many miles away
    Many miles away
    Many miles away
    Many miles away
    Many miles away
    Many miles away

    I'm not sure what the connection is between the pressures of modern life and what I am assuming is the Loch Ness Monster. Any thoughts?
  9. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Where ever I roam
    I remember a thread from the TFP 4.0 days about this. I'm not sure if I made it or not. But I was trying to find out what song it was that I listened to for years and thought it was about one thing, when it was really about something else.
  10. About this song or about this topic?
  11. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Where ever I roam
    It was this topic, but years ago. Although I only had one song example.

    Here is a great website.
    Alternative Song Meanings
  12. MSD

    MSD Very Tilted

    I've always thought of Hotel California as a metaphor for addiction. Aside from the outright references to alcohol and marijuana, I interpret the "steely knives" line as a reference to IV drug use. The woman referred to in the song is the drug dealer.
    I take it at face value - it's synchronicity. There would be no correlation between the man's life and the legendary monster rising from the depths of the lake, but they seem connected because they're happening at the same time and both horrible.
  13. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Where ever I roam
    I figured it out. It was 'AC-DC's - The Jack' song. There is one that is played on the radio that is common, but it really meant something else.

    Here is the beginning 'unedited' version. (go to the Youtube page for the lyrics)

    View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OPOc5QkJGY
  14. Well, I am just out the door to work so I cannot watch the video now but knowing AC/DC's proclivity for double entendres ('I've got big balls'), I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that there is some sexual innuendo going on.
  15. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Where ever I roam
    • Like Like x 1
  16. redravin

    redravin Cynical Optimist Donor

    Minnie The Moocher
    Jazz song first recorded by Cab Calloway in 1931

    Folks, here's a story 'bout Minnie the Moocher
    She was a red-hot hoochie-coocher
    She was the roughest, toughest frail
    But Minnie had a heart as big as a whale
    Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi (hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi)
    Whoa-a-a-a-ah (whoa-a-a-a-ah)
    Hee-dee-hee-dee-hee-dee-hee (hee-dee-hee-dee-hee-dee-hee)
    He-e-e-e-e-e-e-y (he-e-e-e-e-e-e-y)
    She messed around with a bloke named Smokey
    She loved him though was cokey
    He took her down to Chinatown
    And he showed her how to kick the gong around
    Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi (hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi)
    Whoa-a-a-a-ah (whoa-a-a-a-ah)
    He-e-e-e-e-e-e-y (he-e-e-e-e-e-e-y)
    Oh-oh-oh-oh (oh-oh-oh-oh)
    She had a dream about the King of Sweden
    He gave her things that she was needin'
    He gave her a home built of gold and steel
    A diamond…
    I'm posting Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's version because I just went to see them in concert and to show how the song has carried on for more than 75 years.

    Here's the thing, the conservatives bitch and moan about rap songs being about drugs and sex but this one is all about those things.
    Smokey is a coke addict, Kicking the gong around is smoking opium,
    There's another verse that Cab wrote about her tempting a Deacon on the lowdown by shaking her jellyroll.
    And another about Smokey going to jail and her selling herself to make bail, then he leaves her after she gets him out.
    Sadly the song was based on an 82 year old woman named Minnie Gayton who was homeless and lived in downtown Indianapolis. She would beg for food and gather it in a baby carriage that she pushed around. After a record braking blizzard she was found frozen on a porch, covered in snow.