Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lyrics (Over)Analysis - English Blood by Trung Doan

This song was written about an English girl who I enjoyed playfully teasing (although I doubt that she would describe that in those words). I had a stupid joke about sucking her blood,  although I'm not entirely sure the context or the reason why I said that. Nevertheless I thought at that time it would be fun to create a song based on that idea to make it even more creepy and disturbing.

This was the time when vampires didn’t have the stigma attached to them and I thought it would be a cool idea to create a vampiristic love song. Nowadays with the released of Twilight, I'm kind of embarrassed by this song. They just have to ruin everything don't they.

Nevertheless, this song is just dumb fun for me.

Cold night
I see you
Oh your warm white neck
So soon
Keep on drinking my friend

So we have the vampire who see the girl for the first time and he looks at her neck and gets turned on. This is because vampire generally have a neck fetish. It also looks like this particular vampire has a thing for Caucasian girls as well.

The vampire also feed the girl alcohol as we all know the real meaning why guys buy drinks to woman they fancy.

Which is preparation to suck their blood of course.

As the moon rises up
As the wind brushes your hair
Your warm neck becoming cold
Warm English blood

Part of the lyrics set the scenery that this is night time. The "warm neck becoming cold" is foreshadowing the death of this girl which occurs later in the song and the vampire sings in ecstasy "warm english blood" as this vampire is an anglophile and English blood just taste better than other races blood according to this vampire.

It's not that the vampire in this song is racist; it's just that some vampire just have personal preference on the race of people they want to suck blood of. You hear guys talk about how they have a thing for Asian chicks and how exotic they are so this is just the vampire using those same principles.

Approach you
No marks I can see

So the vampire couldn't see any bite marks on the neck of this English girl which shows that she is a virgin in terms of having her blood sucked out of her from the neck and this turns the vampire on.

After all we never see two vampires sucking the blood of one person or sucking the blood of a person who is already dead for a lengthy period of time as that's just sick and unsanitary with the risk of spreading blood bourn infection.

Fresh blood
I feel
The alcohol flowing in your veins

We all know that vampires like their prey to drink alcohol before drinking their blood and the reason is simple. We know that alcohol actually travels in your bloodstream after ingestion. So if we feed alcohol to people before drinking their blood, you would think that their blood will taste a lot better. Vampires can get their nutrition from the blood and get drunk at the same time.

You would think that it would be boring for vampires to drink plain old blood all day long and they have to spice it up with alcohol.

Now I think about it, I wonder does vampires have recipes of the blood they drink. If you have a person of a particular race, which type of alcohol goes well with it? Is it with the French, you used wine, with the English you used lager and with Japanese you used sake?

It's not that I hate you
It's the way I show my love

So the vampire is going to drink the blood of this girl and kill her but this is only because he cares about her and this is his way of showing his affection he has for her.

I can't change who I am
Get close before the sun rise up

The vampire wished that perhaps he doesn't have to kill her but resigns that he has to do that because it is part of his nature.

He also wants to drink her blood before sunrise as vampires are very photosensitive and they don't have access to a dermatologist.

I take a bite
You're stunned
Collapse in ecstasy

So the vampire drank the blood of the girl and she died. However it turns out the blood drinking is just as pleasurable to the victim as it is to the vampire so it was a win-win situation in the end.

Sure the girl died but what a way to go.

I'm quite sure if you asked many teenage girls what is their preferred method of death, death by getting their blood sucked by Edward Cullen is probably high up there.

You look at me
Your last words were
"Man, that's sexy."

Originally the line was supposed to be "Man, that's creepy" because that was what the English girl said to me in real life.

However I changed it to "Man, that's sexy' because that's the reflection of today’s society with the whole Twilight popularity. For some reason, vampires who suck blood of people are now sexy amongst teenage girls as shown by the whole Edward Cullen popularity.

Damn, why didn't anyone tell me that back in high school? The whole awkward teenage years would have went across hell of a lot more smoother if I knew that fact.

Oh it's such a shame
I really did like you
Your body is now cold
Warm English blood

So now that the girl has died. The vampire is feeling regret for causing her death. It's this catch 22 situation. On one hand you can kill the girl you like or on the other hand you miss out on a delicious delicacy of English blood with a high BAC (blood alcohol content). Ah the dilemmas of life that a vampire face on a daily basis.

As a lot of divorce woman will vouch, when a guy is given a choice between getting smash with alcohol or a long lasting relationship with the woman you are with. Well the alcohol usually wins out as demonstrated in this song.

© Lyrics written by Trung Doan 2005

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lyrics (Over)Analysis - Born To See The Light by Trung Doan

I just want to state that this song isn't anti-religion in general. However this song does criticise specific interpretation of religious belief.

This song tells a story about a hypothetical scenario where one religion is right and people who believed in a different faith or no faith will be damned to go to hell. This story is told from the perspective of a person who was born in a different culture who never heard this religion ever existed before dying.

I woke up
I saw a flash of light
This establish that the person has died and has now entered the afterlife (which is often symbolises by a flash of light)

A man appeared
Said “why don’t you know my name?”

God appeared and asked the main protagonist about why that person didn't worship that religion and why he didn't worship the right god.

At my home, your name has no meaning
But I fear you won’t accept that answer

The main character responded that he is from a culture that never heard of that religion before. However he suspected that god will not accept that as a satisfactory excuse.

Here we are
They say you’re the chosen one
Here we are
You’re born to see the light
Born to see the light yeah
In the chorus, the main character is saying that the people who were from the culture that followed the right religion are the "chosen one" and are destined to go to heaven (born to see the light). That god deliberately created people who were destined to have a better chance to go to heaven or hell.

Many beliefs divided in different lands
It turns out only one land was blessed

This established that there are many different religions out there where their popularity is basically divided into different geographical regions but only one religion is true. That god has effectively created a classist society and that all people aren't born equal to god because they don't all have the same opportunities to discover the true religion.

We exist to give the blessed a job
To show us the way, to guide us to the light

The main character is saying that the only reason why cultures that follow the wrong religion exist is so that the true believers are employed by god to become missionaries to try and convert them.

I was born in the land of sinners
Forbidden fruit is our only crop that grows

The main character came from the culture that has never heard of the true religion and only the false religion and therefore they are in the land of sinners. Hence, they have no choice but to follow the wrong religion. He is pleading to god that he has only taken the "forbidden fruit" because the forbidden fruit is the only thing he knows.

They may be an absolute right or wrong
It goes beyond what you think
So send me to hell
My conscious is clear

A lot of people define morality as anything that god believe is right and frame moral debates on what would god believe is right and wrong. The main character of the song rejects that ideology and says that right and wrong is independent to god's interpretation of morality. That sending someone who has never heard of the "true religion" to hell is wrong irrespective of what god thinks it is.

So the main character is accepting that he is now going to hell because he followed the wrong religion. However, he realised that he is in the moral right and that he is going to hell with a clear conscious

I'll repeat that this song isn't anti-religion. There are people who are religious who believe that the pluralism of religion is due to a singular god speaking through people via the prism of different cultures and that are why there is an explanation of many religions. There are also many religious people who justify their political and social views with logical arguments instead of relying on "because my religion said so". The message of this song doesn't apply to those people and only applies to people with a more intolerant approach to people with different beliefs.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lyrics (Over)Analysis - Looking Back by Trung Doan

So this song Looking Back is a spiritual sequel to No Secrets which I wrote in detail on the previous blog post.

I was in a process of writing another broken hearted love song and then in the middle of that process. I thought to myself "this is stupid and retarded", "get over it" etc

So instead of another song about being broken hearted and miserable about lost love, it became an anthem for moving on and not looking back at past mistakes paralysed with regret. This song goes through the transformation process that the person goes through during the "moving on" process. Firstly, there is the abject depression that a person feels after a rejection/break up etc. Secondly, it's the realisation that the depression is counterproductive to getting the things you want in life. Thirdly, it's a feeling of euphoria and freedom that a person feels once the chains of depression has been broken and lastly, when the person looks back at their past, it's not with regret but a bit of nostalgia. The character has come in terms of past events and can reflect on them without getting overly emotional over it.

Out of all of the songs I've written, I'm proud of this one the most and I believe this song is the strongest song I have written especially from a lyrical stand point.

I believe I did something a bit unique in this song. Most broken hearted love songs focus on the emotions of depression. The few songs about moving on focus on that process. However I don't think there are many if not any songs that encompass the transformation between one point to the other and I believe this song is unique in that aspect. Of course, being original these days in rock/pop music means ripping of a song that you never heard before and I'm quite sure there is a song out there that covers this same topic but I'll settle for being original amongst the songs I have heard before.

I bump into you
One of many faces in my life
But you are not just any person where our paths collide

So the main character has bumped into a person he recognise (one of many faces in my life). However that person is obviously more special to him than any other person he has met before.

So this line sets up the story where the main character has bumped into an ex-lover or friend.

Also notice the melody during these lines. Whenever I sing that melody, the lyrics is usually just a description of what is going on in the song.

I used to have a purpose
I used to be alive
I used to feel the fire running through my heart
I used to have a passion
I used to have a goal
Now I'm binded by the chains of love

Meeting with this person has obviously had a drastic effect on the mood of the main character. The main character starts reflecting on how empty the person feels about his life. He is just listing off the emotions he used to feel but doesn't anymore because he is in love (and obviously the love is not returned).

Everytime I sing this melody line, the lyrics take on an introspective outlook where the main protagonist explores his emotions on what he is feeling right now.

(Ooh, I want to run, run away from you)

So the main character is feeling awkward talking to this person

You say hello
Only because it's polite
And then we talk
While your eyes keep fix at the time

So returning to the descriptive narrative, it turns out that the feelings that the main character had were one sided and that the only reason why the conversation is taking place is because it is polite and not because of any real desire to have the conversation.

I used to have a dream
I used to look forward
I'm walking through time while people speed ahead
What have I achieved?
All this time
I stayed still while nothing changes

This time when the person is reflecting, it is no longer with self pity but with a growing realisation that his depression is counterproductive. "I used to have a dream" may seem like continuing the self pity that was there during the first "I used to" section of the song, however the tone has changed. Whilst in the first section, the person is lamenting the lack of passion in his life. This time, the person is berating himself for letting things slide this far.

The rest of the band comes in and this signifies the awakening from the depression

Look at you now
You're living like you should oh

He looks at his ex-lover/friend and realised that she has moved on and asked himself why he hasn't moved on yet.

I throw away the photos
I throw away the keys
I close the door behind me leaving past memories
I loosen the chains
I try to break free
I feel my heart starts beating

So at this moment, the main character is throwing away the burdens of his past which is signifies by throwing away the photos and the keys.

In doing so, the main character feels alive for the first time in a very long time (feel my heart starts beating)

Is never looking back
I guess I'm never coming back

In the climax of the song, the main character feels a sense of freedom from his own chains that he has created for himself. He defines freedom as not looking back with regrets (I know freedom is a lot more than that but for someone who just feels liberated from their own depression, at that point of time, it feels like freedom equals exactly that). He also tells himself that now he is free from his own depression, he claims that he will never return back in that dark place again.

Maybe I could have done better in the past
Maybe I could have walked left instead of right
Maybe I'll keep on falling down
As long as I'm moving that's ok

The whole message here is that every person make mistakes and that they will continue on making mistake. However the difference is people's attitude toward their mistakes. Some people just strugged it off, learn from it and move on. Other people dwell on it and let the regret from that mistake consume them which leads the person paralyse to do anything useful for themselves.

Often in depression, people aren't just regretful about mistakes in the past, they also are worried that they will forever make mistakes and that they will never get better at that.

However, the character now realised that it doesn't matter that he made a mistake and recognised that he did stuff up in the past but now he accepts that. He recognised that he doesn't know everything and still always learning and that he will continue to make mistakes in the future but he will accept it as that is part of being human.

I say goodbye
You smiled as you walk away
I feel the chains
Slide away from my shoulders

So the main protagonist says goodbye to that person. However, he is not just saying goodbye literally but also goodbye in a sense that he is finally accepted that he is not in her life and that he is letting go.

In that process, the last remnants of that love that was enslaving him is gone

Was it just a dream?
Looking through the past
It all seem funny when you're on another path

This lyrics were inspired by a song called Shakespeare’s Sister by The Smith with the line "Oh, I can smile about it now, but at the time it was terrible" but with a focus on the smile rather than the terrible.

When you are looking back at past events that are long ago, you sometimes just laugh at your own foolishness and lack of perspective and think why it was such a big deal (and sometimes what did I see in her in the first place).

This time, the person looks back with a touch of nostalgia and a bit of humour. The character realises that part of freedom is not "never looking back" like he mention before but rather not looking back with regret.

Maybe when we meet
Another time
We'll look back and start to laugh

The song ends on a hopeful note that perhaps the other person will see things the same way and eventually both people can talk to each other without the baggage of the past hanging over them.


So that's Looking Back and I have to say that it's the strongest song I have written.

This song is not autobiographical even if the emotions in the song are absolutely real. This is because it's completely unrealistic to have a person meeting up with an ex-lover and then within that conversation have an epiphany and have a massive transformation from depression to a high self esteem and acceptance of themselves and past events. That story is completely made up even though the emotions of depression/euphoria/self acceptance etc are real

People don't change overnight and they change gradually over time and they have to contend with relapse as well.

Nevertheless, although this story isn't really applicable in real life if you interpret the story literally, it works well within the confines of the song where you have to tell a story in 4 minutes.

The story of the person meeting the ex-lover is far less importance than the introspection and the transformation that the main character undergoes and I feel that I nailed that emotion very well.

This song also answered a question that I ask myself during my own self doubt. Why would people listen to my music when they are better artist out there? I felt like I answered that question with this song.

Now people may say that shows some egotism from me but I really don't care. I’m proud of this song and I believe it can stand up to any other music written by anyone else in the world.