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Lyrics as poetry: Fox Confessor… April 5, 2007

Posted by Walt in codger-tation.

Here is an example of the poetic character of pop lyrics. Neko Case’s song “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood” from the album of the same name is a lyric poem in 2 minutes and 42 seconds. The lyrics are (from songmeanings.net):

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

Driving home I see those flooded fields
How can people not know what beauty this is?
I’ve taken it for granted my whole life
Since the day I was born

Clouds hang on these curves like me
And I kneel to the wheel of the fox confessor
On splendid heels
and he shames me from my seat
and on my guilty feet, I follow him in retreat

What purpose in these deeds
Oh fox confessor, please
Who married me to these orphaned blues
“It’s not for you to know, but for you to weep and wonder
when the death of your civilization precedes you,”

Will I ever see you again?
Will there be no one above me to put my faith in?
I flooded my sleeves as I drove home again…

Since I am not personally well-versed in explaining poetry, here is an article from cokemachineglow.com, which in part describes the context of the song as follows:

“Fox Confessor’s title is taken from Ukrainian mythology … the fox, thirsting for the wolf’s need for absolution, cons its way into assuming the role of the trusted confessor, then promptly uses that relationship to abandon/seduce/kill/eat/generally f*** over its unsuspecting prey.

“Fox Confessor’s title track … locks horns with that mythology. Here, she (the fictional ‘she,’ not Neko) drives by ‘beautiful’ flooded fields in the first verse and floods her own sleeves (finally realizing she has nothing to ‘hold [her] faith in,’ she breaks down) in the last. Both scenes bookend a confrontation with the fox confessor, who she follows, guilt-ridden, in ‘retreat.’ ” [Read the rest of the article for more.]

Now this might all be a load of dingo’s kidneys, but isn’t that always the way it goes with the analysis of poetry? You can never exactly be sure what the reality is, since you are not the author. But it rings pretty true… and it’s a terrific song.

At any rate, I think it supports the thesis that poetry published as such is being supplanted by pop music lyrics.



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