Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What if your perfect verse is just a lie you tell yourself to help you get by?

Only Ben Gibbard could pen a sentiment so romantically fearful. It is a sentiment that touches upon the dreaded possibility of musical and lyrical insincerity. But can your perfect verse be a lie if it holds meaning for you (and perhaps even you alone)? There have to be moments where you feel compelled to push aside the purported intent of the musician and regale in the personal significance of it all... that a song can be so moving that words never seem to do the feelings justice. Even hyperbolic words, italicized and underlined twice.

My brother once said that a song is perfect when you can't imagine how it could have been written. I always thought it was such a poetic statement, I hardly would have expected it from him. I've tended to return to that ideal, particularly when I consider the paradox of the perfect verse. After all, how can you identify the songwriter's true intent if you can't even imagine them sitting down to write a song?

Then again, it might be that very factor which makes those verses perfect. It seems that we can be so far removed from the artist's creative process that we are only left to our own sensibilities to reinterpret their musical scenes and sentiments. So perhaps, it's not necessarily important whether a lovelorn Morrissey ever did kiss anyone under an iron bridge (or ended up with sore lips, for that matter). The perfect nature of the verse is instilled in its capacity to take you somewhere else, whether it be down at the tube station at midnight or a very big house in the country.

With that being said, I hope that when my perfect verse is proved to be a lie, I won't be disappointed. I hope I will always regale in the personal significance of it all and rejoice that something so false could bring about something that really did feel so perfect.

1 comment:

King of Prussia said...

Hi there,

I stumbled across your post (it's a long story as to why I was searching for this particular Ben Gibbard line) and after reading your analysis, I think you should listen to our (King of Prussia's) new album. I know, I know...self-promotion, done shamelessly. But not really. I just think you'll probably dig it, if for no other reason than for its lyrical merits.

The album can be streamed here in its entirety here:


Who knows...maybe you'll hear a song that you'll be unable to imagine how it was written. I think your brother was onto something there.