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Songs where heart and brain disagree

GUEST,Grishka 21 Aug 13 - 07:56 AM
Elmore 21 Aug 13 - 08:05 AM
sciencegeek 21 Aug 13 - 10:14 AM
Larry The Radio Guy 21 Aug 13 - 11:02 AM
Ebbie 21 Aug 13 - 11:08 AM
Bert 21 Aug 13 - 01:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Aug 13 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,Grishka 22 Aug 13 - 12:40 PM
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Subject: Songs where heart and brain disagree
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 07:56 AM

The typical Mudcat song lists often make good reading because they illustrate a variety of ways to think and feel about songs. "Songs that speak to your heart" seemed too wide a category to me, largely identical to "What is your favourite song?" etc. So it inspired me to the title of this thread, anticipating a shorter list.

Attributes like "sentimental", "maudlin", or "tear jerker" are often used pejoratively by persons who do not wish to be caught by their sentiments at all. This should not suffice to disqualify the song. Many songs describe tragedies and other strongly emotional events perfectly tastefully, others can be clearly pinpointed to lack such taste. Reasonable persons strive to understand, tolerate, and discreetly guide their own feelings, so that heart and brain will come to an agreement about most topics.

But there are spots of staunch resistance: songs our brains criticize strongly but our hearts just love (tune and lyrics), or vice versa. Extrinsic reasons ("I heard it when I first met my future husband", "XX sang it just horribly") do not count.

Mentioning the brain's arguments would be welcome.

My first candidate is "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" by James A. Bland. What a shameful idea for a former slave to be nostalgic of slavery! What trivial lines such as "That's where the birds warble sweet in the springtime", worthy of the cheapest tourism ads (e.g. for Molvanȋa)! What a questionable "blackface" culture altogether! Yet, what a beautiful song!


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Subject: RE: Songs where heart and brain disagree
From: Elmore
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 08:05 AM

Dixie.


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Subject: RE: Songs where heart and brain disagree
From: sciencegeek
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 10:14 AM

Marching Through Georgia

Not because I have any sympathy for slavery or the Civil War, but due to the unhealed wounds that still plague America thanks to Reconstruction.

It was our Treaty of Versaille that planted the seeds of future turmoil. Even Sherman came to hate the song. But the tune is so catchy and fun, then you hear the words... but then realize what happened back then...

war just plain sucks...


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Subject: RE: Songs where heart and brain disagree
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 11:02 AM

Here's a more literal example of where the heart and brain disagree.

"It's not her heart, Lord, it's her mind
She didn't mean to be unkind
Why she even woke me up to say goodbye".

(Mickey Newbury).


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Subject: RE: Songs where heart and brain disagree
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 11:08 AM

Many, many of the gospel songs I love to sing - and sometimes even write - present that challenge. I love the beat and rhythm of them, the harmonies and even the images of 'home', peace, reunion with loved ones. But the theology! The pie in the sky mentality, the wishful thinking, the hell and heaven constructs... oh, no.


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Subject: RE: Songs where heart and brain disagree
From: Bert
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 01:20 PM

Probably not what you intended but.

"My Heart has a Mind of its Own"


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Subject: RE: Songs where heart and brain disagree
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 06:54 PM

I don't really find the premiss of the thread fits with the way I thnk.

If a song moves me, I feel moved, and I don't feel embarassed even if the words can reasonably be desribed as trite or maudlin. The effect is what matters, and if it works, that's fine by me.

When it comes to songs where I'm at odds with the beliefs articulated in the songs it's similar, so long as they aren't so alien I can't conceive of holding them.

With the example you gave, Carry Me Back to Old Virginny, you identify both problems. For the supposed triteness of the words, no difficulty for me, as I indicated in the last paragraph. For the sentiments, I can quite understand that a former slave might feel the same nostalgia as anyone for a time of life when he was young, in spite of all the bad things to remember as well. For all of us our hard times and our good times are often mixed together so that we can't really untangle them.

I can listen to Kipling's Barrack Room Ballads about the British Army in India, and recognise the element of truth in them without being put off by the fact I would have been wholly opposed to that army's presence there. It's like watching Macbeth or Othello and seing them as fellow human beings and not as monsters, although in many ways that's just what they are.


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Subject: RE: Songs where heart and brain disagree
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 22 Aug 13 - 12:40 PM

Bert, "My Heart has a Mind of its Own" is a good "meta"-comment to the thread topic. Although the heart for music and poetry is a slightly different organ from the heart for people, both can defy our views about moral, aesthetics, realism, etc.

Many songs can - and must - be sung "in inverted commas", for example "I am a bachelor, I live with my son, and we work at the weaver's trade" when sung by a married lady and her only daughter who work as teachers. No problem whatsoever, even if the narrator is a villain or holds views the singer does not share. The conflict starts when the song takes the singers and listeners hostage.


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