Did you know that most songs have a much deeper meaning? I mean, are you surprised? Music is written by people who have super deep souls and are a form of poetry.
Think about it, each person interprets a poem in a different way. People even write papers on how they interpret poems. And the same goes for the lyrics of a song too.
Music is designed to inspire people, provide hope or comfort and offer an opportunity for escapism. For many people, music is a form of therapy and can speak to them in a unique way that even professional therapists can’t.
Not only does music help speak to and heal your own soul, it can also bring a whole range of communities and cultures together. It allows for bonds so deep that words simply can not describe.
Case Study: Carnival of the Animals
For example, let’s look at the amazing song carnival of the animals by Saint-Saens. This gran zoological fantasy takes listeners on a whimsical adventure. The song itself was inspired by a swan, which Camille Saint-Saens created himself. But the portrait of a swan grew quite quickly into a full-on orchestra of sound, satire, humor, mystery, and celebration.
The iconic song was first played at a private concert in the late 1880s. The audience was of the elite who were already well-versed in literature and poetry, so they immediately took to the deeper meaning of these lyrics, and their curiosity was rightly peaked.
Every instrument, lyric, note, and tune were perfectly concocted to pay tribute to the natural world that Sain Saens adored so much. For instance, the double bass took on the character of a kangaroo hopping through the fields grazing on snacks.
Ever since the song itself was released to the public, scholars have studied this piece of music deeply to try and understand the inspiration behind it. But this is not the only song that has a much deeper meaning behind it. Even the most basic pop song has a deeper meaning—you just have to know how to interpret it.
Ways to Understand the Lyrics
So how exactly can you do a deep dive into understanding the deeper meaning behind the music? We have put together a helpful list of all the interesting ways you can interpret songs—keeping in mind that there is really never a right or wrong answer. Just like poetry, music is meant to be interpreted on a personal level and will mean something to every person that listens to it.
1. Music Blogs Online
The wonderful world of the internet provides us with the ultimate resource for interpreting the deeper meaning behind the music. For example, sites like uDiscoverMusic have a ton of different blogs that are dedicated to uncovering the meaning behind some of the most iconic songs throughout the centuries. From classical music of the 1800s to rap songs of 2022, you can read a well-thought-out analysis of the song, the inspiration from the artist, and various theories on what the meaning of the lyrics really is. You can learn so much from blogs on the internet, and this is a fantastic way to do that with music.
2. Read and Listen at the Same Time
If you really want to get connected to a song and figure out the meaning to them yourself, then consider reading and listening to the lyrics at the same time. This will ensure that you do not misunderstand any of the lyrics and allow you to go back to refer to the chorus and interludes too. While doing this, consider things like the overall mood of the song, how the lyrics and instruments pair up, and if you feel confused at all. Do this a few times and you will definitely be on your way to understanding the deeper meaning.
3. Re-Read the Lyrics Again
Just like you would do with poetry, read the lyrics multiple times. Even try re-typing them out on your own so they can connect directly with your brain. When you do this, ask yourself questions like who is the speaker, you do the lyrics speak to, and is there an overarching theme to the song?
4. Close Your Eyes and Visualize
Now, listen to the song once again but this time close your eyes while doing this. Let your senses transport you to visualize every word and create a real scene with imagery. See where you get transported to, what the characters look like, and if there are any specific images that keep popping up in your brain while visualizing. Doing this will allow you to really bring the lyrics to life and gain a deeper understanding of the song.
These four tips are just the beginning of how you can interpret the deeper meaning to songs.