Monthly Archives: July 2014

Sammi Needs A Ladder

 

“I lie down in the dust just under your eye, A scrap of paper, thin as vapour, Filling my clothes like smoke, A couple of the wires in my heart are broke, I float, I miss something, nothing but dreams, schemes, moments wasted, Taste I tasted, fate I’m fated, Re-edited again then copy pasted As the lights of the cars go by in a stream, Seems like I stand pretty much unseen, But I open my eyes and beams come out”

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So many songs are about loneliness, “Symphonies” by wonky pop musician Dan Black is one of them. The song is about being trapped in one’s lonely thoughts as the world goes by. It’s about believing in finding a more accommodating sense of self and of course the journey and lessons learned towards believing in your worth, against all odds. It’s about seeing yourself through your own eyes and not through those that may or may not approve for reasons that do not concern you.

Blaming the world for our problems is common for us humans, but what if one is inclined to blame themself for their problems?

Self-worth may be lost… Depression may occur and of course self harm may occur. To overcome this self-doubt, hungry for sunshine, we chase hope, tired,  the soul wanders, finding temporary comfort in pills and potions.

It’s amazing how many people dive into this hell pit solely to avoid  facing judgement from our peers for whichever situation we’re in.

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That what you judge you become“, A profound line I took from “John Doe” by B.O.B featuring Priscilla, it’s an insightful song that invites us into the lonely mind of a struggling addict who starts to lose himself as he fails to function with a sober mind…

Yes, I base a lot of my understanding of songs on their lyrics though on my second last post (Secrets) I mentioned how us humans are feelers, how  words are second to the energy we exert towards each other, no words need to be spoken for one to understand how another feels about them.

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When I first heard “Chandelier” by Sia, I couldn’t make out much of the lyrics, though the emotions within the song were very clear. Clearing my throat first, for three minutes thirty-six seconds I hummed the words as my soul sang the emotion(s).
A lead single from Sia’s 2014, 1000 Forms Of Fear album, “Chandelier” takes us through the thought process of a typical “party girl”. The cries for help are subtle and the emptiness within the words she uses to glorify her life and the “love” she feels with her phone blowing up and constantly ringing doorbell is apparent.

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Clearly this party animal habit is her overcompensation for a deeper loneliness… unfortunately, surrounded by people who love her for her party habits, people who barely know her in a sober state… she may never escape from this prison she shut-eyed locked herself in.

She fears to “open her eyes”, to realize the present truth about her life.

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But I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down, won’t open my eyes, keep my glass full until morning light, ‘cos I’m just holding on for the night, Help me, I’m holding on for dear life…”

In a world filled with fame hungry artists, it’s refreshing to see an artist who doesn’t really care about sticking her face in front of the camera every chance she gets. With a narrative approach she gave in “Titanium” and “She Wolf” featured by David Guetta, Sia doesn’t appear in her “Chandelier” video but narrates a story visually told by 11-year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler.

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“Chandelier” video shot

 

The song tells a personal story of how she (Sia) contemplated suicide whilst struggling with depression and addiction.

As with any addiction, one promises themselves that they’re gonna stop, it’s an uphill battle that never fails to land you back into the midst of the battle.
suicide/death may seem like the only way out… only a lucky few live to see that it isn’t.

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“Chandelier” video shot

 

With plans to travel the world with her boyfriend, he tragically passed away in a traffic accident, it was this profound sense of loss that dragged Sia into her drug and alcohol problem back in 1999, a problem she was fortunately able to overcome after a near suicide in 2010.

 

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Maddie depicting suicide (attempt) in “Chandelier”

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“Turn me on, take me for a hard ride
burn me out, leave me on the other side
I yell and tell it that it’s not my friend
I tear it down, I tear it down
And then it’s born again”

The above lyrics are taken from “Otherside” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, through this song we see Hillel Slovak’s perspective towards his drug addiction. Slovak was a band member of The Red Hot Chili Peppers who died of a heroin overdose on June 25, 1988, “Otherside” is also used to refer to the “afterlife”.
The song talks about how Slovak knows/knew how much the drug has/had affected him and how he must kill himself to end his addiction.
The “Otherside” video tells a similar story as “chandelier”.
In “Otherside”, we see a man waking up, with various struggles depicted in the video, at the end he finds himself in the same position as the start, as with “Chandelier”, there’s a scene where “miniature Sia” waves as she walks out the room… before long, she finds herself back in that same room… addiction is a cycle that’s very hard to change…

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“Otherside” video shot

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saying goodbye to a bad habit

Okay, I’ll stop about addiction… after all it’s just one of our problems…

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True are our differences as humans, but something time has taught me is how the way people treat you can actually be a direct reflection of how they’ve been treated. A big bad bully may intimidate you, chances are, they’ve been bullied themselves, bullying is the most efficient way of getting “respect” (that they know), Where as someone who has a more polite approach has been taught with that polite approach… it’s what they know, and it’s what they expect in return, not to be taken advantage of.

“Pills N Potions” by Nicki Minaj carries this very notion. The song revolves around someone who wronged Minaj, though she still loves (him)… the fact that this person wronged her has no implications to her worth, yes, you hating a person has very little to do with the person being imperfect, but a lot to do with your love (or lack of) for yourself. Thought it’s hard to adopt this state of mind, once you do, breathing is easy.

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“Pills N Potions” video shot

Framed in the druggy imagery of mixtape rap stuffed with a tempo of 84 beats per minute carried by haunting drum beats with lyrical content that aims to uplift, “Pills N Potions” is without a doubt a scene from a fairytale with a more realistic ending of course… growth.

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Pills N Potions video shot

“But I still don’t wish death on them, I just reflect on them”- Nicki Minaj

Hate is a feeling just as intense as love, it’s quite exhausting, such energy shouldn’t be wasted on someone you don’t care about… yes, if you hate them, chances are you care a little more than you think, but then again if you do care, shouldn’t you care enough to bury the hatchet and let be?
If you do, then you wont have to ever worry about hating anyone… This way you’ll have more time to fill your life with what really matters.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference”

Hello, Hello, Remember me?  I'm everything you can't control- Evanescence "What You Want" #IfAddictionHadAVoice

Hello, Hello, Remember me?
I’m everything you can’t control- Evanescence “What You Want” #IfAddictionHadAVoice

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The Forbidden Fruit

“Welcome to the danger zone
Step into the fantasy
You are not invited to the other side of sanity
They’re calling me an alien, a big-headed astronaut
Maybe it’s because your boy Yeezy get ass a lot”

We can all agree, believer or not, one of the greatest stories ever told is of course about Jesus Christ. Artists widely make reference to this story (be it in a good or bad light… it’s totally up to them) for obvious reasons, it’s the greatest story ever told, it has remained relevant for this long and will continue being relevant until the end.
I’m not gonna preach nor shoot the sentiment behind this story as I myself am merely just a student of life.

“I wrote the gospel of giving up (you look pretty sinking) but the real bombshells have already sunk” -Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy's "This Ain't A Scene" music video shot

Fall Out Boy’s “This Ain’t A Scene” music video shot

The Gospels speak of how Man (Adam and Eve) sold into eating the forbidden fruit of (knowledge) good and evil, I’ve mentioned this in one of my previous posts, the whole idea of man succumbing to the knowledge of good and evil is still in play so many years later, how?
Well, while society hints about the “secrets” of the world, we don’t think twice about googling and trying to uncover this tightly wrapped knowledge of good and evil, metaphorically, anyone and everyone who has done this has eaten the “forbidden fruit”… Just like Adam and Eve did.
This leads to the question, Is going after such knowledge still seen as a sin?, who knows?

I remember a while back, I got all my wires in knots when I started hearing about secret societies and satanic symbols… I tried reading up on it, most of it was very confusing, not only that, it was very hard for me to buy…
That’s when a young lady by the name of Candice Mncwabe shared a bit of advice with me.
She made me realise that I didn’t need any of this knowledge about occults and what not.
She told me that if I needed any knowledge, “God” was the word/name I was meant to Google… It was so profound… Isn’t that what God wanted from Adam and Eve?, for them to hold on to his name, his love and only that?

Yes, Knowledge is power, but if you ask me, stillness of heart is just as important… be still, don’t let your soul wander off… you may just lose yourself. Without stretching this out any longer than I have to, I move on.

What the hell does all this rambling about good and evil have to do with music anyway?
Everything!
As a black kid who had a taste for rock music… particularly the harder stuff, I got a lot of warnings from people telling me I was listening to the Devil’s music.
But it was only when Pop and Hip Hop was said to be “evil” that I started paying attention to reasons behind such notions.

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Though I wanted to find out about the truth and “hidden messages”  behind the music we listen to, it’s “truth”, good or bad wouldn’t be enough for me to stop listening to any of my music…
Where do I stand?, I’m still not sure, for all we know, this is a weird publicity stunt all or at least most artists are buying into for relevance.

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If you’re still reading this, you probably love music just as much as I do, music speaks to our souls.
To  many people in many cultures, music is an important part of their way of life.
Ancient Greek and Indian philosophers define music as tones ordered horizontally as melodies and vertically as harmonies. Common sayings such as “The harmony of spheres” and “It is music to my ears” point to the notion that music is often ordered and pleasant to listen to.
Music is where our souls live, with joy our hearts bounce off the hi-hats with sorrow our spirits moan along to the bass line as our souls sink into the beat…
To be told that I wasn’t supposed to listed to certain genres and or artists made me feel like I was being robbed of that… it made me rebel… of course as with any situation there was music that welcomed me as I am/was as I hummed the same language with it…

“So you take the left, I’ll take the right
Under arrest, we’re under fire
I don’t want to go to heave if I can’t get in
You take the low I’ll take the high
You lock the gate, I hear the choir…

‘Cause I’m no criminal
I’m not your enemy
All I have is life…”

-O.A.R

With a more establish state of mind I no longer rebel, at least not in that sense, though there are songs I can never stop listening to even though I am aware of the anti-christ or “illuminati” implications within them.
“Professional Griefers” by Deadmau5 featuring Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance comes to mind, with hard beats and heavily distorted guitar stabs, you can’t help but jam along to this number…

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If you’ve read about all the “illuminati signs”, the album cover alone should speak volumes to you
Though it’s the lyrics that get to me…

“I like the sound of the broken pieces
I like the lights that assigns where she sits
We got machines but the kids got Jesus
We like to move like we both don’t need this

God can’t hear you, they won’t fight you
Watch them build a friend just like you
Morning sickness, XYZ…”

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The rest of the lyrics are written in what one may call the perspective of a devil complex as they go: …Just give me a life to plead
 Another world outside that’s full of all the awful things
That I made…

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Then we have songs that warn us of this “secret society” though some are more subtle than others, to a sharp ear the warnings are always present… these songs not only warn but promise victory against this secret society regime.

“The crimson tide is flowing through your fingers as you sleep
The promise of a clean regime are promises we keep
Do you like it rough I ask and are you on to task?
The calicoes of Pettibon where cultures come to clash“- Red Hot Chili Peppers in “Monarchy Of Roses”

Niggas In Paris video shot

Niggas In Paris video shot

Then we have “Uprising” by Muse, with lyrics like, “They’ll try to push drugs that keep us all dumbed down
And hope that we will never see the truth around
Another promise, another seed
Another packaged lie to keep us trapped in greed… Interchanging mind control
come let the revolution take its toll
If you could flick the switch and open your third eye
You’d see that, we should never be afraid to die…”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what they’re on about.

“…What does it mean?
No one knows what it means, but it’s provocative… gets the people going”- (spoken words featured in “Niggas In Paris” by Jay Z and Kanye West)

“What He Means” is a song by South African rock band Just Jinjer.
With opening lyrics: If there is grace in this world, If there is light on this Earth, Let us use it, Let us see it, Starting right now.
The song carries a universal message of how man finds “light” to darken anyone else who hasn’t found that exact “light”.
If you look at all the churches/ministries in the world today, in spite of them all claiming to be praising the Alpha and Omega, they still put each other down… they’re so good at seeing each other’s flaws and are quick to point fingers.
“What He Means” by Just Jinjer reminds us how we shouldn’t let the knowledge we think we have come before being brothers and sisters.

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“Can we be down with ourselves?
Respectful and mindful of one
Of one another, your significant other
Your sister, your brother…”


Secrets

“I need another story, something to get off my chest, my life gets kind of boring, need something that I can confess, til all my sleeves are stained red from all the truth that I’ve said…”

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“Storyteller” talked about the power of stories, how they provide us with experiences we may otherwise never get to experience first hand.
It’s amazing how everyone has a story, all 7 billion of us, though some may sound similar, none are identical.

We all have demons we have to face, challenges, hardships… Yes, we’ve all had an event that has change or shaped us as the individuals we are today.

“Demons” is a song by American rock band Imagine Dragons, the lyrics of this particular song portray the protagonist warning the significant other of his or her flaws (demons).
The video however does not have a protagonist, instead, it shows how each individual in a crowd is a hero of their own stories… journey. It also highlights how music brings together different people from different backgrounds.

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During a live show, whilst Imagine Dragons are on stage, snippets of hardships experienced by four different fans are shown as flashbacks whilst they’re enjoying the show.

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First we see a story of a beautiful young widow as she flashes back to a hardship she experienced.

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Then we see a story of an anorexic man, we see his struggle as he looks at himself in the mirror with his head hanging down.

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Thirdly we see a story of an abused young man, yes, to a unknowing eye he may look intimidating, though he goes through life having to endure the pain of having an alcoholic/physically abusive father.

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Then finally we see a story of a military veteran, sweating away and in need of help, he carries a seemingly lifeless body of a fellow veteran.

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All four characters are at the same show, enjoying the same music though each of them, like all of us bare a personal hardship not visible to the eye.

The video closes with a dedication to a fan of the band who died at the age of 17 in March 2013 following a battle with cancer.

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In “Storyteller” I touched on the nation uniting power music has with how each story told by any given song is bound to resonate with the next person. Music gives not only words but sound to emotions that once confusedly lingered in our souls, be it good or bad.

What happens when we get bored with our truth?
I mean, what happens when we feel the need to spice the truth up just to make ourselves look better or perhaps to gain sympathy?

A lie is born

Decided to squeeze this in here, nice song.

Decided to squeeze this in here, nice song.

I personally hate lying in any case, not because it’s a bad thing, yes it is, but my reason for not liking it is because I don’t want to be that guy who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else or that guy who THINKS he’s such a darn good liar when everyone else can actually see right through behind his back.
Yeap! Lets face it, we’ve all pretended to believe a lie at some point, in that case, it’s the liar who’s being lied to… it’s quiet wired if you think about it.

 

So yes, just to protect myself from being lied to without me knowing (well, that’s how lies are supposed to work), I always try as far as possible to be an open book.

“A lie for a lie makes the bonds untie” is a corny line I just came up with… and now I’m about to cut to the chase…

With the risk of being seen as weird, I believe in energy, I believe in feeling, yes, us humans are feelers. Before words start making sense we are guided by feeling. We cry, we laugh, we know when we’ve done wrong, not because we already understand words and sentences at 12 months old, but because of the energy exerted towards us after that act. It’s just something we understand and always will, until the end.

There’s another reason I prefer staying away from lies, Yes, you guessed it, why am I assuming you have? easy… ’cause you’re just that smart.
The common problem with us humans is that we tend not to forget but to discredit our fellow brothers and sisters of having the same abilities we have.

YES, we all want to think we’re special, we all are, If God loves us all, why would he bless you and only you with all the goodness that he has?
Lying may help get us out of a couple sticky situations but when it becomes a habit, we start to live in a false world where we’re being fooled by people who allow us to believe that they’re buying our lies… a lie for a lie… they laybuy our lies merely to avoid embarrassing us or perhaps just to avoid wasting their energy catching us out.

Going back to my energy theory, whatever you give out, you get back. This is why you’ll find that the biggest liars complain about being lied to, the big strong guy who gives one hell of a mad beating always has a black eye…  The little choices we make go a long way.

“We cut ties
We tell lies
We hate change
And we wanna claim where we feel
We take toes
We rake yours
Yeah we dig holes
And we’re diggin right in your fears”

Unlike “Secrets”, “Waking Up” by One Republic wasn’t released as a single though titled after the album, it is probably one of their best songs to date.
The song touches on a spiritual realization of one’s flaws, flaws that may be seen as common amongst us humans hence allowing us to feel “okay” with them, it’s about rising above the comfort of society and giving a little more to fighting our socially acceptable bad habits.

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Storyteller

“On a bridge across the Serven on a Saturday night, Susie meets the man of her dreams
He said that he got in trouble and if she doesn’t mind, he doesn’t want the company
But there’s something in the air, they share a look in silence and everything is understood”

 

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Hurts “Wonderful Life” still

They say life is short, if this is so, then aside from living, stories are our only other window to try to explore this magnificently larger-than-life world of wonder.

“Wonderful Life” is a song by English synthpop duo Hurts, in the song, frontman Theo Hutchcraft tells the story of a suicidal man standing on the Serven bridge, ready to jump off but is stopped by the strike of love at first sight when a lady finds him there…

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“Wonderful Life” video still

“They see each other and fall in love, She basically says ‘Come with me, it’s all going to be fine'”

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I think we’ve all come across a quote that goes along the lines of: Money isn’t everything though we all want to find that out ourselves as we strive for gold.
As short as it is, time/life will always find a way to tell  the worst of us to the best of us, i.e the man on the highest of horse of the truth about Earthly treasures and when such happens… it doesn’t always end well. “Wonderful Life” is a perfect example of this, the line “cries into the leather seat” not only implies wealth (despite the sadness) but reminds me of some of my friends who always say it’s much better to cry inside a Rolls-Royce than a VW Polo… but that’s a discussion for another time.

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“Wonderful Life” video still

Stories are everywhere, books, newspapers, movies, pictures, hell, stories fuel us to meeting new people, not only do we get to make new stories and experiences with the people we meet, but we also get to hear their own past stories.

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“Wonderful Life” video still

In the last few years we got to hear quite a few songs that are not only based on stories but songs that actually tell stories in length, I’ll go ahead and mention a few…

With lyrics like: In the night I hear ’em talk, the coldest story ever told, somewhere far along this road he lost his soul… “Heartless” by Kanye West is bound to catch and pull in the listener… there have been a few more with that effect, “Someone Like You” by Adele was a big one, (word was, she “heard” that he settled down… juicy story… well, I don’t know). Ed Sheeren exploded into the scene with “The A Team”, the song (esp the video) tells a story about a crack-addicted prostitute… “How To Love” by Lil Wayne also tells a very interesting story about a social issue us humans would rather not talk about, “Love The Way You Lie” by Eminem featuring Rihanna is also an ear novel with a beat and a quarter-third.

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“The River” video still

A story  told locally I’d like to share today is well… a story… actually it’s two separate stories of people who seemingly had no hope, but they both found their hope “down by The River”
sung by Nhlanhla Majozi, “The River” is meant to uplift and pass on the word of God no matter where you are in life and of course let people know that there is hope and an open invitation to a greater story.

“Everyone is invited, and you can come as you are.”

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“The River” video still

Unlike the other songs I’ve mentioned here, Mojazi’s “The River” music video starts off with smiles, though there may be one or two emotionally concerning scenes, happiness seems to be the dominant tone, which makes me question my understanding of the lyrics. The song itself seems to be about a man with a weak liver, he may or may not live to see the next. It also appears to be about a seventeen year old girl who’s forced by her dad to prostitute in order to support the family.

“If she don’t deliver, well then her daddy puts her down”

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“The River” video still

“…And all the make-up can’t protect her eyes from all the evil that she has seen”- Majozi

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“The River” video still

Though it is unclear from the lyrics, the music video (story) does have a happy ending… yes, that’s something we all want to believe in.

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    “The River” video still

Didn’t mention your favourite story telling song?

Feel free to share.

“Stories give shape to experience and allow us to go through life un-blind. Without them, the stuff that happens would float around in some glob and none of it would mean anything. Once you have a version of what happened, all the other good stuff about being human can come into play. You can laugh, feel awe, commit a compassionate act, get pissed and want to change things”

 


The (After) Life Of The Party

“An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay
It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late
And isn’t it ironic… don’t you think”

Ironic still

Ironic still

Like rain drops quieting down into puddles after a storm, “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette was composed in a moderate tempo of eighty-two beats per minute, the lyrics of the song are made up of several situations that are meant to be “ironic” though critics continue to debate if any of the situations mentioned in the song are “ironic” in its true sense, This of course has led to a lot of jokes about Alanis not knowing what Irony is…

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As I mentioned in my last post, life is a tremulous journey, we rise and we fall, we win and we lose, but what happens when rising no longer seems possible…

Memoriam by Toya Delazy still

Memoriam by Toya Delazy still

“Rise Above This” by Seether is a song written to bring someone(Eugene, Morgan’s little brother) out of depression… as good as the song is, it wasn’t enough to stop this person from committing suicide.
The music video revolves around a depressed boy who decides to leap off a building. as he falls, his family falls with him (I’m assuming this implies the cold fact of one’s decision being a chain reaction to(and affects) everyone they love). Through the course of falling they try to overcome their problems and eventually bounce back up.

during filming, the band had to try performing three times due to Morgan's difficulty keeping from sobbing

during filming, the band had to try performing three times due to Morgan’s difficulty keeping from sobbing

“I Fashioned you from jewels and stone, I made you in the image of myself, I gave you everything you wanted, so you would never know anything else…”- Keane

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God gave mankind freedom of will, the right to choose, and, for the most part, mankind has made wrong choices

I as a fellow human being am in no position to start preaching to you, though the good book does remind us how we shouldn’t over indulge in alcohol and company… yet we continue to choose otherwise, cementing/paving the path to our hell…

As we’ve established, mankind isn’t great with decisions… but what happens when we do make the right decisions? YES, you guessed it, we then have to go through everything that once kept us from making that decision in the first place… confused?
Well, with good decisions comes the good and of course the not so good…

check this out…

“Under The Bridge” is a song written by Red Hot Chili Pepper’s vocalist, Anthony Kiedis, with his sobriety and newly drug free life, he had found himself alone, he could no longer share a good smoke with his band mates while working in the studio… he felt a profound sense of loss, like he was no longer one of the boys…
Kiedis wrote the lyrics to express despondency, and to reflect on narcotics and their impact on his life. The real emotions of the song would later propel it to #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was soon certified platinum and to date is the second most performed live Red Hot Chili Peppers song following “Give It Away” which has been performed more than 600 times.

 

How I see it, God never punished mankind for having the forbidden fruit, but it is us who continue to punish ourselves with what we “know” and “love”.

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Stop punishing yourselves, your friends, family… BE RESPONSIBLE

 

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