Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Art in Music -- The Ballads of Love Lost, Art as Metaphor

Ballads, slow songs which lean towards the emotion of love, yet are often depressing in nature, are the theme of today's "Art in Music" showcase. These songs glide beautifully off the lips and provide a thoughtful approach to art as metaphor.

Tracy Lawrence -- 
Paint Me a Birmingham
Keeping in-line with traditional country music narratives, this harmonic story of lost love truly paints a picture in the mind of a listener. In this story, the singer meets an artist and asks him to "paint me a Birmingham" -- an image of what life would have been like with the songwriters lover had she not died some years ago. He reminisces of time past, using the painting as a way to look at his inner-most desires.

Norah Jones art music
Norah Jones -- Painter Song
Using French accordians, slow jazz rythms, and her solid charming voice, Ms. Jones wishes she could "...paint a memory..." and "...climb inside the swirling skies to be with you..." Another ballad for lost love, this song longs for more happy days with a hopeful yet knowingly unrealistic attitude.

Kenny Rogers -- If I Were a Painting
This sad song of a broken heart chimes with a lines such as, "If I were a painting, My price would be pain, And the artist would have to be you." Obviously written during a low point in a relationship or after a major breakup, the metaphors used are increasingly poetic and continue in the theme of the singer as a painting, "It's only the frame that holds me together, or else I'd be falling apart."

Stay tuned for more "Art in Music" posts...

In researching the musings of various musicians about the topic of visual art, I found songs including mentions of art are somewhat limited in quantity, yet profoundly inspiring and memorable. I chose to sort my findings according to a few common themes and then present a review of each group on the following schedule:
  • ODES (Part 1) to specific artworks, artists, or art movements -- June 8 (4 songs)
  • LOVE songs, some hopeful and others confused, referencing art -- July 6 (6 songs)
  • HUMOROUS songs about art or specific artists -- August 3 (5 songs)
  • BIOGRAPHIES of specific artists' lives -- September 7 (3 songs)
  • ODES (Part 2) to specific artworks, artists, or art movements -- October 5 (4 songs)
  • BALLADS of heartbreak, using art as a metaphor -- November 2 (3 songs)
  • REALISTIC narrations of pain, hope, struggle, and life, presented with references to art -- December 7 (5 songs)