Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Overanalyzing the song of the day: Andrew Bird - Sovay

Original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-R0-b74Uwo

Live: http://www.last.fm/music/Andrew+Bird/_/Sovay

Lyrics: http://www.lyricstime.com/andrew-bird-sovay-lyrics.html

Q: Speaking of titles, what's the meaning of the word "Sovay"?

Andrew Bird: Well, I always prefer to misunderstand songs. I think a lot of great things come out of misunderstandings. That's why I love Charlie Patton. I'd rather not get a lyric sheet. I'd rather misunderstand what he's saying and have it be a spark for a new song. So anyway, in this case, 'Sovay' was from an old English Childe ballad Sovay, Sovay, all along the day something about some highwayman or something but I never bothered to research it, and I never knew what it meant; it was mysterious. I was working on this song, and suddenly that word popped out. I was looking for a new word to describe unprecedented circumstances, and that word had not been defined for me, so it fit the bill and it sounded good. It's a new word.

Wikipedia of "Sovay": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovay

Of the original versions: http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/~zierke/martin.carthy/songs/sovay.html

Carthy version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkpujKDSTTo

Andrew Bird's version is quite different from previous ones.. basically seems like he likes and used the word and tried to incorporate it into the song/meaning, which he often does.

The song also seems to be cut into two different parts, with the first part describing escape plans, escape from whatever... then word washes ashore... a new hope? A finality?

That you're riding on a para-success
Of a heavy-handed metaphor
And a feeling like you've been here before

But then something changes... word washes ashore... most likely distressing, changing... And great how Bird uses the word Sovay to sound like waves coming up on shore...

I don't really want to go to a word-for-word analysis here (but I will in the future.. ), and ultimately it's your interpretation that matters... so many different factors, in any song really, that will influence your take home meaning/message. And so that's why I thought it appropriate as an opening overanalyzing song of the day... cuz in the end, it's what you take from it.

The second part; fighting a losing battle because you have to(?): The Ride of the Valkyries always conjures up the German invasion during WWII. Which, could mean that you're in for a 'rough ride', to put it loosely and vaguely. But, in the end, although we've been here before, "i swear this time" it'll be different..


Such a vague song... gorgeous too. Identity, fight, conitinue to fight, loss, heavy-handed metaphors.

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