Song lyrics on Music in Notes are used for educational purposes only and are the property of the songwriter(s) attributed. All analyses, essays, poetry, and reviews are the original work of and property of Mary L. Chang and cannot be used whole or in part without permission.
The week of 15 September 2019 is never far from my mind. It was a week of extreme highs and extreme lows. Wheels started in motion for what I believe will be a new way of life, a new way of being.
This month, I went to three places I’ve never been before. This is really unusual for me because I tend to go to places I have been before, where I have history and loads of friends. The kinds of places I know and where I feel safe. I was worried about the language barrier in Oslo and Stockholm and the weirdness of cashless societies. I don’t think I have ever breathed cleaner air or met nicer people than on this trip to Scandinavia. Even the people not from the area were nicer just by being around these Scandis, wrapped in their invisible hygge.
For me, seeing preserved Viking boats and peacock feathers in person dredged up ancient, fond memories to the surface. I watched from above the absolute majesty of a sold-out rock concert in a Swedish landmark building built in 1863 with impossibly high ceilings and disco chandeliers.
I made new friends and solidified old connections there and in Belfast days later. I saw this fruit display in a subway station convenience store on 10 February and smiled to myself. One of my good friends back in Washington said to me earlier this year that good things come to good people. Some people think the world is big and scary. It’s really not. You will find the people meant for you and your journey. Keep the faith, and trust the process.
— Mary L. Chang (@theprintedword) February 19, 2020
last updated 27 Feb 2020
Since the last time I updated this About page, I put my music site There Goes the Fear on ice, in order to free myself up to work on a memoir. Putting thoughts and memories together from what feels like lives past has been a bit of a bumpy ride so far, to say the least.
I had the intention of only adding new content to TGTF under extremely rare circumstances. Such was the case in my previewing of Duran Duran‘s late night concert at the Kennedy Space Complex on 16 July 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Many years ago, back in the ’80s when I was really little, we went on a family vacation to accompany my father on one of his official business trips to Cocoa Beach, Florida. You see, he was a scientist at NASA. He published a lot of research before he passed. One of his greatest regrets was that I did not follow him in a career in the physical sciences. (My degree is in biology.) However, one of the cool NASA-y things I got to do with him was to visit the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral.
The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Duran Duran, and Morrissey are just a few from the cast of musical characters who have shaped who I was as a child, as a teenager, as a college student, as an adult, as well as who I am now. What has become increasingly clear as I have been working on parts of my memoir is how strong still the memories are from different points in time, especially when those points were soundtracked by certain artists and particular albums.
We cannot rewrite the past, nor should we. I have become increasingly philosophical about not just what we all are meant to be doing for others during our time here, but for ourselves and the spirit within. For many years as the Editor-in-Chief and driving force behind TGTF, I was chasing what I thought would mean something important, mean something to other people. I would come across the brokenhearted and try to heal them, but that doesn’t work when the people do not want to be healed. What I ignored for so long was the voice inside me that needed to sing. I don’t mean literally, I mean spiritually. How do we find this voice, let it out, and let it go to do its thing? It’s different for every person. But as I move forward, I will no longer ignore it. Every day is a test of understanding what Robert Plant sang, “the answer lies with you.”
last updated 26 July 2019
The first time I visited England was May 2006. The trip was timed purposely and specifically to catch Morrissey play a trio of gigs in his hometown of Manchester. So the first show I ever saw in Britain was his at the legendary Apollo in Ardwick Green, Saturday the 6th of May 2006. That night he sang a cover of Magazine‘s ‘A Song Under the Floorboards’. But he made one change to the lyrics. Omitting Howard Devoto’s line “I know beauty and I know a good thing when I see it,” Stephen Patrick Morrissey instead sang, “I know beauty and I know a good song when I sing it.”
This wasn’t a case of a simple cut and paste; it changed the meaning and feeling of the first verse of the song entirely. Does a singer know a good song when he or she sings it? Does it matter if he or she wrote the words, or if someone else did? I think the answer to both questions is a resounding YES.
While many of my friends in this music business only concentrate on whether a tune “sounds good” or not and ignore the words being sung entirely, I hope to open your eyes to the wonderful world of song lyrics to show you – and all the other naysayers – what a rich art we have at our fingertips…er, ears…to not just enjoy. But to learn from. To share our emotions. To make ourselves better people. If only more people were tuned into and tapped into this amazing resource based on, in most cases, real life, I’m convinced the world would be a better place.
This blog is sure to use up the very precious and very little remaining free time in my life when I’m not running There Goes the Fear UK/US/IE music Web site, where I am editor and owner, or attending live gigs either in the Washington, DC area or abroad. I am currently in the midst of writing two books, mostly in my head: my memoirs, and a retrospective on Keane, the latter of which seems more likely to be finished first following a particularly successful interview with Tom Chaplin last year.
This blog is dedicated to everyone out there who makes the world that much brighter and richer with their words through song. Thanks goes out to guitarist and lyricist Daniel Hopewell of Sheffield band the Crookes for being the first person who was keen on and believed in this new project.
I hope you enjoy what I write and it will all encourage you to look deeper into your favourite songs, because you just might be surprised what you might find. In yourself.
last updated 7 March 2017