The title says it all! Opinions expressed here are those of the authors. Personal tastes may vary, and we are cool with that.

Monday, April 26, 2010

30 Day Music Challenge, Day 16: A Song I Used to Love But Now Hate

When I first discovered Edenbridge, I really liked them. And then, the more I listened, the more odd I found them. It has to do with their lyrics, I think. Lyrics are important to me, and as I read through Edenbridge's lyrics, I started to feel that they have some of the worst lyrics in metal! Cliches, cheesy rhymes, and the lyrics really don't convey much. There is no real cohesion in what they write. Their lyrics remind me of Duran Duran's lyrics: lots of nice words and images, but they are really not saying a hell of a lot, and therefore they don't make a lot of sense.

Edenbridge does have some nice compositions, however, and I wouldn't say I hate them at all, but rather that I have grown out of them. Some of their songs have good hooks and lovely melodies, but their lyrics fail them.

Here are the lyrics to "Shadowplay" found at Dark Lyrics:

Fly upon a brainchild
With unashamed delight
Bending over backwards day and night

Our world's collapsing
Like a house of cards
A stagy farewell waits without regard

We are hanging in the balance
Are we beyond and remedy?
It was taken out of our hands
And we face a tragedy

Why, why are we here
On wild soil we roam
And love to call it home
We are vibrant with life
The will to survive
Ways to go astray
In this shadowplay

Skimming stones on water
Only yesterday
Into cosmic dust we now decay
Kindred souls and spirits
Bound by energy
Who can say what is reality?

Do we flog a dead horse?
Just eternal bliss
Leaves us back to hope for
The former times we miss

We are driven by emotion
And pray the bond won't brake
So strong is our devotion
Our being is opaque


I have seen the cascade
The souls between light and shade
Not a drop in the ocean
Forever we
The spirit of infinity

See what I mean about cliches? And lots of their songs contain them.

Anyway, here is the song.


sorcha said...

Normally I kinda like Edenbridge. But I also don't like this song. It makes want to break something..

CanuckFan said...

LOL! I still like Shine, even though it is full of cliche's too.

Winterstorm said...

Huh? This song is awesome - I was really surprised about the guitar solo, it really didn't sound like Lanvall at all. The second part, that is. Then I learned that it's actually two solos, one by Lanvall and one by Karl Groom from Threshold, who also mixed the album. Great record, and it was actually produced in Dreamscape Studios, Munich, like Visions of Atlantis' Trinity (the studio is owned by the keyboardist of the band Dreamscape). One thing that is indeed strange about the record, though, is that the choral backing vocals aren't by Sabine, they sound male. In fact they make the music sound even more Symphony X like.

I don't think the lyrics are any more clichéd than those of most other metal bands, especially other power metal bands. Lyrics aren't that important in metal anyway (although it would be nice if metal musicians made more use of pre-existing lyrics if they don't like writing lyrics that much anyway). But then, I don't know why you single those out - they aren't particularly silly. Edenbridge seem to convey an environmental message on this album. Or take "Cheyenne Spirit", which is apparently about the suffering of the Native Americans ... so Edenbridge have very real concerns that they address in their lyrics, not just random fantasy motifs. Also, for example, Epica's lyrics don't make a lot of sense to me without knowing the background and sound weird ("Chasing the Dragon", anyone?), but the context makes them very meaningful. So I don't really understand your complaint about Edenbridge's lyrics. It's far too general. I can think of many, many much better examples for bad lyrics.

CanuckFan said...

I'm not talking about cliched themes, I'm talking about actual cliches in their use of the language.

For instance, in this song alone:

1. "Our world's collapsing/Like a house of cards" - house of cards in reference to anything collapsing is a cliche in the English language.

2. "Do we flog a dead horse?" Also a cliche.

Other songs:

1. Place of Higher Power: "What a tangled web we weave." *groans*

2. Shine (a song I quite like): "He's as good as gold."

3. Shine: "Turn over a new leaf"

4. Shine: the whole "man & machine" imagery...borderline cliche in this context.

5. Undying Devotion: "Jewel in the crown/Can't keep a good man down" - again, cliche, and a groaner. Not to mention the title!

There are others, too. Use of cliches like this is a big sign of lack of creativity and imagination.

And I fully realize that English is not this band's first language, presumably; they are Austrian, after all, and might not be aware that to a well-read and educated native English speaker, these phrases and images are indeed cliches.

Now, lyrics in metal are important to ME. Very important. Compared with other stuff I listen to, they seem particularly weak to me, especially their lazy rhyming! There are way, way WAY better examples of metal lyrics out there: Sonata Arctica, Dawn of Destiny, Angtoria...I could go on and on.

And of course, you have bear in mind that my criticism of these lyrics is heavily influenced by the fact that I have a degree in creative writing, which makes me even more picky about these things than most people! :P

CanuckFan said...

Oh, I also forgot "bending over backwards" in "Shadowplay" too. :|

CanuckFan said...

Also, just let me qualify the word "hate" in the title. I really don't HATE this song, or Edenbridge...Rather, I have grown out of them, I guess, and this is a song I no longer play because it just doesn't do it for my anymore.

Winterstorm said...

Hmm, I don't see the problem. They're not clichés, they're simply normal turns of phrase. Why shouldn't they use them?

Winterstorm said...

And I still don't get why you single them out, why exactly them, oh why?

Winterstorm said...

A lot of Nightwish lyrics make me cringe, too - I don't get all the fangirling about them, they're not really that creative, more like random, awkward and pretentious. Tuomas pulls too much shit out of his ass :-/

CanuckFan said...

Winterstorm: trust me, those are cliches and you would be skewered for these in any self-respecting creative writing workshop, believe me.

Not that I expect metal lyrics to stand up in creative writing workshops, but lazy rhyming and cliches really stand out to me when I hear them.

As for singling someone out, well, that is the point of these topics for this meme: "pick a song you used to like but now don't," "pick a song you play when you are angry," etc. I had to pick something, and this was it.

As for Tuomas's lyrics, I agree he has some weak ones, but on the whole his are way better than Edenbridge's, IMO.

I think we will just have to agree to disagree on this one! :D

CanuckFan said...

OK, one last word on the cliche thing:

My Oxford dictionary defines a cliche as "a hackneyed phrase or opinion."

It defines hackneyed as "made commonplace or trite by overuse."

All of those phrases I listed fit this definition.

Winterstorm said...

Nightwish has lots of linguistically questionable stuff, and lazy rhymes, or dodgy metres, not to mention clichés (that's why there are those drinking games), I can't see how they're so much better. Oh, and I don't think Sonata's lyrics are that good either, in general; they can sound immature and even plain ridiculous, need I even mention some of the most famous knee-slappers? Even Wintersun has its "ick" moments. Early Dream Theater (until Scenes from a Memory) - and to a lesser extent Kamelot - that's what I call good, original, poetic lyrics. Of course, as native speakers, they've got a HUGE advantage; most people don't even seem to realise how difficult it is to write quality prose, let alone poetry, in a language other than the one you learned at school (which is hard enough), and just because English is an international language doesn't mean it's easier to write in it. Not at all. I wish bands would finally turn to the languages most familiar to them, or as I suggested, simply avoid the bad metal lyrics problem by using pre-existing texts, of which there are plenty.

Winterstorm said...

Ah, but those phrases are not overused in general. There's nothing wrong with saying "it collapsed like a house of cards". You used "flogging a dead horse", as well, remember? :P And for symphonic metal, or power metal, they're even less overused. How many metal lyrics even use such phrases? Trust me, Edenbridge's lyrics are fine in comparison.

CanuckFan said...

Well, they are overused in general in my world.

I'm not talking about them being cliche in the world of metal lyrics, I'm talking about them being cliche in the world of English language & literature.

"Good as gold?" Come on!

What pre-existing texts are you thinking of?

CanuckFan said...

And yes, I used "flogging a dead horse" in a blog post, because it's a blog post, not a piece of lyric set to music in which I'm trying to put my very best efforts forward for the world to listen to. Cliches turn up in every day language all the time, but that doesn't make it OK to put them into poetry/lyrics/music/prose. It's lazy writing.

Winterstorm said...

Pre-existing texts as in poetry that exists independently of music.

Uhm, you're saying that a journalist cannot write "this is flogging a dead horse"?

Well, with Nightwish's lyrics, you've sort of got the opposite problem: Tuomas seems to try so hard to come up with original phrases that the result sounds contrived and inconsistent stylistically, mixing different levels/registers of speech that don't fit together. It's as if he Googled every phrase just to be sure it hasn't been used before. It just sounds artificial. Also, he doesn't manage to use archaisms like "thou" properly. Of course a big part of the problem is that English is not his native language and he doesn't seem to have a particularly reliable sense of what sounds good and natural to a native speaker. (Of course, I'm not one either but reading so much has given me a sense of what sounds idiomatic I would like to think at least.) A reviewer appropriately described it as "mostly gibberish". His Finnish lyrics seem to be much nicer. And DPP really has some of the most ridiculous sounding lyrics ever. Once you take yourself so seriously and get pretentious enough to effectively call yourself "The Poet" it's really getting painful. I may not have done a creative writing course but I think I can claim to have a sense of good poetry, whether in older or more modern styles. Of prose, too.

And as Legeon has pointed out, several of the best lyrical ideas in Nightwish are borrowed from somewhere else, be it classical poetry, Stephen King or Terminator 2 ...