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Oh Love (Song of the Week)

Song of the Week

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#31
PaulS

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You've definitely put a lot of thought into that, Bastard. The problem is, either you're reading too much into the lyrics or Bille Joe is expressing himself in an uncharacteristically hamfisted way. People seem keen to link the themes and carefree nature of the song to those in 39 and Kerplunk, but almost all of those songs were far more lucid than Oh Love. The sentiments were simple, true, but they at least flowed in some sense. The best dismissal I've seen of these new lyrics is that they read like a page of first lines, with nothing to link them to one another.

Since it just happens to be playing, consider the lyrics of Dry Ice. He was still a teenager when he wrote it, so the universal themes - love, yearning, uncertainty - are expressed in fairly simplistic terms. All the same, the lines represent perfectly understandable poetry. Verse two: "I'll send a letter to that girl asking her to be my own / But my pen is writing wrong, so I'll say it in a song / Oh I love you more right now, more than I've ever loved before / Here are those words straight from these lips, I'll need you forever more".

Compare that sentence, flowing and beautiful in its youthful elegance, to verse two of Oh Love: "Oh lights and action, I just can't be satisfied / Oh losers and choosers, won't you please hold on my life? / Oh hours and hours, like the dog years of the day / Old story same old story, won't you see the light of day?"

The first sentence makes no sense in the context you suggest. If Billie is trying to express dissatisfaction at his current place in life, then the juxtaposition with 'oh lights and action' is muddled and backwards; as structured, it reads like the lights and action are unable to satisfy him. Then comes the second part which, ironically, you had to add your own punctuation to. Even in edited form, "won't you please hold on, my life?" is woeful writing that almost trips over its own inept phrasing. The dog years part is fine, if awkward, but the final sentence is merely another meaningless platitude. Presumably he is willing [the narrator] to 'see the light of day', in which case an editor (Rob?) really should have taken a marker to his shitty sentence construction. Read the entire stanza out loud, and tell me any of it flows properly.

Billie may well be trying to express something profound here, but it reads like he simply pulled lines from a hat and arranged them randomly on the page. I've come to enjoy the song a bit more over the last couple of days (particularly as an anthemic chaser before Dos) and I applaud your efforts to make sense of it, but the wider context reveals only scattergun, throwaway lyrics. I'd argue that's what you might expect Billie to toss off while drunk one night in the studio, if only the majority of Foxboro songs weren't considerably more profound, erudite and cohesive.

#32
Bastard of 1967

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I don't get how he ever ended up with a post/rep ratio of only about 2/1 ... Always a nice read!

Easy - the other half of stuff that I post is usually a load of crap! :lol:

Seriously - Thank you all for the positive feedback on these posts. I'm humbled.

#33
Florence

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Thanks Michael, Melissa and Tanya for this brilliant interpretation! I really really really enjoyed reading it. :wub: :happy:
Spoiler


#34
Bastard of 1967

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I appreciate your thoughts, and if this were an English class I'd say you have some really good points there. Hell, I still think you have some good points there regardless. But I'd argue this is poetry we're looking at -- and very dense, vague, and condensed poetry at that. So I'll agree it's going to fall flat for some people, as did some of BJ's songwriting on 21st Century Breakdown. That it's not falling flat with everyone -- and instead is having the opposite effect -- suggests that the meat he's packing into this song is (maybe even despite his best efforts?) making it to the surface.

As for the comparison between the straighforward, almost prosaic, style Billie used in the 39/Smooth and Kerplunk days, to his writing on 21stCB and now what little we've seen of Uno, I'd suggest that he's just using a much more stream-of-consciousness and metaphoric style now. If his language were art, it would be more like an impressionist painting or a watercolor than a landscape portrait. It's very artistic, and it's a *lot* harder to "get" because its plain meaning doesn't hit you in the face like his writing did when he was a teenager. Some may say the quality of his songs will suffer because of this, but I feel it elevates them.

#35
justcause

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From my own pov, I have no desire to be 'nailing' this song - right now it's tender, all I wanna do is be with it and let it unfold. I don't even think it's a 'nailing' kind of song - like, put it in a box and sum it up. I think that if you do that, you lose what this song is trying to give to you.

#36
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Thanks Michael for that glorious post. I think your analysis will hold even more true once we see what goes down on Dos---if Oh Love is the contextual bookend to Uno and the cliffhanger for Dos, it would make sense that this song that you're ostensibly saying is about temptation will lead into "It's Fuck Time," and perhaps regret as on "Stray Heart," where we know the lyrics reflect that kind of yearning and regret "Everything that I want/I want from you/but I just can't have you" combined with "I'll never stray again from you."

At the same time, it makes me uncomfortable to overanalyze to such a degree, and place too much explicit meaning on the songs, especially as they pertain to Billie's life. He's mentioned how Redundant, as you said, was kind of about the rut you get into when you're in a long-term relationship (so obviously, he was explicitly referring to his real life situation)... if "Oh Love" is the next step, then maybe he's sharing too much information :P And for that reason, although he's one of the most honest songwriters for whom vanity is never an issue (Case in point, The Grouch: "I don't have sex cause I can't get it up"), I do think it's less specific. That MTV interview that came out today, where he mentions "going crazy" and thinking with your crotch instead of your head, obviously reflects in a less poetic way everything you just explained, and I think you did a better job than Billie of capturing the complexities of that emotion. At the same time, I think even though you've uncovered what's going down in "Oh Love," it likely was written as a somewhat incomplete stream of consciousness that perhaps Billie himself never managed to make total sense of in the way that you did. I think he might benefit from your analysis. Sit him down on a couch and tell him how he really feels :P Nevertheless, if it's possible, you may have dug too deep. As PaulS said, overanalyzed... but I admire it a lot.

#37
CristhyneS

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Ever since Oh Love dropped yesterday, I've been trying to figure out why it seems to resonate with me so much....



I honestly love reading your posts! But this oneblew my mind entirely. I hadn't had the time to sit an analyse the lyrics myself yet, but now I feel I no longer have to. Seriously, one or two of my brain cells might have just orgasmed. :lol:



On an entirely different note (because after Bastard of 1967's posts I don't feel the need to add anything to the discussion of the song :P)....

Wow, what an idea! The song of the week is the single released earlier the same day! http://www.greendaycommunity.org/public/...


Well I thought it ws a pretty obvious choice for song of the week this week. I would of been like "whaaaa? Oh Love is not song of the week?" if they had chosen soemthing else. So don't really get all the comments about this :P

#38
PaulS

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Interesting thoughts again, Bastard. You're putting more effort into this than Green Day did ;)

As for the comparison between the straighforward, almost prosaic, style Billie used in the 39/Smooth and Kerplunk days, to his writing on 21stCB and now what little we've seen of Uno, I'd suggest that he's just using a much more stream-of-consciousness and metaphoric style now. If his language were art, it would be more like an impressionist painting or a watercolor than a landscape portrait. It's very artistic, and it's a *lot* harder to "get" because its plain meaning doesn't hit you in the face like his writing did when he was a teenager. Some may say the quality of his songs will suffer because of this, but I feel it elevates them.


I don't think there's anything prosaic about his earlier work (which, for the purposes of this, I'll take to mean from Warning backwards). The sentiments are simple, certainly, but the manner in which they're expressed is at once powerful and heartfelt. Moreover, not only do the lyrics read well, they sing well. Even the more reasonable lines in Oh Love often sound clumsy, as though he's straining for a rhyme. I suppose that is why I have an issue with the notion of this being an impressionist piece of work: he is very clearly working within the traditional boundaries of a pop song, just doing it badly. He isn't breaking into new forms here, rather he has forgetten how to write well.

Your suggestion that this is a stream-of-consciousness song is probably more accurate - one need only listen to Billie talk to realise his strengths lie in reflection, not in spontaneous discussion. We make light of his frequent 'ya know' speech patterns, but songs like this are merely the lyrical form of that. When he sits down and really works through a lyric, I think he can be one of the great mainstream songwriters. When he doesn't - which used to be very rare - we get this and, to a lesser extent, Know Your Enemy.

Again, I don't dispute that he might be trying hard to say something with those two songs, but whatever it is he's not getting there. You make reference to this song having much in common with his lyrics on 21CB, but I've just checked again and almost all of them are perfectly understandable, despite his increased reliance of sloganeering and metaphor. Even the most complex ideas can be made understandable; indeed, it is the mark of a great writer that he or she is able to do so. Billie has done it before - in Jesus of Suburbia, most notably - but this fails to relay even the simplest of messages.

#39
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Even the most complex ideas can be made understandable; indeed, it is the mark of a great writer that he or she is able to do so.


I would really challenge the second part of what you've said there - l don't think there's any obligation on an artist to make things explicable to people. You make it, and you present it, and people either get it or don't. If they don't, chances are that they'll lay the blame on you, but all that matters is that you're true to yourself and that you give expression in whatever form that expression comes.

#40
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I think it's important to remember that Billie Joe himself says "I think most of my lyrics don't make sense anyway"... they don't make sense to him, they make even less sense to us (or in Michael's case, they make sense ;) ) Like justcause says, he has no obligation to explain himself (least of all when he has no idea why he wrote what he wrote), because he doesn't know himself half the time. That's what art is... it's kind of like when you're bored and doodling in class... sometimes you're like "I'm going to draw a flower," and other times you just start drawing and before you know it you've got some batshit crazy design and you start to wonder what's wrong with you and where the fuck this imagery is coming from. Then you hand in your notebook and have no answer for your teacher as to why you drew a hexagon with seven arms and an octopus leg.

#41
Ritz

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I'm in love with this song. The more I listen to it, the more I relate to it. The lyrics are good, the music is catchy and the solo is just WOW ! The chorus works like a magic in the song. I'm hooked to the chorus. And the falsetto fits in the song too. I'm in love with it. That's it.

#42
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Okay, something is really bothering me, so I'm just going to throw it out there.

I'm about 95% convinced that the correct lyrics to the bridge are;

Talk Tug myself out of feeling
Talk Tug my way out of control
Talk Tug myself out of falling in love
Falling in love with you


I know it's kind of arrogant to assume the official (3D!) lyric video is incorrect, but whenever I hear the song I think back to that "laserbeams shooting out of the titties" video where Billie hums a line which I at the time clearly percieved as "tug my way out". I too hear a distinct pronunciation of the word talk/tug in the song, which i guess could be an alternative way of pronouncing talk, but on the other hand a perfect pronunciation of the word tug which is more of a short "tuck" compared to talk which is more like a longer, less sharp "tork". From a poetic standpoint I think this alternative also adds a bit more depth to the bridge and makes the imagery a bit more interesting. (I for example imagine a guy being dragged (tugged) backwards by a rope, arms reaching out, in a sharp pull fashion according to the beat of the music)

When I see the official lyrics posted inside of the iUno! CD-case, I will accept it if I'm proven wrong, but until then I believe it's not impossible that whoever made the youtube video at Warner could have wrote the lyrics out by ear, and the band had nothing to do with that product at all. But what do you think, do you also hear a little ticke-di-tug in there?

#43
basKT_case90

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Okay, something is really bothering me, so I'm just going to throw it out there.

I'm about 95% convinced that the correct lyrics to the bridge are;

Talk Tug myself out of feeling
Talk Tug my way out of control
Talk Tug myself out of falling in love
Falling in love with you


I know it's kind of arrogant to assume the official (3D!) lyric video is incorrect, but whenever I hear the song I think back to that "laserbeams shooting out of the titties" video where Billie hums a line which I at the time clearly percieved as "tug my way out". I too hear a distinct pronunciation of the word talk/tug in the song, which i guess could be an alternative way of pronouncing talk, but on the other hand a perfect pronunciation of the word tug which is more of a short "tuck" compared to talk which is more like a longer, less sharp "tork". From a poetic standpoint I think this alternative also adds a bit more depth to the bridge and makes the imagery a bit more interesting. (I for example imagine a guy being dragged (tugged) backwards by a rope, arms reaching out, in a sharp pull fashion according to the beat of the music)

When I see the official lyrics posted inside of the iUno! CD-case, I will accept it if I'm proven wrong, but until then I believe it's not impossible that whoever made the youtube video at Warner could have wrote the lyrics out by ear, and the band had nothing to do with that product at all. But what do you think, do you also hear a little ticke-di-tug in there?


I'm sorry to say this, but you are completely wrong. The word he sings IS actually "Talk". It just sounds to you like "Tug" because that's how most Americans pronounce the word. They don't pronounce it the "British" way as in "Tork".

Also I'm definitely sure the lyrics video has the correct lyrics, since it is the OFFICIAL video put out by the band's youtube account, and probably had access to Billie's actual lyrics written himself, instead of trying to decipher the lyrics by ear like we all have been doing since the Red 7 live recording.


:)

#44
The Snark

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Here all of you are really digging into the meaning of this song, and all I came here to say is that I love how it teeters on that fine line between being super slow and catchy enough to bounce to.

But then again I suck at analyzing stuff and love songs whose lyrics aren't completely obvious upon the first listen.

#45
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I don't have much to say about this song... Well, that people haven't already said 20x better than me. So, I will respond with a response deep from my heart. I (oh) love this song.

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#46
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I'm very pleased with the sound in Oh Love, though I'm still trying to make up mind up about the lyrics.

This:

Your suggestion that this is a stream-of-consciousness song is probably more accurate - one need only listen to Billie talk to realise his strengths lie in reflection, not in spontaneous discussion. We make light of his frequent 'ya know' speech patterns, but songs like this are merely the lyrical form of that. When he sits down and really works through a lyric, I think he can be one of the great mainstream songwriters. When he doesn't - which used to be very rare - we get this and, to a lesser extent, Know Your Enemy.


...is something I've been thinking about but couldn't quite put to words.

That said, at the moment, I'm leaning more toward being okay with the lyrics - largely because of the way Billie sings the lines. And I expect better things coming from the trilogy, so no worries at all.

(OT I'm always glad to see some love for Billie's 39/Smooth and Kerplunk writing.)

#47
Heather.

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I'm very pleased with the sound in Oh Love, though I'm still trying to make up mind up about the lyrics.

This:



...is something I've been thinking about but couldn't quite put to words.

That said, at the moment, I'm leaning more toward being okay with the lyrics - largely because of the way Billie sings the lines. And I expect better things coming from the trilogy, so no worries at all.

(OT I'm always glad to see some love for Billie's 39/Smooth and Kerplunk writing.)


Exactly.... the music carries the song where the lyrics fail, and we will have TONS of really fascinating, awesome lyrics coming. It'll probably escalate too, with Tre having the most interesting lyrics (99 Revolutions is about Occupy Oakland after all, so it'll probably be like the writing of 21CB). Little Boy Named Train already promises to be fascinating, in my view. I think the lyrics to Amy are beautiful and explicit and symbolic all at once. Considering the music of Oh Love is so beautiful, it's hard to care right now that the lyrics may have fallen short for most of us.

#48
GreenDayisAmazing

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Fuck my computer got a virus the day the Green Day tour rumor got out =(. I couldn't listen to the song exactly at 6, but I did get to when the radio played it at 7:10 =). Haha I got up just to listen to Green Day and went back to sleep. Not my favorite Green Day song, but it's good! Can't wait to hear what they have in store for us.

#49
Sara Armstrong

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i was pretty mixed when i first heard it but the more i listened to it the more i fell in love with it. such a good song.

#50
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I don't have much to say about this song... Well, that people haven't already said 20x better than me. So, I will respond with a response deep from my heart. I (oh) love this song.


Amen to this. :bunny:

#51
bjrules

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I'm quite late in posting my thoughts, but I really just have to say, that, on first listen, the song blew me away. The shitty Red 7 version on Youtube did not do the song justice, and the song exceeded my expectations. I've had it on repeat for the past couple of days. Also, I just have to say that the video is going to be amazing :)

#52
Bastard of 1967

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Sit him down on a couch and tell him how he really feels http://www.greendaycommunity.org/public/...

I'd LOVE for some of this to get back to BJ and for him to say "man, that guy REALLY fucked that one up!" I'd wear that as a badge of honor!

#53
Maria Gloria

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This song gets even better every time I listen to it. I really can't believe it... I never expected to like it this much. In a way I was expecting it to just be average, an ok song but not something I feel strongly about. I love it though.

Well my analysis is totally personal and I have no idea if it reflects anything Billie had in mind or not, but a few people enjoyed my 21CB ones so I thought I might as well do one for this.

So I get the impression that the narrator is alone, in love with this person that he "just can't have". He just desperately wants this person both sexually and romantically and it hurts; he's finally let his heart loose but it feels like it's "on a noose". The noose could be the noose of love in general, the fear of failure or the consequences of his actions; or just the noose of knowing that he's pursuing a lost cause. He's wasting away into the feelings.
Nothing he's already got can satisfy him. It's going on endlessly every day, but it only ever results in the same old story. Does the other person return the feelings, is it them who won't see the light of day? Or is it the "losers and choosers" seeing the same story in him all the time, not realising what he's going through?
Now he's half-heartedly trying to talk himself out of feeling any emotion, falling further in love with this person he can't have; talking himself out of tightening the noose, if you like. But all it results in is more sexual tension (had to get that in there somewhere seeing as Billie loves that phrase so much :P ).
I can't wait to see how it progresses into Dos. I get the feeling that the narrator never manages to talk himself out of tightening the noose and he ends up losing all control; then he finds himself self-reflecting on the mess he's made on Tre.

Again that's totally personal, I'd be too uncomfortable to try to relate anything to Billie's actual life.

#54
Ritz

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This song gets even better every time I listen to it. I really can't believe it... I never expected to like it this much. In a way I was expecting it to just be average, an ok song but not something I feel strongly about. I love it though.

Well my analysis is totally personal and I have no idea if it reflects anything Billie had in mind or not, but a few people enjoyed my 21CB ones so I thought I might as well do one for this.

So I get the impression that the narrator is alone, in love with this person that he "just can't have". He just desperately wants this person both sexually and romantically and it hurts; he's finally let his heart loose but it feels like it's "on a noose". The noose could be the noose of love in general, the fear of failure or the consequences of his actions; or just because the noose of knowing that he's pursuing a lost cause. He's wasting away into the feelings.
Nothing he's already got can satisfy him. It's going on endlessly every day, but it only ever results in the same old story. Does the other person return the feelings, is it them who won't see the light of day? Or is it the "losers and choosers" seeing the same story in him all the time, not realising what he's going through?
Now he's half-heartedly trying to talk himself out of feeling any emotion, falling further in love with this person he can't have; talking himself out of tightening the noose, if you like. But all it results in is more sexual tension (had to get that in there somewhere seeing as Billie loves that phrase so much http://www.greendaycommunity.org/public/... ).
I can't wait to see how it progresses into Dos. I get the feeling that the narrator never manages to talk himself out of tightening the noose and he ends up losing all control; then he finds himself self-reflecting on the mess he's made on Tre.

Again that's totally personal, I'd be too uncomfortable to try to relate anything to Billie's actual life.


This is the same thing I feel when I listen to this. Forbidden Love or something like that..

#55
Bastard of 1967

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I like that! That forbidden love theme is supposed to be a recurring one...we'll see where he takes it!

#56
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May I just express my shock that my mom (64 :P), for the first time ever, requested a Green Day song? :o "Can you play that new song from yesterday again? It's cute" (when she says cute she's referring to the music, not the lyrics, she doesn't speak english and I haven't translated it for her).

And also yesterday I showed the song to a (very oblivious about Green Day) friend of mine and he ws like "this might be my favourite song by them so far".

So, maybe this will really help them attract a new, and a bit different, fanbase?

#57
CristhyneS

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Well I've been getting the midlife crisis vibe from this song since I first heard it, "oh life, please don't pass me by", "won't you please hold on my life?", "hours and hours, like the dog years of the day". Also, the first time I heard something that inmediatelly shocked me was how he went from "won't you take me close to you," to "far away, far away" just from one line to the next. Then on a second listen I started to notice all these sort of contradictory feelings/descriptions, like "I'm wearing my heart on a noose" vs "my heart's on the loose". So, to me, the theory of this song being the representation of an internal conflict, between keeping yourself in control and letting go of all control, between acting by reason vs acting by intuition or desire, seems like a very natural one. Hence that Bastard's interpretation of the song seems very reasonable and plausible, at least to me. Sure, he got enough information in his interpretation like to start writing a novel based on the song ( :lol: ), but that doesn't make it any less viable.

#58
captain peroxide

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Interesting thoughts again, Bastard. You're putting more effort into this than Green Day did http://www.greendaycommunity.org/public/...


You need to start calling him Michael :lol: All I can think of when I read your posts is Tyrion Lannister.

#59
Bastard of 1967

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You need to start calling him Michael http://www.greendaycommunity.org/public/... All I can think of when I read your posts is Tyrion Lannister.

Either that or I need to find myself a more, um, aesthetically pleasing forum handle. :lol:

#60
GDInsaniac

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This is a perfect song for their first single because its catchy, is not a slow song, and if you blast it at a party, people would start dancin.



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Song of the Week

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