Tag Archives: Songs

Aerosmith’s “Dream On” and terrorism victims

aerosmith dream on

Lots of terrorism going on these days. People have different responses to terrorism. For anyone who is Catholic, the setting of the above response is really creepy, however well intended by the participants. This is obviously an ex-Catholic Church perhaps in Boston and they are singing this as a kind of requiem for the victims of the terrorism of the Boston Marathon Bombing. It would be incomparably better if the requiem was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I wouldn’t watch the above video if I were you. Having said all that, there are some good things, great things even, exceptionally superb in the original song. This is the best version, with just lyrics:

Aerosmith: “Dream On” [correct lyrics below]

Every time when I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by like dusk to dawn
Isn’t that the way
Everybody’s got the dues in life to pay [“Dues in life” is a reference to justice in a stanza filled with honesty and humility before the consequences of sin as serious as death. Truth be told, not many are so honest, even among religious leaders. Moveover, there is a leveling out here, not one who is more or less guilty. This is very close to a description of the consequences of original sin.]

Yeah. [He’s answering objections about how we know about the consequences of what? Original sin?] I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes [“it” = mysterium iniquitatis, the mystery of iniquity, because it truly is a mystery, as mentioned by so many of the Fathers of the Church and in Magisterial interventions (such as with Saint John Paul II), for how can we fathom how evil was chosen over good, and how can we even begin to fathom the damage as this specter marches on in slaughter right through the ages and epochs of the full length of time]
I know it’s “Everybody sins” [That’s one incomplete but effectively correct way to put it]
You got to lose to know how to win [There you go. Very cool. Just be humble and realize what the situation is, not futilely attempting to run away from it, not denying it, but facing it, and so now ending the losing and beginning to win, as it’s only with such humility that one can turn, or better be turned to that which is right.]

Half my life
Is in books’ written pages [humanity is so similar, with other peoples’ lives acting like a mirror to our own lives, and yet we have individuality, free will, choices…]
Live and learn from fools and
From sages [as there is much more going on with each of us, the currents running deep with each of us, regardless of whether others correctly or incorrectly label us as fools or as sages, it being that we’re a little of both.]
You know it’s true, oh
All the things come back to you [Yes, we always have opportunities to reflect, to learn.]

Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter and sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today [all this being reminiscent of the Preacher, Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth: there’s a time for…]
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away [But have you been humble?]

Yeah, sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter and sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away [Repetition: encouragement]

Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream until your dreams come true [the dream, the aspiration, the desire, is that in being humble, that is, honest in the face of what life has become after original sin, we can hope that the Lord will take us from this vale of tears and away to heaven.]
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream until your dreams come true
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on, aw…

Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away
Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away [I like it; I like it a lot.]

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Kansas: “Carry On Wayward Son” Catholic analysis of the lyrics

This is just my unabashedly Catholic interpretation of Kerry Allen Livgren’s Carry on Wayward Son. You’ll remember he also wrote Dust in the Wind. Kerry continues his spiritual journey as an evangelical Christian after a major stroke some years ago. I don’t know if his family has Catholic heritage to it (so to speak, though the family names speak strongly of this), but note the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the mantelpiece above the fireplace on the cover of the album. He’s thinking about it…

KANSAS: “Carry on Wayward Son”

Carry on my wayward son,
For there’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more [These advisers are angels, encouraging him to stay on course, looking forward in hope to heaven, his efforts being, however, to let himself be drawn to the living truth from on high. He’s just discerning this childlike simplicity, however, and is still counting a bit too much on his own efforts, as if he was his own savior. That only brings lack of peace, frustration, weariness, tears.]

Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond the illusion
I was soaring ever higher, but I flew too high
Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man [Under his own efforts he did realize the vanity of his own efforts, that getting to know a negative truth doesn’t bring you positively into the peace and fulfillment of the living truth. It takes quite a bit of humility not to become so frustrated that one becomes bitterly cynical. He is encouraged once again in the fog by the angels to do what he needs to do, which is, paradoxically, not to count so much on his own efforts, but rather to let himself be taken up into the living truth:]

I hear the voices when I’m dreamin’, I can hear them say

Carry on my wayward son,
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more

Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season
And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don’t know
On a stormy sea of blurry emotion
Tossed about I’m like a ship on the ocean
I set a course for winds of fortune, [He has ignored, as we might well do, the voices of the angels and their advice, entrenching himself in chaos, thinking this will bring him to what he wants so deeply. But the angels are persistent in their advice to carry on, that is, not as he has been doing, but in such manner that his own efforts to save himself can just take a rest, in which case he no longer has to be so frustrated with himself and cry.]

but I hear the voices say

Carry on my wayward son,
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more

Carry on, you will always remember
Carry on, nothing equals the splendor [This is the turning point.]
Now your life’s no longer empty [filling ourselves with ourselves is emptiness.]
Surely heaven waits for you [because now he’s letting heaven draw him there.]

Carry on my wayward son,
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry, don’t you cry no more, no more [Fantastic. An anti-Pelagian heresy, pro-angels theological ballad. Thanks, Kerry.]

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Buffalo Springfield For What It’s Worth. Surprise Intent of Stills’ Lyrics against tender snowflake paranoid violence.

buffalo springfield

Stephen Arthur Stills of 1960s Buffalo Springfield fame penned “For What Its Worth”. Recall that he’s Canadian and that, in pre-1982 Canada, “justices of the Peace had the authority to impose a six-month jail term on anyone carrying a handgun.” [[I’ve been corrected for that in the comments. Seems he’s American. Which only reinforces my commentary here.]] The song “For What Its Worth” has always been taken as a protest, anti-gun jingo. But it’s not. One might think from a glance of the Wikipedia article that Stills might be on the protest side of things:

“In November 1966, Stills composed his landmark song, “For What It’s Worth”, after police actions against the crowds of young people who had gathered on the Sunset Strip to protest the closing of a nightclub called Pandora’s Box (contrary to later retellings by Stills, he was not present for the riot; rather, Buffalo Springfield was playing an engagement in San Francisco at the time).”

I was born in 1960 and so I was only a little kid when this came out. What did I know about anything? But I met a USMC guy the other day, perhaps 10 years older than me, who was a teenager at the time. He thinks it’s one of the best songs ever. No peacenik, he. Perhaps a fisking of the words is in order, as this will help tender snowflakes see that the ones they hold to be their gurus, such as Stills, weren’t the tender snowflakes people thought they were. Perhaps Stills was a bit adrift at the time, but he still carried some values of reason and civility from earlier baby boomer times.

In brief, it seems this song praises police action against out of control paranoid hippie rioters who cross over the line with violence and gunfire and need rightly to be “taken away” as the song says. Perhaps Stills, still going strong, might even say that he disagrees with my assessment, but he’s the one who wrote the lyrics. Whatever he intended then or now doesn’t matter so much as what the words actually say. I like what he wrote. I like it a lot.

BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD: “For What Its Worth”

There’s something happening here. [A violent riot in reaction to the closing of a night club.]

What it is ain’t exactly clear. [Stills is not automatically on the side of the rioters, is he? No. He’s calling for reason, for analysis. Good for him.]

There’s a man with a gun over there, [We don’t know who this is yet, whether a law enforcement officer or someone in the crowd. But for him, the presence of a gun from any source is not something he wants to see, though it may be necessary. The examination of the circumstances for the gun is the point of the song.]

Telling me I got to beware. [This sounds like an encouragement of paranoia from the guy with the gun, who is being annoyed with a reasonable assessment of the situation by Stills. The encouragement of paranoia is ideological manipulation which Stills disagrees with, and says so:]

I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound? [He’s reprimanding the protesters (“the hippie flower tender snowflake children”), telling them to stop, as, apparently, they are O.K. not only with the brandishing of a gun but with the firing of a gun (the “sound”), thus calling them out as actually being violent bullies.]

Everybody look what’s going down. [He can’t believe that what he was expecting to be a peaceful protest almost seems —  could it be? — to be pre-planned violence? He says it frankly:]

There’s battle lines being drawn. [This is a soliloquy falling on deaf ears, but he keeps going, perhaps thinking he will do some good for someone.]
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong. [He goes for the jugular, attacking Marxist dialectical ideology, whereby everyone is wrong, some less than others, but with violence for all being the only way to force any disparity into a leveled out utopia.]

Young people speaking their minds, [The Marxist Antithesis]

Getting so much resistance from behind. [The Marxist Thesis]

It’s time we stop, “Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.” [Stills is frantic. But no one cares. The violence is intended to grow.]

What a field-day for the heat:
A thousand people in the street,
Singing songs and carrying signs,
Mostly saying, “Hooray for our side!” [He’s not saying that the police action is wrong. He is pointing out that the self-congratulatory signs are shallow ideology promoting might makes right on the part of the protesters. Mindless tender snowflakes are with all of their violence from hell.]

It’s s time we stop, “Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.” [Then, after trying to get the attention of the protesters once again, he offers this overview of what’s happening:]

Paranoia strikes deep.
Into your life it will creep.
It starts when you’re always afraid. [Stills analysis is that Marxist dialectic violence comes from the frustration of cowardice, fear, with its lockstep reaction.]

You step out of line, they come and take you away. [O.K. This clinches this interpretation. The shooting of the gun is stepping out of line, and that makes for the justified reaction of law enforcement.]

We better stop, “Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.
Stop, hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.
Stop, now, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.
Stop, children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down. [Stills is stomping his feet now in a tantrum, though well justified. Basically, he’s frustrated with the tender snowflake bullies and continues to attempt to have them use a bit of reason. But, no, they won’t do it as this violence is what they always wanted from the beginning. I agree with the USMC guy I met the other day: great song! Good for Stephen Arthur Stills.]

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