Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Total Truths #7 - Words are Powerful (And the Jukebox Plays...) #TunesdayTuesdayHop

Each one of us has inside of us our own truth. My Total Truths is a series based on MY truths; a list of things that I know to be true. What are your total truths?

# 7 - Words are Powerful

Words matter. The writer in me knows this as an essential truth. They don't always have to be neat or pretty or elegantly spoken; they can be simple and rough around the edges but no matter what words you choose to say they are always heard. So think about the ones you choose to be spoken. I don't understand people who toss words out of their mouth like spitballs in a middle school classroom, without thought or much attention but then grow upset when they are called out on those words. When you say something, when you use words you offend, encourage, affirm, accept, neglect, negate, humiliate, liberate, comfort and reassure, compliment, challenge, or enrage. Be ready to accept whatever words you speak. They are powerful. They can evoke revolution and throw over governments. They have won over hearts and flattened souls.

Writers know this... musicians know this too. (Well, some.) Lyrics are words made more powerful to a rhythm. Although, Dave Matthews makes it insanely hard to choose just one song with lyrics that move me, my first choice would undoubtedly be from his Before These Crowded Streets album, a song called Don't Drink the Water.

The song with its already powerful musical arrangement could seem a bit dark if you don't know what DMB is singing about but the lyrics force down your throat an overlooked truth, one our country rarely talks about; that the development of our country was made at the expense of its native inhabitants. It poetically sings about a dark time in our nation's history when colonization caused near extinction of the Native American population. But the reason it is so powerful is its point of view:
"Interestingly, the song is written from the perpective of a typical white man, who comes to a new land where he hopes his dreams can come true, only to find that there are people living there already that 'don't fit into his idea of paradise, so he asks them to leave.'"
The opening words sound playful like an adult playing a silly child's game. It's eerie, really, the way he talks to "them" making it known what will happen like a parent giving commands. "So you will lay your arms down. Yes, I will call this home." But perhaps what I find to be the most powerful line(s) are when he asks:
What's this you say?
You feel the right to remain
Then stay.... and I will bury you.
Powerful words that show no compromise. Words that show no room for disagreement. Words that tell a story, that send a shiver down my spine every time I hear them.

This song is one of the most genius-ly written musical creations ever written. I say that with honest words, words I would defend to anyone. DMB finds away to make his commands sound like requests to his new neighbors. He makes the commands of the "typical white man" so sound and reasonable while still attacking with words.

Words that are powerful. Words that make you listen.

It is longer than typical songs but totally worth every minute! You might never hear music in the same way.

Come out come out
No use in hiding
Come now come now
Can you not see?
There's no place here
What were you expecting
Not room for both
Just room for me
So you will lay your arms down
Yes I will call this home

Away away
You have been banished
Your land is gone
And given me
And here I will spread my wings
Yes I will call this home

What's this you say
You feel a right to remain
Then stay and I will bury you
What's that you say
Your father's spirit still lives in this place
I will silence you

Here's the hitch
Your horse is leaving
Don't miss your boat
It's leaving now
And as you go I will spread my wings
Yes I will call this home

I have no time to justify to you
Fool you're blind, move aside for me
All I can say to you my new neighbor
Is you must move on or I will bury you

Now as I rest my feet by this fire
Those hands once warmed here
I have retired them
I can breathe my own air
I can sleep more soundly
Upon these poor souls
I'll build heaven and call it home
'Cause you're all dead now

I live with my justice
I live with my greedy need
I live with no mercy
I live with my frenzied feeding
I live with my hatred
I live with my jealousy
I live with the notion
That I don't need anyone but me

Don't drink the water
There's blood in the water

Can't stick around for this week's party??
Next week's theme will be...
What song makes you sing out loud in public?

**Don't forget to link up your post below & visit some participants to see what they're jamming out to!**

Tunesday Tuesday was created to bring people together through music while discovering some new jams for your playlists. Every Tuesday the linkup is LIVE here at DTWB and at The Patchwork Paisley, MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter and Structure in an Unstructured Life 
Host Follow Links:
     Meg                                        Jen                        Beth                         Tiffany

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The Patchwork Paisley

Don't Drink the Water Quote cited from Dontburnthepig.org


  1. Love love love. My DMB song is Grey Street. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Such wonderful lyrics, with such great meaning! I have always been bothered by our country's history. Have a great week, Jen!

  3. Powerful lyrics. Never heard this before. I love the concept.


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