When I’m singing a song, I live in the lyrics. Before I even go to the studio
to cut a record, I study the words and the music to create a character in my
mind based on the person in the song. I try to imagine how they got to the
point emotionally of singing the words.—Gladys Knight, Between Every Line of
Pain and Glory
The analysis of popular music reveals that there are in fact many levels of
meaning having to do with music, lyrics, images, and movement as nego-
tiated by individuals with specific social and cultural biographies.—Richard
Middleton, introduction to Reading Pop
“I live in the lyrics”
On Truth, Intent, Image, Identity,
and Song Covers
famed soul singer Al Green is featured as part of a duet
on It on Paper,” a song concerned with a couple’s decision
to marry that is the title track of former Sounds of Blackness vocalist
Ann Nesby’s 2002 album. The woman (sung by Nesby) refers to herself
as “a little old fashioned” because she is in a monogamous union and is
not “shackin’ up,” and Green sings the part of the “old school brother”
who is in love with her; as evidence of his commitment he tells her, “I
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