Literary Devices in Song Lyrics

ImageJustin Timberlake is a well known singer, but who knew that his song lyrics could exhibit so many different literary devices?

Within the music industry, one of the major ways that artists and songwriters connect to their audiences is through emotion. When we listen to their songs, we can feel the happiness or sadness that they feel, and connect with them in a way. These people use music to share their thoughts and feelings with us, so without the use of literary devices, such as similes or metaphors, it would be a lot more difficult to relate to them.

For example, in Justin Timberlake’s new song, Mirrors, we can spot metaphors and similes in almost every other line. This song is about his love life and he shares with us how deeply he cares for another person. He sings,

Cause I don’t wanna lose you now
I’m lookin’ right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart metaphor
Is a space that now you hold -metaphor
Show me how to fight for now -metaphor
And I’ll tell you baby, it was easy
Comin’ back into you once I figured it out
You were right here all along
It’s like you’re my mirror -simile
My mirror staring back at me -metaphor
I couldn’t get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me
And now it’s clear as this promise -simile
That we’re making two reflections into one
Cause it’s like you’re my mirror
My mirror staring back at me, staring back at me

When I first listened to this song, the lyrics in the hook immediately caught my attention. Justin Timberlake uses terms such as mirrors and vacancy to help us better understand the love that he feels for the person he is singing about. Without being so literal, he finds a clever way to compare things to his thoughts, and that makes it easier for us to visualize his feelings. (“Vacancy” can’t sit. “Space” can’t be held. “Mirrors” can’t stare at you.) When he sings, “It’s like you’re my mirror” or “It’s clear as this promise”, he also is comparing different things to one another. (His lover is like a reflection to him, and he’s saying that a certain promise is now very obvious.)

Ultimately, every musician/artist uses literary devices in their work. It helps the songs flow well and helps the listeners/viewers relate to them more. The uses of these devices also bring a deeper meaning to the lyrics. We may not know it, but there may be “secret” or “hidden” messages that singers are sharing in their lyrics. We just have to think about what they are comparing and how those things can be compared to one another. Music is a wonderful thing in which we can express ourselves and our emotions. It makes songs more important and gives language a whole different meaning. Nowadays, as people are becoming more intelligent and songs more diverse, we see several unique ways that literary techniques can be portrayed in music.

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Reading Changes You

Books        Throughout elementary school, books did not seem very intriguing to me until about third grade. Before that, I did not read books for leisure and I was not a very good writer in school. I guess I just wasn’t interested in the English language since I grew up with a Vietnamese-speaking family. I had difficulty understanding terms in school and even needed an ESL (English as a second language) teacher. However, as the years passed, I began to realize that reading is one of the most useful skills a person could have.

        My elementary school introduced a program called “Reading Counts”, which was very exciting and fun to me. The way the program worked was very simple. All you had to do was read a book and then go to the computer lab at school and take a test. At the lab, you would sign on to the Reading Counts application and take a mini test about the book you have just read. For each test, you either pass or fail, and if you pass the test, you will earn points. Over time, the points accumulated and the directors of the program would hand out several prizes and have parties for those who have gained lots of points. This program significantly motivated me to read more and the local library soon became a second home to me.

        The books that I read were short chapter books and most of them were in the genre of mysteries. I read to myself and to my grandmother every single day, and then I slowly began to read longer and more advanced books as I grew older. The books that I read as a teenager varied and I believe that by reading throughout my childhood, I have learned a lot more about the English language than I would have if I went home and watched cartoons. Thanks to reading, I was able to educate myself more at home, since my family couldn’t really help me. I noticed how authors wrote stories, began paragraphs, and even how they used the correct punctuations for each sentence. I acquired the techniques of others and used those techniques to create my own style of writing.

        I’m the type of person who likes to write about my feelings or fictional stories that I have come up with, and since I have been exposed to so many different types of books, I have learned to express my thoughts in unique ways. The skills that I have acquired from reading has made writing much easier for me as a student. I found that I tend to write better and more when I can relate the topic to myself or something that I have read about. As I get older, I look back and I can’t even imagine a life without books. Although it can be difficult to do at times, reading is a tool that transforms your knowledge.

Obesity is Trending

      In today’s day and age, obesity is on the rise in our society because food is becoming less nutritious, while on the other hand, physical activity is becoming more optional. Obesity is a medical condition in which a person’s overall body weight is greater than what is considered healthy. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 34% of adults and 17% of children in America are obese. There are many factors that can contribute to this deadly epidemic, and some of them are uncontrollable to us.

     When we hear the word obesity, we think of food and weight. Obesity results when the body stores excess energy in the form of fat tissue. This excess energy develops when a person eats more food than they are willing to burn off. Nowadays, overeating is very easy and obesity has become a norm in society. Americans need to realize that this condition is one of the most preventable causes of deaths worldwide. Our country isn’t just a developed country, it is over developed, and that has proven to become a huge problem. The increasing trends in technology and our reliance on it, including everything from automobiles to microwaves, has allowed Americans to do more while using less physical energy.

     We live in a culture that centers itself around food and that has made a tremendous impact on this deadly epidemic. One type of food in particular, fast food, has been transforming the nation’s diet and economy for quite a few years. Because of the tons of fast food chains in America, whenever we feel hungry, whether it is two in the afternoon or two in the morning, we could easily pick up the phone and order a pizza or drive a few minutes to grab some burgers. The growing evidence of a link between poor health and fast food has even driven some people to take action against the fast-food industry. That has also led to a new trend in which consumers are blaming and suing fast food restaurants for making them obese! Isn’t that crazy? In my opinion, eating fast food and deciding not to exercise is a personal choice.

     Since obesity is particularly prevalent among the poorer segments of the nation’s population, some health experts suggest that food-stamp usage contributes to obesity. The food-stamp program acts as a safety net to prevent millions from going hungry, especially during economic downturns. Nonetheless, the policy remains highly controversial. Government programs to fight obesity thus far have not been enough to lower the dramatic rise of obesity and obesity-related diseases among Americans.

     Different people have different stress levels and their personal situations may affect their diets. It could possibly be much of the pressure that people feel in order to succeed that leads to obesity. Stress happens to many people, and they eat on the run as they go from one duty to another. People who are stressed often use food around them as a comfort. They may make decisions based on their environment or community. Genetics may also increase the risk of personal weight gain. However, genes alone may not determine whether a person will become obese. Other factors play key roles that lead to improper dieting and little to no physical activity.

     Ultimately, obesity is not a good trend, and although it may be hereditary, we should still take steps to better our health. If we try to stop this trend, we may be able to stop other harmful trends, such as bullying, and start positive ones, such as exercising and eating healthy. In an advanced culture like ours, with gyms that are open 24/7 and useful tips that could be found online at any time, staying fit and healthy should be easier than ever! This terrifying epidemic can be worked on and eventually disappear, all we need to do is make the right choices.