Anthony’s post today proved something major with college students. They care about two things. Photoshop and and provocative band names. Oh, that is not what you were thinking? Well, I guess you may not know college students. Well, since the post was quite the eye-opener we will keep with the theme of eye-openers and go straight into the skill of our #82 lyricist of all time. Are transitions not the best especially when they make no sense. I should just write essays with some of the strange breaks of consciousness that I express through this blog. Anyway, Josh is going to be happy about this post because he is a fan of this artist and, since, all I do on these posts is post flattery, he will be quite thrilled.
It is hard to say bad things about Benjamin Chase Harper, known better as Ben Harper. The 40 year old folky blues artist known for his distinctive voice, guitaring, and activism is also a fantastic lyricist and I hope to show that here. Musicians occasionally are almost bred to become performers. Harper is one of these cases. From an early age he was already playing guitar and learning the tricks of the trade from his grandparents’ folk music store, The Folk Music Center and Museum. Yeah, this on top of regular visits by Leonard Cohen (one of the greatest lyricists of all time. He will have his profile day in a long time) Taj Mahal and David Lindley, and on top of regular quotations from William Shakespeare and Robert Frost provided by his grandfather. Hell, if Harper did not grow up to play music and write poetry, it would be pretty disappointing.
In the 80′s, his teen years, he began mimicking the guitar styles of Robert Johnson and eventually expanded to playing Weissenborn, the lap guitar, which he is currently very skilled at. From then on out, Harper has released numerous albums and has reached the ears of numerous listeners. Now, yes, most of this can be attributed to his catchy rhythms, but, this is a lyric search and we shall look at that mainly.
Let us look at my favorite lyrics from Ben Harper from a song entitled, “Roses From My Friends”
“I could have treated you better
but you couldn’t have treated me worse
but it’s he who laughs last
is he who cries first
Sometimes I feel I know strangers
better than I know my friends
why must a beginning
be the means to an end
The stones from my enemies
these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive
the roses from my friends”
I believe this is Harper’s way of explaining his detachment from those who he calls his friends. It is as if he knows what to expect from strangers and therefore the stones they may throw cannot hurt him. Yet, his friends who on the surface may seem effulgent, are, underneath thorny and back-stabbing like a flower. It is a thought-provoking metaphor by Harper and certainly makes you think.
Roses from my Friends: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWXgx0GVUSE