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Red Lights

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(@spino)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 8
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Hi , I'm new round here and I've been writing reams lately .Is this too obscure,wrote it one night while watchin a documentary set in Africa.

Red Light.

Stopped listening to the Politic
Cuz they're all talkin it
We know where they've been taken ( We know why they've been taken ?)
And in whose lap they sit ( In the devils lap they sit ?)
They way that has been opened
Can only lead to the Pit ( Along the way to the Pit ?)

Red lights still turning green
Leave your thoughts and dreams
False facts, brazen lies
Starving faces,laughing eyes
Roll it over ,check the other side
All the things that money can't buy

Chorus

All the clever ways to say it
It just means the same old thing
Camouflage and the combat boot
And the Depot's deadly sting
Change the root, the destination
Big welcome into the ring
Beware of the dirty combat boot
And the Depot's deadly sting

Open the door to your brother
Remove your mask but don't quit
I recognize ,see through the disguise
Being a victim's only part of it
You can keep your condescention
Turned backs and sly grins
The ugly mask of pretention ( The stinkin air of oppression ??? )
And the despots deadly sins.

.... just sort of jumped out of the pen without much thought ,I love it when that happens and after just 3 word changes I settled on this ,but I ' m not sure if it's useable ,any comments would be interesting. The last verse is extendend just to twist a bit more out of the theme ,bit of a punch line. Would be 6/8 floating , African styli. Thanks

Edits

I feel like I'm getting away from the subtle poke, now but maybe that's a good thing ?


   
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(@purple)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 343
 

Hello and welcome,

Can you use it? Of course! You wrote it. It flows very well, very easy to read through, takes a second or third read maybe to completely understand. I don't know what too obscure is but I don't think this is it, for the most part. I am not so bright so let's see if I got it right. Since you mentioned Africa, it seems that the song is mostly about the genocides. Though, the West especially Europe has helped create the tensions that lead to them, Africa is a place of little money interest so we do little help prevent or stop them. Some suggestions:

We know where they've been taken
And in whose lap they sit

Hmm.. I might not know where they have been taken. I know, at least I think I do, whose lap they sit in. These two lines seem to be similar in idea so maybe here you can get a stronger line saying more about what the political hawks have done or more truthfully haven't done. You can keep the line, I just think the allusion is a little weak. You want to get the most bang for your buck.

They way that has been opened
Can only lead to the Pit

Maybe just change, that to: The way it has been opened; can only lead to the pit. An idea is maybe changing this line, "The way it has been opened," or the other, or both, to something that relates to the political hawks mentioned earlier in the verse and still making it lead into 'Can only lead to the Pit.'

Red lights still turning green
Leave your thoughts and dreams

I don't fully understand this allusion. I thought maybe the Red lights still turning green means (and maybe I am looking at it too meaningfully many African nations have newly thrown off their (racist) oppressers (Europe) and second class citizenship, the red light, and have gained independence which leads to a new sense of hope, a green light, which hasn't been fully realized. I don't understand how that relates to "leave your thoughts and dreams" or how these two lines relate to the rest of the verse. Maybe you are trying to say the hope of their new independence doesn't survive to see the dream to fruition - the democracies Europe leaves behind usually collapse. If I got that right, I think the second line could be reworked.

Laughing eyes

I don't know if I am fond of their eyes being described as laughing. I have seen pictures of starving African people and their eyes don't seem to be laughing, sadly even when they are smiling. Maybe a word like 'dire,' not specifically that word but more along that meaning would work better here.

Big welcome into the ring

I really like the chorus but this line feels like a filler. I think you can get something more impactful. You're saying it happens in many places for different reasons, perhaps a line that's a warning like the next line?

Open the door to your brother
Remove your mask but don't quit
I recognize ,see through the disguise
Being a victim's only part of it
You can keep your condescention
Turned backs and sly grins
The ugly mask of pretention
And the despots deadly sins.

I really like this verse. As you said the despots deadly sins sounds very similar to the depot's dealy stings so very cool variation. However, I am not fond of double use of words unless it really serves a purpose. I would recommending changing the word mask int his line: "The ugly mask of pretension." I think something like 'guise' would work better here. Thinking about it, and perhaps the allusion of 'remove the mask' could be a little stronger too. Maybe something with more of a military vibe like "Break the barricades but don't quit," and I think it gets a little bit of double entendre. Then you could keep the 'mask of pretension' hmm, thinking about guise again... I dunno are people who are pretentious wearing a mask a defense mechanism or is the pretension who they are? I honestly am just asking for to think about the meaning behind the phrase.

I hope this helped and I don't get too confusing. Sometimes, I honestly write out my thoughts as they come, sort of hoping it gives you a better understanding in how others react. It is a good song and everything I have said are merely suggestions especially when I give possible alternate lines or words and they may lead to new ideas.

Happy writing,
Purple

It's not easy being green.... good thing I'm purple.


   
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(@spino)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 8
Topic starter  

Hey Purple,
Thanks for the interest man, you are very perceptive, and make me think I should start editing my stuff and perhaps analyse it a bit more, thing is ,sometimes it's not always apparent to me in the moment what I want to say so I just write ,then it gets archived and later, dug out , then I make a few further alterations and write a melody for it.
Writing to prescription is not my thing but I might participate in the SSC to see if I can do it ,should be interesting.
I'd like to go through the lines that you picked out as reworkable with you, if you're agreeable because you misinterpteted a few things, but that'll have to be later, got a rehersal. Thanks again for the comments.


   
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(@purple)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 343
 

Hey Spino,

I have no problem offering any help I can. That is if I'm worthy. Writing somewhat 'obscure' lyrics is the toughtest. It is a fine line between brilliance and crap and being too obscure can lead to just being nonsensical. Don't just rework lines because I think they should be - maybe they have great meaning that I missed. Maybe you have other lines that didn't come so naturally that you weren't sure about. And others will hear/read the same song and find new meaning in your words. If you decide to rework some of the lines I picked out, you certainly don't have to do it in the way I said (even rereading the song today, I don't wholeheartedly agree with my possibilities, meaning-wise). It is your song and you know the feel you are going for. You have a free flowing way of writing songs and that is cool and how you write. Great passages flow out naturally, but great works need some TLC. I think all songs can be improved by some editing without becoming too rigid. You can really develop the ideas that come out naturally. One last thing to think about, you named the song 'Red Lights' and wrote one somewhat obscure line about the Red Lights still turning green. How does the rest of the song represent, illustrate, or relate to the meaning of the 'red lights' with out repeating the words red lights or specifically defining what the red lights are? Not saying to make any changes just if you decide to edit, maybe you could keep this in mind.

Happy writing,
Purple

It's not easy being green.... good thing I'm purple.


   
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(@spino)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 8
Topic starter  

Hey Purple ,
I've just done a bit of analysis on this and a lot of your comments hit the nail...
One thing I was trying for with the overall feel was the "subtle poke " and it was written spontaneously without much thought probably fuelled by repressed anger . The title came later as I just thought, it has to have a title . I tend not to question what I write cuz I probably have a secret fear that IT will leave me or suddenly cease , therefore the no analysis stand,and I kinda like my release valve ,it tells me a lot about myself if I care/dare to take a look it .
I hope this does'nt sound like justification.
"Red Light "seemed to fit the situation stop, pause, check it out, listen up, danger.
"We know where they've been taken" (denial of the Depot's existence, the disappearing, never to be seen again victims of the opressor,but also the diseased mind of the despot and the depths that they sink to achieve their aims . )
"In whose lap they sit "( sittin in the Devils lap .)
"Red light still turning green" (slow change in the situation)
"Leave your thoughts" (( bending the will of the people by violence )" and your dreams" ( non- existent future dreams, hopeless situation ).
"Starving faces ,laughing eyes" ( This was supposed to be a contrast ,laughing eyes was again the opressor, this fails ,I think there's a word missing here between the two statements which would clarify this .Maybe "versus ".
"Big welcome into the ring" ( Help, Aid, Relief ,which does'nt always get through, also unclear ,but like I said I was goin for the subtle poke. Sometimes a bit too subtle. He He!)
Point taken about "mask" might change this to " ugly air of pretention" or " ugly air of oppression".
First time I've done this ,so everything is a bit clearer in what I was trying to convey / pinpoint but I will stick to the" stream of conciousness" method with a bit more reworking thrown in and overall I see the flaws and ambiguities and where there should be improvement , thing is, that, seems like WORK to me and somehow detracts from or inhibits the spontineity of the idea but I get your "bang for buck "comment .
Hats off to ya Purple for taking a shot at this ,you have a" literal mind" and are a lot "brighter" than you think ! Your comments will always be welcome.


   
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(@purple)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 343
 

I am curious about which African nations your documentary dealt with. Like most westerners, I have little knowledge, maybe slightly more than average, of the African plight. Don't see it as justification, just a better understanding on the meaning behind your song. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said there were some ambiguities. Based on the explanations you have given this is how I see it:

I still think the idea of the Red Light relates to the entire song even with out changing any lines so don't sell the name short. I also still say if you edit, to keep the idea of the red lights in mind. I am not saying to specifically state them or explain them, just think about it. (I know that's exactly what you try not to do, think about) Anyway, you say, 'Red Lights still turning green' means slow change in the situation. Something about it doesn't seem to sit right, maybe cause when I think of a red light, the actual change from red to green happens quickly but waiting for the green can take a lifetime, so possibly, 'red lights waiting for the green.'

Leave your thoughts and dreams - My only misunderstanding of this line was it read to me like you were saying: Red lights still turning green leave your thoughts and dreams. I think they are suppose to be 2 separate ideas. Maybe this is something to consider but actually hearing it being sung might set the distinction of 2 separate ideas.

Big welcome into the ring - This was a line that after some thought I actually didn't think needed any changing. Especailly not to what I suggested. I think a little too subtle to imply the foreign aid ring, I do see saying welcome into the civil wars that plague Africa. (Just had a somewhat unrelated thought of how most would say Aids, or some other disease, is the African plague, but really what causes these epidemics, wars, genocides is what is the true African plague - indifference.)

Starving faces, laughing eyes - I understand, now, you want to make a contrast here. I actually am not fond of the addition of versus, too many syllables and takes away from the over all feel. How to make it known you are making a contrast though? It may be able to stay as is, I actually debated whether or not you wanted to contrast these ideas but the line ahead of it is what made me think not. 'False facts and brazen lies' speaking of which, I think you can drop the word 'and' from here. It made me think you were speaking of the victims since these two ideas are similar. I can only think of putting contrasting ideas ahead or behind it. Maybe best left as is, you are talking about oppressed people and those who exploit them so it should be implied.

We know where they've been taken
And in whose lap they sit

I completely misunderstood these lines. These are by far the most ambiguous lines (beyond subtlety). You mentioned that the depot's are secret and that people disappear, so maybe we don't know where they've been taken. You also say they sit in the devil's lap. I think an allusioin that actual refers to the devil would be great to put in here and done well can still be subtle.

I am interested in any changes that you may make but don't let it seem to much like work.

It's not easy being green.... good thing I'm purple.


   
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(@spino)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 8
Topic starter  

Hey Purple ,( Why the small "p" )
I'm gonna let this sit for awhile ! :wink:
Thanks again for the interest.
Sorry don't know which country
Cuz I had the sound turned down...
Don't laugh I do that often, it's stimulus
Like a false vision in a dark room ,
And you just write about it.
Oh! Yeah! Have you ever had to wait
At a very long STOP sign and
You think......!
Nobody likes RED lights !
Ever heard of somethin called" subjective subtleties" ?


   
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