The Anchor

Metaphorical analysis creates an image in the audience’s mind. We typically understand a metaphor as one thing that represents another. In the text, Osborn mentions about the five functions, the process of how rhetoric, including metaphor, has influence on the audience. Within the five functions, the rhetoric would manipulate people’s mind, unify, stimulate them to participate in the activity, and make its specific parts universally well known. These functions would be related with each other and make a circle throughout the history. There are two pieces to a metaphor; the first is is called tenor, which essentially is the concept and how we (the audience) understand it. The other piece is the vehicle, this takes something that is difficult to understand and makes it concrete.

In this instance, the anchor represents that one thing that brings us back to sanity. When nothing is going right or things become too overwhelming or our self-doubt clouds our brain – the anchor keeps us from drifting.

Let those fools be loud

Let alarms ring out

‘Cause you cut through all the noise 

Let the days be dark

Let me hate my work

‘Cause you cut through all the noise

* * *

Bring me some hope

By wandering into my mind

Something to hold onto

Morning, noon, day, or night

The Anchor is the closing track to Wild World even if, ironically, its message is open to the listener, with Dan’s voice asking for help, for an anchor to hold on to. The song speaks to someone who is the ultimate point of reference when we’re lost, someone who can bring us hope when everything seems to be senseless. It’s a way to close the album with some positivity, as a sort of reminder to us all saying that, even though this world quite too often seems to be wild, we have hope by our side, which is the best cure to whatever happens on Earth – right or wrong.

You are the light that is blinding me

You’re the anchor that I tied to my brain

‘Cause when it feels like I’m lost at sea

You’re the song I sing again and again

All the time, all the time

I think of you all the time

In an interview Dan explains, “The whole new album sort of goes between contemplating how difficult the world can be and how crazy things can seem, but also looking at the good that’s in the world. I think that juxtaposition is illustrative of even in your darkest moments, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.”

Seeing as this is the final blog post for “Wild World,” I thought that it should end the same way the album does. “Wild World” addresses our internal and external surroundings through a mixture of bombast and balladry. And while it may be a wild world, it is necessary for us to allow for self-preservation and have the ability to hold on to something that can keep us grounded. ∆

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References:

Osborn, Michael. “The Trajectory of My Work with Metaphor” (2009): 79-87. Southern Communication Journal Vol. 74

https://genius.com/Bastille-the-anchor-lyrics#note-10458448

Smith, Dan. Bastille. “Wild World”. Produced by Dan Smith & Mark Crew. Retrieved 2016-09-15. Virgin Records Ltd 2016.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn3ZhfG7nJo

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Final Hour

He’s throwing his hands up to the sky

How many more ways are there to say this

He’s wondering how many more times

Will we all bear witness

Close Textual analysis describes the subject in depth – it asks how the subject in question functions as well as what makes it work. The bonus track “final hour” continues the message that the album discusses, more specifically the song in particular allows the audience to question themselves similar to Dan. In this blog post I will analyze the overall message and theme than Bastille lays behind the lyrics.

He’s throwing his hands up to the sky

How many more ways are there to say this?

He’s wondering how many more times will we all bear witness

And cant you feel the temperature rising?

‘Cause we’ve never felt a heat like this before

This lyric mentions rising temperatures of Earth. As is a common theme in “Wild World”, Dan shares his shock of what is happening throughout the world. He sings this question to those who do not believe in global warming, asking them if they feel the increase in temperature. Sure temperature can be taken literally, but it also represents pressure. We can see that it is a fact that global warming; science can tell us that. Can’t you see it? Can you feel the pressure? We’ve never felt a heat like this: we’ve never dealt with an administration that completely dismisses critical topics.

Likewise, as stated in a sample featured in an earlier track, “Way Beyond”:

“Television viewers have the choice of watching the tragedy play out from the seating and comfort of their living rooms.”

* * * *

Would it keep you awake if the waters rise and took your house away?

Would it keep you awake if the gun you love was turned at you one day?

It’s always you standing in our way

It’s always you that is leading us astray

 

The mention of different sorts of tragedies adds to the weight of Bastille’s overarching question. It is common that people only care about certain events if they are the ones affected by it, in this case natural disasters and gun violence.

Then he opens up his question to the floor

Would it keep you awake?

If it all just didn’t seem so far away?

‘Cause it keeps me awake

Trying to work this out until my dying day

Often, events and tragedies featured on the news are essentially a screen. It is so separate from the “real world,” and as such, seems far away. This reasoning is common amongst people when they are unaware or apathetic about world events.

The lyrics in this specific track are relatable in a way that captures the emotion of the reader. It is easy to relate to the pressure of wanting to be aware and involved in the events that concern our world. For me, knowing gives me anxiety because I am constantly thinking about what our country is like and what that will mean for the future. I don’t think I would be able to live with myself if I didn’t care. I care about a lot of things. I cannot understand the concept of not watching the news because it freaks you out because simply not knowing would freak me out even more. This is what I can only imagine how Dan feels. Dan reveals in his lyrics that the posing questions do keep him up at night; he often attempts to figure out a solution to the wild world around him.

It’s such a big wheel to try and turn

But in his final hour it’s worth it… 

Come on, come on

Don’t stop running with me

Come on, come on

Don’t stop running

 

Note: Unfortunately, because this track is a bonus track I was unable to find audio online without infringing some sort of copyright law. Apologies!

References:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bastille/finalhour.html

Way Beyond

Ideograph is a concept that emerges from the work of Michael Calvin McGee. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ideograph is a combination of ideo- + -graph and is defined as a “character or figure in a writing system that represents something conceptually without depending on a particular name for it, as in Chinese characters and most Egyptian hieroglyphics or in numerals.”

Ideographs live in language and are found in both discourse and the everyday talk of a community. Therefore, in order for ideographs to function, there has to public rhetoric that is agreed upon and shared by the community. (McGee, 1980, p. 7)

Throughout the album, the theme of the human condition and the impact of the media have remained constant; and in “Way Beyond”, these themes swirl to create an angry cry for help. The concept of is apparent in the lyrics of this song in particular. Wild World as a whole, by Dan Smith, has been described as a mixed tape discussing current issues with our world. “Way Beyond” in particular projects the idea that we all have become desensitized to what is happening around us.

When panic rises like the oceans

We just keep on flicking through the stations

‘Cause if we don’t post it does it happen?

Oh I wanna be free of this

 Dan mentions wanting to “be free” of the status quo. And really, who can blame him? The constant need to post everything that we do on social media has consumed our brains. We hear or see one headline, but then it is sort of like, “Yeah, okay but what’s next? What is the next story?” When we watch the news or read up on current events it is easy to become numb and have the ability to shrug off headlines because we are used to them. This line in particular opened my eyes to the callousness of society.

“Television viewers have the choice of watching the tragedy play out from the seating and comfort of their living rooms. But victims have to respond to the pressure of the media while still in shock”

 We, the viewers, expect a play by play of everything that is happening in the world. Microphones are shoved in the faces of people who have just lost their homes or whose family members have just died. Similar to how Dan would describe it: it’s fucked up. Nevertheless it is what the world, our world has become.

Movies and news on television

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the differences oh

When real life’s more fucked up than fiction

Do you wanna be free of this?

There is also a desire for change in these lyrics. Throughout the song Dan mentions that we must change our way of thinking in order to create progress. He admits that he too has been a part of the problem. The message that Bastille sends to its audience with the track “Way Beyond” is that there is still opportunity for change in all of the chaos around us – but it is up to us to take advantage of those opportunities.

It only matters if we care now,

If you’re way beyond that

Then I’m gonna dust you off of my shoulders

And I remember when we cared now,

If you’re way beyond that

Then I’m gonna dust you off of my shoulders, my shoulders

– – – – –

I don’t wanna play dumb, anymore

I just wanna feel something, like before

I don’t wanna feel numb, anymore

I just wanna something, like before

The idea of is something that we all can relate to. Sometimes we feel it within ourselves, or those around us. The that Dan feels is ingrained in the lyrics of this track. The awareness and need of positive change that emerges from not being satisfied with something can create hope. “Way Beyond,” which also happens to be my personal favorite track on the album, calls upon us to shift our way of thinking, to care.

“What the fuck are y’all doing is the question? This is the question.”

  

 

References:

McGee, M.C. (1980). The ideograph: A link between rhetoric and ideology. Quarterly Journal of Speech 66, 1-16.

Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith)

The fourth persona is an implied audience. This audience is implied “with a wink” for those who would be able to know. Morris’s essential claim is that, for the fourth persona, “It takes one to know one.” The goal is to essential create an invisible audience. There are textual “winks” that the author can put in their work and only those who are clairvoyant will understand.

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“Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith)” is the most intriguing track on the record. Bastille has been known to reference pop culture and mythology in its music with songs like, “Laura Palmer” in reference to the ’90s television show, “Twin Peaks” or “Icarus,” a song about the famous Greek myth.

In this track, however, they reference real-life murderous history.

Perry Smith was  arrested and charged with murder of a family, Smith and his partner claimed to have only planned to rob the Kansas family. The two were convicted of murder and were sentenced to death.

These four walls to keep you

One floor to sleep upon and only

These four walls to keep you

These four walls contain you

Suppose to save you from yourself and

These four walls in Holcomb

To keep you from the sun

The song “Four Walls” talks about Smith’s imprisonment on death row, referencing Holcomb, Kansas, where the murders took place, and mentioning the hanging. At the end of the song there is a recorded voice saying, “This is a call from Kansas State Penitentiary.” The music then abruptly cuts to a recording of what seems to be a police interview with a man who says, “Being brought up one way and trying to see another way is very difficult.”

And now we’re faced with two wrongs

Now we’re faced with two wrongs

I don’t know, oh, I don’t know

Now we’re faced with two wrongs

Now we’re faced with two wrongs

I don’t know, oh, I don’t know

Complimentary to Perry Smith’s case, the song muses on capital punishment, where a prisoner is executed in punishment for their crimes. The United Nations opposes capital punishment and in Bastille’s home country, the United Kingdom, the practice was abolished. In contrast, the United States is the only Western country that still uses capital punishment.

When questioned by a fan prior to the album release, Dan suggested reading the non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

These four walls will keep you

Until you face the rope

You’ve only these four walls before they, in cold blood, hang you up

Dan Smith was taken aback by the book when he read it and “Four Walls” came from it. He told Radio.com:

“I think that’s the thing that’s so interesting with In Cold Blood, it’s so beautifully written, and it’s such an engagingly constructed kind of narrative, but then you constantly remember that this actually happened. There’s something about watching fiction or reading fiction and knowing that it’s fiction where it’s maybe not as disturbing as it should be. But then knowing these things [in In Cold Blood] are real, there’s something so eerie and creepy about that. And I remember constantly having that realization with that book when I was reading it.”

 

References:

https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/i/in-cold-blood/book-summary

Bastille’s ‘Wild’ Influences: From Shakespeare to B.B. King to Truman Capote