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blushnrushn

Regina songs that are hard to listen to

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hey all! i used to be pretty active on this forum, but it's been so long since i've posted that i can't recover my old login. i'm still as in love with regina as ever, and i wanted to share something that's been on my mind for some time. we all know that regina is absolutely brilliant at inhabiting other characters' minds, which is part of what makes her such a special artist. perhaps because of this, i have been finding a couple of her songs about violence against women--love, you're a whore, belt, and long brown hair (though this last one is debatable)--very hard and distressing to listen to, particularly because the first two are so lighthearted and even upbeat that a listener who is unfamiliar with her style may not understand her intention. has anyone else experienced this? what do you guys think she's trying to do in songs like this (again, keeping in mind her tone in LYAW and belt)?

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hey all! i used to be pretty active on this forum, but it's been so long since i've posted that i can't recover my old login. i'm still as in love with regina as ever, and i wanted to share something that's been on my mind for some time. we all know that regina is absolutely brilliant at inhabiting other characters' minds, which is part of what makes her such a special artist. perhaps because of this, i have been finding a couple of her songs about violence against women--love, you're a whore, belt, and long brown hair (though this last one is debatable)--very hard and distressing to listen to, particularly because the first two are so lighthearted and even upbeat that a listener who is unfamiliar with her style may not understand her intention. has anyone else experienced this? what do you guys think she's trying to do in songs like this (again, keeping in mind her tone in LYAW and belt)?

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That's such an interesting point! (And welcome back, by the way.) I found myself instantly drawn to Belt because of its dissonance. The fact that it is so upbeat, though it depicts such a grim tale, totally fascinates me. Rather than finding it difficult to listen to, I found myself unable to stop listening for a good period of time. (Less so with Love, You're a Whore, but I find that I took that song less on an emotional level and more as a sort of fun romp.)

Long Brown Hair, with its very sinister undertones, had yet a different effect on me. It differs from LBH or LYAW in that the menacing tone of the lyrics is echoed in the music. Despite this, rather than making me uncomfortable, it paralyzed me to the degree that, once again, I was unable to listen to little else for several months. For some reason, the most unsavory of Regina's characters are absolutely captivating to me. The depth to which she can pry apart the mind of the most malevolent human being is completely incredible.

So, while I do feel some discomfort while listening to such songs, I am more likely to be enthralled by the characters and fascinated by the story than to feel nervous and uneasy. I think her music is rather like reading a good book in that way. The characters may not necessarily be likable, yet you are unable to cease turning the pages.

Despite my differing opinion on the likes of LBH, Belt, and LYAW, songs such as Ink Stains do make me very uncomfortable. I feel raw when I listen to that song, when I feel the anger and passion within. It makes me stop and listen, but in a different way. It distresses me. I am unable to turn it off, but I almost want to. It strikes me as grotesque, unnerving, and painful. But such is the way of a good song; to be able to stir such powerful emotion among listeners is quite the feat.

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I really dig 'Love You're a Whore'.. don't consider it violence against women at all.. it is non gender based, IMO.. and it is against the feeling of love sneaking up against your better judgment.. to me anyway..

As an aside, Regina is amazing on this one.. one of my on line buddies called this song 'crazily' authentic as far as country goes.. Regina can make it in Nashville if she wants..

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Really interesting thoughts, almostspotless. That's sort of along the lines of what I was thinking.

I definitely think that the content of LYAW is related to gendered violence for a number of reasons. The word "whore" is a gender-specific slur, and the lyrics allude to violence quite plainly: "we beat you and mistreat you..." I think an important thing to note is that, like almostspotless said, Belt is narrated from the perspective of a victim, so the upbeat quality of the song can be interpreted as irreverence. LYAW is the opposite--it is narrated from the perspective of perpetrators of violence, and their tone is unrepentant, even boastful. I think that's why I find it especially distressing.

I love that we can interpret Regina's song like we would a work of literature. I've compared her to Dostoevsky on more than one occasion Smiler.

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actually in a somewhat different vein 'Carbon Monoxide' is rather disturbing.. I hear it as if from someone whose life is so devoid of meaning that there is no other way out.. and the eerie beauty of the melody makes it more affecting..

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As English is not my first language, I don't really listen to every single song as focused on the lyrics as you Native speakers might. So, songs like "Love, You're a whore", which are musically so noticeable, don't really get to me lyrically. I do hear a few things, though, of course. But to me that song is just about how love can be a bitch, that's it.

But there are in fact a few songs that I still like (of course - they're Regina's), but are kind of hard to bear... They give me that feeling that Regina is very serious with what she's singing. Actually, I can't really explain it...

Anyways, "Ballad of a Politician" and "Ink Stains" are good examples.

The first one especially since I read that comment on YouTube saying it might be about Hitler and his rise. So that's kind of uncomfortable.

Also, Regina sounds very bitter in this song, as if she's talking about someone she knows and despises.

And the second one because it's about the holocaust. The line "all the holocaust deniers in a bathhouse, warm and quiet" makes me feel bad just because of the thought that there are people ignorant enough to deny the holocaust...

The "blue Jew eye-balls" makes me sad cause it implies what the people of Nazi Germany thought: Jews are subhumans, they're disgusting and should be tilted from this world. Although, I'm not sure if Regina really wanted to say that (I doubt it).

And "gas them up until they know that..." - I think you all know that that's a brutal line. I don't have to add anything to that.

Okay, these two songs might just touch me in that way, because I'm German and this topic affects me so much... But still.

So... I hope all that stuff made sense.

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^I agree, Snowball13. Ink Stains is really a touching song, I always have a strange feeling listening to it.... like it really frightens(?) me by its drastic lyrics! It makes me uncomfortable.

LYAW is for me also a song about love being crazy, not about prostitution or what so ever.

But the song "Building" is - personally - a song which is kind of disturbing : The happy melody collides with the melancholic voice and the lyrics about depression(?). At first I was like "what a nice song about a caring husband", but later on I realized why he says that the buildings are so tall these days...

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I going to throw in a few words about Belt, since I absolutely love that song and have been thinking about it. I often like the songs where the music and the lyrics cotradict somehow. Sometimes you can make your point about sad, even terrible subjects more powerfully by using a jolly, upbeat melody in a major key than by just being all sombre and depressed. The contradiction catches the listeners attention and makes them think, or at least that's how it works for me. Songs that are all cheery on the outside can end up affecting me very deeply.

In Belt's case, I think the melody reflects the narrators way of coping with her situation. She makes light of her problems, acts like they don't touch her or even exist at all and hides everything with a smile. I think it fits well - how the song is so cheerful if you only listen to the music, and you have to really pay attention to the lyrics in order to realise how dark the song actually is. The narrator also is all happy and smiles outside, and you have to look behind that mask to see her suffering.

To go just a little off-topic, I somehow pair Belt with Amanda Palmer's

, another seemingly cheerful song about serious subjects. The contradiction serves the same purpose, and I see Oasis as another case where the happy music mirrors the narrators attitude. How all these horrible, hard things happen to her, but she can't dwell on them and keep dealing with them, she needs to escape them to the things in her life that are exciting and fun and somewhat superficial, but at the same time a lifesaver to this character, who probably couldn't survive her life if it weren't for those little things. (What a long and complicated sentence, eek! Big Grin) She needs to focus on the positive, no matter how trivial those positive things might be, and perhaps live in denial in order to stay sane. Oasis, and especially its video, caused some controversy exactly because of the conflict between the subjects and the atmosphere of the song. Some people found it very inappropriate. I think Amanda commented it the best herself, by performing the "appropriate version", which of course sounds quite stupid (in case someone cares, it's
). I think that proves quite well how it can be much more effective to create contradictions than to underline every single tragic line of lyrics with even more tragic music.

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