A Words Look: “Factory”

Art strikes emotion. Art defines it, expresses it, and gives it voice. Art expressing emotion is a very human thing. You don’t see Kodiak bears creating sculptures from river stones commemorating that unbelievable snatch of the monster salmon at the McNeil River Falls last summer. (Well, perhaps they growl an epic poem in bear which we may someday decipher. Who knows for sure?)

Art strikes emotion. Look at Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. The painting is a wave of emotion. Intensity and beauty surround a seemingly peaceful town at night. Basically, a rather serene and simple painting, don’t you think?

But, the thick brush strokes and movement of the lines around the buildings scream both chaos and emotion from the artist and in the work. I can imagine van Gogh trying to sell this painting and potential buyers slowly stepping away from the one-eared crazy guy.

A Word’s Look is an artistic and educational blog experiment I’m undertaking. I want to look toward the arts and words to explore how they convey their message and their emotions. The goal is to try and push my own skills as a writer/artist.

The first look is Band of Horses song, “Factory”. Song lyrics are a great study for a writer, especially a children’s writer. A song lyric must convey the story, must convey emotion, must stay focused, and must stay within the architecture of the song. Writing good song lyrics takes skill and discipline, the very skills I admire in great children’s literature writers.

ln the song, “Factory”, we see isolation, depression, guilt, pain, and a feeling of gut-wrenching despair. Band of Horses’s Ben Bridwell hits the nail on the head with the lyrics in this song and draws the listener into this desperate world. I can almost see the person scrambling out of the hotel elevator to avoid our down-and-out narrator. Good stuff.


The elevator, in the hotel lobby has a lazy door
The man inside is going to a hotel room
He jumped out right after seeing just the very sight of me
Decided he better hike it to the second floor

It’s temporary, this place I’m in
I permanently won’t do this again
My belongings scattered all across the hotel floor

Now then later, I was thinking it over by the snack machine
I thought about you and a candy bar
The Now And Laters, now that I’ve got, stuck between my teeth
I fell asleep to the greatest movie of the year

A man gets lonely, for heaven’s sake
He’s wondering only what did you do today
The world’s spinning around into an old, sad song

Well it’s coming down outside like I’ve never even seen before
I fell into some kind of sorry state
But looking back now, I think it’s finally time for me to laugh about it
And get my things together and find something to say

Well I feel awful, and I believe
That time gets wasted in this misery
And darling, I never wanna come back home

Here is a live video of the song. I highly recommend Band of Horses latest album, Acoustic at the Ryman. It is a simple, stripped down acoustic set that will blow your socks off.

Art striking emotion.



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